A Tale of Two Brotherhoods

An inside look at two differing fraternity experiences at Rutgers University.

By Monica Sainz

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“I joined because I was bored that semester. I knew the president at that time because he went to my high school. I lived my freshman year with this one kid who is in the fraternity and then I worked with another one. It was the only place I looked at. We all just mess with each other. It’s fun to just be around each other. We don’t take a lot seriously. I cant speak for other fraternities, but for ours we aren’t uptight about things. I always have people to do fun stuff with. I tell pledges to go everywhere before coming to us. We want people who we like to be around and have fun with. We don’t do much philanthropy work, to be honest. We really should. Its mostly because of our chapter this year. What people think of fraternities, at least to an extent, is usually true. It’s not something I’m easily proud of. It’s just part of the culture. For me, it’s about the memories and experiences. The things that I’ve done with these guys, you don’t do with anyone. It’s a group of kids that do things that most people wouldn’t do together, like take random trips to Philadelphia for a sandwich or go to the Statue of Liberty on a random Wednesday. If I have learned one lesson from being in a frat, it would be that you never know who you can end up being friends with. I never thought I’d be friends with some of the people I am friends with. I think we have more tolerance in my fraternity than some may think. I think ours is very unique in that way, very unique. You know, the ideals and beliefs that float around those walls. It’s pretty cool.” -Anonymous, Senior 

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“I am a part of Lambda Theta Phi, Latin Fraternity incorporated. For me in particular, I wanted to get more involved in the Latin community on campus. After going through some informationals with the brothers, I felt that they really represented what brotherhood meant. They gave me a family vibe with each other. There is a drastic difference between social and cultural fraternities. Mainly, the values that some hold and want to uphold are different. It’s one thing to say you want to do things and another thing to actually do them. Our fraternity is traditionally Spanish, but not only open to Spanish people. I pledged with a brother who was Nigerian. I know other brothers who are of different races and cultures, whether they be Indian, Chinese or even white. To me, a brotherhood is another support system. People who share the same values that you do and are willing to help you in certain situations when you need it. We have this one saying: we don’t create leaders, we unite them. If a pledge feels like they have leadership potential, and want to make an impact in the community, then we are more than willing to accept them. We always tell them to really explore the different fraternities on campus to really get a feel for where they want to belong. Our national philanthropy is the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, which is basically one that is trying to educate and prepare Latino students and minority students in high school for college. My chapter in particular has raised funds to go towards that. Some frat stereotypes I do accept, in that people who join these orgs become closed to the rest of the world. In another sense, I disagree with the whole paying for your friends aspect. It is your decision to join, and me in particular, I didn’t join for friends. I really just agreed with their values. I knew I made the right decision to join during a talk with an alumni. He is a minority from Camden who didn’t really have much or the same upbringing as a lot of students. He had a pretty rough life. What attracted him to the fraternity was the same as me: there was a purpose to it, not just to party. He made a big impact around campus, at least in the Latin community here. In that moment, during that talk, it made me realize that I wanted to work for the community. I felt at home because no matter what my opinions were, they would still be there to hold me down. There is always someone there to help you. It has also brought me closer to my roots. Prior to joining, I wasn’t really that connected with my Latino culture. I pushed myself away from that. When seeing that there were organizations surrounding that, it brought that part of my life to the forefront. It has allowed me to network with a lot of Latino students just because we come from similar backgrounds.” -Jeremy Olivo, Senior 

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