The pros and cons of living in a Greek chapter house

No matter where students decide to live on campus, every living situation comes with benefits and drawbacks. Those pros and cons also follow students who choose to live in their fraternity or sorority chapter house.

Many Greek houses on campus, but not all, have live-in requirements, generally claiming that members must live in the chapter house for one full year prior to graduation.

Michael Kolman, junior in ACES, lived in the Phi Sigma Kappa chapter house his sophomore year in order to fulfill his requirement, and found the experience enjoyable.

“I loved living in the house,” Kolman said. “The pros of living-in were that there was always someone to hang out with and talk to. I got to know the guys in the house a lot better, and it was an experience that I will never get again.”

Kolman said some of his favorite memories of living in the house included knocking on his neighbor’s door at night and having deep conversations for a couple of hours while eating food. He added that it created great bonding time with his brothers.

Although Kolman had many positive times during his stay in Phi Sigma Kappa, he also added that living in the house also had some downfalls.

“One of the cons of living in the house was that my sleep schedule was really thrown off. I was going to bed around 4 a.m. on a daily basis,” Kolman said. “Also, it was very difficult to study in the house because I was always tempted to go socialize. I would always have to go to the library if I wanted to get anything done.”

Kolman also said that the house was usually noisy at night, and he felt it would have been hard to find alone time if he had not lived in a single-resident room.

Currently, Kolman lives in an apartment, and said it is vastly different from his living situation in the fraternity house.

“Just like living in the house, there are positives and negatives with the apartment, too,” Kolman said. “I really enjoy cooking, so having a fully equipped kitchen that I’m only sharing with three other people is very convenient. In the fraternity, we weren’t allowed to use the kitchen, only the microwave, which was shared between all the brothers. Also, I have a very spacious room, with a big closet included, and a bathroom that I’m only sharing with one other person.

Still, he admits that “apartment life doesn’t have the same exciting social life that living in the frat did.”

Although Kolman said he probably would not live in the chapter house again if given the choice, he advises younger members in the Greek community to live in a chapter house at least once, if given the opportunity.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to live in a house with 30 other guys,” Kolman said. “The positives outweigh the negatives, so I would definitely recommend for guys who haven’t lived in the house to live-in.”

Justeeny Marszalek, junior in ACES, is currently living in her chapter’s house at Alpha Epsilon Phi.

“It was my goal to live somewhere different each year on campus,” Marszalek said. “When I got the opportunity to live-in, I knew I had to take it because I would never have another opportunity as unique as this one.”

After a month and a half of living in the house, Marszalek said she has also been enjoying her time there.

“I love it. It’s really fun,” Marszalek said. “Some pros are having your friends around you all the time, being surrounded by people you can rely on when you need anything like cold medicine, a pair of overalls or just a helping hand. I also never have to change out of my pajamas to go downstairs to chapter. I get to study with my sisters, and so much more.”

As for cons to this living arrangement, Marszalek said they are few and far between.

“I know some girls feel like they didn’t choose the right roommates, which may be a con for some members,” Marszalek said. “Quiet hours are difficult to enforce too, but I live up on the third floor, which is always pretty quiet.”

Unlike Kolman’s experience, Marszalek said living in Alpha Epsilon Phi has had a positive effect on her schoolwork.

“We have a great study room downstairs and many girls are focused on their schoolwork, so it’s actually a great motivator, and it all falls into place once you learn to manage your time,” Marszalek said.

She also agreed with Kolman’s statement that everyone should live in the chapter house if given the opportunity.

“It is a great way to become really close with girls you never thought you would even talk to,” Marszalek said. “You get to know and value everyone, which is a unique experience. Believe it or not, we’re actually friends and we like being around each other.”

Robert Put had an entirely different experience than both Kolman and Marszalek. A junior in Engineering and member of Fiji fraternity, he opted out of living in his chapter house.

Put said that his decision to join the fraternity during his sophomore year was one main reason as to why he never decided to live-in.

“If I had rushed as a freshman, I probably wouldn’t have minded living in the house,” Put said. “But since I had already signed a lease and rushed Fiji for my sophomore year, I was just used to apartment life. I didn’t think living in the house was the right decision for me.”

Although Put has not had the experience of living in a chapter house, he created his own pros and cons of staying in the chapter home based on what he’s heard from other members.

“I mean, I heard it’s pretty noisy a lot of the time and that it’s hard to get any schoolwork done ever,” Put said. “It can get dirty and you don’t always have a lot of space. But the pros are that most of the events happen at the house, so you don’t have to go anywhere. You always get to be around everyone all the time and have fun.”

Christine can be reached at [email protected]