One day, the keg stands and hazing sessions must end. One day, “How do I get her naked?” becomes “How do I get her leave me alone so I can WATCH THE FUCKING GAME!?” One day, the parents’ credit card is replaced with a monthly paycheck. Those days begin soon after graduation. On that miserable day, a raging fraternity man begins his transition to a domesticated alumnus.
Unless a chapter is new on campus, alums still play a role. Some write checks that are used to throw parties – ahem – make general house improvements. Some show up for the cheap beer at tailgates. Others seem to be totally absent, with only their composite picture to remind brothers that they were once actives.
Today, let us examine some of those alums.
The Missing Alum
When the Alumni Chair begins making calls asking for donations, this guy’s listed number is disconnected. Newsletters and requests for donations are returned by the post office. No email address is listed on the alumni database. When his pledge brothers come to the alumni tailgate, they say they haven’t seen him since someone’s wedding or someone’s funeral. You can’t find him on Facebook and his LinkedIn account is dormant, oh wait, all LinkedIn accounts are dormant. Fuck LinkedIn.
Although the missing alum is perpetually MIA, he still knows the secret handshake and motto. He probably even still has his big brother paddle in his attic somewhere, packed away right next to his personality, and balls. To the chapter, he doesn’t exist. A good Alumni Chair will make up a story about his whereabouts. Maybe he went to Beijing on business, got shitfaced one night and tried to lead a democratic revolution, landing himself permanently in a 4×8 cell where his only human contact is with two very small but surprisingly strong Chinese guards . Maybe he won the lottery and moved to a private island in the Bahamas. Or maybe he joined the marines and was involved in Bin Laden’s assassination. That’s it – one of our brothers helped killed the world’s most wanted terrorist! He just isn’t responding to the chapter because the government has him on ice.
In reality, the missing alum probably just got married, settled down (read: got super whipped) and decided to forever forget his life in the fratcastle. The missing alum might be the most mature of the alum types – he had his fun time chugging cheap beer and raging but has moved on to a single glass of Scotch after putting his kids in bed.
To the chapter, the missing alum sucks. He doesn’t give any money, and doesn’t even really stay in contact with the people he used to call his friends and brothers. Sure the actives wish him well, but it wouldn’t hurt to acknowledge the existence of his past friends.
The Alum Who Never Grew Up
Every chapter has a few alums that never grew up. Fifteen years after graduation, the crazy alum is on his third marriage and still chases tail at the local bar. At alumni weekend, “coming to the house for a beer” turns into an alumni coke blizzard. He still watches Sunday football with his pledge brothers and their conversations usually start with “Remember that time…” He’s like an alcoholic Peter Pan, and his Captain Hook is holding a decent job.
Sure, the chapter loves the alum that never grew up. A part of every fratstar envies him. After graduation, we hope to stay close to our fraternity brothers. We hope to still rage hard into our old age, but the general instability of the alum who never grew up’s life brings a much needed dose of reality to the rose colored glasses that his life is often viewed with.
Also, the alum that never grew up does little for the chapter. He doesn’t have enough money to make a sizable donation and drinks enough beer at alumni weekend to offset his annual $50 check. His main contributions to the chapter are stories from “the good old days” and a night of good laughs. He has the love of everyone he meets, but not much respect.
The Insanely Rich Alum
Every chapter seems to have one. There’s that one alum that made it huge. Despite his alcoholic tendencies as a college student, his business was a hit. He loves his fraternity and gives back generously to the chapter. The president of the alumni board lays in bed at night dreaming about the Insanely Rich Alum ejaculating white, hot wads of cash onto his face. If you don’t know who your chapter’s rich alum is, just look around the house. There’s probably a sizeable plaque with his name on it.
The insanely rich alum is vital to the chapter’s existence. Dues cover nationals’ fees and band parties, but house improvements live and die by the insanely rich alums. Without the insanely rich alum, the fratcastle will soon turn into the Delta house from Animal House. As we all know, it takes a lot of money to undo the inevitable wear and tear inflicted by dozens and dozens of burgeoning alcoholics.
At the end of the day you wish there were no absent alums, and that all the alums were as fun as drunk Peter Pan or as generous as your fraternity’s main financier. But aside from alumni weekend, they are about as useless as the absent alums. We don’t know what kind of alums we will be, but hopefully we will stay loyal to the chapter when our time has come and gone, and for the love of general fratting, I hope we will.