What is a fraternity? The definition found on Wikipedia. org defines a fraternity (Latin frater : “brother”) as a brotherhood, though the term usually connotes a distinct or formal organization. The only true distinction between a fraternity and any other form of social organization is the implication that the members freely associate as equals for a mutually beneficial purpose, rather than because of a religious, governmental, commercial, or familial bond, although there are fraternities dedicated to each of these topics.
In many instances fraternities are limited to male membership but this is not always the case, and there are mixed male and female, and even wholly female, fraternities. For example, for general fraternities; Grande Loge Mixte de France, Honorable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons, Grande Lodge Feminine de France, Order of the Eastern Star. Fraternities can be organized for many purposes, including university education, social, work skills, ethics, ethnicity, religion, politics, charity, chivalry, other standards of personal conduct, asceticism, service, performing arts, family command of territory, and even crime.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
There is almost always an explicit goal of mutual support, and while there have been fraternal orders for the well-off there have also been many fraternities for those in the lower ranks of society, especially for national or religious minorities. Trade unions also grew out of fraternities such as the Knights of Labor. The ability to organize freely, apart from the institutions of government and religion, was a fundamental part of the establishment of the modern world. In Living the Enlightenment, Margaret C.
Jacobs showed the development of Jurgen Habermas’ ‘public space’ in 17th century Netherlands was closely related to the establishment of lodges of Freemasons. History There are known fraternal organizations which existed as far back as ancient Greece and Rome and similar institutions in the late medieval period called confraternities, which were lay organizations allied to the Catholic Church. The development of Freemasonry in the early 1700s became a watershed moment in fraternal organization, and there have been hundreds of varieties of Freemasonry, and thousands of closely parallel organizations since then.
Virtually all fraternal organizations today bear some debt to the models of organization first worked out in Masonic lodges. The development was especially dynamic in the United States, where the freedom to associate outside governmental regulation is expressly sanctioned in law. There have been hundreds of fraternal organizations in the United States, and at the turn of the last century the number of memberships was equal to the number of adult males, although, because of multiple memberships, probably only 50% of adult males belonged to any organizations.
In 1944 Arthur M. Schlesinger coined the phrase “a nation of joiners” to refer to the phenomenon. Alexis de Tocqueville also referred to the American reliance on private organization in the 1830s in Democracy in America. As has been presented, while fraternities have historically been beneficial for a large portion of the population, for African Americans, the fraternity began as a need for survival on American college campuses. They provided a source of community for students who were segregated from the daily university life.
At the start of the 20th century, black students attending American universities were often excluded from the personal and close associations the predominantly white student population enjoyed in existing fraternal organizations. During the 1905” 06 school year, Cornell University witnessed the organization of the first Greek letter fraternity for black students, by black students. Alpha Phi Alpha was organized with the stated desire of providing a mechanism to build those associations and provide mutual support among African American students. At the outset, there was disagreement about the group’s purpose.
Some desired to organize a social and literary club where all persons could participate. Others in the group supported a traditional fraternal organization. The overwhelming sentiment was dissatisfaction with lack of access to a literary society and members proposed to enlarge the functions of the group. The fraternal supporters were in the minority and the society thereafter organized with the intention of providing a literary, study, social, and support group for all minority students who encountered social and academic racial prejudice. My desires to join a fraternity were not so lofty.
The first time I realized that I wanted to join a fraternity was during my sophomore year at Bowling Green State University (BG for short). My best friend, Greg and I went to an icebreaker/step show where various fraternities (and sororities) were highlighted. I was both envious of the bond that seemed to be present between the “bruh’s”, and excited about becoming part of the group. It was at that time that I knew that I wanted to join a fraternity. With the variety of fraternities represented, I knew I had to make a decision as to which fraternity I should join.
They all appeared to have some similarities (dedication to the community, academic success, commitment to each other, a sense of belonging, etc. ), but I had to quickly come to grips as to what I wanted from them. So, I had to do some soul searching as to which fraternity to join, the Kappas, Alphas, Sigmas or Omegas and which would be the best fit for me. I had other friends that were undergoing the same decision making process and wondering which group would match their personalities and desires the best.
