Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The dual nature of fraternities on campus

By John Zawawi

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Collegian File Photo

(Collegian File Photo)

I lost my frat-ginity last weekend.

No, I didn’t wake up face down in a basement with vomit on myself and more shame than I know what to do with; I’m just saying I went to a fraternity house for the first time. I was surprised it took me so long to actually attend a frat party. I never considered joining a fraternity, but I did expect to have visited one at some point during my first semester of school.

Greek life and social life are not synonymous at the University of Massachusetts, but it’s worth noting that the fraternities and sororities here do have a strong presence on campus. That being said, we still can’t make up our mind about whether or not we like frats. Members of frats swear by the brotherhood and cite the community service-based activities they do as examples of the benefits of their organizations. Non-members of Greek life tend to view frats with a little more scrutiny. It’s easy to get sucked into the horror stories of fraternities from around the country. If you Google “hazing lawsuit” you will  find a different story with each hit.

But do frats deserve the reputation that has been handed to them? Maybe. I can vouch for their community service. Greek life is frequently on campus raising money for causes and it is impressive what can be accomplished when people put their collective efforts toward bettering the world around them.

I can also vouch, albeit from a small sample size, for the general disgusting nature of the particular house I was in. I can’t remember which one it was because I didn’t have enough energy or incentive to memorize which house is which or what the Greek letters hastily hammered to the side of the house said.

I can remember, with great detail, the bathroom, which included a broken toilet that just was collecting a vat of urine that people were haphazardly adding to. I remember the living room looking more like the set of “Sons of Anarchy” than a living arrangement. I remember empty bottles of hard alcohol hanging on the walls the way a hunter may put up taxidermied deer.

But then, toward the end of the night, as a brother politely asked me to stop using my elbows so much when dancing because it was “scaring the girls,” I realized that we’re all part of the grime.

We go to frats to be the worst version of ourselves, which is fun in its own right. It is easy to pass them off as scummy, but however true that description is, it’s because that’s what we expect when we go.

If everyone is going with the intent to be gross, grossness will occur. Frat houses are almost cathartic in this way, so I feel like they’re almost a necessary part of a campus. However, after going once I understand why it falls under the category of “try it once” instead of “do it every night” for most people. In keeping with the Greek theme, I’ve flown close enough to the sun for a while.

John Zawawi is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

5 Comments

5 Responses to “The dual nature of fraternities on campus”

  1. Mike on January 28th, 2016 6:37 pm

    How could this negative story be ran using a photo of an on-campus fraternity, when the writer did not have the journalistic foresight to even confirm the name of the house that he actually visited? This seems like a very poor standard for a writer, editor, or paper to hold themselves to.

  2. Black Chris on January 28th, 2016 11:14 pm

    I agree with Mike. I bet you got shut down at the gate for rolling up with 5 dudes and no chicks. Classic geed move to immediately make shit up online about frats.

  3. Matt on January 29th, 2016 4:33 am

    If you are going to write an article on fraternities on campus, you should really have done more research including the name of the house you went too. A sample size of one house certainly doesn’t give an overall picture of Greek life at UMass. Furthermore, if you don’t have a name to go with the house, then you certainly shouldn’t have used a random picture of a campus house.

  4. Annonymous on February 2nd, 2016 7:15 pm

    This article is an atrocity. How can one house describe an entire community. If you as an individual who is not
    In Greek life want to stereotype an entire community based off of what you saw in one day, then the same criticism can be made towards students who are not in Greek life based off of day drinks at the townhouses.

  5. Annonymous on February 8th, 2016 3:31 pm

    How do you even know you were in a Greek house if you cannot even remember the name of the fraternity you were in? How can you possibly blindly associate all fraternities with your poor experience at one party. Clearly you were not sober during your interaction. All of these elements, added with your blind hate for fraternities makes your piece lose credibility. After reading your article, it seems as if you went out with the intention of writing a piece that describes almost every college house party.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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