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Greek life on college campus debate

High school has occasionally been known as “college preparatory school,” indicating that what happens now is in preparation for our future. As we will all soon enter a whole new future, decisions are put forth on the college campuses that may be attended. One such decision may be the option of whether or not to go greek. However, in the wake of tragic events involving fraternities and sororities, college administrators and students alike begin to debate the merits of even having Greek life as an option.

Administration weighs the discussion in both weighs, showing the possible benefits as well as what harm could come from these organizations.

In Tom Hechinger’s research for his book “True Gentlemen,” he examined the Indiana University Foundation, which raises money for the university. He found that although only 19 percent of alumni in its database had been members of Greek life, they accounted for 60 percent of donations

This copious amount of is clearly good for college campuses as it funds major parts of the university. Keeping Greek life to college administration is the cause for less financial strain and a clear benefit to keeping the system on campus.

However, some administration use the staggering statistic that according to the National Institutes of Health, about 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries each year and they use this to in relation to Greek life to say why it is harmful to their campuses.

On the other side of the debate are students, found to believe both sides of the argument and how fraternities and sororities affect their campuses.  

75% of Congress, 85% of Supreme Court Justices since 1920, and all but two U.S. Presidents since 1825 have been Greek,” from an article in from the  U.S. News & World Report in Nov. 2017 titled “Is greek life worth saving, ” is frequently mentioned among students. They return to this statistic to show how Greek life has created tremendously successful individuals and therefore can do the same for them, as well as giving students a social outlet to fulfil their aspirations.

On the flipside, personal anecdotes are used to justify why some students believe the Greek system should be banned.

The descriptive death of a young man was used to show the unhealthy party culture that Greek life can propitiate, “He had a lacerated spleen, an abdomen full of blood, and multiple traumatic brain injuries. He had fallen down a flight of stairs during a hazing event at his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, but the members had waited nearly 12 hours before calling 911” said author Caitlin Flanagan in an article in The Atlantic titled “Death at a Penn State Fraternity.”

There is a case to be made on both sides with supporting evidence for each. Carmel High School students investigated the issue and from their own unique perspective in nearing the college scene, they took a stance on the issue.

Freshman Solomon Williams shared insight into potential problems with Greek life and what he had seen in the past.

“I think it can help you make friends and have an automatic group of people that you can fit in with and have fun with. Hazing can happen with anything and can especially happen in fraternities and sororities but I think if they were monitored a little better they could have elements of Greek life. I think there’s valid reasons for shutting some down whether it’s from hazing or drug/alcohol overdoses but I think that they should be reinstated just with better guidelines,” Williams said.

Taking a more defensive standpoint, senior Adell Urtel sees little reason to ban Greek life, though recognizes that it has to be regulated.

“There have obviously been problems with greek life, fraternities and sororities, but I’ve never thought of it as something that shouldn’t exist anymore. There are more schools that have cracked down on hazing and alcohol to prevent different problems but I don’t think it should be something that is completely gotten rid of because it brings community to a college and helps incoming freshman to find a group. It’s part of the college experience and despite the ups and downs it shouldn’t be fully taken away,” Urtel said.

Ultimately this debate is about perspective and how individuals will perceive the harm and benefits for themselves. Administrators need revenue, though their campuses need to remain safe. Parents regard their children safety in the highest importance whereas students nearing college desire the fun and freedom that Greek life brings.

Story by: Hannah Nist

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Reaching Out (UNICEF)

Helping children outside of the United States was the focus of UNICEF club. The club had many officers and was sponsored by Jill Noel. One of the officers was junior Ayman Bolad.

According to their biography on Carmel High School’s website, “Carmel UNICEF works with UNICEF USA to fundraise, advocate, and educate our community, fighting for children’s rights.”

The UNICEF club met every other Tuesday in Room F100 after school.

“The purpose of the meetings is to delegate work between the members and organize campaigns and fundraisers to help children in need,” Bolad said.

UNICEF club was a smaller version of the national organization.

“We are a chapter organization so all funds are sent to UNICEF itself. However, we offer a lot of opportunities for service hours and we allow students to delegate some of their own campaigns in efforts to help kids in the Indianapolis area, nationally, and internationally,” Bolad said.

Besides raising money for the kids, the club also wanted to spread the word to other people in the school through social media gain more members.

“My goals for the club are to increase membership. We have about 60 active members and on top of that we are looking to build our social media presence,” Bolad said.

Bolad’s family was from the Middle East and he knew the conditions were not great in the Middle East. Because of that he decided to join UNICEF club.

