The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

2024 Commencement Student Speaker: Lea Tarzy
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Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: Gloria Sporea

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Excellence in Athletics Award: Meghan Quinn

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Excellence in the Arts Award: Joselyn Busato

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Greek Life at Bucknell: A critical look at campus culture

On college campuses all across the US, the existence of Greek Life is a staple of social life. For many, being a frat guy or sorority girl is what defines the college experience. Others, however, feel very differently; I have heard from a number of folks over the years sentiments of “abolish Greek life” or “normalize non-fraternity parties” so that non-cishet and/or non-white people can have just as fulfilling of a social life as everyone else.

The way that Bucknell centers Greek life, whether that be on the administrative level as a means of increasing donations to the university or on the student life level as a means of maintaining an avid social presence, is a hindrance to students who are negatively impacted by one or more aspects of the institution as a whole. 

On the administrative side, the existence of fraternities and sororities, especially long term, is a surefire way to increase the rate and overall amounts of university donations. According to the University Report 2022-23, outside of tuition and fees, auxiliary enterprises and investments, donations and gifts are the largest sources of income for Bucknell. The report revealed that, “in fiscal year 2022,” Bucknell received almost “$90 million in gifts and new pledges,” about $61 million of which came from university alumni. Furthermore, Bucknell estimates that about 49 percent of Bucknellians are affiliated with Greek organizations, so it is likely that a statistically significant portion of those donations came from alumni who were affiliates during their time here. While this is great news for the overall operation of the university, we cannot say the same for the impact these organizations have on students like myself who are unable or otherwise unwilling to partake in that culture.

By way of student life, we are all acutely aware of the importance of Greek life within the party culture on campus, but what does that mean for people who cannot afford to pay the dues required of being affiliated with a Greek organization? And what about the statistically significant rate of sexual assault born out of that culture? Throughout my time at Bucknell, I have heard stories of men who are not allowed at frat parties simply because they are men who are not in that fraternity. Essentially, the ratio of men to women in attendance would no longer favor the brotherhood. Logically, this leads us to the question of sexual assault rates. A 2007 study conducted by John Foubert, Jerry Tatum and J.T. Newberry and published by the University of Minnesota Duluth “found that fraternity men were three times more likely to commit rape,” than non-affiliated men “on college campuses.” In a setting where the objectification of women and otherwise feminine-presenting people is continually normalized, this statistic makes all too much sense to us all. Absolutely good for you if Greek life is something you are into; everyone deserves to personalize their college experience anyway they see fit. But for me, being on the outskirts of that culture is where I find the most social fulfillment on campus.

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