Editor's note: This opinion column is a part of a head-to-head. Read the other article here.
National fraternities have received quite a lot of vitriol in recent years due to jarring video footage and media coverage of hazing deaths. The University’s Greek Life is not exempt. The death of LSU freshman and Phi Delta Theta pledge Max Gruver shocked and infuriated many within the LSU community. Students, myself included, were outraged at Greek Life and the University for allowing these dangerous rituals to be performed, having known that these kinds of things were going on.
While these isolated incidents may not holistically represent Greek Life, these deplorable actions deserved punishment and required stringent new rules and regulations. To the University’s credit, they’ve taken retroactive strides to prevent hazing deaths from happening in the future.
Amidst the negative light the University’s fraternities find themselves in, they should remind themselves and the public of the true benefits fraternities provide for University students. No, I am not referring to the hedonistic revelry immortalized in movies, such as the 1978 cult classic “Animal House.”Partying is not a particularly noble selling point.
Instead, I am referring to the translatable values fraternities instill into its members that prepare them for the corporate world. One value of particular importance is subservience — a term reviled by university professors, but cherished by corporate employers. Instilling servitude begins in the pledge process where active members require pledges to do a variety of chores, whether that be cleaning the house or setting up the tailgate.
The purpose of these pledge activities is to delay gratification by first being a pledge before becoming an active. Most top-tier companies require young employees to work exhaustingly long hours before they can move up the totem pole. By instilling a subservient attitude, the pledge process is similar to joining a company. As an employee, you will tirelessly serve those above you regardless, although it helps to have had that experience as a university student. Before you can become a leader, you must understand what it means to be a servant, which may explain why 44 percent of U.S. presidents were in fraternities.
Another beneficial corporate value fraternities instill is conformity. Henry David Thoreau may be rolling over in his grave, but in the modern world,
conformity is an indispensable value employers look for. They want a like-minded employee who’s not going to rock the boat. While university students are often taught to eschew conformity, this is only to their detriment because most of us young renegades are going to struggle to acclimate to a mundane office job where visible tattoos and facial piercings aren’t appropriate in a
I know subservience and conformity aren’t values many of us college students want to adhere to, but these fraternal values yield great career results. Consider that approximately 80 percent of Fortune 500 top executives are fraternity members. The corporate values instilled while in a fraternity make the difference as members know even before they become interns how to serve those above them, and that’s experience that other students just don’t have.
Patrick Gagen is a 21-year-old mass communication and finance senior from Suwanee, Georgia.