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Monday, Aug. 8, 2011

Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate.  Responses must be received by midnight August 14, 2011.

When Bobby first arrived on campus, he didn't know a single person. Making an effort to meet people, Bobby went to a fraternity party where the members tried to convince him to come out for rush the following week. They seemed pretty cool, and Bobby was excited to have met some new guys who seemed to like him already. Bobby has heard all the typical fraternity stereotypes: heavy partiers, skirt chasers, users, etc. He has also heard that fraternities can act as very exclusive clubs, and that brothers only interact with other members. However, Bobby also knows that stereotypes are often wrong.

While Bobby has never been a huge partier, and he really doesn't want to be pigeonholed as a "frat boy," he really does want to find a good setting to get to know his classmates. Should he go out for rush and see what it's like or wait for another opportunity to meet people?

Here are some resources you might find useful:

Going Greek: The Pros and Cons

Hazing Study

A Framework for Ethical Decision Making


Photo by Wolfram Burner available under Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivs License.

Comments Comments

HB said on Aug 9, 2011
This hardly seems like a question worth thinking twice about! There's absolutely no doubt that he should rush. Yes, there are stereotypes associated with fraternities that have negative connotations, but there are also pretty positive ones associated with them. But, the real reason that he should go for it is that he is in college and should put himself out there. If it turns out that he cannot handle the balance required to be apart of both a fraternity and handle school, or if some of the negative stereotypes end up being true, then he can always leave. Granted, he should not go into this thinking that he could just back out (if you're going to dedicate yourself to something, dedicate yourself all the way), but college is about figuring out WHAT you want to dedicate yourself to in every respect. The Jesuit education (and education in general) should not be limited to books. What sort of social life do you want to have? What sort of role in your social environments do you want to have? What things are acceptable to you? If you don't try it, you'll never know. Simply rushing a Fraternity also does not make him apart of a fraternity. He can decide through rush whether or not it is for him. Students will be honest with him, and let him know exactly how much partying there is (or through rush events he may learn). Better to say that he tried it and decided that it wasn't for him, than to always wonder what life would be like if he had given it a shot. - Like - 1 person likes this.
Cameron said on Aug 10, 2011
Bobby should definitely go out for rush if he has even the slightest feeling that he might enjoy it or benefit from it. Many freshmen misunderstand the concept of rushing. Basically all that happens is that brothers meet as many potential pledges as possible in order to decide whom they will invite to join. Rush is typically relatively informal and fun. At most schools, all the fraternities sponsor parties, events, and information sessions to attract and educate potential members. Even if Bobby decides on the spot that he has no interest in pledging a fraternity, rush is still a great way to get to know other students. At many schools there are hundreds of kids rushing various fraternities, and this in itself is a great way to meet new people. While some fraternities may incorporate some form of hazing into their pledge process, this only begins after bids are handed out at the end of rush. There is no risk, no obligation, and no pressure whatsoever during the rush period. This is all coming from someone who always thought he could not stand fraternities. They can be exclusive, pretentious, and, at their worst, sometimes dangerous. I had never even considered going out for rush until I had an opportunity to be a founding member of a new chapter of a national fraternity. Through this experience I've learned that fraternities are all different. They can absolutely embody all the bad stereotypes that have been attributed to them, or, if you find the right one, it can be the best thing in your life. I can't imagine college without my fraternity brothers. If I have learned anything from them, it's never to make a decision based on hearsay and stereotypes. You have to go and find out for yourself. - Like
HarB said on Aug 12, 2011
I think he should make a brief visit and see how it goes. Even though I am against the idea of fraternities and "brotherhood" in general, I'm looking at it as a social gathering point of view. I've made a lot of good friends in class but I also have met some amazing people by just socializing and going to house parties of people who I doubted- just how he is right now. As a freshman, you are used to the whole popularity concept from high school so it's natural that you want company. But then again, you are susceptible to peer pressure at this young age as well so you don't want to get too comfortable with these people and end up doing something that you will regret. If he is iffy about going yet still wants to go, then he should just go. He will never know what that life is like unless he goes. If he doesn't go, it will always be on his mind that he missed out a great opportunity- even if he didn't. There is nothing wrong with mingling and seeing your options. It's just like searching for a partner. You go out and experience what you like and don't like so making friends shouldn't be any different. Life is short. He should go out there and see what HE wants. A person usually has full control over themselves to chose what they want and don't want and in between even if they slip a little, mistakes are to be learned from :) - Like - 1 person likes this.
David DeCosse said on Aug 15, 2011
Social life in college starts as if everyone is drinking the same strange, home-made brew. No one's sure what to make of the taste but everyone feels cool downing the drink. I suppose a micro-brew metaphor might have special relevance for discussing fraternities and sororities in college. But the metaphor holds generally: Everyone starts college dizzied by the social life. Then everyone starts searching for friends with whom one can both grow as person and enjoy being part of the group. Those two poles - how we are affected as individuals and how we enjoy the group -- are crucial to consider when we ponder the Greek system. Many philosophers argue that we only become the individuals we are by our interaction with others. That puts a premium on the company we keep. There could be a reason that a particular fraternity or sorority is inherently bad. But many Greek chapters are perfectly good places. In any case, the important question a student should ask is: Does joining a sorority or fraternity make me a better person? Better not just because I've got a bunch of buddies down at Alpha whatever. But better because I am at home with myself -- really at home with myself -- when I am with them. If that's the case, then you've moved past the strange home-made brew of college's first awkward days. You may even -- I hope -- have moved past real-life, kegger-addled beer pong. In fact, you're on the way toward the refined stuff of life. - Like
Miriam Schulman said on Aug 19, 2011
Congrats to HB, the winner of our comment contest on rushing a fraternity, who advocates trying it out. The comment wins a $50 Amazon gift certificate. - Like
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Tags: Cameron Tow, college, college students, decisions, drinking, fraternity, greek life, sorority