Friday, April 17, 2015

Flashback Friday

Last month I wrote a short essay on my experience in a fraternity.  One of the fringe benefits was having an association with one of the local sororities.  Naturally, I don't remember a great deal of these pictures, but they had something to do with an initiation of their newest ranks into our ranks.  

You will see mostly smiles in these pictures.  It was an annual event and the only requirement was to have fun.  Good clean fun.  Maybe a little beer, maybe some trepidation from the new ones, but that;s part of these things.  Good, safe, clean fun.  

The Beta's were our sister sorority, and when they had new recruits they had an initiation kind of like our Hell Week.  Sometimes these things are done unannounced and participants don't even have time to take their curlers out.   In the above picture we are trying to keep the ladies in the room but RB and Nick are having some trouble getting that accomplished.  Of course it doesn't hurt when you send out Betty, who could have been a linebacker for the IWC Tigers football team.  Betty, one of my favorites on campus was one of the sweetest, funniest girls I've ever been around.   


One of the more juvenile aspects to these things (I didn't say we weren't above acting like children) was the ever-popular sleight of hand with food.  A little pasta masquerading as worms, a few potato chips disguised as glass, and so on.  

More attempted escapees?

The old vets and the newer initiates then having a fun celebration and a welcoming into the brotherhood and sisterhood.  

I'd also like to say at this juncture, my fraternity Hell Week was the old fashioned, old school type.  The next years after they were modified, and yes, diluted into more fan-friendly type rituals.  In fact, the name itself was changed from Hell Week to Help Week.  I'm sure I had an opinion at the time, but it is lost now in the ether of time.   But looking back I'm sure I was delighted with the change and opportunity for constructive character development.  But there is always a price for change.  Always.  On one hand you gain the opportunity to shape, yet lose tradition and the best of the past.  Progress isn't always progress, and change isn't always good.  

We couldn't see it back then, but the end was just around the corner for us all.  Administration moves to bring all Greeks back onto campus was just the first blow.  Dwindling enrollment and a change in attitudes for Greek system all contributed to the demise.  The Phi Delts, my fraternity, was the last one to survive, and it closed in 2009.  Go to the IWC website and under Greek Life you will see a this statement:

"The Iowa Wesleyan Greek community has a long, rich tradition of supporting student involvement and development.  We are currently in the process of rebuilding, offering four opportunities for Greek Life at this time.  We have a national sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, which is the oldest active chapter of their organization, and three local chapters, Theta Sigma Rho and Pi Delta Chi, local sororities, and Zeta Psi Mu, a local fraternity." 

I don't know what that means, really.  But OK.  I don't know what "process of rebuilding" means.  In my day there were 8 National fraternities and sororities.  Now there is one.  And I haven't a clue as to what a local fraternity is.  

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