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Are Fraternities Still Relevant?

Tell people you work with fraternities and sororities and you’ll get a variety of reactions—furrowed brows, polite nods, blank stares. As a volunteer, it’s likely you’ve had at least one person question your choice to give your time, talent and treasure to your fraternity. It’s true that fraternities have a strong social component, both historically and today. But, like you, we know there’s more. Leadership, service, fellowship, teamwork, philanthropy, lasting and lifelong friendship. Is there a meaningful place for fraternities on today’s campus? Enjoy this collection of quotes, testimonials and story excerpts that illustrate the answer.

It was a skinny, silver-haired, 85-year-old fraternity brother of mine, with a proclivity for plaid golf slacks, who taught me the real depth and power of the connection we all have to Miami. In 2006 my wife, Kim, and I moved to the quaint little college town of Davidson, N.C., with its campus of shady slant walks and red-brick buildings. Soon after, Sigma Chi’s newsletter mentioned our move and the release of my first book, Noah’s Rainbow. Reading this, Robert ’Buck’ Jones ’43, another Davidson resident, did something unheard of in our era of texts and tweets: he dialed our number and said hello. ’I believe we’re fraternity brothers,’ he said, failing to mention our pledge classes were 48 years apart. To my great astonishment and delight, it never mattered. We had both attended Miami and that was enough of a connection for Buck to pick up the phone. Living just a short walk from each other, we started visiting regularly. Our two families instantly hit it off. Buck was battling several illnesses, but his secret fraternity grip was strong and firm and his memories, especially of Miami, vivid and entertaining.  I learned a lot from Buck in our short time together. (He died May 14, 2007).

- David Fleming ’90 (SC, Miami University of Ohio) From the Miamian, Winter 2010

 

“I have supported Delt for several reasons. Partially in memory of my father and uncle who were both Delts in the ’20s and ’30s. I feel that during my college years I received a lot more from the fraternity and my associations that I could ever return at the time. Finally, contributing to the education of future collegians is a legacy I am proud to be a part of.”

- Daniel L. Dunn ’51 (DTD, Penn State)

 

“Some of the best preparation for broad and general business leadership was being the president of Kappa Delta Rho at Bucknell. It was very much like being the president of a business — from managing budgets, to handling the board, to the people management challenges, to the surprise phone calls in the middle of the night.”

- AMC President Charlie Collier ’91 (KDR, Bucknell)

 

“As an alum, the strength of the friendships that were developed in the house became evident when one of our ’sisters’ faced a very tough time. We gathered for a weekend to support her, and this ’reunion’ of sorts has evolved into an annual affair that has continued since 1999. We have shed tears together, but mostly have shared lots of laughs…we have all decided that it is much cheaper and more fun than therapy!”

- Julie Goodrich ’73 (AF, DePauw)