Fraternities get a bad rap. All it takes is a couple stories about some frat parties gone wrong, combined with pop culture images of Greek life like "Animal House" and "Old School," to make people think drinking and pranks are all brothers do. But we want to take a moment to recognize some truly awesome deeds frat brothers have committed in recent years.
Helping A Trans Brother Afford Surgery
Members of the Phi Alpha Tau fraternity at Emerson College raised money online to help cover the cost of a transgender brother's female-to-male gender confirmation surgery earlier this year. They originally aimed for $2,000, then found out they'd actually need $8,125. In the end, they collected $21,308 and donated the leftover funds to charity.
Playing Lasertag For Boston
Lambda Chi Alpha at Boston University changed the focus of this year's fundraising laser tag tournament to help raise money for those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.
Helping After Hurricane Sandy
One of the more entertaining ideas was a dodgeball game between two Theta Chi chapters, with proceeds going towards victims of Sandy. Across the country, at the University of Arizona, members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity replicated a relief effort similar to one held after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, selling T-shirts to raise money for victims.
Pushing To Not Use The 'R-Word'
(Image via Facebook: Pi Kappa Phi @ FSU)
Florida State University’s Pi Kappa Phi fraternity organized a philanthropic event in April where participants took turns pedaling stationary bicycles for 24 hours, all to raise money for a national charity serving people with disabilities called Push America. Brothers also asked people to sign a pledge to never use the word "retarded."
Offering Heel Support
At least 50 Western Kentucky University fraternity men participated in an effort organized by the Interfraternity Council to raise money for Hope Harbor, a nonprofit that offers counseling to victims of sexual assault. The brothers trekked around campus in five-inch red heels so show physical, not just rhetorical, support.
Starting Scholarships In Honor Of Trayvon
The Delta Xi Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, a black fraternity based in Orlando, Fla., joined with local businesses in August to fund $50,000 in college scholarships for students from slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin's high school. The money went to the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which will award it to four graduating seniors in 2014 from Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School in Miami, where Martin was enrolled at the time of his death.
Driving 2,330 Miles To Donate Supplies
Members of the Acacia fraternity at Oregon State University personally drove U-Haul trucks filled with donated items 2,330 miles to Henryville, Ind., in March 2012 after the Midwestern town was hit by tornadoes. Acacia chapters at five other college campuses helped out the OSU brothers by providing places for them to stay during their road trip.
Raising Money #ParaJonel
Pace University's Lambda Upsilon Lambda raised more than $125,000 in just a few days to cover funeral expenses for one of their brothers, after his mother, aunt, grandparents and sisters were killed in a car accident on the Bronx River Parkway. The brother, Jonel Gonzales, lost seven family members in the April 2012 tragedy.
CLARIFICATION: Language was added to clarify Delta Xi Lambda is a chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, a black fraternity based out of Orlando, Fla.