Monday, January 07, 2008

Frats for gentlemen

When I was in college, a coed who valued her reputation - not to mention her safety - generally steered clear of members of fraternities. Perhaps things are changing? At least in some places?

From NPR : From Togas to Yoga: Fraternities Try to Alter Image:

Sigma Phi Epsilon has taken on a new agenda, and it goes by the name of Balanced Man. The principles: leader, scholar, athlete and gentleman. There's a lot of talk about being gentlemen.

They have thrown out the defining first step of fraternity membership: pledging. That means freshmen like Chen don't have to scrape out the pumpkin seeds — or do unspeakable things with them. Chen says that if there were hazing and endless keggers, he never would have joined.

"I came to Georgetown. I'm paying $50,000 a year. I kind of want to accomplish something outside of, you know, having a good story to tell my grandkids about what not to do in college," he says.

Sigma Phi Epsilon isn't the only one trying the "classy frat guy" style. According to the North American Interfraternity Conference, half of its 350,000 undergraduates are in these "re-imagining the frat"-type programs. With names like Men of Principle and the True Brother Initiative, the programs prop up civility, scholarship and virtue.

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