The Machine is here.
Four Binghamton University fraternities, heralded by fliers which only read “The Machine is coming,” have banded together to unite campus and improve greek life’s image.
The alliance aims “to promote and facilitate ethnic and cultural unity by bringing together the student body,” said Anthony Brovchenko, one of its members and president of Phi Kappa Psi.
“The greek life on this campus gets a bad rep,” said Brovchenko, a junior majoring in finance and management information systems. “We’re trying to show the positive aspects to it.”
Brovchenko and representatives from Malik Fraternity Inc., Lambda Phi Epsilon and Sigma Beta Rho started meeting weekly this semester. They plan on setting up fundraising, campus cleanups, fraternity forums, community service and charitable social events, such as a softball game in May.
The Machine was ironically dubbed after a coalition of southern white fraternities that ran student politics and perpetuated racism. While BU’s Machine makes no claim of discrimination here, members notice an undercurrent of division among fraternities.
“On this campus you see a lot of segregation, involuntary, but basically that’s how it works,” Brovchenko said. “You see the multicultural fraternities working with organizations in their councils and other similar organizations. And you see what you would call the ‘white’ fraternities and sororities working with themselves and they don’t really go outside of that.”
But The Machine breaks those boundaries. Being African and Latino based, Asian interest, multicultural or generic, the four fraternities each represent different cultural niches of the diverse campus community.
“This is a way to facilitate people from different backgrounds coming together, working together, learning from each other and trying to get their crowds to work together as well,” he said.
Fraternities and sororities already cross cultural lines, co-hosting parties and community service events, for example. But according to Jack Causseaux, assistant director of Campus Life, this is the first time he’s seen an undertaking of this magnitude since he came to campus in 2002.
“Groups have worked together before,” said Causseaux, who advises fraternities and sororities, “but not with such organization.”
Having BU’s fraternities and sororities joining forces is a goal of greek life, and The Machine is a prime example of that effort, Causseaux said.
“This is, I think, more so a product of what we’ve been doing to work together rather than … the key force,” he added.
The greek community has been pushing to dispel any negative reputation, like claims of hazing practices or the image of fraternities as only drinking clubs.
The Machine is trying to show that the campus’s 40 fraternities and sororities are not just social circles, but a brotherhood and “a resource you can use for your entire life,” Brovchenko said.
Though it might be unprecedented that The Machine is pursuing its goals as its own entity, Brovchenko expects other greek organizations to follow suit and unite in more alliances.
“We hope it changes the face of greek life,” Brovchenko said. “This is not something that just happens this semester or next semester. This is hopefully something that becomes a brand name, so to speak, for years to come.”
The Machine’s first event is a charity softball game and picnic on May 4 from 2 p.m. to dusk on the rec fields by the East Gym. All proceeds go to the Binghamton Boys and Girls Club. For more information contact Anthony Brovchenko at firstname.lastname@example.org.