Fraternity pledging is an important time for a potential brother. Pledges show how dedicated they are to becoming members, and current members evaluate if the hopefuls are a good fit for the organisation. Stories like the one of Matthew Carrington, a 22-year-old student at Chico State University who died during a dangerous pledge "hazing" activity, show fraternity pledging in a negative light. However, there are pledge activities that are safe and fun and that allow pledges to use positive skills and strengths.
Logging Library Time
Many fraternities encourage brothers and potentials to maintain good academic standing. For example, the University of Arizona at Tucson Interfraternity Council sets set a minimum 2.5 cumulative college GPA for fraternal eligibility. An appropriate pledge activity to encourage academics is to require pledges to spend a set number of hours each week studying in a library or on-campus learning centre. A sign-in sheet, computer login or monitored study times will allow the fraternity to check whether pledges are meeting this requirement.
Planning a Philanthropy Fundraiser
Fraternity chapters choose philanthropies to raise money for during the year. To help pledges familiarise themselves with the philanthropy and the work that goes into fundraising, have them plan and execute a fundraiser as a group. Current members can offer assistance and guidance, but the bulk of the work should fall to the pledges, giving them the chance to show their dedication and ability to work with their brothers toward a common goal.
Photo Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are common pledge activities. Pledges are given a list of items, people or places to find and collect. Many scavenger hunts allow pledges to take pictures of found items. These pictures can then be used for pledge photo books or albums kept by the archivist. Scavenger hunts are sometimes considered hazing, so dangerous items and harmful situations should always be avoided. It is also important to make sure none of the list items is illegal to obtain.
Designated Driver or Escort
One activity that tackles the issue of excessive drinking during the pledge period is to require that during parties, the pledges abstain from drinking in order to be the designated drivers for off-campus attendees and sober escorts to walk on-campus attendees back to their dorms. This activity tests the pledge's ability to act responsibility while avoiding trouble that might arise from excessive drinking. It can also build a good reputation for the fraternity chapter.