If you are like 90 percent of the student body at Stony Brook University, chances are you have either been to or heard of a fraternity party. You or someone you know has probably been involved in one of these events. The whole process is sketchy and unnecessarily arduous; you put your trust into a stranger’s hands to drive you to an undisclosed location off campus, you pay him five or ten dollars to enter, you drink the organization’s versions of the college staples, “jungle juice” and water beer, without knowing what in the world is in them and finally, you are forced to spend ten more dollars to hail another stranger to pick you up and take you home.
Does this process not sound a tad bit stressful? Not only that, but with all the driving and the distance of the fraternity houses from campus, it is extremely risky as well.
There are two options I can think of that can possibly quell these concerns. The first is to somehow ban all off-campus parties by stopping them from the source: the giving of rides at various locations all around campus. This would be a job for UPD. This way of going about things will reduce the aforementioned risks, but at the same time, it would essentially take away the only thing that keeps the students that do not like to study every waking second of their lives sane.
Option two might sound a bit idealistic, but it would certainly make this school’s social scene all the more prominent and less sketchy. A good plan would be to build or designate certain buildings to Greek life, like almost every other school in the U.S.. This would certainly make a ton of sense. Think about it; no more giving rides to random houses in the middle of suburbia. No more waiting outside in the snow and rain for those strangers to come get you. No more running the risk of dying in the passenger seat of a car belonging to someone you do not know.
Since parties are going to happen regardless of the rules, we might as well make them as safe as possible by having them close by.
While this sort of thing is not feasible at the moment, there is another point to consider. The community of Stony Brook hates the university. The townspeople detest the presence of students as their next door neighbors, as it irks them to see tens of students walking along Stony Brook Road to get to class in the mornings.
In a 2007 article in the New York Times by Robert Fin that reports of the forced eviction of Stony Brook’s very own Zeta Beta Tau fraternity from its house on Fox Hollow road, it was indicated that when the boys moved out, police officer Ken Bencal said, “It felt like a gift from heaven.” His wife, Peggy, said she told the students that they will “never fit in and we want you out.”
Granted, the fraternity wrote its own ticket out by throwing a “rager” that got out of control, but these sorts of statements make it clear to me that the town of Stony Brook hates its fraternities.
In order to have a Greek experience even remotely close to that of schools like Syracuse or Penn State, our organizations have to be put under the discerning watch of the surrounding suburban town which, understandably, does not appreciate any type of college shenanigans on its premises.
If only Stony Brook University knew what was best for it. At the end of the day, the school is for the students, by the students and of the students. The number one priority should be retaining and attracting students to this growing university. When those priorities are met, the reputation, quality and even the ever so dear research of this school will improve.
Having fraternity/sorority housing would make most college students’ idea of having fun all the more attainable and at the same time allow Greek life to have more of a presence on campus. Fraternities and sororities, if allowed to live on campus, would have an easier time doing what they were meant to do when the first Greek organizations were founded: build an atmosphere of family and prosperity, something our university lacks.