Kartik Chainani is a recent graduate of the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in Media and Communications. He has a deep passion for film and television and loves to write about both of them, among many other things. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at: @KartikChainani
No matter which university you attend, there are a lot of preconceived notions about the Greek system. Many will tell you that it’s full of nothing but sex, booze and parties. Others will tell you that it’s a great way to assure that you stay on top of your grades, get actively involved on campus and even network for your future careers. With both sides of this spectrum come their own shares of students eager to take full advantage of these opportunities. However, much like college as a whole, a fraternity or sorority is truly what you decide to make of it. While each house has its own reputation, you can’t really know what they’re about until you go and check them out for yourselves. Even if you’re on the fence about being apart of any house at all, it doesn’t hurt to go see what they have to offer.
Joining a fraternity or sorority can be a great way to help you break out of your shell. Most Greek systems within universities have a recruitment process, which in itself is a great way to meet people. There is no commitment to be made and you aren’t forced to be apart of anything you don’t want to do. In this phase, the different Greek chapters are generally trying to impress you. This can mean bringing you to barbecues, pool parties and even sporting events on their dime. By attending these, you not only get to have a great (and generally free) time, you meet the chapter members and other students who are in your same position. Whether you’re impressed enough by the house as a whole or not, it can never hurt to meet new people in college.
While there are plenty of social and professional benefits to being apart of the Greek system, there are still many houses that are heavy on the party scene. If this is your thing, great. There are plenty of houses that you would fit right into. If not, it’s definitely something to consider when looking at different houses. Many chapters are called “dry” houses, which means that they do not party in their fraternities or sororities. This can be a huge benefit to many people, as you may not always be in party mode, and might have a test you need to study for which having added noise would not be favorable. You may also not be into living in a house full of red solo cups and beer-stained carpets. Again, this isn’t the case for every house, but it is definitely out there. A lot of these dry houses have what are called “live-outs”. A live-out is a house that is separate from the fraternity/sorority’s actual chapter house, but is occupied by members of that chapter. These live-outs are where dry houses host their parties. This way, you’re getting the best of both worlds; you get to go party, but return to a nice quiet house.
While no school’s Greek systems are quite the same, these are general guidelines to consider when making your decision to go Greek or not. It can never hurt to see what these houses have to offer, and try and keep an open mind. If frats and sororities turn out to not be for you, you’ll at least have the satisfaction of knowing you saw what they were all about before turning them down. If they are something you’re interested in, then great! Either way, college will be what you decide to make of it.