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Colgate - Greek Life


Replies to: Colgate - Greek Life

  • eiknarfeiknarf Registered User Posts: 129 Junior Member
    Hope this helps the students still making a decision about which College to attend. - and whether they are concerned about Greek life at Colgate. I have a daughter currently attending Colgate as a Sophomore. Sororities was never her thing. She has so many friends and activities, that not being in a Sorority doesn't even factor into anything for her.

    Only 1/3 of students are currently enrolled in Frats/Sororities; meaning 2/3's are not. Also you cannot pledge until Sophomore year, which gives Freshmen time to establish their friends and interests before the pull of Frats hits them (unlike some other schools that you pledge in your first year and its Frat or nothing).

    @bankdaddy - of course you will find kids at Colgate wearing $1,000 coats and driving 50K cars. But you will find that at every school including the local community college. The fact that you saw 1 student doing this, or 10 or 100 - does not mean that all 3,000 students dress this way. The majority of the students wear sweatsuits/hoodies, and sweats/leggings all the time, regardless of how "rich" their "parents" are. I've seen many more used Hondas in the student parking lot then I have Mercedes.
  • a20171a20171 Registered User Posts: 1,177 Senior Member
    edited April 20
    I think that at any $60,000+ per year school there's gonna be a lot of "privilege". A lot of people have financial aid/college funds... a lot of people pay it out of pocket. And having money doesn't mean they're not good people. Unless your kid wouldn't be comfortable around people with expensive jackets I don't see how it's a huge problem.
  • havenoideahavenoidea Registered User Posts: 131 Junior Member
    I probably shouldn't add my 2 cents, since I havenoidea, but when we first arrived at Colgate, I thought the majority of the kids looked like their outfits cost more than my whole wardrobe! We are not paupers, but we live in a part of the country where people don't put as much value on material goods, I suppose. My S loved his hosts (including their clothes, many watches, etc., lol), who were both going to join frats. There really isn't much else to do in such a little town. Anyway, we decided we'd rather a more diverse environment for him (and he had merit aid at other places that seemed quite good). And, while S didn't pick Colorado College either, that college shows not all "rich kids" have been conditioned to overtly display wealth. The education at Colgate and its career services sounded exceptional, however.
  • bankdaddybankdaddy Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    I was in Hamilton yesterday and stayed the night. I agreed to take my D to stay with a friend of hers (a Junior) so she could explore the social scene before committing, she said she needed to do that even though we understood it was just an excuse to party. Her friend's BF is in a frat and since it was Fraturday she ended up spending the day partying in a frat. I had hoped she would also spend part of the day uphill with the other kids but that didn't happen. Anyway, she had a great time and says the scene at the frat was nice and not dicey and is committing to Colgate. I basically spent 24 hours in Hamilton alone at the Colgate Inn hoping she wouldn't get in trouble, I'll admit that twice I walked up to the frat with thoughts of going in and yanking her out but luckily thought better of it. I'm going to have to find a way to cope in the next four years. it wasn't easy and I originally resisted the whole outing but my D kept reminding me that within a few months she would be there or somewhere else (Michigan, UCLA) without me so I better get used to her partying at frats and sororities. She not 100% committed to Greek life but it certainly looks like she's headed in that direction or at least hoping to be.

    Although I do wish Greek life didn't exist (my son is in a frat so I know all about it), I am happy my D chose Colgate. My wife is even happier than I am so that's really good. It was I who asked my D to apply to Colgate to have something she could juxtapose to all those big State schools she dreamt of in April before making her final decision. Turns out I was right but I'm not reminding her of that though.

    I've visited Colgate four times now and spent a lot to time talking to students, residents, teachers and just paying very close attention to interactions on campus and in town. I explored the entire village yesterday (didn't take long), and feel like I have a good grasp on what Colgate will offer my D. Hamilton is a charming and clean village, the residents are friendly, the 3-4 boutiques I visited were lovely, The bookstore was beautiful, the ice cream parlor lovely and full of local families, the quality of the food I had was surprisingly great (the Salt and Fluor Bakery was perfect), and the Colgate Inn was a definite surprise...what a charming hotel. Almost all the kids I spoke with and/or observed were really well mannered, social and clearly very bright. Apart from some girls virtually walking around half naked ( i'm not prude but a bra isn't a shirt), all the kids were definitely sort of preppy and well dressed. I was joking with my wife tonight about how attractive everyone, students and residents are. We both did our undergrad work upsate and this is not the upsate NY we remembered. I was surprised by the caliber of cars many of these kids are driving.I also have a really nice car but I've been working for 25 years now. I do wonder about parents who send their kids to college in $60K cars. I saw more diversity than anticipated, albeit in what may have been segregated clusters. At least yesterday it felt like all the diversity was all uphill, while the Greek scene on Broad street was overwhelmingly white I hope I am wrong about this. I saw sober groups of students enjoying dinner in the local Indian and Mexican restaurants, talking about life on the terrace atop the library, the library full of kids studying on a Saturday afternoon, and I also saw a lot of drinking on broad street and downtown. You could actually hear the screaming from the frats on Broad street from the quad where the chapel is. This morning there were a ton of empty beer cans on the front lawns of the frats and, even on the streets where there were what appeared to be some off campus housing. I saw campus security drive around town numerous times, even this morning when I picked up my daughter in the dorm I kept seeing campus security driving around. They know what's going on and it's obvious they're keeping a watchful eye. I also saw Hamilton police many times last night. The owner of Olivieri's Pizzeria told me there is a strong police influence and State Troopers only 10 min away but that yes, often a blind eye is turned. I imagine because of the financial benefit the college offers the town and region. There was one student DUI last night apparently, and I saw a bunch of very erratic driving, including two kids running a red light right in front of the Colgate Inn. There is a lot of drinking and, although this is no different than any college, I do feel a bit put upon by it as a parent. Too much drinking on American campuses.

