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The history of fraternities in the U.S. dates back as early as the 1770s, when there were student fraternal organizations that promoted scholarship, rhetoric, and ethical conduct. As fraternities developed over the years, they formed their organizations around fellowship, making the development of friendship and brotherhood their primary purpose.

Note that the values centered on scholarship, ethics, and fellowship—all worthy and noble principles to which one can aspire.

“I can unequivocally say that my experience as chapter president--managing a house budget around the appetites of 50 college guys—was a valuable training ground for leadership and business acumen. Without question I gained tremendous confidence and several close, lifelong friends. And, yes, we had fun. We had parties. We drank beer. We went on dates.

We also respected each other, respected women, respected our university, and respected the ideals on which our fraternity was founded and which, we felt, set us apart.” –KDR Alum

But does any of this remain true today?

While this is not a Lambda Chi alum, what he says rings true for fraternities across the nation.

What began as an honorable society of men seeking personal growth and friendship has taken a sharp downturn over the years—so much so that the chapters across the nation are making headlines for allegations of hazing and sexual assault and are facing suspension or some other disciplinary action.

Change is hard, but the only thing standing between fraternity men of all ages and decades is themselves, and their willingness to make tough but vital decisions. The road to recovery will be a long one with an uncertain outcome, but these 4 critical steps can make a difference for fraternities across the nation:

1. Go Dry

Before you say it’s impossible, think about the role that alcohol has played in in fraternity suspensions. How many incidents at fraternities across the nation could have been avoided if alcohol wasn’t involved?

And if you’re thinking this will hurt recruitment, think again. According to Time Magazine, “Phi Delta Theta has grown from 8,500 student members to over 12,000.” Not only that, but “the average GPA for members has gone from 2.7 to 3.1 and liability insurance costs have dropped by half, from $160 per person per year before 2000, to $80.”

Other benefits of go dry include a cleaner house, less property damage, and less risk for sexual assault. According to Campus Safety Magazine, at least 50% of college student sexual assaults are associated with alcohol use, and 90% of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol.

2. Bring in an RA

Having a resident assistant live in the fraternity house will provide some structure for the students, and their supervision would greatly reduce the probability of incidents that are all over headlines today. An RA would work to foster an environment that promotes the educational experience of residential living and furthers the values of the chapter.

3. Recruit Only Honor Students

In order for our chapter to secure a future, we must start recruiting young men of a higher caliber. There are many honor students interested in residential experiences and who believe in and would uphold our mission and creed. Seek out men who are committed to academic excellence and service to the campus and the community, and who demonstrate a true desire to embrace the values of the fraternity and lead by example. 

4. Return to Our Core Values and Mission

Our creed and our mission and values guide the chapter and help young men grow into respectable, service-minded adults, eager to be leaders and achievers. Our creed was crafted by a group of men with a true dedication to every word and phrase. Following these founding principles will unlock the key to success.

The Creed of Lambda Chi Alphas:

We believe in Lambda Chi Alpha, and its traditions, principles, and ideals. The crescent is our symbol — pure, high, ever growing; and the cross is our guide — denoting service, sacrifice, and even suffering and humiliation before the world, bravely endured if need be, in following that ideal.

May we have faith in Lambda Chi Alpha and passion for its welfare. May we have hope for the future of Lambda Chi Alpha and strength to fight for its teachings. May we have pure hearts, that we may approach the ideal of perfect brotherly love.

The only thing standing between us and a clear, bright future is ourselves. We have the power to put these policies in place. Let us know what you think on our discussion board.