Spoiled Fruit

I think I’m ok assuming that most everyone has heard the staying, “one bad apple spoils the bunch.” Just in case I’m wrong, the saying quite literally means that if there is one rotten apple in your bunch, then it soon makes the rest of the bunch rotten. On a more scientific level, the fruit emits ethylene gas as it’s rotting that causes the rest of the fruit around it to begin to rot as well.

Simply, removing the rotten fruit alone doesn’t remove the remnants of the mold or the gas. The invisible leftover mold spores or ethylene gas molecules that remain have to be cleansed as well. A good scrubbing and some fresh baking soda usually does the trick. I’ve picked up the habit from my mother of doing a thorough cleaning every other month or so (let’s just say seasonally) and every day after doing dinner dishes, I wipe the fridge handles and doors. For a more reliable resource, here’s Martha Stewart’s suggestion for cleaning your fridge.

Lesson Learned: Clean out the rotten and old in your life in order to preserve and enjoy all of the good.

Alternate title: How It Only Took 9 Seconds For One Organization to Make Us All Look Bad

This post is a comment on the recent events on the OU and UVA campuses involving greek members and organizations. First of all, I AM greek. I’m an alumnae of of Iota Beta chapter of Alpha Phi Fraternity and as such, I was deeply saddened by the ugly comments and various accusations being passed about greek organizations in general. The behaviors of a few have become the “standard” for what the mainstream believes is all there is about being greek.

The truth is not all greek organizations behave in that manner or have (or had in the past) the same “traditions” that have become the basis for the greek stereotype. We aren’t all snobby elitists, intransigent racists, permanent drunks, or any other stereotypical word meant to represent being a member of a fraternity or sorority. We are more than what the mainstream has deemed us.  We are certainly more than the words and actions of the few that have decided to embarrass themselves and the greek system. There are thousands of greek organizations in America and the egregious actions of a few should not be used to generalize the many other greek organizations that were founded upon principles and values as a response to the predjudices and stereotypes of the time and, in most cases, the still very present, in order to find support and assistance in the face of adversity.

I’m not justifying or simplifying any actions regarding specific organizations or greek members that have been in the news and online recently. Those are indeed major and very serious accusations and offences. Nor am I saying that the traditions of greek organizations should be dissolved entirely. In fact, tradition should be an important part of any organzation simply because it’s their story, their founding, and the ideals that have become their organization’s foundation, however, not all that is traditional has to be maintained.

There are reasons why every other year or so greek organizations review and overhaul their so-called “tranditions” and organizational by-laws. In that same respect, there are many organizations that have discontinued certain “traditions” and practices in order to keep up with the changing times. Increased awareness and overall societal changes in policy and practice regarding race, sex, disability, etc. through the decades has also resulted in changes in the greek system’s rush practices, new member education, organized parties policies, and bidding procedures.

Just like many of our founders, all of us greeks joined the organization because we were searching for the support and comaraderie that is the backbone of the greek system. Not only that, but the majority of us greeks are so because we wanted to become a part of something bigger than ourselves. Many greek organizations were founded on service and focus solely on the needs of their community at all levels providing volunteers and assisting on projects and with fundraisers that give back or lend a hand up. Tens of thousands of dollars are raised and donated in fundraising efforts throughout the country by different greek organizations. Similarly, thousands of man hours are donated each year by members of greek organizations as individuals and also through organization sponsored events and projects. Greek members also tend to have higher GPAs than their fellow counterparts. There are many greek organizations that focus solely on scholarship and provide a means for those academic minded students to foster their interest and studies in their selected fields. 

Yes there’s friendly competition between organizations at certain times like during Greek Week activities and homecoming, but being greek isn’t about power and popularity as much as people seem to think. Don’t lump us all together through the eyes of sensationalized media and the thoughtless and hurtful actions of the few organizations whose members forgot that just because things USED to be done one way doesn’t mean that they are ok to continue the so-called “tradition.” Those members and organizations who believe they can continue with outdated derogatory songs and violent traditions and practices do so as individuals and against the grain and fabric that is the greek belief system as a whole. What both University Presidents did by acting swiftly and suspending the chapters was right and just even if nothing is founded after the investigation. Better to clean out what’s spoiled immediatly than allow it to permeate and possibly ruin everything else around it.