English 1213
Judy Reynolds, instructor
November, 12 1996

Benefits of College Fraternities

         College fraternities are good organizations for young men to be a part of during their college careers.  Fraternities are a positive source in the lives of many men, both young and old alike. A college fraternity is the very place where thousands of young men learn to become adults. Members of a fraternity are adapted to dealing with people. Members of fraternities are taught to make commitments and to be responsible. Men of fraternities excel in academics at their universities. A fraternity may also prove to be a useful tool for success in a man's professional career.

        When a young man joins a fraternity, he will soon learn a lot about people and the nature of them. As a member of a fraternity, a person will experience reaching a compromise with other members and sometimes even a consensus on many issues a chapter of a fraternity has to decide upon. As trivial as the decisions that a fraternity must make seem to many outsiders, having the skills to communicate with people about issues and reaching a point of agreement on them are invaluable skills in the professional world. Living in a large communal environment also adapts young men to the habits of other people. A person living in a fraternity house with fifty other guys will become adept at cooperating with other people in order to live peacefully by respecting the personal space of his fraternity brothers.

        Thomas Riley Marshall, a former vice-president of the United States, once said that, "The forces that have been greatest in my life are God and the college fraternity that molded me." Fraternities encourage their members to make a commitment to something outside of themselves and to be responsible young men. Students of fraternities commit themselves to learn about each member of their chapter and to know the history of their fraternity. Fraternities are involved in many community activities. Members in fraternities participate in charity events that raise funding for the benefit of poor and homeless people in their community. Students in fraternities have also been known to devote time to tutor children in grade school who are having difficulties in learning. Also, members of fraternities devote a generous number of hours out of their time to make community improvements, such as cleaning up a public park. With the number of commitments a member of a fraternity has devolving upon him, he learns to be a more responsible person. A fraternity member must organize himself well in order to maintain credibility in scholastics, fraternity business, and community services. It is said that if you want to get something done, do not ask the man who has nothing to do, ask the man who is busy. Men of fraternities are very busy and have no choice but to become responsible people to keep their schedules running smoothly.

        While one might argue that a fraternity is too time-consuming and will cause their academics to suffer, the facts prove otherwise. A National Conference report showed that a majority of the National Interfraternity Council chapters are above the All Men's scholastic average. Even more convincing are the results of a survey taken by the United States government that revealed Men of fraternities to have a college graduation rate that is 20% higher than men who are not affiliated with a fraternity.  A member of a fraternity has advantages that most people might not. Because of the number of college students in any given fraternity with a wide range of majors, a young man of a fraternity can easily find assistance he might need any area of study by going to a member of his fraternity. This semester I have been given advice on an English paper and have been tutored in mathematics by different members of my fraternity. Another contributing factor to academic excellence in fraternities is the required study hours that are set aside for its members. If a student is lacking in motivation to study, he has a structured schedule that sets aside time for him to do so.

        Fraternities have been an intricate element of success in the lives of many men. With all of the valuable lessons men learn in their fraternity, they go into the world prepared to do well in whatever field of work in which they have achieved a degree. Men of a fraternity forever in their lives will have people willing to help them. Not only the men that were involved with a man's local chapter of fraternity, but any man affiliated with a man's fraternity in most instances will be of assistance to a man of the same Greek affiliation. Some national fraternities, such as Sigma Phi Epsilon, have set up a nation -wide telephone number that is for the sole purpose of helping former members of their fraternities find work in any field that they are suited for in any area of the United States. It can be no coincidence that many men of fraternities are achieving at the pinnacle of the business world. In fact over 85% of Fortune 500 company executives belong to a fraternity. Furthermore, of the nation's 50 largest companies, men of fraternities head 43, Skills and experiences gained from fraternities have also helped men of Greek stature dominate American politics. Every president and vice - president, except for one from each respected office, since the conception of social fraternities on college campuses have belonged to a fraternity. Also, 76% of all Congressmen and Senators are affiliated with a fraternity (Greek).

        Fraternities can be a bad source and a detriment to the lives of young men in college. Hazing, excessive partying and negative peer pressure that come from some fraternities are huge problems for some college students joining fraternities. Some fraternities are still active in the mindless and needless institution of hazing. Hazing is not acceptable and no man should have to be hazed in order to affiliate with a certain fraternity. Hazing does not promote the brotherhood that fraternities were founded upon. Another problem with fraternities is the way a lot of people get caught up in partying too much. Alcohol consumption at fraternity houses has been the source behind drunk driving accidents and alcohol poisoning which sometimes results in fatalities. Negative pressure from peers may also arise as a result of being in a fraternity. A number of college students in fraternities skip class, take illegal drugs, and do many other things they naturally would not do. The driving force behind these actions is some times fraternity brothers of these students who are doing the same things. Fraternity life can cause some people to lose focus on what they are in college to accomplish.

        Negative press and stereotypes about college fraternity's blind many people from seeing the positive actions that the Greek system makes. On every college campus where a Greek system is intact, there is a governing body - the Interfraternity Council - that oversees fraternity operations. The Interfraternity Council, at the University of Oklahoma, not only monitors fraternities, but also has an office where anyone who feels that they are being hazed or mistreated by their fraternity can report by a phone call or a personal visit. Hazing is nearly extinct in college fraternities due to harsh punishments that a fraternity must face if they are reported to the IFC. Fraternities are often labeled as a place where a bunch of wild guys binge drink habitually. Alcohol consumed by non-Greeks and its ramifications are a larger problem than the alcohol-related incidents that occur in fraternities. When someone in a fraternity has a tragic experience due to alcohol, it is much more publicized than similar incidents involving college students who are not in a fraternity. The media can easily attack fraternities because they are a nation-wide institution. Any fatality due to alcohol that occurs in a fraternity reflects upon every fraternity in the nation. Furthermore, to address the problem with alcohol in their chapters, some fraternities have made a national decision to be alcohol-free. Finally, negative peer pressure from fraternity brothers is far outweighed by the positive peer pressure from fraternity brothers. Every fraternity has a minimum grade point average that a pledge must carry in order to be initiated. I am currently a student and a fraternity pledge at the University of Oklahoma. In this fall semester I have to maintain a 2.5 grade point average in order to be initiated into my fraternity. At least once a week, a pledge brother of mine will inquire about how my classes and grades are doing A pledge brother that lives in the same hall of the dormitories as me has waked me up so I would make it to class numerous times this semester.

        A fraternity is an excellent institution for young men in college to join. A fraternity exists on the premise that a man is by nature a social being and needs the companionship of his fellow man. A fraternity provides a structured environment in which college students are more able to learn responsibility, achieve high academic standards, and to become productive men in society. A fraternity is a very beneficial and rewarding source in the lives of many men. If a young man has the chance to enroll in a college where a Greek system exists, he should definitely join a fraternity.

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