Dean Vernon Wormer: Greg, what is the worst fraternity on this campus?
Greg Marmalard: Well that would be hard to say, sir. They’re each outstanding in their own way.
Dean Vernon Wormer: Cut the horseshit, son. I’ve got their disciplinary files right here. Who dropped a whole truckload of fizzies into the varsity swim meet? Who delivered the medical school cadavers to the alumni dinner? Every Halloween, the trees are filled with underwear. Every spring, the toilets explode.
Greg Marmalard: You’re talking about Delta, sir.
Dean Vernon Wormer: Of course I’m talking about Delta, you TWERP! -Animal House
Fraternities and sororities can be a major part of many college students lives. For the most part, Greek life provides great friendships and entertainment as well a priceless network of connections that can last from the first year after graduation through retirement. But at the same time, some sororities and fraternities come with hazing, which has been getting a lot of attention lately due to a recent RollingStone expose on Dartmouth College. We talked to many people who said that they wouldn’t trade their Greek life experiences for anything, mainly because of how pledging helped their career in the long run.
There is no doubt that fraternities and sororities can be breeding grounds for very successful careers. Only an estimated 10% of college students choose to join Greek life but it has been found that fraternities have spawned 120 Forbes 500s CEOs, 48% of all U.S. presidents, 42% of U.S. senators, 30% of U.S. congressmen, and 40% of U.S. Supreme Court justices, according to data from The North-American Interfraternity Conference. Some famous women that can call themselves sisters include Elizabeth Dole, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Grace Coolidge, suffragette Carrie Chapman Catt, Condoleeza Rice, former undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes and Alice Sheets Marriott (of the hotel chain.)
But there is also no doubt that hazing exists. Hazing is common on American campuses. A 2008 University of Maine study concluded that 55%of students who join fraternities, sororities, sports teams or other student groups experience it. Hank Nuwer, a professor at Franklin College in Indiana who has written four books on the subject, says that as long as there have been universities, there has been hazing. RollingStone magazine recently published a shockingly detailed expose on the Dartmouth fraternity scene. The article is being disputed but there is no doubt it brought to light some very disturbing rituals happening at the Ivy League campus. Dartmouth has a stunning roster of alumnae and many of the most impressive ones participated in Greek life including billionaire hedge-fund manager Stephen Mandel, Jeffery Immelt, the CEO of GE, Morgan Stanley senior adviser R. Bradford Evans, billionaire oilman Trevor Rees-Jones and venture capitalist William W. Helman IV. That article has resulted in other students at Dartmouth as well as other schools to open up about hazing.
But for most of the people we talked to the career help that came as a result of Greek life overshadowed any hazing.
James Mallory works in Marketing and Sales. He told The Grindstone:
“I am a brother of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity – Penn Nu chapter at Thiel College in Greenville, PA. I interviewed with my current company when the owner mentioned that he wanted to hire a marketing director during one of their staff meetings. The company was very small back then – 10 employees. One of my brothers worked for the company and recommended that they interview me. I got the job and have been with the owner since 1997 through two different companies. The brother who recommended me was actually referred by another brother who was already on staff and we have since hired another brother who is now our Director of Development. The original brother moved on to another business and later on we hired yet another brother who has also moved on but was employed here as a project manager. Our Greek affiliation didn’t guarantee any of us the job but it did give us an inside track on the opportunity before it was even posted to the general public. We currently have three brothers employed at e2b teknologies and a fourth person from our college that was recommended by our group. That’s 3/32 brothers in our company or 9% of our staff and 4/32 or almost 13% of our staff from Thiel College.”