Seniors weigh Greek life decision

The pluses and minuses of living in a fraternity


Photo submitted

Delta Chi is one of the Greek houses at Indiana University, future home to many seniors.

Sydney Hutchinson , Reporter

For many seniors, the college hunt is well underway or perhaps even has ended, as those acceptance notifications roll in.

For half of the Senior Class, another decision now comes into play—whether to rush a social fraternity.

This decision has perhaps become more challenging as colleges suspend fraternities due to unacceptable behavior. For example, on Feb. 8 the Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter at Indiana University was shut down. Fraternities at Ball State recently restricted parties and other social activities.

Big reputation

Indiana University freshman Dane Yeoman ‘17 said he was sure that when he arrived on the Bloomington campus he would not rush. “I avoid (fraternity members) out of fear and confusion,” Yeoman said.

Even before he arrived in B-town, he said he was aware of the image of at least some Greek houses. “I knew about the reputation some of the guys here have made and about some of the stuff that goes on in frats. I knew I wanted nothing to do with them before stepping foot on campus. Rush seemed super extra and unnecessary,” Yeoman said.

Lifelong friends

But English teacher Mr. Bobby Allen ’99 said he would recommend fraternities.

Allen said, “College experience would not have been the same without being in a fraternity.” Socially, he said joining a fraternity opened up an extremely wide and diverse set of opportunities.

He said he never had an issue finding people who shared the same interests as he did.

“Some of my best friends today are from my fraternity, and I talk to them on a frequent basis,” Allen said.

As far as a college freshman’s anxiety about rush, Allen said, “Rush was a bit overwhelming with all the different fraternities looking to fill their classes. But once you find the right fit, it is all worth it in the end.”

The Tau connection

Assistant football coach and English teacher Mr. Nick Lyons ‘04 agrees with Allen about the benefits of joining a social fraternity. He also said there was nothing negative about his experience at Wabash.

“Being an active brother in the Tau chapter of Beta Theta Pi was a terrific experience from beginning to end. Every single one of my 26 pledge brothers attended my wedding,” Lyons said, who noted that he even found rush to be exciting. “The pledgeship period was the best time I never want to have again,” he said.

Nathan Gray ‘16 has found his home in the Tau chapter of Beta Theta Pi at Wabash University. Gray also serves as the student body vice president.

Like all pledges who plan on joining a fraternity, he experienced rush, which is a different process on many campuses—a small liberal arts college such as Wabash is not the same as a large public university like IU—and has even been the reason the some of the Greek activities have been suspended or restricted.

But Gray had nothing negative to say at all about rush.

“You spend most of rush talking to different members of the house, and as I spoke to brother after brother, I was left with an impression of an incredibly driven, welcoming and well-driven house,” Gray said.

Decision to rush

Before he joined the fraternity chapter that he said he loves, Gray said he actually had little interest in living in a fraternity.

He mentioned that are a couple of things to consider when picking out and joining a fraternity.

“I chose Beta because of the quality of the men that I met,” Gray said.

However, Gray noted the importance of effective communication when choosing the winner of his fraternity selection process.

He also said that three Cathedral graduates were in his house: Connor Rice ‘13, Connor Lenahan ‘13 and Jimmy Seuss ‘13, his peer mentor from his freshman year.

More than partying

“One of the most important factors in my decision was that (the members of) Beta continued to contact me to see if I had any questions or wanted to (talk) about my concerns I had before making my decision,” Gray said.

The qualities of the fraternity are also important to consider. Gray said, “Rather than being united by one shared interest, major or sport, the brothers of Beta were, and are, united by a sense of ambition and brotherhood.”

Many former brothers mention that while finding people with the same interests is important, diversity is also as integral and appreciated.

Gray said, “Even (though) I visited Wabash with little interest in going Greek, after experiencing Greek life on Wabash’s campus, and the atmosphere of Beta, more specifically, I knew there was a home for me in that system.

Beta has provided me brothers, mentors and role models, and I am still exceedingly grateful for my decision to join this fraternity.”