By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer
Rush week is in full swing at Eastern New Mexico University and according to university officials, local Greek organizations are working hard to rise above the bad reputations pinned on college fraternities in recent years.
According to Interfraternity Council President and ENMU student Adam Sanchez the image of wild parties and binge drinking isn’t accurate these days.
“The Greek system is portrayed as binge drinkers, stereotyped. It is against national by-laws to force a person to drink,” Sanchez said.
Barbara James, Director of Campus Life, took over oversight of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) on July 1. She says the goal is to work with the fraternities and provide them with guidelines. The IFC meets every Monday to go over by-laws and other items of business, said James.
“What we are trying to do is strengthen the IFC and pull them back in, have them working together instead of against each other,” James said.
The fraternities are governed by three sets of rules. IFC provides a general set for all fraternities, the fraternity follows the rules set by their national organization and Eastern New Mexico University has basic guidelines for the fraternities to follow as well, she said.
During rush week, which began last Monday and actually runs for two weeks, new pledges are able to visit the various activities the fraternity will host. Once the pledge has chosen the fraternity he wishes to join, he must fill out a bid card and submit it to James.
Once a bid is placed, the pledge has to hold and maintain a certain GPA, attend meetings learning the history of the fraternity and be an active member of the fraternity, said Sanchez.
Each fraternity has their own set of guidelines for pledges, but they are similar in some areas, Sanchez said.
Sanchez said he understands that some parents may be reluctant for their son or daughter to pledge a fraternity because of the reputation fraternities have received over the years. But he said rituals and hazings are not a part of the pledge process.
The Sigma Alpha Epilson chapter does not participate in any rituals that involve streaking through campus or other rituals of that nature, said Sanchez.
“We have secret rituals for active members only, not for pledges,” said Sanchez.
During rush week, the fraternities draw to see what night they will host a party. This keeps the fraternities from overlapping. Non-Greek members are not allowed at the parties after a 10 p.m. curfew.
Sanchez says the IFC and individual fraternities do their share of community service work as well. During student move-in, they will go to the dorms and help the students move in, and the fraternities also host barbecues for the students.
Each fraternity is responsible for their own fund-raisers through the year. These are ways for the fraternities to be involved and to meet incoming freshman.
Friendships are an important part of what fraternities provide their membership according to Sanchez.
“I have friends I can rely on, strong friendships. The fraternity is a big resource, I had friends that helped me get a federal internship,” said Sanchez.