To some extent, I made my decision based on the friendships that I had earlier developed at BG. There were 6 of us that pledged Kappa Alpha Psi (because of recent stories in the media about the horrors of pledging…or hazing as you might call it, is now called “intake”). For 13 weeks, we learned about the history of Kappa Alpha Psi and what the fraternity stood for, we endured initiation rites from our fraternity brothers, we were asked to do the unthinkable and over those long, torturous weeks, we bonded. At the end of the 13 weeks spent with my line brothers we were truly as family.
It’s very difficult to fully explain the relationship that developed between me and the 5 other men that pledged with me. We are closer than brothers, we are more than family. I know that there are 5 men in this world that, as long as they are breathing, will do nearly anything for me. It was this sense of belonging that I’d first witnessed and was what I now had. After having joined the fraternity, there was for me, a surprising benefit. Our advisor, Dr. Downs, made sure we also valued the educational system in which we’d immersed ourselves. Dr.
Downs stressed studying and education above all else and made sure our education and class assignments came before any and everything…even the fraternity’s duties. Dr. Down’s memory stays with me to this day as a role model, as someone I aspired to emulate. He embodied, in my opinion, the attributes of a true man. In the vernacular of the time, he “had it going on” and I wanted to be like him. He was a strong, independent man with a vast vocabulary, charisma, a sense of style and he was an honorable man, who exhibited a keen sense of fairness and justice. Being part of a fraternity brought with it several life learning lessons.
The most valuable one to me and the one that holds the deepest meaning for me was what defined a true friendship. I also learned discipline, which I value to this day. I experienced situations where I was forced to call upon all of my communication skills, and learned to be a better communicator as a result of these challenges. I learned and truly appreciated the value of hard work and what sacrifice meant. As I moved on from BG and entered the workforce, I would often have to call upon these very lessons to get me through some of my most difficult life situations.
I used all of my knowledge, drew from past experiences that I’d faced and further developed my interpersonal communication skills. As a deputy sheriff, I was often called on to give instructions to individuals for a variety of reasons, and during those situations, lack of good interpersonal skills could be damaging at best, life threatening at worst. I learned that upon giving instructions to someone, it was in everyone’s best interest to have that information repeated back to me just to clarify that they understood what was expected of them.
Having them repeat my instructions to me gave me the assurance that both of us were communicating effectively and sharing the same knowledge of the expectations. This epiphany didn’t happen overnight, nor did it happen as the result of my training to be a deputy. It happened over time as a result of numerous interactions with various individuals who were called upon to perform one task or another. Being in a fraternity has brought with it insights and knowledge that, as a young, impressionable 19-year old young man, I had neither imagined nor realized existed.
Everything I am today I can, in some fashion, attribute back to those days at BG where my beliefs were being shaken, formed and formed again. I learned to value and lean upon those individuals who’d exhibited strengths I lacked and I became a pillar for my brothers who needed a steadying hand upon their shoulder. I experienced high highs, low lows and everything in between, often with the support of one or several of my fraternity brothers behind me. Despite my strong reliance on my fraternity brothers, I also can look to my religious background as being tied inexorably to me.
From a very small age, I was raised to have a firm belief in the Christian God and carry that belief with me and in me and it touches everything I do. I can easily find God and religion in everything. My doctrines are not defined by what I can see or not see, but rather by a foundation of hope. This kind of hope is grounded in an audacity that believes not just for the sake of believing but also more importantly, for the sake of accomplishing. With God at the head of my ambitions, dreams and goals, all things are possible. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). When we hope, we confirm our belief and trust in things we cannot see. My Big Momma taught me, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understandings” (Proverbs. 3:5). Believing without evidence of success is the act of trusting. Every Kappa everywhere should be proud of this accomplishment. In closing I will use the undisputable and irrefutable words of our Executive Director, “It’s good to be a Kappa”. Being part of a fraternity basically helped me grow from a child to a man.
The lessons I learned, the individuals I’d encountered, the experience and knowledge that I’d gained all attributed to my journey from childhood to manhood. 1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up my childish ways. You can say that that quote sums up my experience at BG. I entered as a child, encounted many new, wonderful, terrifying, thought-provoking things and emerged as a strong, independent man who was ready and able to tackle the world. Works cited WWW. Wikipedia. org WWW. Kappaalphapsi1911. com