From One Greek Community To Another, Penn State's Greek Life Sanctions Are Uncalled For

From One Greek Community To Another, Penn State's Greek Life Sanctions Are Uncalled For

Changes need to be made, but why should all chapters suffer for the mistakes of some?
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In a recent post from The Collegian, Penn State released the sanctions put in place affecting nearly 19 percent of the student body involved with Greek life.

The Alpha Upsilon chapter of Beta Theta Pi has been banned permanently from the university following the death of a sophomore member. His death occured during a fraternity function, and, as a result, the fraternity as a whole is being held responsible.

Some of the sanctions that were put in place after his death affect not only the Beta Theta Pi chapter but also the entire Greek community at Penn State. For example, formal recruitment has been postponed until the spring of 2018, the number of events that can have alcohol present was limited to 10 per semester (down from 45), a no tolerance policy regarding hazing, and a new monitoring system to oversee events held by Greek organizations.

While some of the sanctions were long overdue, there were some that really struck a chord. The no tolerance policy regarding hazing is one that we both take very seriously here at Ohio State. The fact that Penn State is taking steps to make their Greek organizations safer and more welcoming to all potential members has to be acknowledged as a positive thing. The university also took steps to prevent excessive drinking, which can prevent a lot of other behaviors associated with drinking as well as the Greek community in turn. The limiting of the number of events that can have alcohol at them was also a good plan since it also reduces the risk that the problem of excessive drinking and the monitoring system at events will also make the campus safer for all students.

Another fact that Penn State had to have considered before making this decision was that underage drinking happens on every college campus, regardless of the presence of fraternities and sororities. Greek life is the constant scapegoat for underage drinking when in reality there are many parties across the country that are held by people that aren't affiliated with Greek life at all. The fact that fraternities are specifically targetted in the fight against underage drinking also perpetuates the stereotype that fraternity gentlemen are, in fact, not gentlemen and are not the type of person college age men should want to be. Most of the fraternity men we have met have been nothing but kind, caring, considerate and respectful. While that is not always the case, society and many universities let the few people causing issues spoil the experience for everyone else on campus and in the Greek community. Furthermore, it punishes those chapters who are doing everything right to keep their members safe, rather than rewarding them.

The issue that we have a problem with, as current members of a Greek life organization on our own campus, is the ban on formal recruitment for an entire year. We entirely understand that this issue was the tipping point for Penn State since there have been a lot of issues in the past with the Greek life, as there have been with many universities internationally. However, not every single chapter in a Greek community should have to suffer the consequences of the actions of one chapter. Had neither of us gone through formal recruitment, we would not have found the women we share true and constant friendships with, the women we lean on, and the women who support us unconditionally (even when you want to wear crocs to a party). If recruitment had not been an option the semesters we were eligible to undergo it, we both would not have even bothered to join a sorority. We would have missed out on finding each other (we are a big and little pair who lean on each other constantly), we would have missed out on a sisterhood founded on building strong, independent women, and we would have missed out on a philanthropic cause that quite literally changes lives.

Since we have gone through recruitment and found our home, we know that our sorority not only leaves its mark on us, but we leave our mark on it. If Penn State plans on banning recruitment for an entire year, the entire Greek community will be missing out on hundreds of incredible, philanthropic, and unique individuals that could have wanted to go through recruitment but could not because of a ban. Not only that, but the chapters would have a gap of almost an entire pledge class in their rankings, and the season for recruitment would have to either change or there would be a very different dynamic between the previous pledge class and the upcoming pledge class. Logistically, it would not make sense to change the way every other chapter runs their recruitment because of the faults of one specific incident with one chapter.

The other steps that Penn State took, like adding in the monitoring system and the RAMP certified servers for alcohol, were very well thought out steps to prevent incidents like the event that caused these sanctions to come about. These sanctions would allow the Greek community to not have such a sudden and large impact on them, but it would be a constant reminder that, as college-age students, they are not always going to be in one hundred percent control. It would remind them that while having fun is a big part of their lifestyle, it's more important to keep everyone at the party or function safe; these are their brothers and sisters after all.

The University of Connecticut had a very similar situation occur with the Epsilon Pi chapter of Delta Gamma. A member died after being struck by a car during a night of excessive drinking and the chapter was closed permanently, but there was no ban placed on other Greek organizations for their recruitment or social allowances. In our opinion, this was an effective way to deal with the problem of excessive drinking coinciding with the passing of a member. The chapter that had the issue was taken care of, and the other organizations that were not involved were not punished because they had not done anything wrong.

By banning the recruitment of all organizations for an entire year only perpetuates the stereotype that all Greek organizations do is party and cause trouble on campus. This is nowhere near the truth; chapters from all across the world have a philanthropic duty to give back to the communities that serve them, as well as to create and to inspire young men and women to become the best versions of themselves through the organization and community they are a part of.

The stereotypes of Greek organizations have it all wrong—our chapter, and even our friends' chapters have given us nothing but love, support, and an environment to positively grow in the time we've been a part of them. Penn State should not prevent the continuation of the next generation of young men and women because of the unfortunate events that happened in one chapter. They should allow all current and future members of the Greek community at University Park to grow and to foster the strong relationships between their brothers and sisters. The next round of new members should not be penalized and not allowed to join a chapter because of something that happened when these students haven't even put down their deposit yet.

Our college experiences have been positively shaped by our participation in them, and we cannot imagine our lives without our sisters. Everyone should have the chance to find their home in the Greek community.

Cover Image Credit: Penn State Sunshine Fund

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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!

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What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49 (one pack), $14.99 (two pack)

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

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11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

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12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

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13. Frat House Dr. Sign

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Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

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Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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Being Busy Is A Blessing

Are you feeling thankful for your stress today?

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"Steady as a clock, busy as a bee, cheerful as a cricket." – Martha Washington

In American society, we pride ourselves on our busyness. How many projects we have to juggle at work, how many activities and hobbies we're involved in, how many events we have to prepare for. We love being busy.

Yet, seldom do we take a step back and realize how lucky we are to be so busy.

We love to boast, brag, and compare scars on how much stress we're under. Competitions over who got the least amount of sleep, who has the most deadlines, or who is involved in the most organizations. We complain about how exhausted we are, we sneer at those who have less on their plate than us, and we can't help but second-guess ourselves when we have a day free of any responsibilities.

Have you ever thought about how fortunate you are to be so busy? Think of all the stressors in your life currently – maybe it's school, work, family, romantic relationships. Think of what it is that is taking up so much of your time to make you so busy. In my case, that would be school. Final exams, deadlines, papers, and group projects are nearly swallowing me whole. I seldom talk about much else with my peers.

But, taking a step back from all the stress, I realize that I am so lucky to be so busy. I'm getting an education – something not everyone can say for themselves. I have a roof over my head, a bed to lie in, clothes to keep me warm, and food to nourish my body. On top of all my essentials being more than taken care of, I have the privilege of going to class every day and working towards a degree. How lucky I am to be stressed and busy.

This is not meant to make you feel guilty for the blessings in your life, nor to minimize your stress and anxiety. Your stress is still perfectly valid, especially as a college student. But, it can be rewarding and stress alleviating to take a minute and observe what it is you are stressed over. Grades, projects at work, spats with co-workers or friends, or missing deadlines are all temporary stressors. Those things will pass. Think of the relief you feel when you finally finish that one project. Or the free time that comes as a result of meeting that one deadline. Or even how happy and accomplished you may feel when you have so many healthy priorities filling your life.

Being busy is a blessing. It's not always fulfilling, and it's not always free of stress. But it is a privilege to have a life full of things to do and people to see.

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