For the past several years, the American media have been fussing over student communities: homophobic, misogynistic and racist antics, cases of hooliganism, alcohol poisoning, beatings, illegal drug trafficking, rape are far from complete list of what members of “Greek houses” do, according to a journalist of the Complex Ian Cervantes. Bloomberg News reporters David Glowin and John Hechinger note that since 2005, more than sixty people have died in brotherhood incidents, most of them were freshmen.
Such incidents have become a regular practice, and parents of the affected children prefer to sue not the university, but the community itself. In the early 90s, the association of three student fraternities established the Fraternity Risk Management Trust, an insurance fund designed to cover the costs of incoming lawsuits. Today, the Fund employs 33 fraternities.
But is it really dangerous to be a member of such student communities? Or the risks depend on person’s attitude and behavior? This article will show you what “brothers and sisters” do except drinking and hanging out.
Charity is an obligatory part of the program of the “Greek letters organizations” activities and is supported by all their active members who either organize events for replenishment of common funds, or community members are voluntarily summoned to carry out any social program adopted at the community meeting. All this activity is beneficial both for academic circles and for society as a whole. Between different “brotherhoods” or “sisterhoods” long-term partnership relations are possible. There is also one national charity that collects funds for the treatment of diseases, injuries and other forms of social and medical care.
The Kappa student community is mostly female and more secular. Students of this fraternity create thematic parties, are responsible for university leisure, often enter student councils and other self-governing bodies. Kappa members are engaged in charity and carry out large-scale actions to protect wildlife or orphans. The official color of the uniform is pink. For the students of this community, the future career also develops successfully, especially in the political and public area.
Some communities own third-party organizations, which perform philanthropic activities, for example, famous Pi Kappa Phi owns the company Rush America, which in turn directly works with people with physical disabilities and limited legal capacity. Phi Sigma Alpha belongs to the Sigma Foundation, Alpha Delta Phi supports the Ronald McDonald charity house as a voluntary act of national charity, Gamma Phi Beta contains Camp Fire USA, and Zeta Tau Alpha – the company Susan G. Komen Foundation.
The environmental education is quite popular and important nowadays. That is way, students at the University of California, Santa Barbara decided to create EENG to make such programs free in common public schools. The full details proclaim that since 2009, it increased from a small similar-interest community into a huge organization including 220 volunteers serving over 3,000 poor children.
Project Plus One was founded by graduates at Brandeis and Northeastern in the Boston area, focuses its activity on the Bairo Pite Clinic in Dili, the capital of East Timor. It goes without saying that if the nation is interested in the social initiations, something is happening with it. It is one of the globe’s youngest and most troubled nations. Patients here are badly affected by diseases that many Westerners rarely even recognize, like malaria, HIV, hepatitis, pneumonia, leprosy, and tuberculosis.
This nonprofit was co-founded by Christina Ruth, a student at Appalachian State University, who advocate for those affected by MRKH. Such horrible abbreviation stands for Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome, a hereditary condition “that results from the incomplete development of the female reproductive tract.” Girls with MRKH have no differences with their peers; except one, they suffer from emotional struggles as well as severe difficulties in having children.
Competition and cooperation
Formerly student fraternal societies seriously competed between each other in pursuit of academic achievements and for the sake of other various bonuses and benefits. In one hand, the process of competition looked like a division of student groups into opposing camps within one educational institution, which, generally speaking, has survived to this day. In the other hand, a rivalry is limited only by noble goals in the student life such as an increase in the charity funds of organizations, the scope of socially useful projects, as well as sports competitions between student groups.
Currently, more and more emphasis is being placed not on competition, but on cooperation between student associations. One of the main events in the formation of a partnership between groups was the creation of the Interfraternity National Conference almost a hundred years ago. The main tasks of which were to reduce the number of intergroup student conflicts, destructive rivalry and the inspiration of organizations for a human attitude to members of other “brotherhoods” and “sisterhoods”, as well as to search and work in areas of common interests and for a regular improvement. The National Panellist Council in our time has similar aims for uniting the members of all “sisterhoods”.
The following facts speak in favor of the of Northern America fraternities:
- 48% of all presidents of America and 42% of all senators were members of fraternities
- 85% of the largest US companies are managed by members of the fraternities
- 75% of congressmen were in brotherhoods
- the first female senator was a member of the sorority
Moreover, the researchers at the Gallup Institute believe that they have derived a good life formula after college, and members of fraternities and women’s clubs are more predisposed to it than other students.
In general, almost 300 years of its existence, the fraternities have become controversial socio-cultural phenomena, being part of American society and one of the most important and visible aspects of student life.