What to expect when going Greek
October 21, 2019
You’ve finally done it! After countless tours, chants and chats with an endless parade of sorority houses and sisters, you’ve made your final decision after formal recruitment and chosen a house that you hope will nurture strong bonds throughout your college career and house lifelong friends. For many, one of the most appealing parts of sorority life can be the lavish houses, which many University chapters require members to live in for one year. After all, what’s not to love about living in a luxurious mansion with your sisters with greater intimacy and privacy than the average dorm but without the pressure of cooking and cleaning regularly that you would have in an apartment?
However, when I first entered sorority life and moved into my house, I found experiences in Greek housing that defied any expectations I previously had, good or bad. For any new sisters in Greek life, I hope this article will give you some tips on what to expect after move-in day and how to make your experience easier.
For those who are far from fans of the selection of foods offered at University dining halls, Greek housing will definitely be for you. Greek houses on campus offer meals through private catering companies that are far more attentive to residents’ concerns and preferences in regards to meals. At my house, our chef even takes requests for late plates for girls stuck studying late, changes to the salad bar, and what meals residents want to be made for lunch or dinner in the future.
On the other hand, more attentive care for members’ meals and smaller kitchens leave less time and resources for a wider variety of meal choices. Most of the time, what you see presented in the dining room when you come down for dinner is what you get, and those who find the meal choice unappealing will have little choice but to either scavenge on fruit snacks and chips in the kitchen, haul themselves to the grocery store or order delivery. Those in Greek housing typically spend much more on food and outside meals than the average dorm resident with a reliable meal plan. To avoid spending an exorbitant amount on groceries or runs to D.P. Dough, I would suggest creating a readily available list for must-have staples like orange juice, yogurt and granola bars, and then expand as needed if you ever have a special request or the ability to splurge for a certain week.
One of the main reasons most Greek chapters require their members to live for at least one year in the more intimate setting of a chapter house is the benefits that living together can create strong bonds between the sisters. Sitting around the table eating meals together, cuddling in the common room to watch Netflix after a stressful day, and dealing with a clogged toilet on the third floor is bound to create more opportunities for building stronger and closer friendships based on shared experiences.
For those who prefer to cast a wide net and find ride-or-die groups in every class or organization, the often insular setting of a sorority house may begin to make you feel cut off from other groups you might otherwise invite to your dorm room for a movie or game night. Whether it’s expectations to go to parties with other sisters or stay at the house for Greek committee meetings, making time to hang out with other groups can feel more and more difficult. As with my last piece of advice, time management is a must. Taking the time to schedule when and where you and your friends outside of the sorority can meet up will yield far better results than attempting impromptu hangouts.
How much this will affect your living in Greek housing varies from chapter to chapter. Some houses are lucky enough to be right next to convenient bus routes or the Main Quad, while others deep in Urbana or Champaign aren’t as lucky. Almost all of the University dorms are designed and located to provide convenience to students juggling busy class schedules on a large campus, while many Greek houses weren’t built based on proximity to campus, meaning you’ll likely have to wake up earlier to catch a certain bus or give yourself enough time to walk or bike over to your first class.
A distinct advantage of many Greek house locations for students who are tired of the cramped feel of dorm living is a relaxed residential environment. It can make you feel automatically more independent and less stressed. Being surrounded by apartments and houses, even though there may be occasional issues related to noisy neighbors, makes it easier and more natural after finishing your Greek housing tenure to transition to independent living in your own apartment and take your first step into the world of adulting.
Clare is a sophomore in LAS.