Let’s play two truths and a lie:

Fifteen out of the thirty-nine fraternity chapters on Pennsylvania State University’s campus logged less than one service hour per member for the entire year.

Fraternities place a large amount of their focus on community service and philanthropy.

Five fraternities on Pennsylvania State University’s campus raised $0 of philanthropic funds per member.

Which one is it?

According to the scorecard initiative introduced on Penn State’s campus that relays details of each sorority and fraternity in light of Timothy Piazza’s death, #2 seems to be the lie here.

While, yes, it is possible that these service hours and funds were not properly catalogued and reported by the fraternities themselves, Gentry McCreary, a risk management consultant hired by colleges, says that “he has often seen that the hard numbers don’t back up fraternities’ claims about their commitment to volunteer work and philanthropy.”

And, yes, the data does vary from house to house, as some chapters are more passionate and dedicated to community service than other. Specifically, this can be seen through the fraternity’s counterpart– the sorority. The sororities on Penn State’s campus show that seven of their twenty-two chapters logged more than ten service hours per member.

So, what does this mean for fraternities?

The data released on the scorecard seems to suggest a rebuttal to the even larger theme of fraternities as a whole, as even though there are so many issues in having fraternities on campus, such as hazing, sexual assault, and alcohol abuse, fraternities are good because they serve the community. Without this service, what are fraternities left with? Just the hazing, sexual assault, and alcohol abuse?

In the words of Penn. State’s President, Eric J. Barron, “Our Greek-letter community needs to embrace the need for change and rededicate yourselves to a mission of service an community.”

Campus Classics even suggests that philanthropy is the key to re-writing the stereotype of the fraternity, as has been created from the response to popular culture displays of the brotherhoods, such as Animal House. The article goes on to suggest that “giving back to the community through fraternity philanthropy is a key element to Greek life on any campus.”

I think that fraternities need to re-focus on their core commitment to philanthropy. Without this commitment, I fear that the struggle of keeping fraternities on campus might go on to outweigh the good of keeping fraternities on campus.

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Popular Questions About Community Service

What is a good community service?
Community service ideas for adultsDeliver meals for Meals on Wheels.Sort donations at a homeless shelter.Become a mentor to a student interested in your career path.Deliver groceries to those in need.Become CPR certified.Volunteer as a poll worker on election day.Establish a day of service at your workplace.
What are some examples of community service?
There are hundreds of ways to participate in community service, depending on your skills and interests. Some common community service examples include: Working with schoolchildren: Tutoring children after school, collecting school supplies to donate, planting a school garden.
What are some community services?
Department of Human ServicesMedicaid/SCHIPP health insuranceFinancial assistanceFood - Women, Infants and Children program, Food stampsHousingLaw enforcementLegal servicesTransportationParks and recreation services including summer camps
What are the different forms of community service?
There are three types of community service and service-learning: direct, in-direct and advocacy. Once a community need is identified, the project activities that are developed will align with one or more of the types. Below are definitions and additional examples of each type of community service and service-learning.
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