UI party atmosphere recognized

Work hard; play hard — or maybe University students are already playing too much.

The University ranks 11th on the party school list, 14th as a place with “lots of hard liquor” and ninth as a major fraternity and sorority scene out of 376 schools, according to the Princeton Review.

The Princeton Review surveyed 122,000 students from 376 schools in the nation and collected information about the students’ experiences at the institutions.

Lauren Eiten, senior in LAS and member of the Panhellenic Council, said the Greek community has 7,000 members, which influences the high ranking on the survey in terms of all three categories. The Panhellenic Council governs 24 sororities on campus and is one of four councils at the University, the other three being the Interfraternity, Black Greek and United Greek councils.

“Our ranking has to do with our large membership,” she said.

Robin Kaler, University spokeswoman, said the review of the University should not be taken seriously by students and residents.

“It’s absolutely not done scientifically,” she said. “I don’t think that most people put stock in it.”

She said students’ experiences at Illinois expose them to rigorous curriculum, which in turn prepares students for a role in leadership and a life of impact.

For some members in the Greek system, though, the rankings do not come as a surprise.

Anthony Ravnic, senior in Engineering, member and house manager of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, said he thought the University would be even higher in the rankings.

However, he said fraternity and sorority life is not just about parties. He said it is instrumental in providing community service in the Champaign-Urbana area and comes out of such a large Greek community.

“I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made,” Ravnic said. “They’ve been one of my favorite four years.”

While a high ranking in the fraternity and sorority scene can be seen negatively, some Greek members say community service is a positive aspect in Greek life.

Eiten said the Panhellenic Council raises an average of $130,000 for different organizations, foundations and causes with more than 20,000 service hours by its members. She said each sorority works toward a specific cause each year. For example, Delta Delta Delta sorority raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital every year, she added.

“Most chapters do philanthropy events,” Eiten said. “It (sorority life) definitely made my college career.”

Eiten said she is leaving with more friends, networking opportunities and career possibilities because of her part in the Greek community at the University.

However, Ravnic said parties are everywhere on college campuses, but the fraternity houses try to make the parties as safe as possible. He added that beer is the suggested drink in fraternity parties because with hard liquor things could get violent, in reference to the hard liquor ranking in the survey.

“Party scenes are wherever you go,” he said. “Parties are going to happen either way.”

He added that, despite the ranking on the party school list, his fraternity brothers maintain a grade point average, or GPA, of 3.0, especially the ones living in the house on campus.

“GPAs, in house, have been higher consistently,” Ravnic said. “It’s a direct reflection of brotherhood (or) sisterhood.”

As he leaves the University, Ravnic said he will remember the fraternity, the people in it and the community service coming out of Greek life.

“I always find it (fraternity life) to be a positive experience, overall — definitely a growing experience,” Ravnic said.