Volume 93, Issue 62

Thursday, Janurary 20, 2000


Real phriends know better

Real phriends know better

Re: "Phraternities are phun phur all" Jan. 14

To the Editor:

I honestly believe that the only research Mr. Butler did on his opinion piece was sit down and watch Animal House over and over again. While the column was meant to be humorous, everyone can see the anti-fraternity message being pushed here.

At a couple of points in his letter, Mr. Butler states that joining a fraternity will cause you to lose the respect of your friends and family. I ask you then, what kind of friends are they if they cease to respect you because of your affiliation with a recognized campus organization?

To make a distinction, I'm going to call these people "phriends" from now on, so not to confuse them with the positive qualities of real friends.

Phriends believe what people tell them, follow the crowd and pass judgements on others without investigating for themselves. Phriends seem to have selective listening skills. They don't hear good things about men's and women's fraternities, but easily apply broad stereotypes of excessive drinking, hazing and financial obligations.

I doubt Mr. Butler is aware of the service we provide to the community. Last semester, my fraternity raised over 17,000 pounds of food for the London Food Bank.

On a cool afternoon last November, while most people were watching the Mustangs play, 40 or so brothers collected 17,000 pounds of food as part of a North American campaign to raise 2 million pounds of food for needy families.

Our efforts for the London community did not go unnoticed. Brothers made the evening news on The NewPL, as well as The London Free Press. However, this was apparently not newsworthy enough for our own campus newspaper, The Gazette to print.

It is quite ironic that the paper which best represents student interests and events, doesn't care about students making a positive impact in their community just because they're in a fraternity. Yet, when someone has something negative to say about them, it gets approved right away.

Getting back to our phriends, I will address the usual biases of hazing and money. First off, not all fraternities engage in hazing activities. My fraternity outlawed hazing internationally back in the 1970s, adopting a zero tolerance policy. You will never be asked to do something that we would not do ourselves right beside you.

We want individuals – people with goals and aspirations – not group followers. Logically then, hazing has no place in our fraternity. This certainly made my choice of fraternity a simple one.

Our phriends will also talk of the cost of fraternity life, not seeing the value that its members get back. In pure social terms, membership pays for itself. I know that the money I wasted at bars once or twice a week was substantially more than dues. A $900 fee is only $25 a week, think about it. Plus, at closed fraternity events (parties), the environment is much more controlled and safe. At a bar, do you know everyone there? Are there always five to 10 sober people around to make sure you're OK and get home safely?

What most people have a problem with, is the mixing of personal relationships and business affairs which occurs in fraternities. It is often referred to as "buying friends," which makes me chuckle. If you don't possess the skills to make friends on your own, you will not fit in with a fraternity.

We prepare men and women for the real world, where you have to effectively manage all aspects of your being. Personal, financial, social and many other elements must be handled, in order to be a leader and make intelligent decisions. I welcome the opportunity to test out my ideas and skills in the supportive environment that the fraternity provides, before I head out into this world.

In conclusion, it is quite evident that our "phriends" are not real friends at all. Real friends will support you in whatever you endeavour to accomplish, no matter how great or small. And I cherish my real friends, both in and out of the fraternity, who support me in my goals.

This is by no means an advertisement for my fraternity, but a defence of the entire Greek system in general. Before you pre-judge and become mere "phriends" come check it out first-hand. I encourage you to learn more about fraternity life and see if it's for you. Investigate as many as possible, as all the men's and women's fraternities offer different things for different people. Have a conversation, meet some new people.

Hope to see some new faces.

Joel Bycraft
Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity
Hons. Scholar's Electives Economics II
Academic Excellence Program I

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