Fraternities do more good for a college community than most other student organizations combined. Fraternities are dedicated to improving their communities through service. Fraternities excel in academics and provide the best leadership training on campus. So why are they vilified by outsiders?
The answer is two-fold.
First, fraternity men draw attention to themselves when they are making poor decisions. Fraternity men are no different when it comes to partying then their peers in their age group. However, the reputation of all fraternity men takes a hit when one of us does something stupid in public because of our affiliation.
Second, fraternity men don’t draw attention to themselves when they do something good. The typical fraternity has hundreds, if not thousands, of service hours per year. But no one outside our community realizes it. The all-fraternity GPA consistently is higher than the all-men’s GPA on nearly every college campus. Again, no one knows that but us. Our members go on to be the most successful people in all walks of life. Does the typical student or parent know that?
So what is the obvious solution? If you are taking a queue from Wedding Crashers, and are intent on making some bad decisions, do so in a place where you won’t embarrass yourself or the fraternity. And if you plan on doing something noteworthy, make sure that you get positive publicity from it.
It will be difficult to change the perception of fraternities that has been created by the media through Animal House and perpetuated by our less responsible brothers. However, we owe it to future generations of fraternity men to do our best to change our image so they can have the same life-changing experiences that we have had.