Sarah Lawrence goes Greek?

A few months ago during one of my routine 18-hour Facebook binges, I received an event invitation to join Sarah Lawrence’s newest student group: a co-ed “fraternity,” ΣΑΔ. I refreshed the page to make sure that I was reading the title correctly and turned to my roommate to ask her if she had received the same thing. She had been invited too. For whatever reason at that moment, my first instinct was to laugh. I wasn’t laughing at the fraternity or the people involved, but at the obscure image that came to mind when I pictured a traditional frat on the Sarah Lawrence campus. Guys ripping their skinny jeans trying to do keg stands, beer being spilled on vintage dresses during an intense game of flip cup, post-modern art replaced by posters of naked models…

While the initial idea of a frat at Sarah Lawrence College seems against the school’s emphasis on the individual, it also raises a question. Do students here crave more social structure? Although I’m only a first-year, I could tell from my first few weeks on campus that the social scene at Sarah Lawrence is different from the social scenes of other colleges. I talk to friends who go to larger schools with Greek life, and most of their time on the weekends is spent going to frat house parties. Here, weekend partying plans are mostly what you make of it. While some choose to explore the ‘concrete jungle,’ others choose to have small get-togethers on campus with close friends. This leaves some people stuck in the middle, wanting more out of their campus experience without having to go to the city every weekend. These fun-seeking people are those who make up the new “fraternity.”

Conference project for Physics for Future Presidents: the breakdown of beer pong

In order to determine whether the creation of this fraternity and the desire to have a community-based social structure are correlated, I spoke to two members of the fraternity. Both members wished to remain nameless. One believes that the frat is simply poking fun at SLC’s general rejection of the fraternity mentality. “I think they made this frat as a joke based on the fact that Sarah Lawrence is so different than state universities. It’s kind of making fun of the fact that we don’t have any frats and we would probably be the last school that would have one.” The other attributes its formation to the fact that the fraternity provides social ‘security.’ “I think on top of it being a joke, it also creates a different party scene. The parties [normally] are bring-your-own-bottle. The frat is one of the places that people can go without bringing their own alcohol.” Both sources agree that it should not be taken seriously or as a public statement of rebellion. “It’s just for fun.”

I’ve had conversations with other groups of people in the past on the idea of ever having a fraternity or sorority at Sarah Lawrence, and the general consensus is negative. The majority of students here value their individuality. Conforming to a ‘brotherhood’ would betray these values unique to Sarah Lawrence. While we may never experience our own true frat parties, we can still support the culture we create here. Other schools can keep their rush weeks and pong tables. We will continue to proudly embrace our conference weeks and round tables.

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