The academic year is gearing up on campuses all across the country. For some, it means that fraternity and sorority recruitment time is near. Best wishes to the young men and women making decisions as to which organization they will join.
Students have been making those same decisions for almost two centuries. The world was a much different place in 1922, when the following paragraphs were written. Only a handful of college students had access to an automobile (and if they did, it was black, the only color available), few had grown up having their own room and their own bathroom. There were no portable phones, televisions, and the things that today’s college students consider necessities. And yet, the sentiments expressed by George Banta* in the July, 1922 issue of Banta’s Greek Exchange ring as true today as they did then.
“One of the questions most frequently asked of us is as to which is the best fraternity. This most naive question is most often propounded to us by non-fraternity folks who are debating the choice of a fraternity. Rushing season also brings us such inquiries and these latter often take the form of asking us to decide definitely between two different fraternities or sororities. It is no uncommon thing in the autumn for us to receive telegrams which have manifestly found their inspiration in the fierce rushing on the campus.
“It is not merely a question of the impropriety of our undertaking to decide such questions. Any opinion that the editor might harbor would be only his personal opinion. We have long ago learned that choice of a fraternity is a state of mind. There are those to whom the question of size is important; another prefers limitations and exclusiveness; one prefers that which is ancient; another that which is new and plastic and gives opportunity for individual activity, and, it may be for a fight. So, there is with us a great deal bigger reason for not trying to make such distinctions than mere impropriety. It is simply impossible. We do not know which is the best, and we have long ago come to doubt whether there is any ‘best.’ We feel that we might as well undertake to decide between the relative value to the community of the two neighbors who live beside us, one to the north and one to the south. We ourselves prefer our own family simply because it is our own. And we find that each of our two neighbors prefers his family for exactly the same reason. And there you are.”
*George Banta was a Phi Delta Theta and a Delta Gamma and he is credited with bringing Delta Gamma to the northern states. He was also a wonderful proponent of fraternity life. For more information about him, see http://wp.me/p20I1i-AS
© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2013. All Rights Reserved.