The impetus for the creation of this web-site arrived in my inbox in August of 2009. I had recently asked Google to feed me stories containing the word fraternity because of my interest in the topic.
It was then that I read about the death of Carson Starkey as a result of his involvement in pledging a college fraternity. I was amazed at the similarities of the situations that led to his death and the death of another promising college student, Scott Kruger, a decade prior.
Both had consumed a large amount of alcohol during an informal ceremony where they were matched to a mentor or big brother/pledge father in the fraternity. Both had become very intoxicated and passed out and placed somewhere to sleep it off only to perish because of no safe keeping by the brethren. I was annoyed as it was apparent the “system” had not learned anything in the decade since Mr. Kruger’s death even after tens of thousands of dollars had been spent educating people on the dangers of drinking and serving as an adequate keeper or watchful eye over the inebriated.
I began to wonder if people really knew what they were getting into when they joined a fraternity and if any tools were available to assist them as they pondered membership in one. There were not aside from the basic information supplied by the national fraternities, their respective chapters or the colleges and universities who support their existence.
I wondered if the Krugers or Starkeys would have benefited from an on-line web-site that would have allowed them to review the basic facts about the available fraternities and the discipline history of the one their son selected. Would the Krugers have allowed Scott to join that particular group knowing about their checkered past, resistance to changes in alcohol policy and lack of alumni supervision? Perhaps, however, they did not have the chance. Would Mr. and Mrs. Starkey done the same and allowed their son to pledge a fraternity at in a system with a colorful history? Perhaps, however, they did not have the choice.
No one goes to college to die. No one involved in a college fraternity wants anyone to die. However, it does happen and it is not acceptable. This web tool is not about eliminating risk from life. That is not possible. It is, however, possible to inform people, through the supply of information, about the good and bad of the groups available to them so they can make a more informed decision.
The concept of fraternity is a fantastic one. In places where good men, motivated by scholarship at the highest level possible and provided guidance by outstanding alumni freely associate, their contribution to society and each other is something special and aides in their development. It is an institution worth preserving, replicating and growing in those instances. This web-site will develop over time and add elements with a goal of separating the wheat from the chaff.
The Society Advocating Fraternal Excellence