Driving a Stake Through the Heart of Animal House

Filmed thirty-five years ago nothing has rocked collegiate Greeks as hard as the movie Animal House. It’s a Monster that haunts all 5,500 Chapter Houses operating on more than 800 college campuses in America.

Hardly a week goes by that this Monster doesn’t take a big bite out of some Chapter somewhere.  {This week, see Dartmouth)

Sun Wu Tzu, the greatest military expert in history, has it right:  “Know your enemy”. The two-minute clip below continues to represent the worst of Fraternal life. It is long past time to kill that perception — >> very, very dead.

Where, how and who to kill the Monster

  • Where better to concoct a deadly brew than at the University of Oregon where Animal House was created?
  • Who better to administer the poison than Greeks on the Eugene campus?
  • How better than by way of a brand new playbook based on the simple theory that filling the Houses with young kids in the summer, every summer, is a sure-fire way to enrich everyone…while also becoming the brew that kills the Monster.

The title of the Playbook that can kill the Monster is the Eugene Youth Jamboree. While all the X’s and O’s inside of it will take some time to perfect, the concept is so utterly basic that it’s surprising that dozens of forward-thinking Houses have not already adopted it.

The short of it is to fill as many Greek Houses as we can, during the summer,   with ambitious kids age 13 to about 20. They would be recruited from groups, (as per —>> “in the business of youth empowerment“; –>> and here. The kids would bring their own sleeping bags and do stuff likely to cause lifetime impressions of large value. Those experiences are exactly why the Houses were built in the first place. That is exactly why they should be open all 365 days of the year.

The Jamboree — A priceless solid gold coin.

One side of this coin shines brightly for participating Greeks. They not only have a huge opportunity to greatly improve the perception of their House, and their Fraternity, they also can improve revenues, have a squeaky-clean House when it opens in the Fall.

More important – which may be the most important of all — what takes place inside the House in  July and August can set an upbeat tone which will improve results during the entire “regular” school year.

If there was ever a time when the tail might well wag the dog,this is that tail.

The other side of the coin is equally bright.

The National Collaboration for Youth publishes convincing scholarly reports about the value of “unusual experiences” for kids. What youngster coming to Oregon would ever forget playing basketball in Knight Arena? Or baseball in PK Park? Or running a race on Hayward Field? Or playing touch football inside Autzen Stadium.

How many will have never even dreamed of sleeping inside a multi-million dollar residence? Much less one that “lives” on a college campus?

For how many who come to Eugene, will it be their first visit to a University campus? Additionally, how many will have ever river-rafted on a river?? Or sailed a boat — anywhere? Or went exploring in the forest? Or ridden a horse? Or learned to cook for ten or twenty or fifty?

Or, like me, age 12,deserve the opportunity of a brand new experience — like the one where I  crossed country on a  train —>>> to get to a Jamboree very far away?

So, here’s the bet I want to wager with Clarke McAllister,

Chapter Adviser @ Sigma Chi at Oregon

My bet is that for a tiny, tiny fraction of the $7.5 million that Purdue spent to spectacularly renovate their Sig House in Indianapolis, than Oregon Sigs (and other Greeks) can do to kill the whole idea of Animal House? That….”three yards and a cloud of dust” may be fine if you reside in the MidWest.

But out here we are high-flying Ducks, in awe of Chip Kelly, in the shadow of Uncle Phil and Nike….and not so far from Apple —  where we learned to ‘think different‘. In the future, here is what we want to spearhead.

The road ahead?

If we can successfully hold the Jamboree next summer, and bond ourselves with Tracktown USA  – as well as with those Groups doing great work on behalf of teenage kids –  the Eugene Jamboree will grow and grow and grow. Heck, once we do it at Oregon, there are 799 other campuses where some other innovative souls might like to hold their own Jamboree.  After all………

……..225,000 empty and idle rooms, inside 5,500 Chapter Houses, is a terrible thing to waste. Even if it’s “only” in the summer.



SPECIAL NOTE: The following links and descriptions provide more of the “make up” for X’s and O’s that are sure to follow;

Eugene Youth Jamboree  July 5-31, 2014


Tracktown USA & Junior World Championships

Youth Build Org

Girls Rock Camp Alliance

Other Youth Organizations to be invited

Tough Guys and Gals – from New Zealand

The model of the Bach Festival, operated in locations all over the world

City of Eugene, Mayor Percy

Fraternities & Sororities at Oregon University

Lions Clubs in Oregon


My experience in 1954 is a principal reason I am so involved. Way back then, I was aboard a train from California to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania enroute to the Boy Scouts National Jamboree. With a fateful stop in New Orleans — with a Black Scout Master forbidden to eat with us.



About oregonhibbs

I'm passionate about improving access to education, worldwide, sailing, Duck football (I live in the shadow of the University of Oregon in Eugene) and connecting with people with ideas and work that "can change the world". With this in mind, I am the "Skipper" for Global Learn Day, which you can find out more about at OREGONHIBBS.COM ; Write to skipper@bfranklin.edu

Posted on October 7, 2013, in A Youth Alliance/Oregon Jamboree, Flipped Fraternities & Restoration, News. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

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