College fraternities have always struck me as being an organization ofguys who spend their time drinking beer and having their “social gatherings”(parties). Just moving to Austin recently (which is by no doubt a “collegecity”) has made me want to know more about the sole purpose of thesefraternities. For these reasons I chose to select this culture for my essay.The definition of a fraternity is defined as ” chiefly socialorganization of male college students, usually designated by Greek letters”.(Morris 1982:523) This definition is not true to all where most fraternitymembers are seen as drunks who accomplish nothing scholastically or socially .Unfortunately, the definition and portrayal of the people fails to mention thefact that membership in a fraternity is a life-long experience that helps itsmembers develop social, organizational, and study skills, and also teaches true,everlasting friendship. As a matter of fact most of our presidents weremembers of a Greek organization.
“The first fraternity was founded for literary and social purposes atThe College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia on December 5th 1776.”(Klepper 1937:24) Throughout the nineteenth century many new fraternities werefounded, but none of these were permanent. By the end of the nineteenth centurythere were over thirty general fraternities in the country.Today’s fraternities still have the characteristics of past fraternities.These characteristics include “a ritual, oaths of fidelity, a grip, a motto, abadge , friendship and comradeship (Klepper 1937:56) . During membership onemust learn leadership skills.
For this reason fraternities embrace theseoffices held by members: President, Vice-president, Treasurer, Scribe, etc.Since membership is seen as a great achievement by other organizations, everybrother must be able to uphold that office at any time.Organization is a must for every member. Fund raising activities andcommunity service are priority in every chapter, and each member is requiredto take part in these activities as an act of pledge, and a brother. Thishelps a member to develop organization and planning.
Living together in what isknown as a fraternity house adds to the development of social skills and beingable to live with different kinds of people in different situations.Fraternities are famous for their social gatherings (parties) which requiresall members to be socially active and also develop social skills.It is normal for fraternities to organize study groups during the schoolyear and before exams. Most fraternities keep test files and other study aidsavailable for the benefit of their members. A lot of members are able toreceive scholarships and awards based on academic excellence, leadership andpersonal achievement, this helps members build a better self-esteem.
It is common for fraternity members to stay active after graduatingfrom college . “It is a positive experience for the graduate member to keep incontact with new and old members of his chapter There is no better way to keepyoung than to associate with young people.” (Abramson 1995) The number ofalumni can range from a few dozen to several thousand. There is a clear feelingof comradeship not only within the fraternity but between all members ofGreek organizations.In a field study of the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity from FloridaInternational University, Brian Abramson found that you can find a catologue ofservices which that organization provides for the benefit of the greatercommunity through service projects it conducts every semester.
Every fraternityhas its own special public service projects. For example Tau Epsilon Phiparticipates in “Bowling for Kids Sake” every spring, a tradition that beganseveral years ago. To keep the feeling of brotherhood every member must betrustworthy and be able to trust every one else, which makes the bond ofbrotherhood even stronger.(Abramson 1995)Unfortunately a lot of people overlook fraternities because of the ever-present rumors about hazing. Hazing is an action taken or situation createdintentionally to produce mental and or physical discomfort, emberassment,harassment, or ridicule.(Fraternity Executive Commission 1937) “While someorganizations may choose to haze and humiliate the people who try to rush them,that is in no way an accurate portrayal of all Greeks.” (Nykolaizsyn:1996:48) Hegoes on to point out that “Greek life is not just about partying and drinking ,it helps build character, self-esteem, and life-friendships(Nykolaizsyn:1996:12) Category: Social Issues