Bianca Sanchez English 1103 Inquiry Project May 4th, 2011

Greeks Drink
Blinded by the white artificial lights, chilled by the cold air, stirred by the unsettling noise, and surrounded by somewhat familiar faces. These are the 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? WHAT ABOUT THEM? Drinking without inhibition will lead to serious injuries, illnesses, and regretfully sometimes death. Who would partake in these ludicrous activities? The most common victims are college students, and more specifically members of Greek Letter Societies. What is a Greek Letter Society? Greek Letter Societies are split into two groups: fraternities and sororities. “Frater,” meaning brother in Latin, is for men, and “Soror,” meaning sister in Latin, is for women. These definitions emphasize their purpose of “brotherhood and sisterhood.” Along with promoting brotherhood and sisterhood, they also encourage “honor, friendship, scholarship, community, truth,” morality, and knowledge. Greek organizations are for those with similar interests, ideas, and goals. On paper, Greek Letter Societies hold academics and community service high on their list of priorities. They enforce the true reason why students are in college: to receive 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 the numerous opportunities. The possibilities to network, to volunteer, to grow as a person, to have a “home away from home,” and to make life-long friendships are common advantages of belonging to a Greek Letter Society. The University of Missouri conducted a study in which if a member of a Greek organization the probability of returning for a second year of college increased. These reasons are probably the most beneficial to students and especially parents ("Parents”).

What does the rest of the population think about fraternity and sorority members? Most of us, the “Non-Greeks,” see Greeks as highly stereotypical. Movies like “Animal House” and TV shows like “Greek” suggest to us that members of Greek Letter Societies party without need and drink without caution. Unlike what they claim, academics is not at the top of their priority list. 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 sorority girls -- 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? A study done in 2001 at the Harvard School of Public Health and College Alcohol discovered that members of fraternities increased their probability to binge drink than their counterparts’ non-fraternity members, and the same goes for members of sororities. This study done by Harvard showed that 86% of fraternity members were more likely to engage in binge drinking compared to 45% of non-fraternity members. As well as 80% if sorority members versus 36% of non-sorority members to participate in binge drinking ("Fraternity and Sorority Members and Alcohol and Other Drug Use”). 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 for women 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. Most alcohol consumption under the age of twenty-one is in the form of binge drinking (90%). The consequences are numerous, ranging from mildly reckless to extremely dangerous. Health issues related to binge drinking can be either accidental or intentional, and can include but are not limited to: alcohol poisoning, diseases, brain damage, unwanted pregnancies, and many others ("CDC - Fact Sheets-Binge Drinking - Alcohol"). Members of Greek Letter Societies consume so much more alcohol than non-members, which can in turn affect their academics. Staying up late and drinking on a school night, not going to class because of a hangover, and hence missing out on important notes can be consequences of binge drinking. Unfortunately, there are consequences far greater than failing a class; binge drinking is a danger to one’s health, and because members of Greek Letter Societies are more likely to participate in binge drinking they are more likely to fall under its injuries, illnesses, and violence. Some injuries result from “car crashes, falls, burns, and even drowning.” Health related issues that could happen are “alcohol poisoning, STDs, unwanted pregnancy, high blood pressure, liver disease, brain damage, and a child born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.”("CDC - Fact Sheets-Binge Drinking - Alcohol”)

We all hear horror stories all the time about drinking, and especially those of Greek Letter Societies. But for most it does not become a reality until someone we know goes through it or we ourselves become victims. A member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity here at UNC Charlotte told me about a personal incident in which he was binge drinking and suffered extreme consequences. While on their way to a football event in South Carolina, fraternity members chugged beer and liquor while on the bus to finish it before they crossed into South Carolina. The member mentioned drank entirely too much, too fast, and was drunk within thirty minutes on the bus. Once arriving at the event he was too ill to continue; his “brothers” left him there alone to recover. Fortunately, the bus driver was concerned and took him to the hospital. After being admitted for alcohol poisoning he awoke and pulled out his IV and left the hospital, still extremely intoxicated. He found his way back to the football event with the help of a total stranger. At the event he continued to drink, and again was emitted to the hospital tent there on the grounds. He refused to stay and once again left. He eventually returned 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 after having the most horrible hangover of his life, he would quit drinking. Wrong! He continues to drink, often in a reckless manner, and says “it probably won’t happen again.” There is one consequence that cannot be solved with tutoring, medicine, or even with the absence of drinking. Many young college students have died from binge drinking, but again since members of Greek Letter Societies drink more than non-members they are more likely to have alcoholrelated deaths. At the University of Maryland, a new member of Phi Sigma Kappa, died after being discovered on the porch of the fraternity house while unconscious and in cardiac arrest. After a night of celebration and excitement 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 in alcohol consumption because it is illegal, but unfortunately this is a fact that is often ignored. Perhaps most disappointing of all is that fact that young people with goals in academics, leadership, and service, such as those in Greek Letter Societies, ignore the law only to face devastating consequences. The rate of binge drinking, alcohol poisoning, and alcoholrelated deaths is extremely high for universities across American. Promoting the dangers of extreme alcohol consumption is the first step to the reducing binge drinking problem among college students at UNC Charlotte and other universities.

Work Cited
Buczkowski, Peter. "An Argument For Greek Letter Societies « UTM Think." UTM Think. Blog at, 15 Sept. 2010. Web. 11 Apr. 2011. <http://>. "CDC - Fact Sheets-Binge Drinking - Alcohol." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. 20 Apr. 2011. <>. "Fraternity and Sorority Members and Alcohol and Other Drug Use." Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention |

Welcome to the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse

and Violence Prevention. Center for

College Health and Safety, 2008. Web. 11 Apr.

2011. <http://>. Marklein, Mary Beth. " - Binge Drinking's Campus Toll." News, Travel, Weather, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, U.S. & World, 27 Feb. 2002. Web. 11 Apr. 2011. < news/ health/child/2002-02-28-campus-binge-drinking.htm>. "Parents." UNC Charlotte Fraternities and Sororities. Web. 20 Apr. 2011. <http://>.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful