“Alex Talks About A Lot of Things,” or “Read The Last Paragraph and Write a Damn Comment”

(trigger warning!)

I won’t start off with my original disclaimer that I’m ambivalent towards Greek life. I deleted it when I realized that it would be a lie. I’m not ambivalent, I’m just not fully for or against it, and I’ll ask you to keep that in mind. I like to drink, I like to party, I like sex. They’re all great things! But I have more than one friend who has been raped at a party because people assumed that they both were voluntarily dancing with each other. If you can still say that we don’t have a problem, then quit reading now, write a snarky comment, and rate me one star. Then go to your room to think about what you’ve done.

Many people are surprised to learn that I actually rushed sophomore year. I was actually perfectly open to the idea of joining something if it felt right, but nothing did. In fact, I ended up not joining a fraternity because something felt pointedly not right about the entire thing; not that any of the guys were fake or I had a problem with what was going on, it just didn’t sit right. I finally figured out why later that year: my biggest problem with Greek life is that (for the most part) fraternities and sororities are groups that exist for the purpose of being a group.

Yes, they do philanthropy. Yes, GPAs are higher on average in many cases. I get that, but the primary purpose of any Greek organization is to exist. I can’t keep track of the number of times I’ve heard that “such and such has been around since whenever” or that “we were the first fraternity to have ______.” Awesome- that’s legitimately really cool! So, what were you doing back in _____ when you were the first group to accept _______? (We’ll disregard the objectification where you devalued that piece of his identity and claimed it as an object to show off and move on because that’s a different issue).

Like, how is that more/less/as notable as the fact that Bucknell opened classes to women in 1883?

And, to you, anonymous friends who tried to convince me that I’m wrong, don’t fucking try and tell me that you joined a frat because they do community service.  They participate in the Adopt-A-Highway program. So did my high school’s German Club, and the high school kids whined about it a hell of a lot less than some of your frat brothers. I’m not here to discredit the work that anyone here does, and I’m well aware that the philanthropy and service were deciding factors for many happy greek members- they were part of that for me too!!

But I will argue that those lead people to choose which specific group they wanted to join, and don’t usually actually induce people to join one in the first place. People make that decision because they want to be part of a group. I have no problem with this, I truly don’t. It’s not always a bad thing, and I know a great number of people that need that social support, but I’m not one of them.

With that said, my problem is what comes from having campus life dominated by groups that pride themselves on being that particular group, because it leaves little room for anything else. For some people, no other extracurricular activity will ever really get priority over their frat/sorority- I mean, they don’t need to!

For example, why would I need to go see the show at Uptown if I don’t really know anyone else that’s going and my brothers are all hanging out at the house? Also, I have to miss my radio show this week because I have to help clean the basement and I don’t want to deal with the guys I live and eat with being pissed because I blew them off for something that they’re not involved in.

You know what? From his perspective, that makes total sense and I won’t argue that our fictional Bucknellian is wrong in any way. But yeah, that really sucks for me, who has to fill the airtime that I thought would be occupied, and I have to apologize to Frankie Muniz, because he was playing in the band at Uptown and 7 people were there. That’s not even accounting for the fact that I personally put in a week’s worth of work to get the sound and lights ready for a kick-ass show.


Not Pictured: Anything I Have a Problem With

To Bucknell’s credit -sincerely, this makes me super happy– I’ve never been maliciously excluded because I’m not a Brother anywhere. That happens a lot at other places, and we largely have an incredibly accepting student body. Kudos. But that doesn’t mean I’ve not been excluded not on purpose. Yes, it was my choice not to join a frat. I made it quite purposefully, and I don’t regret it. It was NOT, however, my choice to have to scramble for a new roommate when one of our group (since freshman year!) was told last-minute that he would have to live in his frat’s house. It was not my choice to fail to come to his room to console him after a bad breakup because his frat was having something or other and I couldn’t come in without waiting in line outside. It was not my choice to be asked what was wrong with me when I mentioned offhand that I wasn’t Greek.

