AUGUST 28, 2003
It's All Greek to Me
A Look at the Blood Drives and Beer Runs of Frat Row
By Craig Froehlich

The University of Utah's Sig Cappa Beta fraternity posts its rules and regulations shortly after opening in 1933.  

(To coddle sensitive fraternity types and to help the author attain his goal of banging a Mormon chick, RED regretfully censored a word in today’s Herring. However, we maintain our right to do said word.)

his week, crowds of eager pledges fill the sidewalks along 100 South in hopes of finding a new home away from home with one of many fraternities and sororities here at the U.

It’s Rush Week! In case you have no idea what goes on during Greek Rush Week, or even what the phrase means, allow me to put it into simple terms: “Go f*** yourself, loser.”

Fraternities and sororities play an important role within the community. Year round, they lend a helping hand to the less fortunate through canned-food drives, they beautify neighborhoods with anti-litter campaigns and they rule the world through a serpentine network of secret societies determined to divide the world’s riches among influential members.

The history of fraternal organizations did not begin and end with John “Bluto” Belushi and his “Animal House” cronies. Students started donning togas and lusting after underage girls long before—and continued long after—Belushi’s rapidly bluing body collapsed into a lifeless heap, killed by the volatile mixture of cocaine and heroin coursing through his veins.

So, let’s take a look at the history of college greek societies “Toga! Toga! Tog-ether!”

Like a family, greeks sometimes get so drunk you can’t tell if they’re laughing or crying until they hit you in the back of the head with a beer stein and commence to having clumsy, angry sex with a semi comatose blonde.

After being slighted by their college’s exclusive social club, a group of friends formed America’s first modern fraternity in 1776. Inspired by their study of classical literature, they derived their name from kuklos, the Greek word for circle. On second thought, that actually describes the Ku Klux Klan. They too, wore sheets. Reportedly, the founders of Phi Beta Kappa just wanted to use all the stupid Greek they were forced to learn—and it’s not as if they planned on naming a dinosaur anytime soon. They were a coin flip away from naming their club using calculus terms and, today, everyone would be pledging the Parallax Binomial Coprimes.

Most similarities between fraternities and the Ku Klux Klan end there. However, the dark side of fraternal groups shows in a troublesome history of hazing deaths, allegations of Satanism among the more mysterious campus groups, and in the bloody legacy of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

What is a fraternal organization? It’s kind of like a street gang, but with more neckties. Also, many greeks actually enjoyed their childhoods and miss their families so much, they need another one when they go to college. That is exactly what a student’s fraternity or sorority becomes—a family. Greek societies, like a family, share a common purpose and an unbreakable bond that can’t be put into words.

Like a family, greeks form relationships that persevere until the very end. And, like a family, greeks sometimes get so drunk you can’t tell if they’re laughing or crying until they hit you in the back of the head with a beer stein and commence to having clumsy, angry sex with a semi-comatose blonde on your futon, shortly before vomiting all over your new running shoes and urinating on your only living houseplant.

Sometimes, sororities and fraternities team up to compete in sporting events or to tackle challenging community projects. Often they form sister-brother relationships. This extends the fraternal family even further—and someone is bound to get laid.

Sorority sisters periodically complain about having higher membership dues and stricter house rules than their fraternity brothers. More often than not, sororities offer the same, if not better, benefits to young college women than the guys in their class get from fraternities. In the end, the only real difference when it comes to guy greeks and girl greeks is the inordinate amount of time sororities spend walking around with candles and making snide remarks about footwear choices.

Greek societies experienced plenty of highs and lows in their long and illustrious histories. Many are taking hard looks at their alcohol consumption policies. Some campuses want to ban the greeks altogether, while others want to make the move to coed organizations.

Some facts about greek life will always ring true:

They wear LETTERS today. They become LEADERS tomorrow. They use LADDERS to get the Frisbee. They use ALLITERATION for catchy phrases.

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