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Why do students at Dartmouth participate in Greek life?

A: Chase Harvey

This is a question that I have been asked dozens of times by not only prospective students but my family and friends back home. The typical connotations of fraternity or sorority often involve trashy interactions, elitist mindsets, and debaucherous behavior. Personally, I don't blame you if this is your view because I completely understand.

As someone who came from the southern United States, I always viewed Greek life as a place for similarly wealthy kids to make poor decisions together. When I committed to Dartmouth, I had never considered joining a fraternity. Nonetheless, here I am as a brother of Zeta Psi. Friends and family asked me what changed my mind about joining this weird culture of Greek life, even deciding to live in the fraternity house for two years. In all honesty, it is the way Dartmouth Greek life functions that changed my mind.

I joined a fraternity because I realized that I genuinely enjoyed the way my fraternity functions on Dartmouth's campus. Since joining Zeta Psi, I have significantly increased the number of close friends I have since becoming a brother. The close-knit connection between the brothers of my house is the biggest reason I joined Greek life. Another reason for joining Dartmouth Greek life is its diversity compared to nearly all other Greek life on other college campuses. My fraternity is racially, socioeconomically, and culturally diverse, as we have brothers from all over the United States and abroad. Additionally, Dartmouth also has gender-inclusive Greek spaces where any person can join their house no matter what gender, race, or sexuality they are. I acknowledge that Greek life at Dartmouth is not a perfect system. Dartmouth has various resources from advocation, advice, therapy, and more to face any issues that arise in Greek life. 

Going-out scenes revolve predominantly around on-campus Greek life events, which are publicly advertised to the entire student body. Nonetheless, students also find themselves in countless social settings relating to their interests, whether club sports or the Dartmouth Outing Club. Unaffiliated people, not directly tied to Greek life, are also welcome to attend Greek events. I have many unaffiliated friends I hang out with and invite to my fraternity on weekend nights. Joining a fraternity was a positive experience for me, improving my overall Dartmouth experience. I would not change anything about my experiences so far, and I will continue to be a proud brother of my fraternity at Dartmouth. 

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