DISCLAIMER: I think I might be cheating a little. So I must admit, my proposal for this week is not truly my own. In fact I have taken it word for word from the Campus Climate Report that was released earlier this year.

***************************************************************************************************************************** I’m not a frat boy. I am in a fraternity here at Bucknell, but I don’t consider myself to be like the stereotypical guy you think of in your head when someone says “frat”.  In fact, i’m not sure I would’ve chosen to be in a fraternity if I had gone to another school where the social scene didn’t revolve around greek letter organizations like it does here.  At the same time, I’m definitely glad that I decided to join one here.  I’ve made some really good friends and had some amazing experiences that I might not have had otherwise.  I see both the negatives and positives that fraternities bring to campus, and for me, the good outweighs the bad.  But again, I do see the bad.  I do see the need for change on this campus.  With that on my mind, I was eager to read what the campus climate report had to say.

Flipping through the 68 page document, It became clear to me that a lot of the problems that that the school faces were associated with greek life.  Accordingly, the committee that put together the report cited the fact that “Fraternity and sorority activities dominate he campus life, with few students participating in non-Greek social opportunities” as one of the seven most significant problems plaguing the campus.  In response, they made the recommendation to “reduce the dominance of Greek life at Bucknell, thus establishing a more equitable social environment”.  I honestly couldn’t agree more with their analysis.  Like I mentioned before, I probably wouldn’t have been in a fraternity had the Greek scene not been synonymous with the social scene.  I was intrigued to see some of the solutions they had for one of the problems they had outlined.

One of the best things about Bucknell is that fact that it is located in Lewisburg, PA.  We have one of the most beautiful, amazing campuses I have ever seen, as well as a really quaint town that adds a lot to the overall experience of being a student here.  At the same time, going to college in Lewisburg also presents its fair amount of challenges.  Compared to a place like NYU, there are far fewer opportunities to immerse ourselves in cultural experiences.  Bucknell is frequently said to be “in the middle of nowhere”.  Almost all of the big speakers, musicians, etc. are brought here by the school.  While they generally do a pretty good job in bringing interesting things to campus, I was not sure they were doing enough.  When I saw that the Campus Climate Committee recommended a reduced role for Greek life in the social scene, I figured they would try to do this by adding more to the campus.  The way I saw it, the more options students had, the less they would focus on any one thing.  Greek life would still be a major part of what Bucknell is, but the emphasis on binge-drinking and all of the other problems that Fraternities and Sororities bring with them would be severely lessened by the addition of more engaging events and activities.

When I read what the committee suggested, I was originally a little taken a back.  I thought, surely they couldn’t actually mean what they were saying.  But they did.  Right there in black and white it said “If Significant progress to remediate problems associated with the Greek system does not occur within a reasonable time frame, approximately five years, seriously consider eliminating Greek Organizations”.

It suddenly became clear.  I realized I had been completely naive in thinking that to solve this problem, we should add fun and interesting things for people to do on campus.  Instead, we could just as easily lessen the role of Greek life by eliminating it completely.  Why add with addition, when you could add with subtraction!  Since Binge drinking, illicit drug use, and sexual assault are all directly a result of Greek life, once we eliminate it, those problems will cease to exist.  Now that I am thinking about it, why should we wait five years to implement such an innovative solution?  I can just picture the changes now.  First, all the fraternity houses would be plowed down and replaced with generically awesome student living.  I mean who would want architecturally interesting, historical buildings when you could have ones that all look the same.  Once all the traces of the plague that is Greek life had been eradicated from campus, the clear benefits would really start to show.  Since Fraternity and Sororoties no longer existed, students that go to school hours from any major city would no longer have any interest in drinking, and thus would most likely spend there time engaging in intellectual debates about what they had learned in class that day.  Although unlikely, if they ever got bored of that, they could take a quick trip down to the mall and go shopping.  With over 50 stores, it is very unlikely that the student body would get bored of such an activity over the span of their four year career at Bucknell.  Although I have not fully enumerated all of the amazing benefits that kicking fraternities and sororities off campus would bring, I feel as though I have made my point very clear.  However, if you are still somehow unconvinced by my persuasive argument, I will leave you with a question.  If someone took away one of the only things you actually liked to do, and replaced it with nothing, would you not be better off?


11 responses »

  1. Alex Lin says:

    For some reason I can’t see the left side of your post. Maybe it’s just me.

