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Living in my sorority house was one of the best choices I made in college. Although SMU has some pretty great on-campus options, nothing compared to my time as a house girl. Walking through the granite-colored front doors, through real living rooms with girls lounging on couches, was so much more welcoming than bland hallways and common rooms that smelled like burned popcorn. However, Greek houses operate on a totally different system than dorms. Two in particular seem to interest people the most. So in this is #WhySMU, I’m going to try and explain them a little.

1. No alcohol on sorority property (house, parking lot, drive way, etc)

Recently the rules prohibting soroities from hosting parties in their houses have been questioned. The Washington Post, at the premiere of “Neighbors 2,” interviewed memebers of the National Pahellenic Council about the policy they implimented for the 26 national sororities that it governs.

“There is an expectation that all chapter housing facilities will be alcohol-free,” NPC executive director Dani Weatherford told The Washington Post. “Each member organization has a different structure in place to manage the chapter facilities and enforce policies set by their housing corporations.”

So while they acknowledge that each chapter is able to individually create bylaws regulating members’ behavior, every chapter is obligated to prohibit the use of alcohol – even by women who are over 21- in their houses. This rule does not apply to fraternity houses. Why?

The answer: insurance.

Insurance is much cheaper for dry sorority houses. There is less risk, both in terms of fire and personal injury, when alcohol is not present. While that logic is easy to follow, many women now say that allowing sororities to host parites in their homes- with alcohol- is a necessary step in preventing sexual assult. It could allow chapter women to more effectively look out for one another and also regulate what is being served. Personally, I’d love to hear more from SMU about reviewing this idea.

Welcoming, right?

2. No men upstairs

It is standard practice that men are not allowed to go to the second floor of a sorority house. I have no idea when this started but as far as I know, fraternities have never had the same rule. When I moved into my sorority’s house, it was explained as a privacy measure. At SMU, sorority houses tend to have more residents. You can’t be sure who is getting out of the shower, or who could be running home from the gym, or who just does not want random guys in the hallways on any given day. 

This rule is normally what shocks most people. “No guys upstairs? Not even to study? Or watch netflix?” Nope. After a year of co-ed living, it does seem like a big change at first. But I never missed living with guys. I’m happy to hang out with them but it honestly it was not a bad thing to live in a testosterone-free zone. You don’t miss them as much as you think. Especially when you go a whole year without any smashed ceiling tiles.

Hannah Claire Brimelow is a Junior at Southern Methodist University, majoring in English and Communication Studies and minoring in French. After her December 2016 graduation, Brimelow intends to continue on to law school and, eventually, work on international adoption policy and children's rights issues. When not writing for Her Campus SMU, she enjoys traipsing around around the world and pretending she's a Texas native.
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