As of 12:01 p.m. Monday, members of the Class of 2017 are allowed to enter Greek houses, and although Webster Avenue was not crowded at noon, many freshmen said they plan to go to fraternities at some point during the week.
Freshmen expressed relief at the prospect of having social options beyond Greek Leadership Council-sponsored events and dorm-hopping.
“I’m not stoked on the whole frat thing, but I guess it’s better than what’s been going on our weekends are pretty pathetic right now, and dorm-hopping has gotten really lame,” Eliza Grainger ’17 said. “I will probably go out tonight, for a little bit. I want to see the scene.”
Freshmen interviewed are excited for the ban’s end. While Derek Whang ’17 “may or may not” go out tonight, he said some of his classmates intend to “pre-game at 11 a.m. and go out at 12 p.m.”
When asked about the effectiveness of the GLC policy, freshmen said it may have lowered rates of sexual assault, but they were not convinced that it decreased binge drinking. Instead of preventing high-risk drinking, the policy may have simply moved it into freshman dormitories.
GLC moderator Elliot Sanborn ’14 said in an email that it is too early to determine whether the policy was a success. The GLC will use discussions with UGAs, Greek presidents and the Office of Residential Life, along with objective data on drinking and assault, to evaluate the decision.
Sanborn said that the number of Good Samaritan calls alone is not an effective metric for high-risk drinking.
“The College would like to see Good Sams appear more accessible as an option for students, so that students take care of each other before the situation become very serious or even potentially fatal,” Sanborn said. “If your interest is in curbing the most dangerous drinking behavior rather than stopping drinking altogether then consistent rates of Good Sams could be seen as a positive outcome, as long as they are attached to lower BACs.”
While data on sexual assault and high-risk drinking before and after the policy have not yet been released, Dylan Scandinaro ’17 said freshmen may be more hesitant to make Good Samaritan calls.
“If it’s not in a fraternity, there’s no one watching to make sure everyone’s okay, or make sure the fraternity doesn’t get in trouble,” Scandinaro said. “It’s also a lot easier to go under the radar if you’re in a dorm. If you drink way too much, you can pass out somewhere and no one will notice you.”
In a campus-wide email sent Sunday, the GLC attempted to moderate freshman excitement, saying “the week after Homecoming is usually a relatively calm week and freshman should not anticipate large parties being held.”
Even so, Greek houses are getting ready to host freshmen for the first time. Zeta Psi fraternity social chair Stefan Deutsch ’14 said Zete will host an a capella show and “Zeta Psider” on Wednesday, as well as a “Phunk Phest” concert on Friday.
“We’re excited to have ’17s in the house we just hope they’ll be safe and respectful to each other and to the Greek houses,” Deutsch said in an email.
Epsilon Kappa Theta sorority president Shari Liu ’14 said her house did not face challenges enforcing the policy, and that it led to positive interactions where freshmen entered Greek spaces “without alcohol as a necessary ingredient.”
Ben Packer ’17 said that he disliked the policy because it had prevented him from meeting upperclassmen.
Before coming to Dartmouth, he had expected to see more socializing between classes.
Rachel Patel ’17, however, said she appreciated that the ban forced more social interaction between freshmen.
“I think it was good for us, just because we got to know our class a lot better,” Patel said. “I guess I don’t know many upperclassmen.”
Lauren Huff ’17 is excited to see what happens after the ban is lifted. After bonding with other freshmen during the first few weeks of the term, she said she is less afraid to go into Greek houses.
The ban, announced in May, was designed to create a safer environment for freshmen and to mitigate the risks that Greek houses face when hosting freshmen.
Huff is a member of The Dartmouth.