Saturday, August 06, 2011

Animal House Overhaul - The way we were

An interesting "the way it was" post with a nod at the end to some of the changes that have come about since.

“Thank you, sir. May I have another?” from the classic John Belushi movie Animal House was a phrase I didn’t truly understand until I pledged a fraternity in 1989, my first year of college. My decision to go Greek was based on things that were important to a 19 year old guy right out of high school. Reputation, camaraderie, and can I meet girls, all certain criteria I considered. Ultimately, I decided on Sigma Phi Epsilon as my new home. They were competitive in intramural sports, their emblem was a skull and cross bones - symbolic of a strong bond (it also look good on a t-shirt), and they kept close company with Pi Beta Phi and Chi Omega the leading sororities on campus. 

After signing with the SigEp house, I soon realized my new adventure wasn’t all games the first time I was abruptly awakened at 2 a.m. by the membership to scour bathroom floors with my toothbrush. We were always up for 2 hours or more cleaning the fraternity house until the place was spotless. Members of the house were usually lurking around inspecting our work while asking us detailed questions about the history of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and our membership, a union of a hundred or more men in the Oklahoma State University chapter. If a question was answered incorrectly or if a pledge was accused of not pulling their weight, the entire pledge class was criticized for it by loud verbal abuse. Something very similar to what you would find from a drill sergeant in the military coming down on a neophyte private.

Animal House Overhaul - The News Connection

As a Mid '70s initiate, though of a different chapter with its own traditions, I would say the author captures the tone fairly closely. As a current volunteer with yet another chapter, I think the BMP does an even better job of ensuring chapter and personal success than any of the pledging antics.