More than 1,800 college students die every year from alcohol-related injuries in the United States. This fact alone should startle anyone. For certain, fraternities and sororities have an obligation to consider this dire statistic. And more assuredly, colleges and universities have a role.
The heightened attention on Greek life has caused many fraternal groups to rethink their policies. To date Phi Delta Theta and FarmHouse Fraternity are the two men’s groups that have implemented alcohol-free housing. All 26 National Panhellenic Council groups have alcohol-free housing, and it’s been that way for a long time. Beginning in fall 2020, three more men’s fraternities will join the ranks of those that adhere to alcohol-free housing. Beta Theta Pi announced a two-year implementation plan leading to all Beta homes being substance-free. Sigma Phi Epsilon voted at their recent Grand Chapter Conclave to remove alcohol from their chapter homes by 2020. Delta Upsilon was the most recent to announce that it will ban alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs inside their chapter houses in 2020.
Though each fraternity has its own programs—Beta with its strategic focus on Brotherhood, Personal Growth, and Home, Delta Upsilon’s Building Better Men and SigEp’s Balanced Man Program and Residential Learning Community—every fraternal organization shares the same battle against the abuses of alcohol. With more fraternities joining the ranks of alcohol-free housing, we hope this begins a chain reaction. Additional fraternal organizations committing to similar policies will create safer experiences for all. We commend Beta Theta Pi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Delta Upsilon for their bold decisions.
Phi Delta Theta has an 18-year track record with Alcohol-Free Housing and has realized tremendous benefits in all facets of operations. FarmHouse Fraternity too has seen significant benefits from their own policy. No alcohol policy is perfect, but at the end of the day, fraternal organizations must do everything they can to create positive environments for their members. Alcohol abuse and misuse is happening in all corners of today’s college campus, and it will take a collective effort from all those who serve college students to improve their health and safety.