Removing Greek life from campus would not necessarily better the campus climate at all. Lessing the group mentality associated with it, however, would make the biggest difference of anything. One of the neat initiatives that Bucknell has taken was the SpeakUP program, which hopes to combat alarming rates of sexual abuse by talking about the “bystander effect,” where people assume that someone else will take action. It all comes from Groupthink (no, I’m not accusing frats/sororities of Orwellian nightmare fuel!) and the fact that as a big group of people, individuals let more things slide than they normally would. We all have friends that are great as long as they’re not with some other friends of theirs, and I’m talking about the same concept.

How else would you objectification of our females surrounding frat parties? I’ve heard countless guys (that I normally know to be kind, caring, and thoughtful toward people of all gender) tell some poor freshman that he “needs more girls” to get into a party. The response? Usually “I should go find more!” Yes, everybody, let’s go collect girls! It’s basically like an Easter egg hunt, right? We’ll just pick up a few more so that the frat brothers have a better chance of getting laid. I won’t keep going with this because it’s a different discussion, and I’ll start getting actually bitter if keep on it right now.

Look, I’ve said a lot of things. I’ve been accusatory, overly general, and probably a bit too negative. If I’ve offended you, then I’m probably sorry, depending on what it was that you took issue with. But I’m sick of hearing these 5 things:

  1. There’s nothing else to do!
  2. I actually joined for the philanthropy.
  3. Students should just drink less! They aren’t forced to do anything.
  4. Well, it was your choice to not join a frat…
  5. Greek life isn’t the problem! Bucknell just needs a scapegoat! The organizations are nothing but helpful.

Each of these is right on at least some level, but they each all disregard a lot of commonly accepted facts of life, and belie a lack of perspective that I find, frankly, quite concerning. Maybe “minimizing the dominance of Greek life on campus” isn’t really about forcing Greek life to shrink or do less things or have less parties and less freedom. Maybe it means we need to lessen the dominance that it has over each of our individual lives, because there’s a world out there and we’re fucking missing it.

Don’t Hate Me…

I never thought I would be “old-fashioned.”  I was the second sophomore male in my high school to pierce my ear.  My mom was WAY out there with sex ed for me (she told me it was important to be a good lover in life).  And I had an older brother who perhaps numbed my parents into not worrying overly much about me.

But, looking at this discussion, I feel a little old-fashioned.  One aspect that stood out for me in the CC report was that nationally there is a shift among young adults away from serial monogamy (date-break-up-date) towards the “hook up” culture.  Is this true here?

I don’t see enough students paired off, walking around, holding hands.  It is spring…gather ye rosebuds and fertility and all that crap.  And when I do see a pair of students holding hands, they do look a little defensive, a little like they know it is an act of defiance in a culture that loves sexualized imagery and frowns on self-limit.

That is all I wanted to say.  I think your lives here would be better if there was a little more old–fashioned romance, wooing, courting, and such.  By better, I do not mean you agree with me.  I mean better in measurable ways.  Longer-term relationships will lead to more emotional growth and maturity.  They also likely cut down on STDs.   They also ut sexuality back in the context of love and relationships and not simply a commodified form of pleasure.  In fact, given the burgeoning acceptance of gayness, you all can even improve on the “old” old-fashioned romance model.  Have you ever seen two men and two women holding hands in public around here?

And, you never know, you may find a love of your life.  I don’t mean “the.”  But “a.”  Given the freedom to make and break relationships in our society now (which is a victory for gender equality), the new normal should be several “a love of my life”s.

