The New Business of Brotherhood

Matt Baker

Fraternities aren’t just a group of friends you make at college.

They are a collection of brotherhoods that exist far beyond the scope of any one campus. They are also organizations, and any kind of formal organization is also a business in many respects. Our chapters are no different; we have organizational structure, governing documents, property to take care of, and bills to pay. Our chapters have competition from other businesses, regulating forces and higher powers that rate our performance, and can dictate to an extent what we do. We have a brand, several advertising campaigns a year where we attract new clients. Think back, who rushed you, what were you sold at the time? Why even have brotherhood, what’s the purpose for your fraternity to even still exist anymore in the new millennium? Why does any Greek organization exist for that matter, what’s the point, all this drama and insanity over something as ridiculous us attaching Greek letters to our identity?

What is our business selling; What are we selling ourselves?

All this stuff that has become associated with fraternities is either a misleading stereotype or a part of college life regardless of Greek affiliation. You don’t need a fraternity to throw a party, play sports, meet people, etc. This “business” of “brotherhood” in which we find ourselves is simply selling us the opportunity to become a better men, as they have done since their founding. They help us to learn the things you can’t learn in a classroom or a lab. Things like running a complex organization, working with diverse groups of people, and communicating with other firms (IE other Greek Letter Organization’s and campus groups). Fraternity Life teaches it’s members leadership skills, personal responsibility and the importance of commitment and dedication. It teaches us about the value of hard work, devotion and even sacrifice. It teaches you to stand for something, and to represent certain ideals that are both timeless and unchanging throughout history. The reason brotherhood exist, is because only by working together has it ever been possible for any greater cause to be accomplished by men. If anyone ever hopes to accomplish anything in this life then they need help from their fellow man… they need to become part of a team.

Fraternities are about becoming men of virtue. Their rituals exist as a guide to help members live a meaningful, successful, and satisfied life.

But we sometimes have a problem these days; our product being delivered incomplete. A business fails if its employees don’t come to work, or you show them how to do their job (initiation) but then they forget right after wards or they work but just not that hard or they have a bad attitude. There are a million other things that can make a business unsuccessful and these are the same things that are hurting the Greek world. If you look at the fraternity like a business, a brother is both the employee and customer, so really brotherhood is about service to yourself by serving others. “You get of your fraternity what you put in.” Because of this you have the ability to create your own fraternal experience, but you cannot change the ideals that your organization stands for, because if you do that… then it isn’t the same fraternity anymore, it’s just anonymous frat!

Why do our letters mean what they mean, why do we say brotherhood is for life, if we often have people who quit or just stop coming around. We say it’s for life, and yet we have procedures to expel people? When we say our fraternity is for life- what we really mean is that membership in our fraternity is a lifelong obligation. It’s something that can benefit you throughout your life, it’s something that should change your life, and after God and your family, it’s something that should be in your heart throughout life.

Matt is a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity at the University of North Texas.

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