The Greek system is a staple of American university life, and it greatly adds to the social and professional experience of many university students. Students get to take part in philanthropic events, networking mixers, and parties. They can form lasting bonds with other members that follow with them post-graduation.
Fraternities are known for doing this at their parties, and they’re allowed to host parties with alcohol at their houses. Sororities, on the other hand, are only allowed to co-host parties with other fraternities or serve alcohol through a third-party vendor outside of their home. So, why is there a difference in rules surrounding parties between the two groups?
History of Fraternities and Sororities
The first fraternity was started in the US in 1776. Sororities were established shortly after in the mid-1800s. The establishment of fraternities and sororities at colleges became an opportunity for like-minded individuals to commit to their academic life, network, and form social bonds.
A sorority might be one of the 26 members of the National Panhellenic Conference, or they might be more focused on specific interests, like charity work or engineering. Today, many fraternities are open to both men and women, such as Delta Sigma Pi, the most popular business fraternity.
But social events remain the central focus of Greek life. And, this is one of the main reasons many students opt to rush. Despite that, there are differences in what’s allowed for fraternities and sororities at social events.
Why Do Fraternities Host Parties, but Sororities Do Not?
One reason for the difference could be due to cultural dynamics. Fraternities are typically seen as more masculine, and movies have popularized the concept of a party culture at fraternities that creates bonds between brothers. Sororities however are seen as a more feminine organization that tends to take a more reserved approach, focusing on the individual relationships between sisters and bigs and littles.
In addition, the two greek organizations are often structured differently. Fraternities are given more autonomy when it comes to planning social events, while sororities tend to face more restrictions and regulations that make it more difficult to host events.
Pros and Cons Of Sororities Not Hosting Parties
Is it necessarily a bad thing? Many sorority sisters would say no. In fact, not hosting parties allow sororities to provide a safe environment at events for their members. It can prevent underage drinking and peer pressure at events, which can in turn stop students from making terrible decisions that affect their standing at college, such as a DUI or alcohol-related arrest. According to the Law Offices of John Phebus, a DUI on their record can lead to harsh penalties such as the loss of their license for a year and thousands of dollars in fines.
But, the impact of this exclusion could be significant for sorority members. The lack of options to socialize and connect with other Greek students might be disappointing to new members. It might reinforce certain stereotypes between men and women. And it might be harmful to certain members who don’t fit into certain norms and prevent them from pledging. At worst, this exclusion could make some people look at Greek life as old-fashioned or even sexist.
While some sororities might opt to host events at different venues on or off campus, the typical result is that sorority members attend more fraternity parties. This might be more unsafe because they are away from the safety of their own home. They also have less control over who attends and the alcohol being served.
What Should Be Done Moving Forward?
Greek organizations uphold traditions for a long time, especially in the sense of what is and isn’t allowed for members. But, it might be worth challenging certain norms and expectations.
One approach could be to provide more support and resources to sororities looking to plan and host events. This could include mentorship from fraternities, increased financial assistance, or relaxed regulations surrounding social events. Another solution is to create more opportunities for fraternities and sororities to work together, such as joint parties or mixers. This could help break down the cultural barriers that exist between the two groups and create a more inclusive social scene.
Ultimately, addressing the issue of sorority exclusion in the party scene requires a willingness to challenge existing norms and promote greater equity and inclusivity in Greek life. But, the key focus on sorority parties might be better focused less on where events are hosted and more on the safety of the events. In turn, this could help foster a fun and safe environment for all members of Greek societies.