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Profile Inquiry Project

Profile Inquiry Project

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Published by: blysette on May 04, 2011
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Bianca SanchezEnglish 1103Inquiry ProjectMay 4th, 2011
 
Greeks Drink
Blinded by the white artificial lights, chilled by the cold air, stirred bythe unsettling noise, and surrounded by somewhat familiar faces. These arethe lucky ones, the ones who were taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning just in time. What about the ones who could not make it in time? WHATABOUT THEM? Drinking without inhibition will lead to serious injuries,illnesses, and regretfully sometimes death. Who would partake in theseludicrous activities? The most common victims are college students, andmore specifically members of Greek Letter Societies.What is a Greek Letter Society? Greek Letter Societies are split into twogroups: fraternities and sororities. “Frater,” meaning brother in Latin, is formen, and “Soror,” meaning sister in Latin, is for women. These definitionsemphasize their purpose of “brotherhood and sisterhood.” Along withpromoting brotherhood and sisterhood, they also encourage “honor,friendship, scholarship, community, truth,” morality, and knowledge. Greekorganizations are for those with similar interests, ideas, and goals. On paper,Greek Letter Societies hold academics and community service high on theirlist of priorities. They enforce the true reason why students are in college: toreceive an education (Buczkowski).Why go Greek? What are the benefits to joining a Greek Letter Society?Of course for the sense of brotherhood and sisterhood, but also for thenumerous opportunities. The possibilities to network, to volunteer, to grow asa person, to have a “home away from home,” and to make life-longfriendships are common advantages of belonging to a Greek Letter Society. The University of Missouri conducted a study in which if a member of a Greekorganization the probability of returning for a second year of collegeincreased. These reasons are probably the most beneficial to students andespecially parents ("Parents”).
 
What does the rest of the population think about fraternity and sororitymembers? Most of us, the “Non-Greeks,” see Greeks as highly stereotypical.Movies like “Animal House” and TV shows like “Greek” suggest to us thatmembers of Greek Letter Societies party without need and drink withoutcaution. Unlike what they claim, academics is not at the top of their prioritylist. The sorority type only wants to tan, drink, and flirt with fraternity boys. The fraternity type only wants to guzzle beer all day and impress sororitygirls -- while both are self-centered and judgmental. The stereotype that“Non-Greeks” believe, if true, could become harmful.Do fraternities and sororities promote the “culture of drinking”? Not just drinking but binge drinking. Is it encouraged within the organization? Astudy done in 2001 at the Harvard School of Public Health and CollegeAlcohol discovered that members of fraternities increased their probability tobinge drink than their counterparts’ non-fraternity members, and the samegoes for members of sororities. This study done by Harvard showed that 86%of fraternity members were more likely to engage in binge drinkingcompared to 45% of non-fraternity members. As well as 80% if sororitymembers versus 36% of non-sorority members to participate in bingedrinking ("Fraternity and Sorority Members and Alcohol and Other DrugUse”).Binge drinking is the action of having many drinks in a short amount of time. For men to be considered binge drinkers it is five or more, and forwomen it is four or more. Considerably younger adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one are the most likely age group to binge drink. Mostalcohol consumption under the age of twenty-one is in the form of bingedrinking (90%). The consequences are numerous, ranging from mildlyreckless to extremely dangerous. Health issues related to binge drinking canbe either accidental or intentional, and can include but are not limited to:alcohol poisoning, diseases, brain damage, unwanted pregnancies, andmany others ("CDC - Fact Sheets-Binge Drinking - Alcohol").Members of Greek Letter Societies consume so much more alcoholthan non-members, which can in turn affect their academics. Staying up lateand drinking on a school night, not going to class because of a hangover, andhence missing out on important notes can be consequences of bingedrinking. Unfortunately, there are consequences far greater than failing aclass; binge drinking is a danger to one’s health, and because members of Greek Letter Societies are more likely to participate in binge drinking theyare more likely to fall under its injuries, illnesses, and violence. Some injuriesresult from “car crashes, falls, burns, and even drowning.” Health relatedissues that could happen are “alcohol poisoning, STDs, unwanted pregnancy,high blood pressure, liver disease, brain damage, and a child born with FetalAlcohol Syndrome.”("CDC - Fact Sheets-Binge Drinking - Alcohol”)
 
We all hear horror stories all the time about drinking, and especiallythose of Greek Letter Societies. But for most it does not become a realityuntil someone we know goes through it or we ourselves become victims.A member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity here at UNC Charlottetold me about a personal incident in which he was binge drinking andsuffered extreme consequences. While on their way to a football event inSouth Carolina, fraternity members chugged beer and liquor while on the busto finish it before they crossed into South Carolina. The member mentioneddrank entirely too much, too fast, and was drunk within thirty minutes on thebus. Once arriving at the event he was too ill to continue; his “brothers” lefthim there alone to recover. Fortunately, the bus driver was concerned andtook him to the hospital. After being admitted for alcohol poisoning he awokeand pulled out his IV and left the hospital, still extremely intoxicated. Hefound his way back to the football event with the help of a total stranger. Atthe event he continued to drink, and again was emitted to the hospital tentthere on the grounds. He refused to stay and once again left. He eventuallyreturned to the dorms and sleep the rest of the day as well as the next day.Luckily for him, he was not seriously injured -- but you would think that afterhaving the most horrible hangover of his life, he would quit drinking. Wrong!He continues to drink, often in a reckless manner, and says “it probablywon’t happen again.” There is one consequence that cannot be solved with tutoring,medicine, or even with the absence of drinking. Many young college studentshave died from binge drinking, but again since members of Greek LetterSocieties drink more than non-members they are more likely to have alcohol-related deaths. At the University of Maryland, a new member of Phi SigmaKappa, died after being discovered on the porch of the fraternity house whileunconscious and in cardiac arrest. After a night of celebration andexcitement a young college student died as a consequence of binge drinking. This is an outrage -- a young man just starting his life was cut short of achieving his dreams and goals (Marklein).It goes without saying that college students should not engage inalcohol consumption because it is illegal, but unfortunately this is a fact thatis often ignored. Perhaps most disappointing of all is that fact that youngpeople with goals in academics, leadership, and service, such as those inGreek Letter Societies, ignore the law only to face devastatingconsequences. The rate of binge drinking, alcohol poisoning, and alcohol-related deaths is extremely high for universities across American. Promotingthe dangers of extreme alcohol consumption is the first step to the reducingbinge drinking problem among college students at UNC Charlotte and otheruniversities.

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