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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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December 16, 2005

Bluto 2

Sigma Phi Epsilon at Oregon State University had a similar experience to that of the Sig Eps at the University of Washington, who were profiled in The Seattle Times this week and in the news again yesterday, wrote Cam Saffer. Saffer, who is an OSU Sig Ep, said things changed in 2003 when his chapter entered into the Balanced Man program.

...the members decided on their own that we needed a change and the Balanced Man Program was that change. We held a membership review in 2003(which gave rise to the same type at UW) in which over 25 members were asked to leave. The fraternity began to change and now we are successful as ever and winning our awards (grades, intramurals, outstanding fraternity, etc) once again. The success of this UW fraternity is coming soon. They are headed almost in the same exact direction that my chapter has, just about 3-4 years behind.
I am writing to inform you that the Balanced Man Program is one that ensures growth. This is a four year development program targeted at personal growth from a young freshman into a leader to be successful in our fast-paced world. All the development programming-ballets, cooking lessons, etc is preparing us as young men to live in society and be prepared for a successful life.
I can honestly say that the amount of fun we have now, is as much, if not more than they had in the “Animal House” days. We still spend time with young ladies that we show respect to, and they respect us as gentlemen for our kind manners that most of us learned through the fraternity. This fraternity means so much to so many young people, and this new approach: The Balanced Man is setting tracks for a new era of social fraternities.

Mr. Saffer makes an interesting point. The Greek system does seem to be entering a new era. Fraternities of today remind me much more of when fraternities were founded in the 19th Century. As a pledge we had to learn about the history of the fraternity. The early fraternities were focused on academics, brotherhood, and preparing students for the future. There was definitely a gap between what we were taught and how we lived. The pendulum appears to be swinging away from a couple wild decades on Greek Row to a more cerebral approach to frat life. If Mr. Saffer’s e-mail is any indication this new/old approach is working and has not diminished the fraternity experience.

Respond to Ryan.

 
Posted by Ryan Blethen at December 16, 2005 10:31 AM



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