OPINION: Fraternities generally defy stereotypes; people just don’t see it


Everyone knows the fraternity boy stereotype. Comfort Colors’ shirts, khaki shorts, tall socks with New Balance or Sperry shoes and a YETI in hand at all times. Walking around campus they aren’t hard to spot and to be honest, I am one of them.

People see the letters and immediately have a judgment in their head about the person. They remember things they’ve seen in the news and heard from friends about fraternities: They are loud, rude and quite obnoxious.

People see what is on the surface of a fraternity. They see all of the parties they have, the noise complaints that they get and, in the news, they see fraternities get shut down because of sexual assault and disturbing hazing practices.

What they don’t see is what is happening on the inside. Fraternities are actually helping people and doing things for the community. No matter which fraternity you look at, they have a set of values. Some common values are brotherhood, scholarship, leadership and respect.

For me, it has helped developed key social skills, and I am learning how to be a proper member of society and grow as a student and involved member on campus.

Also, community service is required for chapters. This is not something Kansas State tells us to do but what we know we are supposed to do for our chapter.

My chapter, Sigma Tau Gamma, requires 16 community service hours per semester, 10 for the community and six for philanthropic events. This is something my chapter holds very valuable to the development of its members. I enjoy that my fraternity and other fraternities have a philanthropy so we can pull our combined efforts to properly help organizations in need.

Every fraternity contributes to and hosts fundraisers for a specific philanthropy. Some examples include Delta Sig Dogs, an event supporting the Purple Power Animal Welfare Society, and Delta Chi, who teamed up with Alpha Delta Pi to put on Hoops for Hope. The event raised over $1,200 for the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research, according to K-State’s Delta Chi website.

My fraternity works with the Special Olympics, and we help host athletic events and meets. Recently, we have teamed up with the Riley County Humane Society and K-State Counseling Services to help spread awareness for each of the causes.

So what is giving fraternities such a bad image? I believe the cause has to be popular social media, news media and films.

Ben Hopper, director of K-State’s Fraternity and Sorority Life, said a lot of stereotypes are because of pop culture outlets.

“People hear and see things and get that perception of fraternities,” Hopper said. “They watch films like ‘Animal House,’ ‘Neighbors’ and ‘Neighbors 2’ that perpetuate stereotypes and then they think that is how every chapter is.”

The biggest culprit has to be the website, Total Frat Move. While most of the articles are humorous and aren’t meant to be taken seriously, people see these articles and think that all fraternities haze, drink and hookup with women.

Even if you aren’t following Total Frat Move on Twitter, someone you are following probably retweets and you have seen something from the site at least once. These articles perpetuate the stereotype even further.

K-State’s greek community is focused on breaking down these stereotypes. On K-State’s Fraternity and Sorority Life website, there is a logo for Fraternity and Sorority Life that says “Defy stereotypes. Exceed standards. Maximize potential.” Hopper can confidently say that every chapter on this campus fights the stereotype.

“The greek community here at K-State has a strong foundation,” Hopper said. “Fraternity members are living out their values and principles. (Fraternity and Sorority Life) is doing everything they can to help maximize potential and our greek community is setting the example for what fraternity and sorority life should be: leadership and scholarship.”

Fraternities are places for students to find a community of people that they can call home and look to for advice.

So the next time you see someone wearing letters, instead of thinking of them as a rude party animal, maybe ask them about their philanthropy and how fraternity life has affected them for the better. I know it has for me.