UT's sober frat in spotlight after Texas State student death

The deaths of fraternity members from alleged hazing and alcohol consumption have officials cracking down on college fraternity life.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Following the death of a Texas State University student who was pledging to Phi Kappa Psi, the school has shut down Greek life at the university. 

Some students believe drinking may have had something to do with his Matthew Ellis's death.

Nico Doorn said the pressure to drink in college can be extremely intense, especially if you're pledging a fraternity. 

"If you're in a fraternity that has a heavy drinking culture and you choose not to drink you just lost your friends group," Doorn said.  

Doorn said it can be an isolating experience, especially if you're already dealing with alcohol dependency. 

"If you have an environment that not only allows over-drinking but actually encourages it, it's kind of just a recipe for disaster," Doorn said.  

Now a licensed chemical dependency counselor, Doorn said after receiving his degree he wanted to give college students an alternative. This fall he helped bring Alpha 180 to the University of Texas. It's UT's first sober fraternity.   

"We're not trying to say anything is right or wrong," Doorn said. "We just want to provide another option for students." 

Alpha 180 is welcoming to all, even women. It has fellowship, activities, services and counseling for sober students. 

"The response has been amazing," Doorn said. "What happens when you have a community that has normalized not drinking is it completely alleviates the pressure. The pressure to drink comes from wanting to fit in." 

He said after hearing about the death of Ellis, his heart broke. 

"It's now more important than ever to at least be having open and honest conversations about what's going on because its killing people and it's supporting things like this that provide an alternative," Doorn said. 

In the future, Alpha 180 is hoping to expand to other campuses across the country. To learn more about the fraternity, go here.

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