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The Benefits of Brotherhood

Nobody can say that the incident with Scott S. Krueger '01 has not been a tragedy. Whenever a life is in danger, every heart turns its attention to the scene, and, if possible, to the prevention of any similar scene in the future. I don't think the brothers of Phi Gamma Delta are any different. Undoubtedly, of anyone at MIT, they are the most concerned about Scott Krueger's welfare.

I am proud to say that I am a brother of Zeta Beta Tau. Many of my friends back at home were shocked to hear that I had joined a fraternity. No doubt, their image of fraternities was of the drinking, partying, and riotous clubs that one might see in the movies. I told my friends at home why I joined ZBT. In one word, brotherhood. I know that to most people that word translates to only a vague sense of togetherness. Let me tell you what brotherhood means to me.

A few weeks ago, around twenty of us piled into cars and a van for the five-hour drive down to Long Island. We went to go congratulate a brother and to celebrate his wedding with him. We didn't go for the free dinner, or for the dancing. We went to go share in his joy. One of the highlights of the evening was when we circled around him and his bride to sing our brotherhood song. "Here's to our fraternity, may it live forever." This is brotherhood.

It's also about respect. I made it known to my brothers from the first day I visited ZBT my freshman year during rush, that I was a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, and did not drink. As a celebration of a new pledge (We are non-pledging and non-hazing, but for simplicity, to join during rush, they say "I Pledge."), a traditional part of the celebration is to have them chug a root beer or coke or something. My year it was coke. They weren't sure if I drank coke or not, being LDS, and prepared a caffeine-free Clearly Canadian. When I saw that, I was even more sure that I had made a good choice to live at ZBT. Since then, I have never, even once, been pressured to drink alcohol. My brothers respect my beliefs.

At college, everyone does stupid things. That's just part of our education here. It would be nice if we all knew what was best for us, and always had the discipline to act on that knowledge, but life would be pointless if we were omniscient and perfect from the start. We're here to learn and grow, and with a support system of friends and family, we can learn and grow a lot more than we could on our own. My brothers are some of the closest friends I've ever had. They are always there to help me out, and I take advantage of it frequently.

The fraternity system has its faults as does any other organization, but it also has many strengths. In a crisis like this, many people tend to blame the system when the system really isn't at fault. Then who is at fault? That doesn't matter; we can't undo what's done. We need to concentrate on the positive and ask ourselves, "how can we use the system to help in the future?" The answer is inherent in the system. Brotherhood. Let us show our brotherhood, and help each other through this.

In short, the brothers of Fiji don't need our criticism, I'm sure they feel bad enough about it already, they need our support.

Tyler Hains '99