A lot of fraternity houses are going alcohol free. There are a few compelling reasons why this decision has been made. This is a controversial subject to many fraternity brothers, because there are some negative results form this policy. Below are my thoughts on both sides.
A huge positive for having an alcohol free fraternity house is they are going to be cleaner. This is very appealing to brothers who actually live in the house. These brothers will not have to start most mornings by cleaning up beer cans from the night before, and the lingering smell of stale beer will not permeate the house. This is also more appealing to the parents of brothers, who are often footing the bill.
Another positive is it will remove alcohol as the center of the fraternity. Fraternity membership is declining, in large part because of our past that focused on drinking in excess. By taking that out of the house, you will make the brotherhood the focus of the fraternity, instead of drinking. Alcoholics can be helped and this will make your chapter stronger.
Probably the most significant reason, even though most brothers don’t realize it, is the impact on the fraternity’s risk management program. Alcohol free housing will help mitigate underage drinking in the fraternity. Insurance companies realize this, and will offer lower policies to houses that go dry.
On the flip side, there are some negatives to having an alcohol free fraternity house. The most obvious is the contradiction in what fraternities are all about. Aren’t we about developing leaders who are responsible for their actions? By dictating what brothers can and can’t do, we are taking away valuable opportunities for them to choose to do the right thing.
Another negative is it will hurt a fraternity socially. Right or wrong, alcohol is a part of college life. If used responsibly, there is nothing wrong with it. Brothers will end up going to places other than the fraternity house for social interaction because of this policy. Is this the type of behavior we want to we want to drive in our fraternities?
The last negative is could will hurt dry houses in recruitment. Some fraternities will lose out on young guys who don’t realize the benefits of having an alcohol free house. Again, right or wrong, this will be seen as a negative by an outsider and could hold the fraternity back during recruitment.
So which side do I think is better? I don’t think there is a real concrete answer. Alcohol free fraternity houses will work for some fraternities, but won’t work for others. I see nothing wrong with either, but if I had to choose I would prefer not to have a dry house.
If you have an opinion on the topic, leave a comment below.