Fraternities And Sororities


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fraternities and sororities self




The self of every human being is a construct of numerous elements, both internal as well as external.  According to Baumeister Personal identity is a  crucial interface between the private organism and society.  The identity represents an important means by which the physical being takes its place in society so as to communicate and interact with other people (191).   Many things influence and shape someones identity and sense of self.  Those of us in transition from adolescence to adulthood are especially prone to these influences.  These include both social circumstances and a list of unique personal attributes.  Individuals in this age group (around the age of 16 to 24) usually experience a number of major changes which force them to make personal decisions with which they have never been faced.  
Most decision during this age range involve what plans to make for the future.  One of these timely decisions include whether to continue their education or not.  After graduating from high school there are many decisions to be made.  One important choice is whether to keep on going in school.  Now society strongly encourages a college education.  This is just something that has evolved over the generations.  Thirty years ago it was not as common for young men  and especially young women to go to college after graduation from high school.  The job market today has become so competitive that it is almost impossible to get a decent paying job without a college degree.  
The decision to attend college is just the beginning of ones concerns.  Once the choice to attend college has been made, there are many more steps ahead.    No longer is the individual able to soley depend on parents and caretakers to look out for their best interest.  Suddenly, they are completely and totally responsible for each of their own actions.  This includes the decision of which college to go to.  Should they leave home in order to do so or not.  It can be a completely different experience if you attend school close to home or far away.  Going farther from home causes one to adjust more to an individual life merely because of the distance between themselves and their parents or guardians.  Personally, I came to Miami from Rochester , New York.  Choosing to leave my home in upstate New York to go to another state was a test on my ability to make it on my own.  The distance has proven to be a challenge as well as a blessing.  It has allowed me to distance myself from my parents literally and figuratively.  I have become my own person and have become a lot more independent.  I have also believe that attending school away from home has expanded my horizons.  Being in a completely different city and state, I have experienced  that just small differences can be so noticeable.  
In addition, upon leaving home to pursue a college education, young men and women are usually handed a totally new set of responsibilities, as well as a dramatically increased amount of personal freedom.  This change in societal structure includes the challenges of balancing academics, social and leisure time, finances, and a host of other personal concerns that come along with becoming an independent college student.   By providing such an environment, colleges and universities offer young people an unmatched opportunity to make lasting discoveries and developments concerning their individual identities and self-perceptions.
It has been stated repeatedly in seminar that coming to college has given a number of students the chance to either finally be "themselves", or someone "new" and "different" from who they have been up to the present time.  This supports the idea that both men and women often look upon making changes in their surroundings as a time for also making changes in their inner selves.  Consequently, a number of social psychologists agree that "change is very likely to occur when one receives feedback that is inconsistent with his or her existing self-schema or when one moves from one community to another" (Baron and Byrne 168).   Baumeister's viewpoint, concerning the modern western individual, is that " the modern self is seen as having a license and obligation to create itself" (206).   He also states that ... more

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An Introduction to Greekdom

I was first introduced to the black greek system by my cousins, both of whom are members of my fraternity. I remember being about 7 or 8 years old and one of my cousins had just finished pledging. He had a paddle in the corner of his room with all of his information on it (date and time of initiation, name of his line, his number, etc.) and I thought it looked like a cool toy so I picked it up and started swinging it around like a baseball bat. My cousin walked into the room and immediately snatched the paddle out of my hand and threw me on the bed and very sternly told me that I could not touch that paddle until I earned the right to touch it. I went crying to my mother and she had no sympathy for me. She only said, "You shouldn't have touched it." She understood. I didn't. She was greek. I wasn't.

It's over 20 years later. Now I understand. I began to understand on a rainy Sunday night in April when I became a Sphinxman, when I became a pledge. That process altered my life forever. The process of pledging a fraternity.

The idea of a fraternity is neither a recent nor a unique idea. The motivation behind what is modernly called fraternity has been around for thousands of years. Derived from the French word for "brotherhood," it is a concept that can be traced to as far back to the building of the pyramids of Giza, when the ancient stone masons formed their own groups to provide a system of support among their own groups.

In the early 1700's, the notion of a fraternity took on a different turn, with the re-emergence of the Freemasons. The Freemason's were on the verge of extinction when four lodges from the area around London, England helped to revitalize Masonry into what it is now. Ever since then, Mason's have played an important (if not sometimes negative) role in both the American and British societies.

In the late 1700's, the first greek letter organization arose, Phi Beta Kappa, and started a trend that has lasted to this very day. Even though it would eventually abandon it's secretive nature, other greek-letter organizations begin popping up like wildfire.

Hence, in 1904, Sigma Pi Phi became the first black fraternity. However, it was not created for black college students. The purpose of this fraternity was geared more towards the mature students. But the fact remains that contrary to what others may say, it was the first black fraternity.

However, on December 4, 1906, seven young men laid the foundation for what would eventually be called the "grandfather of all black greek organizations." Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was born at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, for the express purpose of catering to and providing support for black college students who had no actual support system of their own at their institution. The fact that this organization was founded at an Ivy League school should not be overlooked, rather emphasized.

Within the next 18 years, seven other black greek organizations would begin, forming what is now known as the "Elite Eight." They are (in order of founding date):


Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Howard University, Washington, D.C. 1908;
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 1911;
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Howard University, Washington, D.C. 1911;
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Howard University, Washington, D.C. 1913;
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Howard University, Washington, D.C. 1914;
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Howard University, Washington, D.C. 1920;
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1922
( In November of 1996, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., a fraternity founded at Morgan State University in 1963 was admitted into the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Therefore, what was once referred to as the "Elite Eight" is now kindly referred to as the "Notorius Nine". There is a very impressive site called Brothers and Sisters , a site devoted totally to Black Greek Organizations where you can learn more about this fraternity and other black greek lettered organizations.)

Since the inception of these organizations, they have been called everything from elitist to barbarians ... more

fraternities and sororities

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