Alcohol a factor in fraternity attendance?

It was a tale of two parties this past Saturday night when both Alpha Delta and Chi Heorot fraternities held open gatherings — with extremely different results.

From most accounts, Heorot’s “Kountry Kwencher” party was very well-attended while AD attracted far fewer partygoers, and many have said the reason is because Heorot served alcohol and AD did not.

The major differences between the two events was the presence of alcohol and the type of entertainment.

AD — which co-sponsored its party with Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority — did not serve any alcoholic beverages and had a live band as entertainment.

Next door, Heorot was serving alcoholic beverages and had a disc-jockey. Heorot President Shane Ness ’98 said the party “went smoothly” and was well attended.

While no one would state that the presence of alcohol was the primary reason Heorot’s party was better attended, the presidents of AD and Heorot both agreed that many people view the presence of alcohol as an incentive to attend a party.

Ness said Heorot’s party probably would not have been as successful without alcohol and he “heard the AD thing was a flop.”

But AD President Lazaros Theofilactidis ’98 said he believed despite the low attendance, AD’s party was “a success of some sorts.” Weekend alcohol-free parties at fraternities and sororities are somewhat unusual, and Theofilactidis said his house held the alcohol-free party in order to “explore other options.”

But another reason the alcohol-free party was held relates AD’s current probation, Theofilactidis said.

AD was placed on probation for the balance of Winter term for their violation of Section I of the College’s Alcohol Policy, “distribution of alcoholic beverages to individuals under the drinking age” at a social event last Oct. 18.

Coed Fraternity Sorority Council President Chris Atwood ’98 said Saturday night’s non-alcoholic party resulted from an agreement the house made with the CFS Judiciary Committee.

The JC temporarily lifted AD’s probation for Winter Carnival and allowed the house to serve alcohol at a party that weekend — as long as they pledged to “throw a non-alcoholic party this weekend,” Atwood said.

As for the disparity in attendance between Heorot and AD this past weekend, Atwood said commenting on the reasons behind Heorot’s good turnout and AD’s smaller turnout would be pure speculation.

“I wouldn’t begin to make a guess about what makes people go to one house over another … I don’t want to say that it has anything to do with alcohol,” he said.

Atwood said it was not fair to compare the two parties, particularly because they were held during different time periods. AD’s party ran from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. while Heorot’s ran from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Many students also noted the disparity in attendance at the two fraternities.

Andrew Fritts ’98, who attended Heorot’s party, said Heorot was “packed.”

Pippa Gage ’99 attended both parties and said there were not many people at AD’s party aside from members of AD and KDE, the event’s co-sponsors. Heorot was not “extremely crowded, but there were a lot more people there” than at AD, Gage said.

Sophie Billekens ’97 said there were not many people at AD when she was there at around midnight.

Gage said she thought alcohol is not the sole factor that determines which events students will attend. Many non-alcoholic activities such as singing events and concerts are well attended, but “if it’s sort of a general party with no alcohol, people don’t want to go as much,” she said.

The Programming Board also sponsored a party featuring several bands on Saturday night at The Tabard coed fraternity. Alcohol is not served at events sponsored by the Programming Board.

Programming Board Showcase Committee Co-Chair Dorothy Hui ’98 said attendance was “good for a showcase event,” but not as crowded as a “normal frat party.”

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