Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Blog #4: Research Proposal

Matthew Marinelli
Research in the Disciplines: College!
Professor Michael Goeller
Research Proposal

Title: College Fraternities: The Effect on College Life

Topic: My topic covers all the effects that joining a fraternity may have on someone’s college experience. My topic involves the positive effects that may arise from learning certain skills as well as other things learned just by being in a fraternal environment. I will be discussing certain skills such as relationship building, effective networking, and advancements in education. There are many more positive outcomes that are results of joining a social fraternity but these are two of the most prevalent ones.

Research Question: Does joining a fraternity foster the possibility of enough positive outcomes that outweigh negative ones? How much effect do these outcomes have on someone’s life and can it be directly attributed to fraternal involvement?

Frame: One of the articles I have used was “The value of the Greek system: Should fraternities and sororities have a place on campus” by Deanna M. Garrett. This sparked interest for me because she gives both the positive and negative outcomes of being in a college fraternity. The positive outcomes that she talks about are those that I wanted to talk about from the start. These outcomes include advanced networking and the ability to build relationships. The negative outcomes that she addresses are some that are widely known of college fraternities. These include binge drinking, rape culture, and other things of that nature. This topic is relevant to me because I am in a social fraternity and I see how all of these outcomes affect a college student. I have never personally seen most of these negatives in my fraternity and I do believe that if you do, you are in the wrong place and it is filled with the wrong people. I am here to discuss how the positive outcomes are the most important ones to research and pay attention to.

Research Plan: Throughout my research I have not found an abundance of information but I want the information to come from people who have been in fraternities that can speak from first-hand experience. I would love to retrieve some information from Rutgers students that have done research and written articles as well as interviews with current Rutgers students who are involved in fraternities. There are articles and books that I plan on reading to expand my perspective such as “Paying for the Party” by Elizabeth A. Armstrong and Laura T. Hamilton. There are other articles that are more direct to specific positive outcomes that I will be discussing such as “What Impact Do Fraternities Have on Education?” by Chris Blake. This will let me dive into the educational aspect of how a fraternity could help a college student.


Armstrong, Elizabeth A., and Laura T. Hamilton. Paying for the Party: How College Maintains      Inequality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2013. Print.

Blake, Chris. “What impact do fraternities have on education?” SeattlePI. Demand Media, 2016.  Web.

Garrett, Deanna M. "University of Vermont." The University of Vermont. The University of Vermont,  29 July 2002. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Literature Review #1

Literature Review 1

Garrett, D. "The value of the Greek system: Should fraternities and sororities have a place on campus." The University of Vermont 29 (2002).


This article written by Deanna M. Garrett is an analysis on the positive and negative outcomes of fraternity involvement. The article also touches on the history of fraternities. In regard to the negative outcomes of fraternity involvement, Garrett focuses on alcohol culture. There are numerous counts of alcohol abuse as well as death caused by alcohol consumption. Another topic is sexual assault. It is known that fraternities have been involved in many cases regarding sexual assault and it is not something someone can deny. I am in a fraternity and I wouldn't even deny that. Even though my fraternity personally has not had any involvement with something of this nature, it happens. Another topic addressed is discrimination. Fraternities began predominately white and this is the way it has stayed for many places.
Deanna then begins to pick apart the positive outcomes of fraternal involvement and talks about a lot of what I have said throughout my blogs. It helps you build relationships and networks. She concludes her paper by stating that it is obvious that the negatives outweigh the positives, but if the negatives are not happening then the positives must play a huge role in who you are as a fraternity member as well as who you are as a member of a college society. 


Deanna M. Garrett is a graduate from the University of Virginia. She graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor's degree in Religious studies as well as a minor in Biology. She is now a Graduate Assistant in the Department of Residential Life.


"Fraternities and sororities may rightly claim to be social outlets for students, to create opportunities to develop interpersonal and leadership skills, and to be environments where members are welcome and can develop a sense of belonging. As a result, fraternities and sororities may facilitate positive psychosocial development. However, in the context of the current culture of alcohol abuse, sexual assault, racism, heterosexism, and elitism in the Greek system, it may be harder to facilitate this development."

