For many students, the thought of fraternities evoke a stereotype – drunken college boys acting foolish, doing risky tricks and pulling pranks on the sorority house next door.
This stereotype has been perpetuated in the media as well, with movies like “Revenge of the Nerds,” “Animal House” and “Old School,” not to mention television shows such as “Greek” or “Glory Daze”.
Overall, the term “fraternity,” and especially “frat,” has been assigned the wrong connotation because some people who happen to be in a fraternity or sorority don’t know how to behave when alcohol is involved. What is lost in the media theme of “misery sells” is what fraternities and sororities accomplish for society, other than allegedly throwing parties every other weekend.
What we do not see are the events hosted by these organizations that raise both funds and awareness for social issues or service projects. USF’s Sigma Delta Tau Sorority chapter raised over $30,000 last fall for “Prevent Child Abuse America,” an organization that teaches preventative strategies to fight against child abuse and neglect.
USF’s Sigma Nu chapter will hold a football tournament called “Friday Night Lights” on March 25 that will benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Chi Phi, the first fraternity in the nation, works with the “Boys and Girls Clubs of America.”
There are hundreds of these organizations across the U.S. and many, if not all, adopt philanthropies to work with – most of the time making it a requirement to throw a certain number of philanthropic events for a chapter to be recognized.
Any student can easily find a plethora of information on organization websites listing the philanthropic work they support, should students care to look into it. They could also just ask one of the members of the organization about what social enterprises they support.
There are even fraternities and sororities that are formed only for community service. Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity has done more than 4,000 service projects since their creation in 1925, and keep service to the community as a major pillar to their organization.
Even so, all this hard work is often overshadowed by the antics of a few troubled individuals. None of these stereotypes would exist if someone hadn’t slid down a staircase on a mattress or thrown a party where everyone showed up wrapped up in their bed sheets.
So yes, there are parties and drinking, and some acts where the common sense of an individual is brought into question, but students should remember that there is a whole other side to fraternities and sororities as well.
Erick Graubard is a junior majoring in technical writing.