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Christian Union
November 8, 2014

Dartmouth Students Pledge Devotion to Christ

by Eileen Scott, Senior Writer

Dartmouth-GreekDartmouth College, often seen as a poster school for parties and raucous Greek life, recently garnered media attention for sexual assaults, alcohol infractions, and abusive hazing practices.

However, there are a few voices crying out in the wilderness, and they are resonating from within a fraternity house.

A handful of Christian young men at Dartmouth have found a home at the Beta Alpha Omega Fraternity and, despite the debauchery associated with Greek life, have assimilated with their faith, morals, and dignity intact. And that, they say, is the result of prayerful preparation and intentional faith.

Cameron Price '15 and Jonathan Marinelli '16—fraternity brothers and brothers in Christ—are devoted to glorifying God and being Christ's ambassadors within the Greek system.

Price said he pledged Beta Alpha Omega after much discernment, and with mentoring from Kevin Collins, Christian Union's ministry director at Dartmouth.

"Kevin is really open to how the Spirit moves," said Price. "He listens very well, considers your emotions, and discerns how God is speaking to you."

In addition to the edification that comes from attending Christian Union Bible Courses, Price also enjoys having a cadre of friends within Christian Union's ministry at Dartmouth who encourage him and keep him accountable.

Although some Christians on campus did not understand Price's desire to pledge, Price believed God was calling him to be a light within Greek life. When Price went to the fraternity and found four other Christians already part of the house, he knew that God was further opening the door.

As for Marinelli, he initially had no interest in a fraternity. He pledged only after talking with other Christians from the Christian Union ministry who were fraternity brothers. He also attended workshops sponsored by the ministry to prepare students for being a Christian in the context of Greek life.

But just being counted among Christians who live in a fraternity isn't enough for Price and Marinelli. They say the key to living out their faith as a Greek requires boldness and authenticity.

For example, during a discussion among the brothers about past sexual experiences, Price shared that he is waiting for marriage.

"It was the most difficult thing I could do," he said, "but the Lord gave me the power to be truthful and they respected me for it."

Marinelli also noted the importance of transparency.

"You have to let everyone know what you stand for, that way they understand why you choose to lead a different life," he said.

"People care more about who you are when you are genuine. People recognize that I am confident in who I am and they like that," said Price.

"When people see you living differently, they're curious. They want to know why. This then gives me an opportunity to share the Gospel."

For Marinelli, having four other Christian fraternity brothers helps strengthen him.

"It's easier to stand as five than one," he said.

But not every fraternity is as accepting as Beta Alpha Omega, an organization that has also had its share of alcohol infractions.

According to Marinelli, the Greek system can move a Christian in one of two ways: "It either brings him closer to Christ because of the stand he must take, or it sweeps him away with the crowd," he said. "I thank God every day that I chose to stand for Him."

In taking a stand to live an authentically Christian life among their peers, Marinelli and Price are living a missional life, said Zach Albanese, a Christian Union ministry fellow at Dartmouth.

"They are leading out as Christians by being enamored by the sacrificial love of Jesus and then communicating that love through their interactions with others," said Albanese.

Price and Marinelli have no illusions about transforming Greek life from Animal House to God's House overnight, but they do hope to plant the seeds that, through God's grace and timing, will one day bear fruit in the hearts of their fraternity brothers.