Living in the Fraternity House

<p>Has your son lived in his fraternity house? What was his experience? My son's fraternity is fairly mild mannered as they go, but there are still 35/40 guys living together without an RA. Thank heavens they have a cook, but they do their own cleaning, makes me feel a little queasy. Son claims that grades are a priority there, but I wonder if they ever sleep. I'd love to hear your son's experiences.</p>

<p>My son has been living in a fraternity for two, soon to be three years. He has so loved the experience that rather than live in a house or apartment his senior year, he chose to live in the house. Several of his rising senior fraternity brothers are moving into the house after living in an apartment junior year. His comment to me about living in the house senior year, "Dad, I have my whole life to live in an apartment or house. I have only one more year to live with 35 of my closest friends." The father of his freshman roommate, now his fraternity brother, said his son told him the same thing when he said he wanted to move back in to the house senior year. </p>

<p>His house has the highest GPA of any fraternity on campus, so grades are a priority. He goes to school 'in-town' so my wife and I have had a chance to see the house a little more frequently than most. Your description (Mild mannered fraternity with nice and smart guys; House has a Cook but cleaning done by house members) is similar to how I would describe my son's fraternity. One difference is that the University (private) owns the house and has an RA living in an apartment in the house. This person rarely interferes with house practice but does help insure that they follow the rules. </p>

<p>Yes, my son has his share of late night ventures but college students in dorms or apartments do, too. </p>

<p>Overall, living in the faternity will likely be the most memorable part of my son's social experience in college. Hope that helps.</p>

<p>Not all fraternities are like "Animal House". I lived in a fraternity for all 4 years of college. You had your own room, so it was very much like a dorm except SMALLER; 35 people verses hundreds in the dorms.</p>

<p>We governed our house, we cleaned it and we did our own cooking. The comment about "thank heavens they have a cook" made me comment.</p>

<p>Yes, we did our own cooking. Cooking was a paid position and not everyone cooked. We would try out the new cooks the first week or so of school and then go from there. Weekly schedule after that. I did cooking right from the start. Great way to earn money and I found it fun. When you cooked, you didn't need to be doing cooking things all the time so I would bring my books down to the kitchen, which had a desk for the cook. The cooks would help each other out right around serving time when things got hectic which was a big help (and the helpers would eat with the cook in the kitchen and have first pick of the food). </p>

<p>We also had a paid postion of steward. He did the meal planning and food ordering. Sometimes two people shared the position. I was co-steward for a couple of semesters and found it fun but a lot more work than cooking.</p>

<p>I believe we ate better than the dorms. We weren't afraid to try new things. Some brothers would have old family recipes that they would get and use. I learned to make a real good lasagna that way and then showed my parents how to make it.</p>

<p>Saturday night dinner was usually something special that you could bring a date to. The usual number fed was around 50 on week days (grad alumni and friends would swell the numbers) but Saturday nights went up to around 60 to 70 (depending on what was to be served, there were definite favorites). We would do things like Rock Cornish Game Hens with sweet and sour stuffing as well as the usual turkey dinners on Saturdays.</p>

<p>I really enjoyed my life in the fraternity and cooking was definitely part of it. I still enjoy cooking, even for large groups/parties.</p>

<p>Thanks guys, you've made it sound pretty civilized!
HPuck35: I'm amazed by your cooking story, what great skills you developed. Makes me wish that my son's house didn't have a cook. They do organize many community service projects so there are some organizational skills to be picked up there.</p>

<p>My son has lived in his house for a little over a year, and plans to continue until he graduates. They are responsible for thier own cleaning. I say "are responsible" because there is little evidence that they actually DO any. :) Everyone must be on a college meal plan, so they don't have a cook or communal meals, except at formals.</p>

<p>Frankly, I was shocked at the poor condition of the inside of the house. My previous familiarity was with a frat at MIT, which was quite well-maintained by the brothers. They also had a cook. Many, if not most, of the houses there were across the river from campus in Back Bay and were not, to my knowlege, owned by the university, which makes a difference in terms of independence</p>

<p>I haven't been inside the house, but my son keeps saying things that make me think it's not the most hygienic of places. It's on campus, I think the campus sort of expanded around fraternity row, and a block from the college president's house, that probably keeps the tumult in check. I went to college in the early seventies and greek life was extremely unpopular on my campus. You couldn't have paid us to join, so it's been a little hard to adjust to a son who fully embraces it and wants to live in a messy loud house full of guys. They all seem really committed to each other, so much so that I can see why they call themselves brothers.</p>

<p>My son lives in a fraternity house that makes the one in Animal House seem nice. I cannot believe their definition of clean and the partying puts our generation to shame. However, his GPA increased significantly, will graduate on time with a double major and clearly he has made lifelong friends. The crazy environment does teach them to focus when they have to and spend long nights in the library.</p>

<p>Interesting that Consolation would mention MIT. The fraternity house I was in was at MIT. We were across the river and an alumni corporation owned the house. The alumni board would meet at the house a couple of times during the year. They would want a "tour" which really meant they were checking out how we were maintaining the place.</p>

<p>I went back to the house for alumni weekend for the first time in many years this past spring. It was somewhat clean, about the same as I remember when I lived there. Cleanliness being relative. It may not be clean per my mom's (or wife's) standard but it was about as clean as my son's house that he was renting going to another school.</p>

<p>As brothers, we would look out for one another. Something you may not see in the dorm. Most of it was just looking out for your friend. But some was because you needed him to stay in school otherwise YOUR housebill would go up (ie. cost you money). So many fixed costs that needed to be spread out.</p>

<p>S is in a fraternity at a school not too far from where HPuck attended. The set-up at S's fraternity is the same as HPucks describes -- the brothers cook, clean, & maintain the house. Is it clean by MY standards? Not even close. You couldn't pay me enough to live in those conditions. But, the house is inspected regularly and must meet school safety & fire standards, etc. Summary? S is happy, doing well in school, and has made life-long friends.</p>

<p>S mentioned recently that his fraternity had hosted a "cold war" party. The participants dressed as either Russians or Americans. Innocently I asked if there had been a Berlin Wall.</p>

<p>"Well, of course."</p>

<p>"What was it made of?"</p>

<p>"Cases of beer."</p>

<p>Why did I ask?</p>

<p>My son was in the same frat as Consolation's and I agree with her -- it is in rough shape. But S is proud and happy with his membership and friends. I was appalled at his room at graduation time -- but I zipped my lips shut, thinking "I am NOT going to ruin this happy weekend by saying anything. I'm NOT. I'm NOT". I kept that up as loads of dirty laundry went into packing boxes and all sorts of layers slowly disappeared to reveal a floor that was . . .indescribable. </p>

<p>Imagine my face when I later overheard him say "Well, I guess it wasn't too bad because Mom didn't say anything". AUGH!!! </p>

<p>Still, he survived (probably has the world's strongest immune system) and I think the novelty of living with 20 guys was starting to wear off. Last term grades were very strong and he's a happy camper.</p>

<p>Thank you all for sharing. I've resolved to stay out of the fraternity house entirely so I don't have those visuals stuck in my head. The most positive aspects you've given me to hang onto are the lifelong friends and the good grades. Those are, of course, the most important aspects.</p>

<p>Do they have a goat? Goats are an awesome additions to your house as they clean up the lawn and are a great mascot too!</p>

<p>Great idea BowTie, maybe it could also eat the dirty clothes.</p>

<p>And I have met Olymom's S, and he is a handsome and couth young man. His room may be like the Augean stables, but he shows no signs of it! :D (Hopefully the same can be said of my kid!)</p>