The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Straight: Negative Greek stereotypes prove false

By Chase Straight

Frat guys are a bunch of drunken tools, hell-bent on hazing the crap out of pledges and coercing women out of their clothes. I also hear that Mormons have horns.

It’s such a shame that some people still have these ill-conceived notions of fraternity men and their characters. I’ve received a few skeptical looks from women when I tell them of my greek affiliation. Some of my friends from high school have even teased me about being in a fraternity.

The funny thing about the fraternity stereotype is that all of the evidence is to the contrary.

When I first arrived at the U, I was incredibly wary of the whole greek system and vowed I would never join a fraternity. It’s funny how things change.

I pledged in the second semester of my sophomore year and never looked back. The values and standards a frat expects its members to uphold permeate every aspect of their lives. I might have dropped out of school and wasted my potential if I hadn’t taken the plunge into this new life. My brothers have always pushed me to be a person of high character and have always been there when I’ve fallen short.

Other members of the greek community at the U deserve the same kudos. The guys I’ve met from the other frats are some of the most stand-up men I know.

You don’t have to take my word for it — the proof is in the pudding. Fraternities nationwide contribute millions of dollars a year to hundreds of different charitable organizations. They also conduct countless service projects every semester.

Look at the leaders of American society that fraternities have produced. Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is a Sigma Chi. So were four of the last five student body presidents at the U. Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, is a Beta Theta Pi. Stephen Covey, CEO and author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, is a Pi Kappa Alpha.

The list goes on and on and on. Even in the world of academia, scores of university presidents are greek alumni. Are these the drunken tools people are thinking about? I think not.

Locally, the greek system at the U provides a place for men of high character to develop their potential in an environment that some feel would not otherwise be possible.

The average age of Greek Row at the U is much younger than the age demographic of the entire university. Even more notable is the difference in the married population of Greek Row versus the rest of campus. The system gives students a chance to get a “true” college experience-one that the commuter-campus nature of our school might otherwise take away.

With a little research and some personal experience with the greek community, it’s easy to see that the frat stereotype is based on a few bad apples. The effect that greek life has on its members and the community is an overwhelmingly positive one.

Formal rush for Spring Semester starts Monday. I encourage anyone who is curious about it, and especially those skeptical of it, to stop by the houses during the open house time. It’s a good chance to meet the U greeks face to face and see what they are all about. I guarantee it’s not what you think.

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