That is all.  You may go back to socially constructing the nefarious and cover plot by ‘the man” to strip you of your first amendment right to have fun.”  😉


Let me start off by saying that I am frustrated by the campus climate report and stupidity of students more than anything. The task force was very well intentioned in bringing light to some of the problems on this campus, but failed to identify the positive elements of the Bucknell experience. The report succeeded in drawing attention to the campus climate and invoked conversation, which is essential for any kind of change. As the manager of Uptown, I am very involved in the Office of Campus Activities and Programming and planning events on campus. Significant structural and strategic changes have been made in most student activities since the report was issued, to combat some of the engagement and social issues raised. Where attendance of events is the issue, planning MORE events and providing MORE things to do on the weekends is useless. We have observed the most prominent barrier to attending these events as “I don’t have anybody to go with, none of my friends are going…” WHAT HAPPENED TO MEETING NEW PEOPLE BY DOING THINGS THAT INTEREST YOU?!? I can’t understand why are students so set in their social groups and afraid of acting as an individual that they don’t take advantage of the plethora of interesting opportunities provided.

My favorite line that I hear in Uptown at almost every event is: “This is such a cool space, I didn’t even know it was here before.” I have to just laugh at how stupid students are on this campus for going to such a good school. Advertising on this campus is one of the most difficult tasks because students COMPLETELY IGNORE IT. Prime example: MESSAGE CENTER. The one place you can find out what is going on and NO ONE READS IT. Second example: THE INVOLVEMENT NETWORK (IN NETWORK). The easiest platform to use to advertise all events on campus in once place and PEOPLE STILL DON’T KNOW IT EXISTS. No matter how big or blatant you make a sign or banner people still WON’T SEE IT RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM. I question if there is an engagement issue or an observance issue in students.

Where Bucknell students are REALLY STUPID though, is when it comes to drinking. Most freshmen come into college with some limited experience drinking (yes, we were stupid in high school too) and general knowledge about the effects of alcohol. If they paid attention in high school health class, they know what constitutes one drink and that 4-5 drinks is considered binge drinking, and that underage drinking is quite illegal. This is common knowledge, the University should not have to tell them this over and over. Why they think MORE IS BETTER when it comes to alcohol is beyond me. Throwing up is NOT FUN. Dehydration is NOT FUN. Falling over is NOT FUN. Fighting with people is NOT FUN. Moderate consumption is A LOT OF FUN, a blood alcohol content that causes cardiac arrest is not. And yet, they continue to do the same stupid things and think “Oh, but I have more tolerance now.”

One of my biggest problems with the response to the campus climate report is that “Bravman is ruining Bucknell.” Bucknell was ruined by previous administrations that SPOILED students and PROTECTED them from reality with lenient and forgiving policies. WAKE UP PEOPLE. You can’t learn from experience in a bubble. The POLICE ARE REAL. There are RESPONSIBILITIES AND LIABILITIES that come with hosting parties and serving alcohol. PUBLIC INTOXICATION is a danger to society, let along your own health and well-being. Partying with alcohol has REAL COSTS and it’s about time students on this campus become aware of that. Unfortunately, I honestly believe it is going to take the death of a Bucknell student to open our eyes to the real consequences and dangers of drinking. Like a good parent, Bucknell administration can only do so much to prevent our mistakes, we need to really fuck up and suffer the consequences of our actions to learn.

Climate Change is real

Bucknellians partying hard in 1980

Change is extremely hard.  Just like the Campus Climate analysis says, “Solving problems that involve human behavior, especially group behavior, is incredibly difficult” (65). Saying this, one can understand the backlash that I have heard about campus climate from the student body. From “President Bravman is ruining Bucknell” to “Bucknell now sucks,” the majority of people hate the idea of changing the campus climate, mainly the changing Greek Life. However, many of these people are unaware why these things are really going on.

It is a fact that Greek life dominates Bucknell.  When people go out on the weekend, people go to fraternity houses or downtown houses associated with fraternities. The President’s tasks force hit it on the nose when they said Greek life dominates the culture. Sadly, Greek life also becomes associated with binge drinking and hooking up. Then, by the transitive property, the culture at Bucknell is highly dominated by binge drinking and hooking up. This party culture, unfortunately, is extremely appealing to 18-23 year old males and females who are now experiencing the freedom from their controlling parents from home.  As a result, this culture has become embedded in Bucknell and rein enforced years prior to President Bravman and Bucknell now possesses the reputation as a phenomenal party school.

