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Is the Greek life overpowering? Can you make friends through clubs or other ways?

A: Profile picture of Garrett Crouch

Yes, no, maybe so?

I'm fibbing…absolutely you can!

As a sophomore who just recently joined a fraternity on campus, I've been thinking about this question a lot lately—long story short, yes, you can absolutely make friends through clubs or other ways! However, the reality is Greek life at Dartmouth is definitely distinct at times and can occasionally feel overpowering regarding social life/social opportunities on campus, especially if you aren't the type of person who imagines being affiliated in one of these spaces. Let's talk about it.

Around 60% of the student body at Dartmouth is affiliated with some avenue of Greek life, whether it be a gender-inclusive space or a more typical sorority or fraternity; I would be lying to you if I said Greek life wasn't important to Dartmouth students. Considering my freshman experience, coming into Dartmouth, I had no idea this was going to be the case. It was extremely jarring, and oftentimes frustrating because I seriously felt like I had been lied to, or at least had the truth about social life at Dartmouth withheld from me. It felt like every weekend it was, "Oh hey, are you going out tonight? I'm going to this frat, with these people. You should come and meet some brothers!" It was all a bit too much for me. Thankfully, there was indeed a light at the end of the tunnel, and I think a large part of that had to do with Dartmouth's supportive policies on Greek life for freshmen. 

Dartmouth students aren't allowed to officially join a Greek space until their sophomore year, to some this is a nuisance policy, but for me, it was a pulsing beacon of encouragement—a reminder to get involved elsewhere and make friends in the sectors of campus life I was interested in. Spaces like the DOC (Dartmouth Outing Club), my undergraduate research lab, and even my first-year required writing courses all became direct avenues for some of my closest friends at Dartmouth. I can't stress this enough, Dartmouth is exceptionally good at recognizing social norms and providing alternative ways of engagement for students of all interests and backgrounds. Whether it be a niche art club, formula racing, or organic farming, Dartmouth quite literally has a space and corresponding community for everything.

In short, while I have learned to love and appreciate Greek life at Dartmouth, it's not for everyone. But no need to fret, while it can be overpowering in some of the ways I've mentioned, there are seriously a plethora of amazing alternatives to making lifelong friendships here. I (and most Dartmouth students) found my best friend outside of a Greek space ; )

Your friend,


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