October 16, 2011

Letter to the Editor: Changing the course for Cornell’s Greek System

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To the Editor: Re: “Letter to the Editor: A Constructive Process,” Opinion, Sept. 26Cornell’s fraternities are social organizations, but this title under-represents the richness of the experience. The social experience is not defined solely by our parties, Keystone and music until 4 a.m., but by the networks we develop, the leadership skills we learn through practice and application, and the community support we grow through our brother and sisterhoods. Our social lives are as much a part of our education, development and preparation for our futures as are our classes.There is a reason that 76 percent of all congressmen, 40 of 47 Supreme Court Justices since 1910 and the heads of 43 of the nation’s 50 largest corporations are Greeks. It has nothing to do with how many parties they attended but everything to do with the social and organizational skills that they developed within their fraternity experience.How are Greek students acquiring these skills everyday? Simply by being active brothers in a house we learn how to manage the dynamics of organizations and the diversity of thought among dozens of highly intelligent individuals who have different ideas regarding how to allocate our time and resources. Motivating our peers and tackling divisive house issues while maintaining a spirit of fraternalism fosters creativity and entrepreneurial thought.Brothers are family. We share in the joys and tribulations, highs and lows of each and every brother. Like a family, brothers hold higher expectations of one another and demand greater accountability to the brotherhood. We may have our moments where we seem dysfunctional, but the bonds of brotherhood link people together on a more personal level than any comparable organization and this drives the internalization of responsibility and commitment.The skills mentioned above can be learned in other environments on campus, but they are not ingrained with the same strength as they are in the Greek system. Our social experiences become a lifestyle. It is Greek life, a 24/7 activity that — to varying degrees based on individuals — our members incorporate into their character.We hope this brief article identifies some of the ways that the Greek system has and will continue to offer a positive impact for Cornell’s students. The positive aspects of the Greek system at Cornell have recently become overshadowed by our irresponsibility and failures. We ourselves have taken for granted the benefits this experience conveys to us, but we recognize the need to address our system’s issues. To offer proof that we indeed are the leaders we are expected to be, we will embrace the challenge of redirecting the course of the Greek system presented to us by the administration, and even exceed their expectations.As an Ivy League school and a leading research institution, the leaders of today look to Cornell to produce the leaders of tomorrow. If one wanted to get a sneak peak at the leaders of the future he or she would turn to Cornell’s Greek system to find them.

Chapter presidents Alex Rawitz ’13, Christopher Sanders ’13, Itamar Niesvizky ’13, Bailey Rogg ’13 and Kyle Peters ’13, and IFC Representative Akhil S Patel ’13