T Nation

Alcohol Free Housing

I want everyone’s honest opinion on something Greek systems are taking on, Alcohol Free Housing. In 1998, our members voted to go completely AFH by July 1, 2003. We recently had a change to that policy allowing for some groups to receive a waiver from this policy.

There are a variety of reasons for this movement. First of all, we have seen falling recruitment numbers over the past years. The thought is that we need to get away from that stereotypical “frat boy” activity that has plagued us and keeps guys from joining. Second, it addresses the continuous risk management issues that have made fraternities the sixth most dangerous industry to insure. Less alcohol ridden parties, the less accidents, the less lawsuits. Third, we have realized that a number of groups have become social drinking clubs instead of fraternities. This should help stop this trend. Next, the houses are cleaner. Less spills, less party messes, etc.

Being AFH doesn’t mean members can’t drink, just that there can be NO alcohol anywhere on the chapter property. Groups can host events outside of the house with alcohol, just not in. Also, they can still host non-alcoholic events at the house.

My question is, would you be more or less likely to join a fraternity if you knew it was AFH? How about living in the chapter hosue? Are you strongly in support of it, or strongly against it? You don’t have to be a college student to comment, I want to hear what the community has to say about it too. What are all of your thoughts on AFH?

Frats are for pussies who can’t make their own friends.

…or the vast majority of CEO’s, Senators, Presidents, student organization leaders, campus officials, grad students, and any other productive member of society. I can give you all of the facts, but I’m not going to bother.

Listen everyone, if we want to debate Greek v. Non-Greek, let’s save it for another time. I’m more interested in why you view things like you do and if AFH would affect that. I used to think the same way as you about “frat boys” and in fact, I still do think that way about many of our guys. But I found it was really something different (if it is done right). Let’s save that whole argument for another time.

Isn’t this another PC movement on the part of fraternities. I am sure there are good legal and insurance reasons this. But shouldn’t fraternities be fostering a spirit of brotherhood and social responsiblity? Example, If you are of legal age to drink then drink responsiblely and don’t encourage underage drinking. If you are not of a legal age to drink, then don’t(okay, my lawyer made me say that). As far as joining a AFH, heck I went to a Alcoholic Free University (U of Utah, yet I still drank, but I was legal, only 18 in those days). College is really a place where you show that you can be respopnsible for yourself. Fraternities should encourage this. Fraternities that have more to offer a student in preparing for life will draw more students. Best of Luck.

Tough call - i don’t think it would really change my general inclination not to join. But thats just me.
I’m not sure I think AFH is such a great idea, as older lifter suggested, Proving ones responsibility and developing a sense of responsiblity are two of the most imoprtant aspects of college. AFH would take away some of that in the name of extraneous concerns… in a way, I think the temptation and risk is a necessary part of experience of college… frats or otherwise.
On the otherhand – Thetachiguy, have you heard about how the police in bloomington are really going after the greek organizations now, coincidentally after the campus was named number 1 party school by princeton review?

A buddy of mine is a Phi Delta Theta, and their residences have been AF for a few years. he says that its not really an issue, you just don’t party in the house, and from what I gather it doesn’t dissuade prospective members. I think its a good idea: keeps the house in better shape and give the frat a bit of a better “rep” around campus.

Franks - It’s ironic that you mention Bloomington and Indiana University. Depending on your year in school, you’ll remember that there was a death at our (now former) chapter there after a student did a keg stand and hit the back of his head. They were supposed to be AFH, but if you have kegs in the place, obviously you aren’t following it. One more example of all of those things we are trying to stop.

Having never really felt the lure of alcohol, I can say that being AF would have vastly improvedmy chances of joining a frat. I did pledge one way back when; my experiences were not that great and I ended up not joining. Things like having enforced 3-hour study sessions for the freshmen and sophomores, then going out to a bar right after and drinking till insensate (so that everything was immediately forgotten) seemed to me to be a bit less than smart. Just my take - lots of people loved it.

TOO RESTRICTIVE. If I had a rough test and I want to come back to the house and kick back with a beer and can’t, even if I’m 21, that’s ridiculous.

Ban bulk containers, (kegs, party balls, etc.) and go with a byob policy for parties. that’ll help keep a lot more people happy. Also, be sure that house funds from dues and other sources are used only for non alcohol purchases. Let the brothers buy their own if they want it. Use the house funds for food at the parties.

As far as limiting spills, Everything in public areas of the house should be spill proof anyway.

Good luck with this sticky issue.

Having been a fraternity officer myself back in undergrad, I must say that if you read your FIPG policy closely, you’ll be surprised at the things you cannot do – more to the point, you’ll be surprised at the number of things that put you in violation of the policy. If fraternities are going to survive as large and active collegiate groups that do indeed have a social component, they’re probably going to end up having to self-insure under different rules.


I went to UC San Diego, which had no official Greek housing, and somehow after I graduated the chapter still managed to get put on probation for violating FIPG ground rules, which basically make it impossible to have a large party that includes non-members (including girls).


Suffice it to say that, irrespective of the way the national organizations are attempting to push things in order to comply with their insurance, numbers are definitely going to go down due to an AFH policy, or even just strict adherence to FIPG.


The guys who would normally join for the social benefits are out, and you still have the (obvious from the first comment above) ingrained bias against fraternities from some segment of the population. Unless you think enough people will be more likely to join to cancel out the number of people who really join for social reasons and will no longer join, numbers will diminish. Either that or you’ll have a program in place that no one actually follows and people constantly try to get around, pitting local chapters against national advisers, which will eventually greatly diminish the strength and representation of the system. The latter is what I was beginning to see when I graduated, with multiple chapters getting put on probation or having charters suspended for not following the national policies.