Another weekend of Roundup has passed and students who traveled from colleges across the nation are headed back home with at least one lasting impression about our campus: we throw great parties. While this is true, I feel like just focusing exclusively on the partying does UT and the Greek community a disservice.
Roundup has the potential to raise both money and awareness for UT Greek philanthropies while also providing great college memories. The only true philanthropic efforts that take place throughout the weekend are held at sorority houses. Each house hosts catered events and charges an entrance fee that goes toward their individual philanthropy and ensures that students have access to a solid meal before a night of heavy drinking.
It would be nice for fraternities to do something similar.
If each fraternity were to charge one dollar per person (girls and guys) to attend their event, they could raise some serious cash. One dollar may seem insignificant, but every dollar raised is one more that can go towards making a difference for each fraternity's philanthropy. Also, by doing this it would also help eliminate some of the negative stigma that surrounds Roundup and give the media some positive news to report on.
It would also be interesting for the IFC to require each student to pass an online module about sexual assault and binge drinking prevention before receiving a wristband. The logistics of doing this would be tough, but I believe that it is doable. Although an online module might seem like a joke to most people, it would be a way to get the conversation started and remind people that the dangers of alcohol and sexual assault are real.
Currently, the IFC hosts a safety seminar before Roundup but only asks fraternity and sorority members at UT to attend. Independents and those in spirit groups, as well as Greek members from other schools, do not have to. However, these people make up a large percentage of the attendees.
On Sunday, after the two long days of partying has ended, it would also nice to see a clean-up of West Campus happen. Although I understand that some smaller groups currently do this, I don't think that they have the manpower to clean much of it. It is sad to see thousands of people from other schools trash the area where most of us live and then go back to their school and leave the mess to us. IFC should offer up incentives to get these people to help clean up areas of West Campus. Maybe offering breakfast tacos to help nurse hangovers or providing a partial reimbursement to the $10 fee that non-UT students pay for a wristband would promote growth of the clean up.
With the increasing scrutiny of the media on Greek life, I feel that Roundup has the potential to change how we are viewed. We can still keep the wild and crazy Roundup that we all love while also showing that we are committed to UT's core values. This year, I commend the IFC for supporting the "Not On My Campus" campaign to raise awareness for sexual assault. Their limiting of the wristbands to keep under-aged high schoolers out was also good to see.
I hope that they continue to put into effect even more initiatives that will improve the Roundup experience so that it will still be a fun and safe event when our children are in school.