Against The Dire Headlines, A Few Words In Defense Of Fraternities
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
One male stereotype tackled, the grizzly cowboy, another to go, the Greek man on campus. About 85,000 young men join fraternities every year. That's amid high profile stories about hazing, sexual assault, alcohol related accidents and deaths involving Greek houses. Well, given all that we wanted to ask a few male college students why they joined fraternities and what they've gotten out of the experience. Here's what they had to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: It's never a dull moment to be in a fraternity.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, "SHOUT")
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 2: We made a slip and slide in the basement. It is college right?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 3: A good time is a big part of my fraternity life.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 4: We'll just hang out at night, shoot the bull.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 5: (Laughing) Oh man. So we had a huge party till about three or four A.M., University officials tried to shut it down just because they were getting noise complaints.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 6: It's you and a lot of other guys going there for the same reasons, to have fun, to support one another and to make memories.
DYLAN OSBORNE: My name is Dylan Osborne (Ph). I'm 21-years-old, I'm studying justice studies at ASU. I'm in FIJI, Phi Gamma Delta. I honestly - hate's a strong word, but I hate how the media portrays Greek life in general. Not even just Fraternizes but Sororities as well. Sex, drugs and alcohol.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: Being rowdy, rambunctious, breaking stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 3: All about having a good time.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 2: How many of those movies do they show them studying and not partying? I mean, zero of them.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 4: Nobody comes around and says, oh wow, those fraternities raised all this money, these fraternities have great brotherhood, these fraternities, you know, they're going out into the world and they're changing things.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 5: They make us study 10 hours a week and there's actually a brother at the library, like logging every single pledge and they have to sign, they have to prove they were there.
JULIAN UNJINQUARI: Almost every weekend we have community outreach programs. My name is Julian Unjinquari (Ph) for Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. I am a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity Incorporated. There's a street called Naker (Ph) Avenue, we have adopted that road and we periodically just get the community evolved and we go out and just clean up that avenue.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 6: People are always like, oh I bet you guys do, like all kinds of weird stuff, you know. No no, it's just like - it's brotherhood, you know what I mean?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 6: I wanted to join a fraternity because, you know, I wanted a group of brothers that I could look up to and, you know, they could guide me along the way.
STEVE STABANIA: I Honestly don't know if I'd still be here, new town, 600 miles with home, new place, new people. This was the group that I connected with. My name is Steve Stabania (PH), I'm a graduating mechanical engineering student here at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. You know, every once and a while you just need someone to talk to. I was struggling with classes, and this and the and I got sat down by somebody and they just - what's going on and they confronted me about it. So the older guys at the time were able to support me and help me get through.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 4: They'll give you a nudge on the shoulder, they'll say to you, press on. You know, and like those three words, like dude press on, you're just like, OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 5: Those guys are going to be at my wedding, be my best man. I just think that the bond I have is just really strong.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 6: You know, being in a fraternity can definitely help, you know, becoming a man. You know, I came here, you know, as an 18-year-old, was a little immature, irresponsible. You learn how to run meetings and you learn how, you know, to just be heard. I think that it's definitely changed me, but for the better.
BLOCK: We heard there from Connor Smallwood, a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity at Vanderbilt University. We also heard from Taylor Olmeter of that same fraternity. Max Mengenhauser and Tyler Artz of Triangle fraternity at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. And David Shadix of Phi Delta Theta at Mercer University.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
Our series on men continues Friday with a story about boy bands. And why we don't call them man bands. You can follow our series all summer on Facebook and Twitter #menpr or just go to our website at NPR.org.