“When I quit swimming my freshman year, I had no clubs in extracurriculars so the first thing I went to was UNICEF club because I knew that was something I was familiar with and I would be interested in helping out with,” Bolad said.

The club went to a seminar during the year where they met celebrities and got to talk about their club.

“Our goal is to grow exponentially to the point where we can bring a lot of members to the DC seminar,” Bolad said. “We want to show them how important the work we do throughout the year is to everybody else in the world.”

Story by: Megan Daggett

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Outspoken Community (Debate)

Debate team taught students about debate and the different types of debates. Junior Iris Yan led debate team as its president.

“After my freshman year we had to find new sponsors for the club so as one of the returning debaters I just helped with that. Then after we found sponsors during the seasons I was there to work with the coaches. Then at the end of last season we did elections and that is how I ended up president this year,” Yan said.

Debate team prepared the members for public speaking and how to become knowledgeable about a topic.

“I joined debate my freshman year because I felt like it was something important. One, debate is good for development of public speaking, and two, I think it is super important to get out there and talk about some of the prominent issues in society with other high schoolers,” Yan said.

Members of the debate team were given the opportunity to improve upon their important life skills for the future.

“I think it is important to be able to have that research background and to be able to research a topic and then become knowledgeable on it and then to be able to articulate your ideas about that topic,” Yan said.

Every week around 20-30 students show up for debate team after school to prepare for their tournament.

“So we start in the coaches room and I just give some general announcements about tournaments and then we split up into different types of debate and then just do prep or practice debates,” Yan said.

Throughout the debate season the tournaments were held on Saturday and the members have all week to prepare for it.

“So we have tournaments on Saturdays from October through January so we prepare by doing research on a resolution. Each type of debate has a different type of resolution and you do research and prepare cases, which are pretty much your arguments for the topic. We also do practice debates and drills and stuff within the team to get people ready,” Yan said.

Debate team went through a growth in students participating and their skill level improved.

“The club has grown a lot since last year and freshman year and I want the club to continue to grow and find more debaters. I also just want to see eventually once my partner and I leave, I want other kids to step up into leadership roles. We had teams qualify for nationals last year for the first time in a couple years and I want to see that keep happening,” Yan said.

Members of the team were not only given the opportunity to improve upon their research and public speaking skills, they were able to meet new people all around from different schools.

“I really like tournaments and meeting people from other schools and just hanging out there because it is cool to find people with the same interests as you,” Yan said.

Story by: Mia Wenzler

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Steady Growth (Code for Change)

Code for Change taught students the skills and technique needed in order to expand their computer science and visual design skills. Students who participated in the club were offered the opportunity to have worked with government and nonprofit organization clients.

Senior and vice president Evan Kenyon and his friend Armaan Goel were the founders and creators of the Code for Change club.

“The original idea for the club was my friend Armaan…who went to a civic hackathon with his dad which is basically a 24 hour coding competition except the civic part meant that the challenges for that competition were to help the community…We thought we can implement this at the high school and meet weekly like a club,” Kenyon said.

Through club fairs and social media advertisements, Code for Change had a rapid growth of members over the year.

“Our goals right now are to sustain the growth that we experienced this year so we had a massive increase in membership… Our goal is not only to sustain where we are currently but our main goal is for expansion and particularly having these clubs getting started at other schools,” Kenyon said.

Kenyon’s club taught the members everyday skills they will use for the rest of their life.

“There are lots of teamwork skills involved although that is pretty obvious from any club. This as a whole has really made me realize how important those things are because you are taught those things over and over but you didn’t really realize that until you engage in it,” Kenyon said.

By working with professional governmental and nonprofit clients members professional communication skills have improved and will help them in the future.

“It is also really helpful in improving my teaching and leadership skills so I feel like I am a much better leader because of this club and much better at teaching people skills and also just communicating professionally we have to communicate with different nonprofits and government organizations almost on a daily basis it forces me to improve those skills,” Kenyon said.

There were around 30-40 members in the Code for Change club who meet once a week typically on a Tuesday.

“So a typical meeting is usually split up into three groups: one beginner group in the reference lab and two more advance groups right outside the reference lab. Each one of the advance groups are working on their own project that the leaders go around and help them with basically so we just kind of supervise rather than do it for them,” Kenyon said.

The members involved in Code for Change club were able to help improve their community.

“My favorite part is seeing the impact we have like we helped a nonprofit refugee organization and we won a bunch of money from that. Basically they have severe budget issues because the government not just of Indiana but the U.S. is really opposed to refugees right now. So we really helped them and they are really grateful and it is really nice to see that positive impact on our community,” Kenyon said.

Story by: Mia Wenzler

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