This informant is a member of a USC fraternity and I asked him to share some of their traditions or stories he might have. Among others, here is a year-end senior tradition he shared with me. It’s called Senior Schlaugen and here is our dialogue.
Me: Tell about this Senior Schlaugen, and what does the name mean?
Informant: Haha, I have no idea where the name came from but since the game is all about drinking and –schlaugen sounds German, maybe that’s why? Anyways it’s a tradition the seniors do every year, where we try to drink as much as possible for the last month of school. So for this year it goes from April 15th to Graduation on May 15th. Basically we form teams of three and you get points every night someone on your team goes out, also there are weekly team challenges, like finish a 30 rack in a library. Its really fucking with me right now, I have been out six nights in a row, I gotta fuckin win.
Me: Is there a prize?
Informant: Uh, ya winning team gets little gimmick trophies, but its more about the pride.
Me: So this competition means a lot to you?
Informant: Well ya, nothing I do in school now is gonna change what I do post grad as long as I don’t fail any classes. Couldn’t really give less of a shit about my classes right now.
Me: Well, you’re about a week in do you think you’ll burn out before graduation? Any surprises after just a week?
Informant: Haha, no way ill burn out I fuckin live for this. But ya even though this game is all about getting fucked up and partying, it really does serve a purpose that I am just now realizing.
Me: What’s that?
Informant: Well its just brought me closer to all the guys that I may or may not ever see again, and really forced us to make the best out of the last month. You get extra points if your whole team drinks together in one night so we are all always in the same place.
For starters, this tradition at the informant’s fraternity is a blaring example of the drinking culture at USC, and the Greek community more specifically. However, although it seemed completely centered around partying on the surface, what my informant said at the end really shed light on why the tradition has stayed around for years. The game brought all the seniors closer, students who may never see each other again and definitely will never all in the same room again. Some people say fraternities are all about partying, but by looking further into their traditions, you can see the important role brotherhood plays as well.