By Chris Mann
To the outside world I am seen as “Bluto” from Animal House and “Frank the Tank” from Old School: alcoholic party animals that skip class, degrade women and do drugs. I am grouped in with the thousands of “frat guys” that make national headlines every year for hazing new members. And when a fraternity house across the country is getting investigated for sexually assaulting a woman, I receive dirty looks. Popular culture has fueled the fire that is the Greek life stereotype, but it’s time to extinguish the flames.
For decades this stereotype has been building and it was something that I never wanted to be a part of. As a high school student, I watched all of the TV shows and comedy movies about “frats” and would have never thought that I would one day be wearing letters.
Throughout my freshman year at Quinnipiac, I had brothers from all three fraternities on campus contact me about joining their organization. Although I realized at the time that Greek life at QU was much different than it was in any movie or TV show I ever watched, I still didn’t see the point or purpose to being in a fraternity. Then sophomore year came around and I was talked into going to a recruitment event for Delta Tau Delta. Little did I know, that day would change my entire life.
Not only has my experience in Delt 100 percent changed my opinion on Greek life, but it has taught me the true meaning and purpose of fraternity. The core values of truth, courage, faith and power have become the moral backbone of my life and have factored into every decision that I have made since taking my oath on Oct. 29, 2011. For the past two years I have been working to combat the stereotype but the actions of Greeks around the country make this an uphill battle.
Unfortunately, movies and TV shows often overlook the values that are the base of each lettered organization. A news story on a fraternity raising thousands of dollars to fund cancer research, or sorority women spending their day cleaning up the local playground are not entertaining enough for the evening news or a feature film and therefore are not seen by the general public.
Stereotypes all stem from somewhere and I’m fully cognizant of the problems and flaws in the Greek life system. However, when a few Greeks stand out for negative actions, there are a thousand achieving greatness each day.
My dream is for there to one day come a time when a fraternity man or a sorority woman is not judged for wearing their letters in public. I hope one day that each member of Greek life cannot only be proud of their chapter or affiliation, but be proud of being Greek because of the values that we all stand for.
I know this is an awfully lofty goal, but I will fight until the day I die to end the Greek stereotype so that being a member of Greek life is the honor and privilege that our founding fathers intended for it to be.