Greek Life at Dartmouth
Can you be a part of the Dartmouth community without joining Greek life?
Approximately 60% of Dartmouth's students are involved in Greek life, which includes three gender-inclusive chapters, ten sororities, and fourteen fraternities. Considering the fact that students are only allowed to rush starting their second year, this means that approximately 80% or more of eligible Dartmouth students are involved in Greek life to some capacity. As a result of the College's rural nature, the "going out" social scene on-campus is simultaneously dominated by Greek life while also being extremely inclusive—parties are advertised to the entire student body via campus-wide email chains and it is usually possible to get into private events through affiliated friends.
While this specific social scene is very much influenced by Greek chapters, it is an overstatement to say that one cannot be a part of the Dartmouth community without joining a sorority, fraternity, or gender-inclusive chapter. For one, there are numerous other types of social scenes, whether that be those based around personal faith, hobbies, or other interests. For example, the DOC is often referred to as an unofficial Greek house, and many people find friends through club sports or performing arts clubs like a cappella, improv/theater, and dance. Additionally, the Dartmouth "community" is one that encompasses everyone, from your friends to staff, faculty, and other mentors you may meet during your four years here. Though many students may participate in Greek life, they also do a lot of other things that weave them into the Dartmouth fabric, such as research, TA-ing, or campus jobs. Greek life is but one part of your experience here, and I wouldn't say it has an all-consuming impact on one's social life.
I myself was part of a sorority, even serving in leadership, before ultimately depledging and opting for other social spaces instead. I made wonderful friends during my time in Greek life and I also made wonderful friends outside of it. All this to say, while people may lean into it for partying, the true Dartmouth community was not confined to fraternity basements for me, and I know this is the same for many others. If you are worried about the presence of a large drinking or partying culture impacting your mental health or personal life here at a rural school, I strongly encourage you to ask as many Dartmouth students about their experiences as possible, either through the blog or social media. I also encourage prospective students to do some self-reflection and attempt to understand more about themselves before committing. Dartmouth is what you make of it, and I think it is very possible to be a part of the community without being affiliated!