I hope you enjoyed the Black History Month segment and became very educated on some of the issues surrounding the African American culture. I would like to jump back into my Greek Life segment to discuss what Greek Life is like for a rush student. I got the opportunity to interview Austin Siegel who is coincidently a new member of Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT). You will recall from my previous article on hazing that Iv Menache, a sophomore, is also a member of the fraternity.
Siegel is from Livingston, New Jersey. It is clear why he wanted a community on campus being that far away from home. He explicates his reasoning for joining a fraternity being that many of his high school friends recommended it. He stressed that he knew he was in the right place from the close-knit relationship of the members in ZBT. He states that “ I thought it was the closest brotherhood from when I rushed.”
Siegel further describes the community to being very connected with one another such as sharing meals and getting along quite well. In addition to uplifting their own community, ZBT also uplifts the community around them. Siegel discusses the value of charity within their fraternity and how it is important to their bonding as a brotherhood: “Often, we do charity events raising money for underprivileged kids. We also hold events for kids in our backyard to have fun and eat.”
Aside from the sense of togetherness, all siblings fight. I was certain that within such an attached group, there must be some clashing of head-to-head. Siegel expresses his belief that everyone is bound to get into arguments with each other, especially if you are all living together. However, he quickly denounces the arguments are anything major but are rather simple and easily fixed. Some examples are, “what is being watched on tv or who we are pairing with that night.”
When questioned about how the status of Greek Life works and how to remain in that status. Interestingly enough, Siegel remarks that “...the status of Greek Life changes each year [with] new kids coming in, houses getting bigger, and the different cultures being accepted.” As far as staying in the elite group, it is certainly possible to be kicked out. For example, “...if someone were to be injured or die on the grounds and it is their fault, actions like this would potentially get us kicked off.”
As you recall, some of Indiana University’s (IU) fraternities have faced some suspension and/or shutdowns such as Tau Kappa Epsilon, Sigma Nu, and Delta Tau Delta. So, it is definitely important to uphold rules and regulations to prevent being kicked out and/or suspension. In addition to upholding IU rules and regulations, the fraternity also has personal high standards to uphold. For example, ZBT is really strict on “being a gentleman and thinking before every decision you make.” I find this particularly intriguing because there are so many stereotypes out there about Frat guys not being “nice guys.”
However, when you hear about this particular fraternity, there seems to be a certain respectable manner that is expected of each of the brothers. With this in mind, that drove me to the question of what qualities are sought after in each member at ZBT. In which Siegel responded with people that are “nice, educated, and able to communicate and relate well.”
Of course, fraternities are most notable for their notorious parties. Siegel leaves it simple and sweet by stating that the parties are fun when I asked how they were like. As far as keeping everyone entertained, he says that “...it’s easy to get everybody involved because there are usually so many kids there is always someone to talk to.
Personally, I don’t know if I would be able to maintain Greek Life and my studies, however, the frat boys and soro girls make it look easy. Siegel actually admits to his own struggles with juggling both aspects of his life. “Time Management is key to maintaining both studies and Greek Life, I still think I need to improve on my skills and not procrastinate as much.”
Furthermore, despite pleading the 5th on the initiation process, Siegel does believe that Greek Life has changed him in the essence that his character was improved. “Throughout the time spent here [ZBT], I’ve been able to gain more patience when a problem arises. Also, my confidence has risen, due to the experiences I've now been through and the conversations I've gotten to have.” He also has no regrets after going through the process because he has gotten the chance to meet so many different people he would have missed out on had he not rushed.
In conclusion, I believe this insight offered a new perspective into the elite organization that is so popular among students. I think it allows us to see the good that can come out of Greek Life when the bad is so often portrayed in the limelight. Greek Life is not all bad from what we can understand from these segments. It’s main focus (if fraternities and sororities are sticking to it) is to provide a sense of community.
From what I can see, it has done just that.