Ninad's RCL Blog

Responses to the RCL-specific blog prompts

Author: nfm5171

RCL #2 – Deliberation Article Comparison

To expand upon the discussion of Greek life that will commence during our deliberation in a few weeks, I tried to find articles which covered both sides of the argument that forms. The first article, a Time entry titled “Why Colleges Should Get Rid of Fraternities for Good”, discuss the immoral foundations of fraternities in our country up, as well as the unfortunate fraternity-related events which have taken place in the past few years, including the death of Penn State’s own, Tim Piazza. The main point the article makes is that the problems surrounding Greek life at our university as well as those all around the nation are inherent and unsolvable. Reform, according to the author, is futile because problems continue to occur even after steps are taken at fraternities. By the end, she acknowledges that the solution will be tough, but with American victories against slavery and the like, we should have no problem abolishing fraternities.

“Why Fraternities Will Never Disappear From American College Life”, from Business Insider, indirectly refutes the first by simply showing examples of failed abolishment across the United States. It also discusses the benefits fraternities provide to surrounding neighborhoods and the means through which they lower the stress on university administration, including campus housing, offering of outside social outlets, alumni donations, and the sheer value of student rights in the entire equation.

Where the connection between the two articles lies is in the back-and-forth debate they spark. It seems that for each point the first one brings up, the second one has a rebuttal and another point to be made somewhere within. Though they contrast in purpose, they both acknowledge that there is some sort of flaw in Greek life systems throughout the United States, only disagreeing in the feasibility of a solution that involves their removal. The articles could contribute heavily to our deliberation because they together provide such a diverse outlook on Greek life issues, spanning from one end of the spectrum to the other. Because our deliberation seeks to look at the issues from a similarly wide lens, we could easily incorporate ideas and opinions from both articles into our discussions of each side. We would look to place them primarily in the second section of our deliberation, where we hone in on the issues on the university level.



RCL #1 – Deliberation Update

Title: The Nu Era of Greek Life: Can We Make Fraternities Beta? How Should Frat Rho Be Delta With?

The deliberation will be going in depth and discussing the implications surrounding Greek life, particularly fraternities, here at Penn State as well as around the nation. We will be taking a three pronged approach, talking about them from the perspectives of the nation, university, and individual brother. In doing so, we hope to analyze and discuss all of the aspects of fraternities, both negative and positive, with hope that we’ll shine an accurate light on the issue as a whole.

My role is specifically to help contribute to research and deliberation for the second tier of our deliberation, which is fraternities from the university’s perspective. Of course, we’ll be discussing the steps Penn State has taken, will take, and should take to make steps toward progress in our Greek life’s reputation. I’ll also be examining the role of the more general university, looking at solutions which have been incorporated around the nation. I will also be contributing to the issue guide in whatever way I can to make this deliberation as effective and smooth as possible.


RCL #0 – This I Believe Script

“Sit back down and finish what’s on your plate!” Now more than ever, my mom’s strict but sincere voice often rings through my head, an indirect, repeated reminder of the simple values that define me.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hail from a modest family. The Mahajan clan, including those of us in the United States as well as the majority back in India, live a lifestyle whose cultural and religious influences have played an influential hand in our upbringings. Being religious has allowed our culture to play an influential hand in our upbringings, and as a result, we’ve learned to define ourselves by a set of few, core values that we live and breathe by. Values like, family comes first. Simple things like, eat whatever’s on your plate. And perhaps most importantly, a line my parents always seemed to find a way to drill into my head: “don’t take things for granted.”

Trust me when I say that I’ve taken this to heart. Witnessing the poverty of India plenty of times firsthand has definitely helped, and with each trip I make, my sense of privilege matures with me. Just this last summer, I had the opportunity to get closer with a lot of the children from my father’s native village. Every trip, we like to bring our cousins chocolate, clothes, and school supplies. It’s the least we could do for their kind hospitality every visit.  On this last particular trip, however, my eyes opened up to something I had never seen before.

One morning, one of my cousins tugged on my shirt as I sat on the couch. “I want to go share the gifts with my friends,” he said. “Will you come with me?”

Taken aback, I followed him outside. For the next couple hours, we roamed the village, visiting all the small kids of the neighborhood and delivering pencils, notebooks, and candy to each and every one. I saw families living in small huts with aluminum sheet ceilings. Children without proper beds to sleep on. Holes in the ground designated as toilets. But above all this adversity, I saw gratitude and happiness written on the face of each and every kid I met. Regardless of their background, in that moment of time they felt truly special.

As we made our way back home, I couldn’t help but ask my cousin about his generosity. “We got the gifts for you guys back home,” I told him. “Why’d you share them?”

He took a second, and then responded: “I’m lucky,” he said. He told me what he has that others don’t. Pencils. Clean clothes. Parents who can afford a tutor, so he can do well in school. Three meals a day. “I have everything I’d want,” he told me. “The other kids need this more than I do.”

And so, with the remarkable experiences I’ve had in my father’s village always floating in my mind, I believe in the unparalleled power of being grateful. As I wake up from my bed every morning to attend class, as part of a prestigious honors program at an amazing university in the home of the American dream, I can’t help but feel blessed. Having witnessed the relative nature of poverty firsthand, I remain content with what I have, no matter what situation I may ever find myself in. After all, with a loving family and great friends, a world-class education, and the rest of life’s necessities, what more could I ask for?

For me, living with gratitude leads to a life of happiness, and that’s richer than all the chocolate and pencils in the world.

This I believe.

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