Greek Life welcomes international herd
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 12:10
After being formally inducted as a staff writer at The Spectrum, I realized how cool my job is. With my work at this newspaper, I have had the chance to meet some of the most creative and thoughtful minds in Fargo; both on and off campus, and yes that surely includes my co-workers at The Spectrum.
And just when I thought I would run out of topics to write, I met the coolest bunch down here -- the Greeks.
I am of course talking about the various fraternities and sororities at NDSU. My first exposure to the Greek Life of American colleges was obviously through Hollywood films and other media that I came across while in my home country.
And it was not the least bit encouraging, but now as I prepare to join the ranks of the frat boys, I am proud of it. Also, I realize how wrong I was in judging them.
Fraternities and sororities, which form such an integral part of American campuses, have always been portrayed in a negative light.
I remember my parents warning me against ever stepping into any fraternity house, but I am a curious cat by nature. And I am so glad I let my curiosity overwhelm me this time too.
With just 12 fraternities and three sororities, the Greek life at NDSU is not very big, but the activities they are involved in are really huge and fun. And I’m talking about being involved in raising money for philanthropic activities.
I know that most international students are afraid of hazing in fraternity or sorority houses, but that is not the case here. Sigma Alpha Epsilon President Thomas Brown said, “Hazing is strictly not tolerated in the fraternity house or by any fraternity member. Any reports of involvement in such activities will have serious consequences.”
Although there have been incidents in the distant past at other universities, with stricter state and federal laws, there have been no reports of any form of hazing on this campus.
In fact, Thomas informs that, “The whole chapter of a fraternity in a southern state was shut down not too long ago, because one person got reported for hazing.”
The feeling of brotherhood promoted at all fraternities is universal. Jeremy Ahlers, Vice President (External Relations) of Delta Upsilon said that, “Being in a fraternity means having someone to watch your back at all times. It’s like having an elder brother away from home.”
These brothers not only take care of keeping your studies on track, but also help you out when you graduate. It is fairly easy to land a job or that wonderful internship if you have an alumnus from your fraternity to vouch for you.
Tyler Turgeon-Schramm, Vice President of Tau Kappa Epsilon, states that, “Alumni are the backing of fraternities. It is amazing how they take time out of their busy lives to help fellow brothers. This just makes it much easier for us to face the real world when we get out of school.”
When asked what the responsibilities are of a fraternity member, Erik Schwarzkopf of Delta Upsilon said, “One must first be a responsible human being, manage to keep good grades, participate in the development of the fraternity and the community.”
All fraternities and sororities-- except for three-- are open to students of all majors. Sororities at NDSU are only three in number, but they are not too far behind.
Natalie Schlagel, who is the Vice President of Finance of Alpha Gamma Delta, says that the sororities may be in lesser numbers, but total membership in the three sororities is almost as much as the number of boys in fraternities. These Greek houses participate in raising awareness and money about different issues plaguing the society today, from medical to social causes.
With all said and done, we must not forget that parents of international students are often worried about the apparent boozing and smoking rampant in fraternity buildings.
When confronted about this, Macy Royston, a member of Alpha Gamma Delta assures that, “Alcohol and tobacco use is strictly prohibited on most fraternity premises.”