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The Harvard College Alcohol Report is back and its conclusions are not surprising. The report states that binge drinking is still high on college campuses and that Greeks in particular are "at the center of the campus alcohol culture." It also concludes that binge drinking has not declined significantly, despite punitive measures by universities, and that most Greeks living in a fraternity or sorority house drink. Greeks at this university are unique and different from many of our counterparts across the nation. We are one of the only Greek systems nationwide, and one of the only groups on campus, that mandates two types of alcohol training (TIPS and Drug and Alcohol Resource Team workshops) for our members. This is especially important given that studies have shown that education is the best way to combat harmful drinking. Our education seminars have two goals: To educate our members on how to deal with alcohol responsibly and how to handle those who have taken it too far. So not only will the bonds of brotherhood or sisterhood ensure that a person will be taken care of, but everyone from our pledges to our senior members knows how to handle a potentially harmful situation. While the Harvard study may warn of Greek excesses, we want to remind those in the Penn community of our educational process that places us in the foreground among other Greek systems and other groups on campus. That being said, I am not going to deny that Greeks drink more frequently than many students. But one must take into account that we are some of the most social students on campus. Many of our members join a house, as opposed to a performing arts group, athletic team or other extracurricular activity, for the friendship and support involved. Furthermore, social activities, even in the real world, often revolve around alcohol. American society teaches that good ways to spend time with your friends are over drinks. Why else would there be so many bars, cocktail parties or just people getting together over a beer to discuss old times? Additionally, the alternative social outlets on campus are limited. If there were competing social organizations that provided a viable alternative to Greek life, their drinking rates would be just as high. The reality, as the report indicates, is that many of those students who binge drink in college did the same in high school. They are doing nothing new in college, and if they are Greek, they are receiving infinitely more education on alcohol than previously. But beyond all this, perhaps the report's most important indication is that the methods used by most universities, which are mainly punitive and include heavy sanctions against both drinkers and fraternities, have failed; otherwise the numbers would have gone down. Given that such measures appear to be counterproductive, Penn Greeks are in a far better position to deal with the problem of binge drinking than any other group on campus. At Penn we educate, choosing neither to preach nor sanction recklessly. This is not to say, however, that punishments aren't handed down. The InterFraternity Council, through the Judicial Inquiry Board, sanctions houses for violations of policies that could make events unsafe. Greeks at Penn are united in our desire to create a campus that remains "the social ivy" as well as an institution where students are educated and safe. This explains our collaboration on educational efforts, and coordinated attempts to ensure students' safety at our functions. We have achieved an excellent balance. Let us only hope that this report will not scare the University into taking more draconian steps that have evidently failed elsewhere.

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