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Life often offers you many different paths to the same destination. When you enter into Greek life, if you’re lucky, you may face a pivotal decision: join a big, established, and well-known house, or join a smaller, non-traditional, or unknown house. Easy, right? Join the guys with the big white columns and the letters that keep your mom awake at night, or the two kind of strange dudes in Transition lenses wearing letters you’ve never heard of who have one dusty trophy from the 90s on their table? How is that even a question?
Here’s why you should make the wrong decision.
1. You Can Run That Place
The biggest reason to join a bottom-tier fraternity is that those guys are so desperate for normal dudes to legitimize them to the rest of the campus that they will pretty much let you do whatever you want. This doesn’t mean much when it’s a colony of four or five nerds huddled in a dorm common room, but when you get a group with a real house and serious alumni that has just fallen on hard times? That’s some fertile soil in which to plant your seed.
Suddenly, you’ve got yourself a mansion with a bunch of willing, unquestioning slaves who would do anything for you if you can get girls to come over. Seriously. Bring your female friends from the dorms to your new basement and the guys in the house will buy you tons of free booze, wait on you like little butlers, and never come closer to the girls than some awkward giggling in the corner.
After initiation, the house is your oyster.
2. Make Your Own Name
You might think the biggest downside of joining a non-traditional house is that you’ll always have to explain your house’s name and how “yeah dad, it’s a real fraternity” to every damn person that asks.
This is only a problem if you don’t believe in the American dream. Take a look at yourself: are you awesome? Are you a golden, deific model of human achievement? Or did you become popular in your high school by virtue of the cheerleader effect, globbing around with other mostly cool people by virtue of whatever team or club you were all in?
Yeah, I understand that most of you did the latter. That’s just how it typically works. For that reason, I totally recommend finding the biggest, most well-established house on campus and blending into the booze.
But if you’re a renegade trailblazer who’s made his way thus far on his own back — if you aren’t afraid to rewrite the game by yourself — not having a name won’t matter to you. The name becomes your name.
In a year or two when you mention your house, the instant reaction won’t be, “Who?;” It will be, “Oh yeah, aren’t you the guys who threw that party James Franco showed up to last semester?,” Or, “Didn’t the DEA raid your house? Did they ever find all the coke money you made?” if that’s how you roll.
The challenge is there; you only need to be bold enough to accept it.
3. Have Fun Without All the Bullshit
When you make the rules, you don’t have to worry about the rules. Imagine being able to bop around with no Judicial Board. Imagine being able to spend chapter money at will. As the top dog in a non-traditional house, you will have a treasurer, but chances are he won’t really know what’s going on and just does whatever you say.
The trade-off between choosing a big, established house and a non-traditional house is that for all the easy prestige that comes with a big house, you have to conform and be under somebody’s foot (usually the pledge trainer’s). You get a lot more freedom in a bottom-tier house, and the only thing you have to give up is reputation security.
So go ahead and approach those guys in the quad. The ones with the glasses, the acne, and the “I play Magic: The Gathering because video games are too new-school” haircuts. You’ll probably regret it, but maybe not.
Oh? (Insert big name house here) booked out Top Golf for a rush mixer? Screw it. Just sign with them..