Greek Life at Princeton

 

Princeton is famous for its unique eating club system- you “bicker” or sign into co-ed clubs, which serve not only as (nicer) dining halls, but also as the centers of social life on campus. Yet how does Greek life fit in? Whether you’re a student interested in rushing or just confused about all the news on the rush ban from last year, let’s clarify some facts and some myths about Greek life at Princeton and how it differs from other schools, focusing on the sororities.

Myth: Princeton has no Greek life.
Not true! Princeton has three established sororities- Kappa Alpha Theta (Theta), Kappa Kappa Gamma (Kappa), and Pi Beta Phi (Pi Phi). Currently these sororities have around 150 members each. Between 15-20% percent of Princeton girls are Greek- not a huge number but certainly significant! No one knows how the recent policy changes by the University will affect these numbers, but for now the sororities are not going away. There are more fraternities, but each is much smaller than a sorority. Frats and sororities often have mixers and parties together.

Fact: Princeton fraternities and sororities have no houses.
Those huge houses you see on Prospect Avenue? They’re eating clubs, not frat houses. Because Greek organizations don’t have houses where members live together, they are less all-consuming than those at other schools. Events often take place in members’ rooms, the eating clubs, and off-campus.

 

 

 

 
Fact: Because of recent changes by the administration, freshmen can no longer rush.
Based on the results of a University committee, the administration banned freshman year rush last fall. There was resulting controversy due to the harsh consequences advocated and because technically, the administration doesn’t even recognize the frats and sororities on campus, but the Greek organizations seem to be following the ban so far. A representative from Panhellenic, the organization that unites the three sororities, says, “We are fully cooperating with the university's freshman rush ban… We are excited to welcome new members in the near future and to continue supporting the Greek community on campus.”

Myth: Because of eating clubs, Greek life is redundant on campus.
Greek life at Princeton offers something different from eating clubs. Their all-girl nature inherently lends them a different dynamic. Since they’re not based out of a particular place the way the eating clubs are, they are much more what you make of them than any specific time constraint. In addition, as one Kappa member puts it, “[Sororities] give you a smaller community within the student body and allow you to connect with older girls who can give you invaluable advice.” Many girls feel that sororities offer them a safe place, a sisterhood, in addition to networking and social opportunities they would not have gotten otherwise.

Myth: You have to be in a sorority to make friends.
This is a major reason why some girls might feel pressure to join a sorority. Lots of other groups can also help you meet more people on campus- check out Princeton’s dance and a capella groups, club sports, community service organizations, and even classes to meet new members of the community. There are also organizations like the Princeton University Mentorship Program and Princeton Women’s Mentorship Group, which also offer chances to meet and learn from upperclassmen.

The bottom line is this: Rush takes place the first week of October, so if that’s something that interests you and you’re not a freshman, check it out. But remember always that every girl is different. Princeton offers something for everyone- and Greek life is just one of those things.

Sources: Princeton Panhellenic Council, Princeton University Admissions 
The image is from Sorority Sugar