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Letter: Redefining the fraternal experience in a time of opportunity



Concerns about fraternal organizations are not new.

Each generation calls for reform — attempting to better the fraternal experience and return it to its traditional roles of brotherly love and the betterment of its members and society. However, complacency and obstinate community norms doom both of these efforts. Little wonder that most fraternities have chosen the path of benign neglect, tolerating this perverse aberration of what once was and hoping that it causes little lasting [email protected]@I’m going to have to read this bimonthly. Bloody [email protected]@

But our social institutions are now changing more rapidly than ever, and we can no longer afford such passivity. Corporations are being restructured, governments are being streamlined and even the University is being asked to transform itself to better serve a changing society.

We are challenged to re-emphasize the mission of our organizations and the quality of our experience, to provide broader opportunities for our members as well as the knowledge and wisdom required for development, to enhance the lives — here and hereafter — of all whom we interact with, and to do all this while maintaining academic performance and enduring public scrutiny.

We face an uphill battle, both internally among the leaders of the current standard who do not recognize the need for change and externally from all those who fail to see the intrinsic value of the fraternal organization and only recognize our community for our past and current transgressions.

We must see our institutions through a period of transformation if they are to meet the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities before them. We can take some comfort in the idea that change has always been key to survival — even as it sought to preserve and propagate our fraternal achievements.

The fraternity has endured as an important social institution for as long as it has precisely because it has evolved in profound ways to serve the changing world around it.

As we question all aspects of society — from health care to intercollegiate athletics, from taxes to collective bargaining agreements, from immigration to Facebook — we must also find it appropriate and necessary to examine a core activity for many and a peripheral for others: the fraternal organization. While change can be a challenge, it can also be an opportunity.

It is clearly time to take this opportunity to re-evaluate the character and the conduct of the fraternal organization, to refocus on the core founding principles and to take action to redefine our purpose.

Logan [email protected]@http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=student&d=person&b=name&s=Logan+Smith@@
Commander – Sigma Nu Fraternity
Adapted from James Duderstadt’s “A Time of Change, a Time of Opportunity”@@http://books.google.com/books?id=RG0FsdsXnQkC&pg=PA14&lpg=PA14&dq=James+Duderstadt%27s+%22A+Time+of+Change,+a+Time+of+Opportunity%22&source=bl&ots=Tk_i8_C5-V&sig=TWkHhjPzcUF1upOnK1YzjXghu8U&hl=en&ei=f7LBTtKKKKTSiALx-8RD&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false@@


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