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I’ve Never Been To A Frat Party. Am I Missing Out?

As a second-year undergraduate student in Waterloo, a thriving university town in Ontario, I appreciate the opportunity to meet new people and wind down with a good party, as most university students do. After all, living on campus and attending parties seem to go hand in hand. Even for those who prefer a night in, going to college parties, especially frat parties, still feels like a “rite of passage,” and while I happen to be the type of person who does want to attend parties, I know some might feel peer-pressured to partake in frat culture.

In all honesty, it seems like Gen Z is slowly losing our need for frat parties and reimagining Greek life anyway. From the protests to end various fraternities to the generational wish to not let fraternities hold so much power over our campuses, it’s becoming less popular to look up to frats and their parties. Instead, our generation is beginning to realize that frat parties aren’t for everyone, and they’re just one on a long list of ways to have fun at university.

But despite this shift, I can’t deny that frats still hold a significant amount of power on campus. And while I do have some experience with college parties (I enjoy dancing at parties, and I usually need a snack and sweatpants when the night is done), there are certainly many gaps in my knowledge — one being the fact that I’ve never been to a frat party, despite how common it is to attend one.

Am I actually missing out on fun, just because of an arbitrary assumption I’ve made?

You heard it here first: I have no intention to ever attend one of the frat parties here in Waterloo, despite their popularity. But why am I so keen on not going? Am I making a generalization? And am I actually missing out on fun, just because of an arbitrary assumption I’ve made?

I hate to break this to you, but I’m not particularly interested in being surrounded by frat boys. Stereotypically, they’re slimy and disrespectful, and believe me — I’ve had my fair share of experiences with disrespectful men in this town; I’m certainly not looking for more. Perhaps this cliché isn’t completely accurate (and maybe I’ll have to face some angry frat boys later on for writing this), but I’d rather not risk going and possibly getting hurt.

Don’t throw shade at me for believing that frat boys aren’t the kindest. For one, I’ve seen loads of TikToks from users across the world making fun of fraternities and frat boys themselves (primarily, their seemingly entitled nature) — user Sam Hutchinson’s videos are my favorites. I’m not sad to be missing out on the scenarios depicted in these videos; the truth is, I’ve been at parties full of drunk, disrespectful guys before, and it’s not a pleasant experience.

Gen Z has brought national attention to the debate of whether we should even have fraternities at all.

For that matter, it’s no surprise that fraternities have continuously been linked to sexual assault — and it’s brought national attention to the debate of whether we should even have fraternities at all. In fact, frat boys are three times more likely to commit rape than men who aren’t in a fraternity, according to a 2007 study of 565 first-year college men, and now that the pandemic has calmed down (meaning frat parties have begun again in earnest), more women are being subjected to horrific behavior from frat boys at these parties.

A petition to ban the “Fiji” fraternity at the University of Nebraska Lincoln has gained almost 500,000 signatures following rape allegations in September 2021. “13 girls have been raped so far as to be left on the lawn naked and bleeding. […] These people and this institution should face consequences,” the petition states. As of October, the fraternity has been suspended through 2026, but many others that uphold the same values are still up and running. This is just one of many examples of how frats do more harm than good on college campuses.

College women are taking these dangers into account when deciding whether or not it’s worth attending frat parties. “I went to one frat party, and I’ll never go again,” Elizabeth,* 19, says. “Don’t get me wrong, I love a good house party, but the vibe was completely off. It was impossible to have a conversation with someone because it was so overwhelming. Plus, lots of women were being harassed and violated by the guys there. If you’re the type of person who enjoys conversing and meeting new people at parties, the environment is not for you.”

I’d much rather spend my weekends in an environment I’m comfortable in.

The fact is, I’d much rather spend my weekends in an environment I’m comfortable in. I’d much prefer to attend a more low-key and safe party, rather than one that already has a bad reputation and may increase my chances of being assaulted. Why should I attend a party hosted by a virtual stranger to me and my friends, as opposed to one hosted by someone we know? 

Most nights, I’d rather attend a smaller party with my friends and mutual friends, rather than a rager in a room full of strangers, because I feel more comfortable and less paranoid when I’m surrounded by people I know (or at least people my friends know). I have lots of FOMO when it comes to smaller, more intimate parties, but I definitely don’t feel sad when I choose not to attend a frat party with my friends — because I know I’m making a choice that fits my comfort level.

And if that isn’t enough, why should I have to pay to attend? Lots of frat parties here cost money, and for broke college students, that’s not necessarily ideal. I’m not certain the frat party environment is one I’d enjoy, so I don’t want to spend my money — or time, for that matter — going to these parties.

It’s becoming less popular to look up to frats and their parties.

Now, let me make this clear: I’m not shaming anyone who does attend frat parties — quite the contrary! I applaud you for taking a step I’m too uncomfortable to take. Perhaps one day I will, but as for right now, I’m cool with going to friends’ parties, hosting, and even trying out a club every now and then. These are all familiar environments with acceptable reviews.

Despite my personal opinion and comfort level, I still very well might be missing out on the enjoyment of frat parties. When I asked Jamie,* a 22-year-old graduate student, about her experiences at frat parties, she recommended I try it out. “It’s pretty hit or miss, but maybe you’ll enjoy it,” she says. “Some of them were fun enough. It’s definitely an experience — that’s for sure.”

So, are frat parties worth it? I think it depends on the person and the party. Perhaps they’re not all like the one Elizabeth described, but hey, I certainly don’t feel encouraged to go to a frat party any time soon. Maybe I’ll attend one just to see what the hype is all about. Until then, I’m not running to any fraternities, and I’m cool with the fun weekends I currently have planned.

*Names have been changed.

Studies Referenced:

Foubert, J., et. al. Behavior Differences Seven Months Later: Effects of a Rape Prevention Program. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice.

Hey! I'm a second-year Global Business & Digital Arts student at the University of Waterloo, a National Writer for Her Campus, and the Senior Editor for HC Waterloo. I'm also a hardcore Ravenpuff and meme enthusiast.
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