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What frat house? DePaul sorority and fraternity life

By Sean Boswell and Adam Sadur
On September 29, 2012

The stereotypical sorority lifestyle can easily be perceived from the movie "Legally Blonde." As these girls live together in one house, a sense of community is built during events and moments in their personal lives. However, sorority and fraternity life at DePaul University seems to be the polar opposite from this lifestyle due to living arrangements in Chicago.

On campus, there are seven sororities and six fraternities. DePaul sorority and fraternity life is an all-time high in both involvement membership, and as the number of students involved continues rise, members of both fraternities and sororities wish there were fewer obstacles in attaining house and working on events.

"We have to borrow space to do recruitment and all our stuff," said senior Maureen Penland, a member of a sorority. "We have to make do with what we have. It's a disadvantage not having housing so a good relationship with DePaul student center is needed."

The city of Chicago has never seen much sorority and fraternity housing due to an city law combating "brothels" that prevented more than six girls living the same house. While many Chicago citizens still believe this law is intact, in reality it no longer exists.

Because of this misconception, fraternity and sorority houses at DePaul are non-existent. All schools within city limits are similarly affected Chicago's restrictions. Other schools such as Loyola University and University of Illinois at Chicago deal with the same issues that have plagued DePaul. Despite the benefits of inner-city sorority and fraternity life, the majority of members would like to see more houses around their schools.

Junior Max Harkavy, a former member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, said that the sorority and fraternity culture here at DePaul is not as popular or visible than it is at other schools.

"I don't like that there are no fraternity houses on campus. It almost feels like we lose an edge," Harkavy said.

"Living in a [fraternity] house really fosters a family," said sophomore Adam Duong, an Alpha Delta Phi at the University of Connecticut. "When you have exposure around other people, it brings a sense of community. You'll start learning things about them, and you discover more about your brothers and get to know them better, as well as learning more about yourself."

However, the lack of sorority and fraternity housing does not limit the sense of community. Numerous students at DePaul recently participated in formal recruiting for sororities to better themselves into a community.

"We've had more recruits this year than any other year I've been involved in," said Penland. "We had 400 people [apply] and we accepted 280."

Adarious Payton, junior and chapter president of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, explained the limited space for running a fraternity in the city are not as prevalent as they may appear. "There are not many roadblocks overall," said Payton. "It is run rather smooth, especially in regards to philanthropy and community service."

The opinions vary within sorority and fraternity members about which housing system works best, but it continues to improve at DePaul.

"There are advantages to being in the city," said Payton. "We have strong alumni networking because most members of our fraternities stay involved and get jobs in the city, making it easier to reach out to them and get them involved."

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