When I hear someone walk past the frat quad and say, “Those frat boys are all drunks and druggies!” I really take offense, because these people have no idea what it means to be part of a Greek organization. The stereotype that all fraternity members are constantly drinking and using drugs is a terrible and inaccurate perversion of the true image of a fraternity member. Fraternities are some of this nation’s earliest traditions, and fraternities have been at UR since its very beginning, with the first fraternity founded at UR in 1850.
If you believe that fraternity members are just lying around all day drinking and trying to get laid, then you have clearly seen National Lampoon’s “Animal House” a few too many times. Fraternity members are among some of the hardest working people within the student body. They can be found in every discipline of thought that the University has to offer, from engineering to music, and are prominent leaders within several of the diverse groups and clubs that the Student Association funds. I doubt that most students even realize that the president of the student body is a member of one of the university’s 27 Greek organizations. Greeks are prominent members of the Student Association Senate, sing within the University’s talented a cappella groups, play on both varsity and club sports teams and can even be found within the staff of the Campus Times.
When people who are anti-Greek talk about Greek life on campus, they usually cite the numerous parties that occur on the Frat Quad on their list of complaints. They describe them as decadent displays of drunken debauchery that mar the campus on a weekly basis. Let me tell you something about those parties – most fraternities don’t love to throw giant blowout parties every week, for several reasons: large parties are expensive to the fraternities and are giant risks for fraternity members. When people go over to the Frat Quad, walk into a house that they are not affiliated with and grab a beer, I doubt they realize that every expense for that party, including the beer in their hands, came directly out of the brothers’ own pockets. These parties are also an excuse for security to come over to the house and cite the fraternity and/or its member for any number of violations. Letting strangers over to a fraternity’s house has the potential to end in disaster. Then why do the fraternities throw parties? They throw them to help create a more social atmosphere for the campus and to give the student body something to do on Saturday night. Several of the parties are used to raise money for local or national charities or to help student groups promote themselves and their activities on campus.
Currently, about 20 percent of the student body belong to the Greek system. Unfortunately, though, you almost only hear of their Greek affiliations when something has gone wrong and usually not for the numerous successes that they have. Greeks are a driving force behind this campus. So think twice next time you decide to make comments about members of Greek organizations because one day, you might just end up working for a fraternity boy.
Falconieri is a member of the class of 2009.