Having received an “A” from College Prowler, Greek life at the College of William and Mary is an integral part of our community and should not be distanced from campus. Almost one-third of the student body is involved in Greek life, and for good reason. Fraternities and sororities not only bring students together, build lifelong relationships and give students a connection to other young adults across the nation, the Greek organizations of this campus are heavily involved in philanthropic events that help local and global interests. Unfortunately, fraternities are taking more and more flak from those outside of the Greek circle. The current attitude toward fraternities from many non-members tries to make them smaller and less powerful.
The number of new fraternities is increasing disproportionately to growth in undergraduate enrollment. This difference has led to the apparent overall minimization of a significant number of fraternities. Consequently, these fraternities find themselves incapable of the now daunting task of filling a unit. Where should they relocate? That is the question that more and more fraternities are facing. Some have chosen to move off campus. Alpha Epsilon Pi and Delta Phi have been fortunate enough to have been granted on-campus, fraternity-designated housing in a lodge and a house, respectively. Others, however, are not as lucky and have been forsaken by the school administration.
Thus begins the Ludwell migration. These fraternities seem doomed to see the end of their chapters’ days of glory in what is essentially fraternity limbo. While many fraternities ardently claim that the units are overrated, the units offer an easily accessible, reliable and safe venue for dance parties and other activities. The ability to cut loose and celebrate the coming of the week’s end is vital to maintaining sanity at our rigorous academic institution, and though many find alternatives to the fraternity scene, frat parties are the preferred outlet for numerous students. Now that the number of fraternities has increased, however, it is unfair to expect that they will all be capable of filling a unit.
For the moment, it may be best to have fraternities share a unit with other fraternities, similar to what Kappa Alpha and Delta Chi do. While this is clearly not a long term solution, it should serve as an adequate stopgap. What this campus needs to see is the establishment of a “Fraternity Row.” Williamsburg City Council Candidate Scott Foster ’10, for instance, is in favor of the establishment of a group of off-campus houses reserved for students in fraternities. From talking with many recent alumni and graduating seniors, there seems to be a general consensus that the ideal solution would involve tearing down the units and constructing an on-campus row of fraternity houses in their place. This will undoubtedly require a great deal of funding, which is currently scarce. With the renovation of Small Hall and the construction of a new school of education, career center and business school, it would be unreasonable to expect the immediate allocation of funds for fraternity housing plans.
Until a real, practical, long-term solution is available, I believe it is best to have fraternities who cannot fill an entire unit share a unit with another fraternity. Keeping the fraternities grounded and united will strengthen the already reputable Greek community College students enjoy.
E-mail Aristotle Herbert at [email protected]