    Overall I am happy and cautiously optimistic about my D's choice to go with Colgate. I'll feel even more optimistic if she can find a sensible but realistic way to mitigate the distractions the hard partying can have on her academics, after all, the driving factor that helped Colgate surpass her other choices was the amazing academic opportunities offered at Colgate. The work hard play hard mantra is fine, but it's a slippery slope. My wife and I will spend the next 4 months trying to prepare her for this and then just put our faith in her to be able to have fun but not let it get out of control.

    I think Colgate will offer her endless opportunities and I'm happy she's landed in a place where she will have the ability to take advantage of these. Fingers crossed.

  • markhammarkham Registered User Posts: 755 Member

    Thank you for reviewing your impressions of Colgate as gathered last weekend and on earlier visits. I am on campus too and observed many of the same things regarding student life.

    For those who have yet to visit and evaluate the college a good place to start coming to grips with campus issues is the Colgate Maroon News. The last issue has an article on social hosting policies as well as topics such as sustainability, celebrations/events, alumni feedback, music, politics, a review of a new cafe in the village, sports and other matters.

    For those interested in Greek life, check out the cover article on social hosting. As you may know, Colgate owns all 8 Greek houses and monitors their activities closely.


    Best of luck to you, your wife and daughter for the next 4 years and beyond!

    Go ‘gate!
  • bankdaddybankdaddy Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    yeah, picked up a copy at the Inn and read it front to back. It's a well written paper. The take on Paul Ryan's decision to drop out of Washington from the perspective of a liberal and a conservative student was well done.

    The article on social hosting is also interesting. My D said campus security visited the frat party she was at a few times, that's a good thing. She also mentioned something about some students "on duty" there to theoretically monitor stuff. I don't think inviting contracted third parties to these event sis a good thing. That would just open up a can of worms and I'm sure we'd be discussing cases of overreach or incompetency in the future should that ever happen.

    Bottom line, in my opinion, Greek life is a not that desirable. I know some kids want it, but the administration must really look forward tot he day it becomes extinct. I've read articles about Greek life being on its way to extinction. My son confirms this from his perspective at a school with perhaps 60% Greek involvement. He says the administration at his school is making it harder and harder and harder on the frats.

  • MisspentYouthMisspentYouth Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thank you for your detailed write up on your recent experience in Hamilton. Your insights are very helpful for us in weighing the academic opportunities of Colgate vs its party reputation. My son is close to committing to Colgate. He has no interest in joining a frat (your descriptions of Fraturday will only reinforce that :), but feels confident he will be able to find his place (I hope he's right).
  • 642obdr642obdr Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    @MisspentYouth, my son is a junior at Colgate. He lives down the hill on Broad Street near the frats. He doesn't party and has had no problem at all finding his way socially. He has commented that frat parties get loud but that's it. Colgate provides an excellent education, off campus study opportunities and career services. Don't let the specter of Greek Life and partying dissuade your son from attending Colgate. If he's visited campus, asked his questions and factored the weather, location and student body composition into his decision making process, then he has the information he needs to make the right choice for himself.
  • eiknarfeiknarf Registered User Posts: 129 Junior Member
    I think what people forget is only 1/3 of students at Colgate are in frats. 2/3 are not. There are plenty of thinks to do outside of frat activities. I have a Sophomore daughter at Colgate. Besides school work, which keeps her quite busy - her days/weekends are busy with a multitude of activities and friends, none of which are frat related.
  • bankdaddybankdaddy Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    @MisspentYouth - After very careful review I also have come to the conclusion that a student can find plenty to do outside of Greek life at Colgate. It's certainly a concern given the reputation of the school, but after spending time there and asking the right questions it's clear one can have a wonderful 4-years with or without Greek life. The same is not true at the college my son attends where 60% of students are in Greek life. The same is also not true at schools like Wake Forest where 80% of girls rush.

    There is also another big difference at Colgate vis-a-vis schools like Bucknell or Wake. At those, if you are not in Greek life, you simply are not invited to the partying which occurs exclusively in frats. At Colgate, from my understanding, Frats, downtown apts are open to any student who wishes to participate in the party. I think it might be less cliquey at Colgate notwithstanding the Greek life realities.

    Not sure which other schools your son is considering, but I would say not to bypass the potential Colgate offers because of Greek life.
  • inanebabblerinanebabbler Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    Can anyone tell me about Underground groups at colgate?

    I heard DKE was officially disaffiliated from colgate a long time ago but they still exist on campus secretly...

    How do they affect social life?
  • MisspentYouthMisspentYouth Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thank you all for your helpful comments. I'm happy to say my son committed to Colgate today, so he is now a Raider. Go 'Gate!
  • eiknarfeiknarf Registered User Posts: 129 Junior Member
    congrats @MisspentYouth. My son committed there last week. I will now have two at 'Gate.
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