Although this party reputation appeals to college students, many people fail to recognize the implications of this culture. Every weekend, students constantly go to the hospital for unbelievable alcohol levels. Some students even go on the brink of death and flat line. I talked to a public safety officer and he even said that “we are past the point of someone dying. We have gotten lucky.” That is unacceptable and demands change. From this standpoint, I can totally seek the point in trying to change the climate.  Bucknell needs to do something to prevent students of killing themselves. If we, the students, are not going to take responsibility to take care of our own lives, Bucknell has no choice but to step in. If a student was to die on Bucknell campus it would be tragic for the student (obviously) and the university as a whole.  No one is going to want to send their kid to school that has kids flat lining every weekend.

In response, President Bravman has made a dramatic change on campus climate. My freshman year (2010-2011), the party culture was much different. Every weekend there were multiple parties that students could go to. It wasn’t a question “if” something was happening, it was just a matter of where.  Then, if you are a girl, you’re automatically getting in. And if you are a guy, as long as you know somebody in the party, you’re in. However, in the past 2 years, Bucknell has kicked off multiple fraternities and now controls the party. The process of just registering for a party requires stringent rules and regulations that the fraternity has to abide by. If they don’t, they are likely to get kicked off campus. As a result, many fraternities now allow less people to enter into the parties, both male and female.  In addition, many fraternities are scared to even have parties on campus at all and are now resorting to throwing parties down town.

In this regard, Bucknell fraternity life has diminished like the climate analysis demands. However, is pushing parties downtown better? The number of police citations has increased exponentially due to the high activity down town. In addition, since people are scared to drink downtown and at the fraternity parties, people are now “pregaming” more dangerously. As a result, people are stumbling before they even get to the parties, then proceed to drink more. This then can help explain why cops citations are on the rise. However, to combat this downtown culture, now the university is placing the new dorm and fraternity houses uphill. In addition, they are extremely diminishing the number of people able to live off campus year by year and eventually are going to eliminate downtown housing completely.

Back to the first point, change is extremely hard. Despite the restrictions, Bucknell students continue to binge drink, party and resists change. However, I believe this change is inevitable. Bucknell will never fully eliminate the party culture, but they can somewhat control it. They already have had a major impact. The reason why many people say “Bucknell now sucks” is because they are changing the party culture. Even though people still go to the hospital, fraternities and sororities are acting more responsible with parties. Once the off campus housing is completely eliminated, people will have no choice but to party in the fraternity houses where the university says when and how they can throw the party. Overall, the change is already happening. Once the current juniors graduate next May, the students who experienced the “fun” old culture of crazy parties every weekend will all be gone. As a result, the culture of controlled registers and the strict monitoring of Greek life will become the norm as the years go on.

Life on Campus (Engagement, Social Scene, Behaviors): House Party Hangover [the good the bad and the ugly?]

For this week’s blog post, we would like for you all to share your opinions on an issue that has affected all of us during our 4 years at Bucknell: campus climate. In light of House Party weekend, we thought it was an appropriate time to bring up this hotly debated topic.

At the bottom of this post, we have attached the campus climate report from 2011. It is now the spring of 2013. Skim through it if you haven’t already read it.

Has anything changed? Do you see this school going in a positive direction? Was there anything wrong to begin with? Be as open as possible and if you have content that you might now want non-BGSers to see, then be sure to use the feature Jordi talked about in class. Happy blogging!

Please make any criticisms fact or data-driven.  Feel free to address solutions.  Feel free to discuss what is positive.

2011 Report.

Also, recent Bucknellian covergae on dangerous drinking on campus.

Also, how to modify your post’s visibility (if needed).