For many students, the beautiful Southern mansions that flank the east side of Columbia Street are a mystery. For others, they’re just home.
Members of fraternities say living in their fraternity house is something many people do during their sophomore year.
The application process for living in the house can be selective, and it varies between fraternities.
For example, in Sigma Phi Epsilon, the members are judged based on a point system that calculates the members’ grade point average and their level of involvement on campus and in the fraternity. In Chi Phi, it is based on seniority.
The average cost of living in a fraternity house, which includes meals and semester dues, is about $4,100 per semester, said Seth Paterson, spokesman for the Interfraternity Council and a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon.
“It’s cheaper to live in a frat house on average than to stay on campus,” he said.
On-campus housing for a double room can cost at least $3,053 per semester. The cheapest meal plan costs around $1,269 per semester. A student staying on campus with a meal plan will spend at least $4,322.
A chef provides lunch and dinner to fraternity members during weekdays.
“She does a good job of mixing up the menu and keeping it all fresh,” said Anthony Tedesco, vice president of Chi Phi.
Most fraternity houses are also within a close proximity to the main campus.
“If you have a class right there at Peabody, you could just dart right back to the house for an hour or so without having to worry about your dorm on South Campus,” said Elwyn Bridges, president of Delta Kappa Epsilon.
Fraternity houses are cleaned weekly and facilities like pool tables are available.
A less talked about fact is how fraternity houses are good places to study, Bridges said.
“It’s a great place to hold meetings,” he said. “For group projects, you can always find some nice, quiet place with some Wi-Fi. We’ve got TVs and HDMI cords.”
Paterson said the atmosphere is conducive to studying compared to a dormitory.
“People in the Greek system are more focused on academics,” he said. “People are more respectful that there are other people who are trying to work.”
Tedesco said certain days can be rather difficult times to focus on studies.
“On nights that people go out, it’s not the best time to study because usually there’s music being played, people yelling and having fun,” he said. “But once you live here, you kind of get the hang of what your study schedule has to be.”
Bridges, Paterson and Tedesco said the best experience of staying in a fraternity house was living with close friends.
“It’s just a blast that over the course of the year you get so much closer with these guys, and you see people at their highs and lows,” Tedesco said. “They really become your best friends.”
Tedesco’s favorite memories are the Friday nights where the fraternity members gather in the living room to watch a movie above the fireplace.
“You can always find someone that you can talk to, hang out, who’s going to make you laugh. People undervalue the importance of having those elements to get rid of some of that stress in your life.”
Bridges has since moved out of Delta Kappa Epsilon’s house and is now staying off campus with previous housemates.
“I’ve experienced it, I loved it and I was looking for a little bit more privacy and intimacy.” He said. “I think one year is perfect in the house.”
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