Sorority and fraternity housing is a different beast in terms of collegiate living in the wake of the dreadful first year being trapped in a minuscule dorm room. While room size unfortunately doesn’t differ that much from the dorms, living in the sorority/fraternity house is vastly different than any other housing option. Payton Hanna, a sophomore majoring in clinical neuroscience, describes all that you can expect from life in a sorority house: an on-campus/off-campus hybrid.
Although most Tech students opt to live in apartments their sophomore years, Hanna decided to live in her sorority house, Alpha Chi Omega, instead. “I was living in West AJ and was stuck in the two-year contract,” Hanna said. “I really wanted to get out of the small dorm, but the housing office didn’t let me out of my contract. They did let me transfer to the sorority house since that technically is on campus.”
Despite the fact that Tech’s sorority houses are considered on-campus, they are located on Oak Lane about a mile from the Drillfield. Some might say, however, that living in sorority and fraternity houses is like dorm life round two. Especially after living in an apartment for a year, it may feel like a big step back into freshman year, when you move back with a roommate into small bedrooms whose walls are made of the very cinder block that reminds you of a jail cell.
“Going back to dorm life after living in an apartment can be really challenging for a lot of people, and many girls, understandably, don’t want to go back to having a bunch of rules,” Hanna said.
With such a full and tight household, it is also difficult to find alone time — another feeling reminiscent of Tech’s residence halls.
“I miss having my own space,” Hanna said. “It can be tough, because there isn’t really anywhere private to retreat to if you need space.”
Similar to the dorms, many of the rules discuss alcohol possession, because the Alpha Chi Omega house is dry as mandated by nationals. In general, the rules that sorority houses follow are not too different than those of Virginia Tech residence halls.
Unlike dorms, however, there is no cleaning service, so the house can often get relatively dirty, which is expected when you have 35-40 girls living under one roof. It is for this reason that the girls delegate chores so as to maintain a pristine household. The Alpha Chi Omega house has a rotating schedule which determines who is responsible for cleaning the house’s common spaces.
On the outside, the state of cleanliness can be much, much worse. When you’re surrounded by fraternity houses on either side, one can only imagine the sort of debris that must lay on the barren Oak Lane streets the day after a party. The sticky red solo cups and whatever items that might have fallen out of party-goers’ pockets that night litter the front yard.
On the nights of parties, the loud, droning beats that emanate from fraternity great rooms can keep those not in attendance up all night long.
“The frats are so loud,” Hanna said. “It really sucks when I have an exam the next day, so I sometimes have to wear earplugs.”
Beyond the dorm-sized bedrooms and the inescapable sights and sounds of neighboring fraternities, Hanna said, “I love being around all my friends, and I feel like it’s a great way to stay involved in my organization. I have made friends that I never would have interacted with otherwise.”
Coming from a big family like Hanna’s, living with a lot of people never leaves her bored, and she always feels supported. After all, that is one of the main reasons many girls join sororities in the first place.
“Whenever I come into the house or leave, there’s people in the great room or cooking food; it’s really fun,” Hanna said. “I feel a lot more connected to my sorority and would recommend this experience to everyone.”
Living in the sorority house really is an atmosphere in which you can bond with your sisters. Despite the often dirty and loud neighbors, the small bedrooms and the shared bathrooms, these are the very experiences that bring everyone closer together.