Fatima Rivera | Assistant Editor
Greek life is a major stamp in many universities throughout the nation. At Arizona State University, it is a part of campus life. It shapes the image of the school and has a heavy influence on potential students. “Alpha Class” gives viewers a chance to see that influence inside campus grounds.
In the beginning, a phone call between an unknown caller and a young man takes place, where the caller is asking a series of questions. One question stands out, making the man stop and look stunned towards the camera. Different locations in ASU’s campus are shown, with each one displaying different greek letters helping establish how big greek life is on their campus.
Three young men start to recall the time they were pledging for a fraternity, leading to brutal hazing traditions. Each of those events led to the fraternity being disbanded, and the pledging class deciding to create a new fraternity with better rules.
However, it wasn’t all a cakewalk. The process of giving bids, establishing rules and how the “brothers” worked together to create a better environment is shown throughout the film, giving one more insight on what exactly makes the“brotherhood.”
“Alpha Class” is a documentary created by Danny McManus and his company D-Mak Productions, capturing not just his story as a frat member at ASU, but other members as well, to create awareness of the consequences of hazing. The film is split into different parts retelling what was going on during that time and leading to the final moments of the new fraternity.
Hazing is a big theme surrounding the entire documentary, with explicit retellings of “Hell Week” from the former pledges, with one activity where all of the pledges were locked in a room, and were only able to eat what the brothers would give them. One pledge began to throw up blood and ended up being thrown up on under orders of the other members.
“I’d rather cut my arm off than go through what you’re about to,” an unknown member of the fraternity is heard saying those words before starting the next step of the hazing process.
A segment in the documentary involves students outside of greek life asking what their opinions on fraternities were. Most of the responses were based on stereotypes that they have heard with one girl saying she was told, “don’t fall asleep at a frat house.” As many fraternities are not among these stereotypes, they continue to pop out as more horror stories surface from the members that stray away from the rules.
The documentary is insightful by getting an inside look at how a fraternity works and how they deal with controversial situations that affects not just themselves, but other members as well. After listening from an insider point of view on hazing it gives a strand of opinions that can be formed. One huge question answered indirectly and directly in this film is, “Why do they decide to stick through that?”.
Though “Alpha Class” is somewhat of a blast from the past, with the difference of years between the time filming began and when it was released, it is still relevant to many things today. Terms and information are explained throughout for those who are not familiar with greek life.