Apr 23, 2017



OPINION

Going Greek

Actual Greek life is much more dynamic than the easily accepted stereotypes

It is a breezy July afternoon. The active house huddles around a two-tiered coffee table, feet propped up in an alternating pattern. In the middle of a presentation about lessons learned from our last regional event, brother Frankie Zhai takes a break from his coffee. "So after much deliberation," he directs to our alumni, "the active house has decided to rename Kapitol Explosion for next year."

As soon as he begins, brother Brian Truong slowly starts shaking his head. Undaunted, Frankie continues. "Kapitol ExBROsion," he finishes, hands shifting rapidly back and forth. He repeats it a few more times, taking care to adjust his cap to be more off-centered with each repetition.

Like Frankie, every brother in the Greek system is aware of the stereotypes that accompany fraternity life. The stereotype of a fraternity brother includes a number of defining traits. He uses the word "bro" as a primary English phoneme, with my personal favorite being "Brosideon, Lord of the Brocean." Also, he possesses academic abilities comparable to those of a trained monkey. He is constantly in some degree of inebriation. Finally, he is generally angry and combative because of said inebriation. There are plenty more, but I believe these four are encountered the most.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are often believed to be partially based on truth. Everyone has encountered individuals who exemplify the bro stereotype. These are the shiny poster children for detractors of Greek life, and their actions drag down the image of Greeks as a whole. After all, it is human nature to make broad generalizations.

Yet whenever a brother decides to get drunk and brawl on a Saturday night, five brothers are there to hold him down and drag him home. These five are rarely appreciated. They are simply darkly dressed extras on a stage, static noise to an audience with its attention focused on a minority Greeks neither promote nor represent.

Likewise, little attention is given to the community contributions of Greek organizations. Instead, it is the drama and amped nights that capture the most interest, giving only a distorted image of reality.

The most misunderstood process of Greek life is pledging. Fraternities pledge primarily for the purpose of continuation. Every semester, we search for individuals who can carry on our ideals and goals. Without that goal firmly in mind, many Greek organizations would not have survived past their charter classes.

Chapters will die out if they cannot find solid successor classes during the pledging process that properly represent the ideals of the fraternity. We rush not as an excuse to party, but to find quality pledges. Yes, the fringe benefits of Greek life are nice. Relying on them to draw in potential pledges, however, never ensures chapter survival.

Pledges must come to embody and preserve the concepts the organization represents, so the integrity of the house will remain untouched past the pledges' college years. Unsurprisingly, many of these concepts remain universal among Greeks - responsibility, to do what is expected of you; loyalty, to trust and be trusted; charity, to give what is deserved; and brotherhood, to embrace others' burdens as your own. It is too easy to dismiss these ideals as words fraternities use as a front to the community. For those who have been through the pledging process and active life, however, they are a tangible part of everything we do.

I arrived at the University one year ago as a dewy-eyed first year. When it came to Greek life, my head was full of the standard stereotypes. These stereotypes merged into a singular point of iron conviction: I would never join a fraternity. They had nothing to offer me, and I had nothing to offer them.

One semester later, I found myself pledging, giving up time and energy to complete strangers. By the end of those ten weeks, those strangers had become the most dependable, honest and determined people I know. My only regret from my first year comes from not keeping an open mind to Greek life. I judged without knowing, but the Greek system never reciprocated the action. I wish that regret was mine and mine only. But as long as Greeks exist, there will be stereotypes. All we can do is try our best to change them.

Mo Lu is the webmaster for Lambda Phi Epsilon.


Published August 24, 2011 in Opinion









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Commentary

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T.J.
(12/31/69 7:00pm)
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Finally a positive article about the greek system. Thank you.


Jason
(12/31/69 7:00pm)
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Isn't Kapitol Explosion a huge party where members of your organization gather? Is there underage drinking at that party? - or perhaps that's just a stereotype.

I wonder what a browse through facebook photos would reveal...

I don't want to sound like I am against the Greek system. I am not. I believe there is merit in what the collegiate fraternity and sorority can do for a young man or a young woman.

What I am saying; however, is that it is ironic for you to start your article about breaking stereotypes with an event where, I am sure, you and your organization fit the stereotype. In fact, I would bet that your national mission statement and/or goals has no mention of throwing a party, like "Kapitol Explosion," as part of Lambda Phi Epsilon's reasons for existence.

And you are right that there are heroes in the Greek community that are often ignored. But consider this, that member that got into a fight, was a "quality pledge" that you chose. And if I were to search "Lambda Phi Epsilon" in the news section over the last 10 years - what do you think I would find?

I believe there is something institutionally wrong for an organization of relatively small size (less than 50 chapters) with a relatively young history (~30 years) to have so many "stereotypical" incidents occur within a decade.

Rather than writing a blatantly hypocritical article trying to denounce the "Frat stereotype" and spending a meeting, with your alumni I might add, planning a party - why don't you actually try to fulfill your mission and perhaps do something positive for the community? Stop wasting your time on these parties - and serve.

I think actions speak louder than words... but this is just my observation.


Peazy
(12/31/69 7:00pm)
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^ Asian American Donor Program, Cammy Lee Foundation, Relay for Life, just to name a few for you..


Jason
(12/31/69 7:00pm)
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The good does not out weigh the bad. Wolf in Sheep's clothing.


DD
(12/31/69 7:00pm)
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For the record KE was hosted at Ultrabar in DC, so all ID's were meticulously checked by club security. Honestly speaking there were probably people who were underage and consumed alcohol, however underage drinking is systemic throughout the collegiate system and is not isolated to the Greek community.

Also many organizations across grounds host parties and other social events. Yet you will not find anything in their mission statement regarding those events either. Your points are valid but again they are not isolated to just Greeks.

I do not refute that the Greek system has its flaws. Yet Fraternities and Sororities are some of the oldest organizations on grounds. The point of this entire article is to provide a more wholesome picture of the Greek system because the media tends to focus only on the negative aspects.


e-like.ro
(12/31/69 7:00pm)
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Hello, Neat post. There's a problem together with your website in internet explorer, would test this? IE nonetheless is the market chief and a huge section of other people will omit your fantastic writing due to this problem.



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