Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

Sub-Department

College of Education

First Advisor

C. Spencer Platt

Abstract

Extensive research has consistently linked high-risk alcohol use and fraternity membership. However, not all men who join fraternities are high-risk drinkers. This qualitative descriptive case study describes the experiences and motivations of six nondrinking fraternity men to better understand who they were before they arrived on campus, why they joined the organization they did, and how they navigate the fraternity environment. The research conducted for this study indicates that their experiences and motivations for joining and staying in fraternities are identified in three primary ways: (1) their upbringing and the role that parental expectations play, (2) the influence of faith in fraternities and how religious beliefs and spiritual values guide decision making; and (3) the ways in which the individuals socialize and manage the party scene without alcohol. This study informs the body of literature from an anti-deficit approach and tells a story that is currently not available. The findings for this study have implications for students and for campus administrators. Insights can inform more strategic efforts in addressing non-drinking students on campus. In addition, the findings can influence potential change within the fraternity system and current research on the little known experiences of nondrinkers. Future directions for research include the non-drinking sorority women experience and comparisons of groups and relationships with non-drinking members.

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