"Fraternities and sororities provide students with social outlets and the opportunity to interact with peers."


This article has provided me with somewhat of a new perspective on things. Usually when someone is talking about the negative aspects of fraternities, they are just bashing them and cannot understand why someone would want to get involved with something of that nature. This author puts it in a way that seems a bit more level-headed than most articles I've read. She also links a historical aspect to fraternal activity which also gives me a new perspective. 

Image result for fraternities in 1900s

Blog #3: Privatization

How Privatization is Connected

Privatization plays a big role in college life when it comes to college life. If the government releases ownership over something and it is moved to a private owner, they can charge whatever they want. There are no more government regulations.

The concept of privatization doesn't have a direct cause and effect as to how fraternities may affect someones college experience, but I can think of one thing that it may affect.

If Rutgers owns a building, those tenants pay a fixed rate for that service. My fraternity house used to be owned by Rutgers as a whole (I know this is not the same as being owned by the government) and we paid them the same rate every year. Our house was then sold to a private owner and he has been making his own rules ever since. So if we call this privatization, it has affected the fraternity as well as our actions ever since. The presence of a private owner has changed the way we act. Before this owner, it was normal to be breaking holes in the walls of the house and doing other reckless things. Now that this private owner can make his own rules, he does not give any leases for more than one year. Since we don't want to get kicked out, the dynamic in the fraternity has changed and people are taking way better care of the house than anyone else ever has. This is just a small example of how privatization can have an effect on the college life of fraternities, even though there may be more on a larger scale that I don't even know about.

Blog #2: Scouting the Territory


Since my first blog post, my topic has not changed much. I am still going to be describing the effect that being in a fraternity has on someones college experience.

Links Used



What I Learned

There are many articles out there that are heavily anti-fraternity. It is actually hard to find ones about how a fraternity might help you in any way shape or form. I did find a few that put a few words onto actions that I have see. Three words that I found helped me get a better grasp on why certain fraternity members make certain choices when it comes to their college experience.

Risk-taking: Some risks that college students take are done because they know they have the help of their other fraternity brothers. An example of a risk would be throwing a party at a fraternity house that doesn't exactly follow the rules.

Excitement-seeking: I know that this description matches most of my fraternity brothers. When schoolwork is done, it is time to get involved in a different lifestyle that comes with the whole fraternity experience. Not many times do fraternity members like to sit around and waste time. A lot of them like to go out and make the most out of their time here at college.

Extraversion: Being in a fraternity has taught me a great deal when it comes to meeting new people. Initially, you are meeting about 60 new people and are eager to learn about them (you have to learn about them). The amount of people that come in and out of a frat house on a daily basis is a lot to keep up with, but if you become good at meeting new people and remembering names, this will only benefit you. A fraternity teaches you that you must do these kinds of things in order to benefit yourself in terms of networking.


As I had mentioned above, there is a lot of controversy over the idea of what fraternities actually do. There are an overwhelming amount of articles linking fraternities to negative things, so I believe people who have no personal experience would tend to side with these ideas. There are articles that state that fraternities are the cause of students not furthering their education and not reaching potential. But as I said before, I know that people can definitely go this route. It is easy to get caught up in the social aspect of college life without balancing your academic life.

Blog #1: Intro



College is a place for people to get a brand new start. They can be whoever or whatever they want to be. Many people change character for many different reasons and this is a place where you finally can. 

Joining a fraternity can be a driving force in the lifestyle a college student decides to embrace. It provides you with a wide network to utilize however one may seem appropriate. Although fraternities are generally not used as the model for good behavior at college, it can teach you much more about yourself than you would ever know without it. I will be explaining how fraternities can help someone grow in a positive way as well as show the lessons it could teach someone. Being in a fraternity also has an impact on the education that someone is there to get. 

Being in a fraternity has helped me stay on track in certain aspects of school. I am always able to take classes with people I know, and this has helped me, and them, stay on track. Although it could be easy to get caught in the social aspect of things, getting help from fraternity brothers is a lot easier. The network of people that I have met is a network of people that I would have never met on my own. On top of that, there is a certain level of trust between these people and help is always available wherever someone may need it.