Editorial: Non-alcoholic philanthropy events lack in attendance

On the night of Nov. 15, Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council hosted the first annual Dance Marathon, a philanthropic fundraiser for a local children’s hospital. Despite this fun opportunity for students to dance the night away with their friends in order to help a great cause, many did not stay past 10 p.m. Why did this happen?

Exclusion of non-Greek students seems like an unlikely reason. IFC and the Panhellenic Council invited all realms of students to the event, Greek and non-Greek, in hopes of making this a campus-wide event. They co-sponsored the event with a couple of non-Greek-affiliated organizations in order to promote it among those students. First-year halls, athletic teams, non-Greek student organizations, and others created teams for the event and attended. Evidently, non-Greek students were not excluded in any way and were indeed welcome. This did not serve as an excuse to leave the event early or not attend at all.

Even within the Greek community, attendance was a struggle. Some Greek organizations required their members to attend at some point throughout the night, and at least one member had to be present throughout the duration of the event. Greek members should have had even more incentive to attend, as it fulfilled philanthropy requirements.

It seems that the main reason for the student exodus was due to the timing. The event was held on a Saturday night, which is when most students go out. Furthermore, attendance noticeably decreased when most parties began. Could there be a connection between this attendance issue at a sober event, Greek life, and parties?

Although its organizations provide and encourage attending non-alcohol-related events, Greek life ultimately perpetuates the drinking culture on campus. The Greek system is heavily based on alcohol, and since such a significant part of this campus is Greek, the Greek system naturally plays a huge role in perpetuating the drinking culture.

Many of Greek events are based on alcohol. All social events revolve around drinking, such as mixers and Super Saturdays. These events take place every Wednesday night, Friday night, Saturday during the day, and Saturday night, which is a significant amount of time. While they are not always required to do so, most Greeks attend these events. This significantly reduces the number of students who can attend other sober events, such as watching a student performance in Seventh Street Café or attending an Activities and Campus Events (ACE) event. Even outside the Greek community, Greek organizations perpetuate the drinking culture on campus, as fraternity parties are essentially the only environments in which students have easy access to alcohol and a place to socialize.

What is the solution to this? Greek organizations like IFC and the Panhellenic Council can and should continue to host fun, sober events like the Dance Marathon. Yet, even when required, students’ attendance dwindles due to a greater desire to drink. While Greek life certainly perpetuates drinking, it is not the only catalyst. It is also the mindset of many University students.

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