What Is There To Do During the ‘Frat Ban?’
Two writers investigate dry and open to campus events and explore Dartmouth’s freshmen social scene.
When the clock strikes 11 during an on-night, mobs of freshmen fill the streets of Dartmouth’s campus. Instead of heading to tails or to play pong in a fraternity basement, they flock to the Choates or the Fayesment. Even during the era of the frat ban, Dartmouth students still find a way to party.
Coined the “frat ban,” during the first several weeks of fall term, no ’27s are allowed to enter Greek houses.” Although the frat ban can be a contentious subject among freshmen, there is general consensus as to its benefit and inherent community-building focus. Cara Marantz ’25 — a member of Alpha Phi sorority — emphasized gratitude for her experience under the ban.
“I think it really gave me an opportunity to get to know people in my grade,” Marantz said.
Marantz’s thoughts are far from controversial, and there seems to also be an understanding among the ’27s that the frat ban is not a harsh restriction, but rather an opportunity to bond with their own class.
Pallavi Ghanta ’27 said she thinks that the frat ban lets freshmen socialize more without the interference of upperclassmen or structured Greek events.
In the past few weeks, freshmen have found creative ways to have fun, leading to an influx of dorm parties, according to Ghanta. These intimate gatherings of friends allow for ’27s to experience party culture at Dartmouth in a more comfortable setting.
“[Dorm parties are] way chiller,” Marantz said. “You're kind of sitting on a bean bag and talking to people, whereas in a frat, there’s a lot going on.”
However, “frat ban” dorm parties tend to trigger a response from Dartmouth Safety and Security. Sigma Phi Epsilon president Nicolás Macri ’24 attested to this, describing how DOSS’s shut downs of social gatherings hosted by ’27s can create the impression that “you’re only allowed to party in … privately owned, quasi-on campus organizations,” referring to Greek organizations.
Nonetheless, beginning your college experience in Greek houses can prove difficult to freshmen that arrive at Dartmouth without a solid support system.
“Being in a high risk environment with little knowledge and with little connections is more dangerous,” Macri said. “The logic is, you know, after those six-ish weeks … you have a phone number to call [if something happens].”
Despite its benefits, there is an exception to the “frat ban” — in the form of dry and open to campus events — where ’27s are allowed in Greek spaces if no alcohol is being served, and the event is registered with the College. Sig Ep’s “Star Party” — held Sept. 15 — marked this year’s first “frat ban” Greek event.
Learning of the party by blitz and then by word of mouth, freshmen geared up for their first entrance into the Dartmouth Greek scene. If a passerby did not hear the blaring pop music flooding from the basement, they likely saw dozens of ’27s huddled outside to either clamor for a spot on the dance floor or to take refuge from the chaos of the party.
“I socialized with a lot of people, [and] the music was really good,” Ghanta recalled.
Macri also found the night to be a success and said he believes it is safer for freshmen to attend an event specifically curated to them as they adjust to the college party scene.
Kappa Delta Epsilon president Vicky Escalona ’24 also reflected on the importance of discovering Greek spaces in a controlled environment. She described how risks present at fraternities and sororities are decreased because freshmen find themselves among classmates they will spend the next four years with, rather than a crowd of unfamiliar upperclassmen.
KDE, a local sorority, hosts a dry and open to campus event known as “Tackiez” each term. Characterized by its flair — or wild, colorful clothing — Tackiez is another example of a Greek life party organized that creates a safe environment for members of the newest class in the fall term.
“Our purpose is to just come and… introduce [freshmen] to flair … and to have fun with your friends and dance,” Escalona said.
Although the intentions of these fraternity or sorority events may be questioned by some students — as an all-male identifying fraternity hosting a party targeting freshmen can be perceived differently than sorority women celebrating flair — Marantz spoke to the positive, friendly atmosphere created by frat-ban era freshmen events.
“I think the intention behind it is almost entirely wholesome,” Marantz said.
Similarly, Escalona shared her excitement for frat ban events, like Tackiez, saying, “We’re just proud of our house and want to share that with everyone.”
Whether it be in a freshman dorm or in a fraternity basement, at the end of the day, we’re all coming together as a campus to have fun and foster community.