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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Face-off: Pledge attire is a hilarious annoyance

Face-off
Bryce Yzaguirre | The Reflector
Face-off

Welcome back to your regularly scheduled program featuring freshmen boys in polos and khakis. Although the Career Fair has come and gone, we are still seeing business casual on this campus, and it is not for the benefit of a fulfilling post-grad job.
Yes, I am referring to the freshman fraternity pledges that cross my path every day.
As a disclaimer, I will admit there is something almost wholesome about these 18-year-old boys walking around campus in their country club outfits with heads full of excitement for the memories they are about to make in their college years. However, I cannot help but laugh at them and think they look ridiculous while they endure the hot weather daily.
I like to imagine various scenarios that might have led up to a pledge crossing my path. I especially enjoy imagining the conversations these pledges had with their moms this summer about their outfits.
Mother first asks, “Son, do you plan on pledging?”
“Yes, mother, I will,” her son says.
“Then we will need to get you at least 20 polos and khaki pants for you to wear for three months,” she says. “Hope you’re okay with that.”
These boys had to squish the very polos I see every day into the suitcase their grandmas gifted them for graduation. Their laundry loads must resemble that of middle-age country club members at the end of a long week playing the green. 
There is something both pathetic and amusing about envisioning pledges getting dropped off at college with a suitcase filled to the brim with attire that only a golfer would envy.
I like to imagine these boys putting on their little pledge pin every morning and panicking about accidentally misplacing it. Does the little pin backing rub against their skin? Does it get caught on their backpack straps?
For added effect, I imagine another student might mistake the pledge to be someone headed to deliver a presentation. Of course, why else would they be so dressed up? The pledge would immediately jump to correct this confused student, proudly pointing to their insignificant pin that represents their Greek affiliation.
Being required to wear this professional outfit is further hilarious to me because of the juxtaposition between the respectable attire and the fact that some of these boys may be heinous fiends in both the Mississippi State University and Starkville community. Is this an unfair presumption? No. I believe it is not.
According to the National Library of Medicine, “Male fraternity members who lived in fraternity houses during college had the highest levels of binge drinking and marijuana use relative to non-members and non-students in young adulthood that continued through age 35.”
Fraternity and Sorority Life here at Mississippi State works hard to prevent this with resources and regulations. However, if you have attended any date parties, visited the district or just people-watched on game days, then you know the obscene students I am talking about.
My opponent here is a fraternity member and sees inspiration in this seeming rite-of-passage. His perspective is that of someone who endured it, someone who may be glad to see that what he experienced is carried on. With my perspective as an outsider, one who transferred here as a junior, I find a certain amusement in the harmless pledge outfits and an annoyance at the spectacle.
Yes, it does not matter. Yes, it does not affect me. However, I cannot help but picture how they will one day trade in their polo for a pair of maroon and white striped game day overalls. 
Seeing these bright-eyed, naive, impressionable freshmen boys walking around campus in their polos and khakis makes me laugh. Despite feeling an immense and somewhat undeserving annoyance toward them, I still want to give these pledges a hug and make sure they are confident enough to reject peer pressure.
This article is part of a Face-off. To read John Baladi’s argument on the topic, click here.

About the Contributor
Elisa Stocking, Staff Writer
Elisa Stocking is a senior communication major. Elisa is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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Face-off: Pledge attire is a hilarious annoyance