Inspired by the stand-up of the late George Carlin, in which he simplifies the 10 Commandments, I decided to take some time of my own to simplify everything we are doing as fraternity and sorority members into a brief list that anyone should be able to understand.
(In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the bit – warning, language is definitely NSFW)
And so, without further delay, I present to you my
6 Commandments of Fraternity and Sorority Life:
Thou Shalt Make a Life-Long Commitment
Joining our organizations means that you are committing to a life-long membership in a remarkable organization. This means you’re not allowed to go into hiding during your senior year, or graduate never to be seen or heard from your organization again. This means being a good alumnus/alumna, giving back to your chapter, staying financial, and forever holding true the the values you accepted in Commandment 2.
Thou Shalt Hold Yourself and Other True to Your Oath
At some point, we all took some sort of an oath to hold true to the values of our organization. Most likely, you were kneeling down, maybe with your hand in the air, on a book, or over your heart. That commitment isn’t just something we do for ritual when we cross or get initiated; it is your personal commitment to yourself and the organization. If you can’t rememeber exactly what it was you committed to, go back and read your ritual book. Of equal importance, you need to hold your brothers/sisters accountable to this commitment; feel free to remind them of the oath they took whenever you see them behaving “questionably”.
Thou Shalt Work to Understand the National Organization
The true value and significance of your fraternity or sorority isn’t truly understood until you get outside the walls of your own chapter. Attend a local/regional/national meeting, visit another chapter, apply to serve as an undergraduate representative or summer intern. When you get a visit from a consultant, truly work with your consultants to understand the structure and current state of your organization. Finally, if you truly want to understand what it means to be a fraternity or sorority member, attend an interfraternal event such as UIFI or AFLV.
Thou Shalt GRADUATE
You are absolutely no help to your chapter if you fail out of school; remember that you are a student first. One of the best things our organizations have in place are the programs and services designed to improve the scholastic efforts of our members. Let’s assume for a minute that your chapter embraces this value and has a chapter GPA above the all men’s/women’s average at your school. How great does it feel to be able to tell prospective members, parents, and Greek haters that statistically speaking, your chapter is academically outperforming the rest of the student body?
Thou Shalt Serve
All of our organizations emphasize service as an essential value that is core to the development of our members, and the betterment of our communities. You can check out my last post, “Life Changing Philanthropy“, for some tips on improving your philanthropic and service endeavors.
Thou Shalt Represent Every Fraternity and Sorority Member
To the general unaffiliated public, there is no difference between the letters on your chest, and those on mine. When you or your chapter screws up and ends up on the nightly news or campus newspaper, it hurts your schools entire fraternity and sorority community, as well as the international fraternity and sorority movement. Every single fraternity or sorority member carries this tremendous burden, understand this fact, and ensure that you are doing your best to represent all of us.
Do you have your own suggestions for additional commandments? Make sure to leave a comment!