Monday, November 22, 2010

Best of Busted!

Police Raid Bucknell Sig Ep fundraiser

Police issued 85 underage drinking citations Friday night, mostly to students, when the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB) busted a party held at Big Andy’s Bar & Grill in Milton.

The event fundraiser was called “Pandamonium” and was sponsored by the brothers of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

The number of citations issued “is kind of uncommon,” said Sergeant Jeffrey McGinnis, the LCB officer handling the case.

According to a police report, the management at Big Andy’s had contacted the Milton police to alert them of suspected underage drinking.

“The goal of the event was to raise money to save a panda in China through the Wolong [Nature] Reserve,” said [the chapter’s president].

More than 350 people signed up for the event. Students attending paid a $20 fee in advance and were bused to the party from campus the night of the event.

The University recently implemented a new policy to ban events from being held at Big Andy’s. This ban covers all events that need to be approved by the Dean of Students’ office. The decision was made as part of the University’s “risk-management review” and was “based on information about previous events at that venue,” said Tom Evelyn, director of media relations.

We don’t know about you, but when we think of panda bears, we automatically think of getting drunk! Okay, maybe not, but no one can deny that a large majority of people do, in fact, think of getting drunk when they think of fraternities. There are several things wrong with this picture, but the fact that these students, and thousands of others like them, continually perpetuate the stereotype that Greeks=Drunks while simultaneously ask why it is that Greeks get a bad rap is just the beginning.

Hosting what seems to be a free-for-all alcoholic event with underage students is clearly at the surface of the situation. We can’t think of any new and exciting ways to say it: underage drinking is against the law. It really doesn’t matter if you think the law is stupid, it’s still the law.

Also, what happened to using a little creativity in planning philanthropic events? Collecting a cover at a bar is the easy way out. As far as we’re concerned, this plan was a lazy way to raise money, even in the best-case scenario. The idea of philanthropy is not just shelling out money to a cause. The problem with getting your friends to give you $20 for your chapter philanthropy is that eventually you have to give them $20 for THEIR philanthropy… and that’s not raising money, it’s trading money.

Finally, this event was held at a bar that was recently banned from hosting university events. The article doesn’t say why, but we think it’s safe to assume that this place has a history of serving underage people.

Life really is just a series of decisions; some of those decisions are easy and have little impact on the course of your life, such as ‘shall I have white or wheat bread?’. However, other decisions are difficult and have a much more significant impact on our lives, such as ‘should I use my fake ID?’ or ‘should I drink underage at Big Andy’s?’. Some things are just not worth doing, even if everyone else is – like getting arrested.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Techniques for Managing Depression

This post is a guest blog post from Stanley Popovich, author of "A Layman's Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity, and Non-Resistant Methods", and a graduate of Penn State University.

Some people have a difficult time in managing their depression. Sometimes, their depression and fears can get the best of them. As a result, here is a short list of techniques that a person can use to help manage their depression.
One of the ways to manage your depression is to challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking. When encountering thoughts that make your fearful or depressed, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense. For example, your afraid that if you do not get that job promotion then you will be stuck at your job forever. This depresses you, however your thinking in this situation is unrealistic. The fact of the matter is that there all are kinds of jobs available and just because you don’t get this job promotion doesn’t mean that you will never get one. In addition, people change jobs all the time, and you always have that option of going elsewhere if you are unhappy at your present location.

Some people get depressed and have a difficult time getting out of bed in the mornings. When this happens, a person should take a deep breath and try to find something to do to get their mind off of the problem. A person could take a walk, listen to some music, read the newspaper or do an activity that will give them a fresh perspective on things. Doing something will get your mind off of the problem and give you confidence to do other things.
Sometimes, we can get depressed over a task that we will have to perform in the near future. When this happens, visualize yourself doing the task in your mind. For instance, you and your team have to play in the championship volleyball game in front of a large group of people in the next few days. Before the big day comes, imagine yourself playing the game in your mind. Imagine that your playing in front of a large audience. By playing the game in your mind, you will be better prepared to perform for real when the time comes. Self-Visualization is a great way to reduce the fear and stress of a coming situation.
Another technique that is very helpful is to have a small notebook of positive statements that makes you feel good. Whenever you come across an affirmation that makes you feel good, write it down in a small notebook that you can carry around with you in your pocket. Whenever you feel depressed, open up your small notebook and read those statements.
Take advantage of the help that is available around you. If possible, talk to a professional who can help you manage your fears and anxieties. They will be able to provide you with additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem. By talking to a professional, a person will be helping themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with their problems in the future. Managing your fears and anxieties takes practice. The more you practice, the better you will become.
The techniques that I have just covered are some basic ways to manage your depression, however your best bet is to get some help from a professional.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You're Fired

This past week, several high profile coaches on both the collegiate and pro levels have been relieved of their duties as head football coaches. Some would say their time had come, and that perhaps, they'd been allowed to stay in their roles for too long. Others would say that they should have been allowed to finish the season. After all, it isn't like the teams are going to change overnight either way, right?

As I thought about these coaches, their leadership roles, and the mid-stream transition for their teams, I began to wonder about the parallels between sporting teams and the fraternal world. What if we treated our organizations more like sports teams in this respect? What if we fired our "coaches" mid-stream if the team was not performing well? Do we even fire our coaches at all?

Consider these possibilities:

* What if a chapter was found guilty of hazing several new members by both their national organization and their campus? Once all the information had been obtained, and decisions rendered, the students involved in the hazing, the entire executive board of the chapter, and the advisors were all fired. Permanently removed from the organization.

* What if a chapter held an event where alcohol was served to minors? Once we have the facts, the social chair, social committee, and risk managers, along with the chapter president and advisors are all fired. Permanently removed from the organization.

* What if a chapter came in last academically on campus? Grades were well below the campus average and the national average for their organization. The scholarship chair and his/her committee and advisors are fired. Permanently removed from the organization.

* What if a council failed to hold chapters accountable to campus and national standards? What if they allowed chapters to break social policies, bend academic standards, and disregard hazing laws? The entire council and the campus based advisor are fired. Permanently removed from their organizations.
At this point, you may be thinking I'm crazy. But is it really all that crazy? Our college presidents expect our head football coaches to create high-performing, winning teams, that will bring notoriety to the institution. Do they expect the same of our fraternal organizations? Do we? Should we? Do you know some people who should be fired? I'd love to hear your thoughts.