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Former senator talks Greek life, presents Beta Theta Pi scholarship

Former Indiana Senator Richard Lugar spoke out against hazing and alcohol problems in Greek Life. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Former Indiana Senator Richard Lugar spoke out against hazing and alcohol problems in Greek Life. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Former Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) presented a GW freshman with a Beta Theta Pi scholarship. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., presented a GW freshman with a Beta Theta Pi scholarship. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Updated: Sept. 4 at 12:45 a.m.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Brandon Lee.

Former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., joined fellow members of Beta Theta Pi in the Marvin Center on Wednesday to present the fraternity’s Men of Principle scholarship.

The former senator also used his time to recall his fraternity days as a member of Beta Theta Pi at Denison University, and spoke out against hazing and excessive alcohol use in Greek life.

1. Men of Principal scholarship

Freshman Austin Hansen, who is not a member of the fraternity, beat out 13 other students to win the $500 Men of Principle scholarship. The award is an annual honor given to a male student who displays leadership on campus.

“I came here to be in D.C., to be in that bubble of famous people,” Hansen said. “To be able to shake hands with people like Dick Lugar, it reminds you why you’re here. I’m honored, and I have no other words to describe it.”

2. Hazing and alcohol

The scholarship’s name comes from a nationwide Beta Theta Pi initiative called Men of Principle, which aims to curb hazing and substance abuse.

“There had been an excessive use of alcohol and drug abuse in the Greek houses,” said Lugar, who spent 36 years in the U.S. Senate.

He added that students can have the most impact on changing that culture on college campuses.

3. Beta memories

Lugar, 82, also recalled his own time as an active member of the fraternity. He joined Beta as a freshman, when his chapter had a “no smoke, no drink, no horsing around ethic.”

“Turns out, that was sort of difficult to maintain,” he joked. “I must confess, when I was in the second floor of the house, I saw the occasional beer can floating around, which caught my attention.”

Greek life gave him a sense of community and friendship he still appreciates, Lugar said.

“By the end of freshman year, life had changed for me,” he said. “It was a new opportunity and a new beginning, and I knew that everything was gonna be OK.”

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported the amount of money given with the Men of Principle scholarship. The award is a $500 scholarship, not $1,000. We regret this error.

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