For those looking for a great way to meet new people who really know how to party, the Yale Greek scene may be just the thing.
The University officially recognizes eight fraternities and three sororities. Freshmen begin their fraternity hunt through the rush system, which allows them to meet both other rushees and upperclassmen.
So, which — if any — fraternity or sorority is right for you? To help answer this question, many host parties in the fall where rushees can mingle with current members, allowing them to learn about the fraternity or sorority while the brothers and sisters get to know the rushee.
Rush activities include drinking at Naples, watching sporting events, and participating in backyard-style games. Sorority events include rushees touring the sorority houses and participating in special, tradition-rich ceremonies.
Many perceive fraternities and sororities as places where intense partying and heavy drinking take place nightly. But most fraternities and sororities are known for only one or two nights per week of heavy partying, in addition to a few major annual events.
For example, every April, the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity hosts “Funnelfest” — beer-lovers, this is the place for you! Delta Kappa Epsilon hosts “Tang” every year during Spring Fling, where students from Yale and other local universities compete in drinking games.
Many also think that fraternities are exclusively for athletes. Sigma Nu is sometimes referred to as the rugby fraternity and Delta Kappa Epsilon the football and baseball fraternity.
But many members of fraternities praise them for their diversity.
“I enjoy [Sigma Alpha Epsilon] because no two guys are alike — in that we all do different activities, have different majors, and come from various places,” said Robbie Wilkins ’03, a member of SAE.
Tate Rich ’04, a member of DKE — the fraternity of President George W. Bush ’68 — echoed these sentiments.
“Frat life is awesome,” Rich said. “Fraternities provide a quick and easy way for freshmen to meet tons of other freshmen and older students all over campus.”
But fraternity life is not for everyone, and a number of freshmen either rush and decide not to join or join and then quit. Several students cited academic reasons for not staying with fraternities, while others decided the lifestyle was just not for them.
Some Greek organizations show their altruistic side by getting involved in community service projects.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon has done extensive work for the Children’s Miracle Network, Beta Theta Pi members have been known to volunteer at area soup kitchens, and Sigma Chi annually sponsors “Derby Days,” aimed at cleaning local parks and raising money for charities. The Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority works enthusiastically to prevent domestic violence, and Pi Beta Phi sisters work to raise money for battered and abused women.
Yale also features cultural fraternities and sororities often geared towards specific ethnic groups. Delta Sigma Theta, for example, is predominantly for women of color, but Demetria Silvera ’01, a member of the sorority, said it isn’t composed exclusively of African-American women. Silvera said the group’s goals are community service, sisterhood and scholarship.
“It’s not about going out and drinking, but about uplifting the African-American community,” Silvera said.
In essence, Yale’s 11 Greek organizations are diverse enough to offer something for everyone interested in joining a fraternity or sorority. If you are a fun-loving person who plans to party well, you might want to consider a fraternity or sorority.
But keep in mind that they are not for everyone, so use rush time as a way to make an educated decision on which fraternity or sorority, if any, is best for you.