Judging from the perspective of some people, “frats” are mere drunks and all they do is disturb the peace of the community. To a vast number of people, fraternity is an organization that undermines order in the society and encourages unseriousness in students. Some rather conservative parents never want to hear of their children belonging to any fraternity or sorority as they believe it is a waste of time and that it will distract their children. The question to ask here is if these assertions or claims are right? What is the meaning and aim of fraternities or sororities? Do they really achieve these aims?
Fraternities or sororities are social and charitable organizations that are established by a group of people with the intention of creating a bound between its members while engaging in various philanthropic activities that will make the society a better place to be. Generally, both terms have a Greek origin which means brother and sister respectively. In America, fraternities and sororities plays a significant role on the campus environment. For one, it gives members the opportunity to have the same education that other students are having at the same time also having a memorable experience and making close ties.
Historically, the origin of college fraternity can be traced as far back as 1776, then same year America gained its independence. Today, fraternities and sororities play a significant role in the undergraduate’s life as they are part of a generational system in the university culture known as the Greek culture. Generally speaking, the names of these fraternities and sororities suggest their origin. This is because their names are often drawn from two or three different short Greek words. Going down memory lane, several American presidents have at one time or the other been members of one form of fraternity or the other.
It is a recorded fact that 17 presidents of America belonged to one fraternity or the other while having their university education. This includes the incumbent president of the United States, George W. Bush. Apart from this, 54% of the affiliated senators, 167 affiliated house members, 48% of governors were fraternity members while in college. This does not include magistrates and judges, CEOs of multinational companies and other prolific people in the society who have at one time or the other belonged to a fraternity while in college.
This has helped in building a solid foundation for these various fraternities. In American homes, it is not absurd to notice a family trend where members of a family take membership of a particular fraternity as a family legacy which they hand over to their children from generation to generation. An example of this is the Bush family in America and their affiliation to Delta Kappa Epsilon. Greek communities are built on some key values. If followed, these values are meant to instill comradeship, loyalty, honor, truth and knowledge into members of this community.
Greek life offers university students belonging and enables them to build a bond that lasts foe a lifetime. As a fraternity or sorority member, you have the opportunity to build ties with other students from different background and class. A direct result of this is that these fraternities and sororities provide important connections for their members from their wide network of alumni who are scattered all over. Furthermore, it is an established fact that fraternities and sororities serve as a medium for instilling leadership abilities in members.
Apart from this, members are privileged to develop their communication skills and are more exposed. Due to the various programs organized by these fraternities/ sororities, members get to involve in community and philanthropic services in the society. As part of the benefits of belonging to a fraternity or sorority, there are scholarship programs that are available for members. Fraternities and sororities have been credited for producing a crop of graduates, prepared and fit to face life’s cruel challenges. Interestingly, fraternities and sororities have shares some similarities with the military.
This can be seen in some core values that both establishments seek to uphold. To begin with, both establishments are based on the principle of comradeship. Here, each person is a unit of a whole and thus should view himself/herself as such. Attention is given to universal goals rather than individualistic or personal goals. In addition to this, both establishments believe in honor and truth. One of the distinct characteristic of the fraternities and sororities, which they share with the military, is that their actions are geared towards honor and protecting the dignity of the organization.
Each member has the responsibility of maintaining the legacy that has been created aforetime and conduct himself/herself in a manner that the image of the fraternity/ sorority would not be dent. Furthermore, another feature that fraternities/sororities share with the military is discipline and respect for each other. Fraternities and sororities aims at instilling discipline in their members while fostering respect for each other. Terms like “sir”, “mister” and other respectable terminologies are used when referring to each other.
Apart from this, the leader commands a lot of respect from the other members, who look up to him and defend him whenever need be. Also, a military culture that can be seen in fraternities and sororities is drilling. Members of these various fraternities/sororities engage in various tasking exercises that keep them fit for competitions. Apart from this, they take oath of allegiance, which is also a part of the military culture. After a taking this oath, members are bound by their words and are responsible for keeping their word to the very end. Summarily, education is important but learning becomes interesting and easy when you are a member of a fraternity/sorority.
• Indiana State University Website: “Frequently Asked Questions” retrieved April 17, 2008 from http://www. indiana. edu/~cscf/faqs. htm • About. com: “10 things you oughta know about fraternities/sororities” retrieved April 17, 2008 from http://teenadvice. about. com/library/weekly/bl10thingsfratsoro. htm • Eastern Washington University website: “Fraternities and Sororities” Student Activities retrieved April 17, 2008
from http://www.ewu. edu/x4476. xml • Carnegie Mellon University website: “About Greek Life” Students Affairs retrieved April 17, 2008 from http://www. studentaffairs. cmu. edu/student-life/greek/about. html • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute website. ” Fraternities and Sororities” About us, programs, organizations… retrieved April 17, 2008 from http://doso. rpi. edu/update. do? catcenterkey=44 • Case Western Reserve University website: “Fraternities and Sororities” Greek Life retrieved April 17, 2008 from http://studentaffairs. case. edu/greek/chapters/