Monthly Archives: January 2010

rush events need to be revamped

I wrote a bit about this last week, and I’m growing more
convinced that fraternities may be the largest asset that the university
administration has to counter HRCD (provided the fraternities can be motivated
to the cause).

When freshmen show up in August, the majority of those that
will engage in HRDC if given the chance will first look to fraternity parties
as the venue of choice. Rush events are already dry, but many in the Greek
system argue that this policy is a move to kill Greek life. As CQ Researcher
put it:

Also,
large
college parties are generally not
very fun if one isn’t drunk. They are loud and impersonal, so no one would want
to be at a party and not be
drinking.”

If all rush events are is the standard kegger minus the keg,
then it’s no wonder that Greeks (and probably prospective too) are losing
interest. But if fraternity socials could be encouraged (or mandated) to only
hold events that have a specific theme or activity -i.e. casino night,
concerts, formals, poker tournaments, date auctions…etc, then partygoers
wouldn’t feel as much of a need to drink because the parties wouldn’t be lame.

It’s
important to not hinder the Greek system, because when students no longer
attend the bigger parties, they turn to smaller, much less controllable “apartment
parties”. Fraternities need to remain the most desired venue for incoming students
who are looking to drink.

Tagged

HRCD

The Harvard School of Public Heath outlined criteria for
colleges that are prone to HRCD; a large undergraduate population, a large
fraternity population (30%+, in our case), a division 1 football team, and an
isolated location. I had the chance to hang out with a friend of mine who’s
been in one of the fraternities for about a year now and he expressed to me his
distain for the new regulations on fraternity socials. He was upset that
parties at his fraternity were now restricted to Thursdays through Saturdays,
and that rush events are now strictly dry. I think he’s been a little
disappointed with his fraternity experience this past semester; I met him over
the summer and he was always in the mood to tell fun late-night stories, and
was excited for rush to start back up in the fall.

I think that the fraternities (the men that make up the
roster) aren’t the ones who are at risk, but the majorities have trouble
understanding that freshmen, and students who aren’t used to drinking are the
ones that are. If fraternity parties were restricted to members of Penn State
fraternities (which might be the actual code), then we wouldn’t see the amount
of misconduct that we do see on weekends. But fraternities are hardly the only
places in State College to drink. “Apartment parties” are probably more hazardous,
because, ironically, no one’s going to tell their friend when they’ve had
enough. Fraternities at least have risk management policies to curb misconduct;
enforcement just needs to be heavier.

Fraternities can be used to keep college drinking within
more suitable limits. If fraternities discriminated less with who they let in,
and were more careful in how they furnish alcohol (strict limits for each partygoer),
then less freshmen would be inclined to go to smaller, privately held parties
where anything goes.

Tagged

Ein Schlimmer Verbesserung

The German language has a phrase for an event that is
beneficial but at the same time causes unforeseen problems. When looking at the
s-curve of world population I had to wonder what that curve looked like before
the advent of the Green Revolution.

The Green Revolution has undoubtedly saves hundreds of
millions of lives from starvation, and has increased our planet’s carrying
capacity to exponentially higher levels. However, with starvation still
prevalent, not to mention the growing need for fresh water, I wonder whether
there is a greater number of people who are at risk of premature death in our
world than that of the 1950s.

At the same time, it isn’t moral to be idle in witness to the
tragedies that afflict the people in our world. If we can produce food to feed
the millions of homeless people left in the wake of Haiti’s earthquake, then we
had better do it because not striving to end suffering is cruel. What it means
though, is that we need to always be conscious of not only providing for the
world’s poorer population now, but predict the areas where problems will arise
for the population in the future: disease control, clean water and civil
stability.

More than just donating money, people need to be distressed by
what they watch on the news. Real impact is made by people and families who are
so moved that they agree to sponsor a child through organizations like World
Vision or Compassion International or to serve themselves in those poor
communities, much like we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when a
flood of families and students drove to New Orleans to share the labor.

Obviously, not everyone can take 2 weeks off of work to help
out, but chances are that we aren’t doing as much as we are able to do. For
students, there’s a lot that we can actively participate in. Project Haiti is
one organization at Penn State that runs annual spring break trips to serve the
poor community in Haiti. I’ve also learned that in light of the earthquake,
Project Haiti is now accepting donations of old clothing to bring to the
homeless when they visit Pandiassou, so if you have some old clothes lying
around that don’t fit, then please contact one of the officers
here.