  2. Zach says:

    Weird. It’s showing up for me.

  3. Connie says:

    While I’m personally not in Greek life at Bucknell, a lot of my friends are, and I’ve seen the friendships and relationships they’ve been able to build because of it. In fact, I know some people who wanted to transfer out of Bucknell after freshmen year, but after going through rush, they’ve made lifelong friendships that have convinced them to stay. So, what about those people, Bucknell? I also think it’s a little ironic that Bucknell is so quick to want to eliminate the Greek system altogether when they just recently welcomed a chapter of Mu Sigma Upsilon, a multicultural sorority. If Bucknell is so concerned with an equitable social environment, maybe they should support inviting more Greek organizations like Mu Sigma Upsilon to start a chapter on campus, rather than trying to get rid of the Greek system altogether.

    • Scout Berger says:

      I am in a sorority but have never been a “hung ho” sorority girl. I joined for a few vague reasons, primarily because I felt that joining a sorority would be an excellent way for me to meet new people. I really have never felt extremely diehard passionate about Greek life but I do respect it. To be honest, I thought a lot of the Campus Climate Report was absolute bogus. Sure, there is no doubt that there are absolutely some problems on campus that need to be addressed, but overall I felt that it was extremely biased. The committee that was being question only had one Greek member on it. I felt that the committee of students should have a proportionate percentage. If 70% of the school is Greek than they should have 70% Greek people on the committee. Furthermore, I truly believe that Greek life has a terrible reputation because of a few bad apples. I feel like these problems wouldn’t go away or enhance the Bucknell culture by eliminating Greek life. Finally, one thing that has always truly frustrated me is the amount of independent people complaining about Greek life. I have friends that have chosen not to be in a fraternity or sorority and they never once complain about it. They made an educated decision. I feel like if you do your homework on the colleges that you apply to (as you should) then you would know how dominant the Greek force is at Bucknell. Bucknell is ranked in the top 20 Greek schools in the Princeton Review. I think it is completely the responsibility of the students to be aware of this and make a decision from there. If you came into Bucknell not realizing it was primarily Greek, then I place that blame on those particular students.

      • Jordi says:

        gung-ho, not hung-ho.

        “I hate independents who complain… I have friends who are independent and they don’t complain…”

        Wha…? Is there a missing negative modifier in there?

  4. Marko says:

    I didn’t know Bucknell is ranked in the top 20 Greek Schools in the Princeton Review. Awesome. Well, we had a good run. I really believe that the school is seriously considering eliminating Greek Organizations. In addition, they have a great plan how to piecefully achieve that. First they will eliminate all downhill frats (which they already started last year). Than they will move all the uphill frats in the new houses that conveniently don’t have basements. No basements = no parties. Say hello to the next level partying on Bucknell, Soda & Soft Drinks mixers with board games in the kitchen. Oh wait, the new houses uphill don’t have kitchens neither. Ugh, why bother? Lets just kill entire Greek Life so that all students on Bucknell can be involved in doing the same thing – not doing anything.

    • Jordi says:

      Sigh. No it is not. You all suffer from paranoid conspiracy thinking. It is as likely to get rid of athletics, another fevered dream of the faculty.

  5. Lindsay S. says:

    I completely agree with you Zach that adding more opportunities for campus activities other than greek-sponsored events is the answer. I have friends on ACE and it’s interesting how they’ve said virtually every event hosted by ACE this year has been insanely crowded with students. I hear the Caf was overflowing with people on Bingo night a couple weeks ago and so many people loved this dessert party that was held in the Terrace Room. In the past, I do not believe events like these had a good turnout at all. Clearly, it is a sign that students are interested in branching out beyond greek life.

    That said, I strongly believe that greek life is here to stay. It’s so embedded in Bucknell’s culture and the entire alumni community is extremely supportive of the system. I personally feel it is a wonderful opportunity and I agree with Scout that if you choose to come to Bucknell, you should be aware of the prominence of greek life on campus. Even so, I think the campus culture can continue to improve through the addition of even more alternative activities, as Zach has suggested.

  6. Alex Lin says:

    Many of my friends that go to universities without Greek life say that sports are a big part of their social activities. I wonder if Bucknell students would show a lot more school spirit at athletic events instead of just showing up at big games if the Greek system were removed.

  7. […] The blog most related to the Bucknell Bubble goes to “Addition by Subtraction”–Zach […]

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