I know it’s awkward, but you need to break the news to your cat that chillin’ with him every night watching Friends just isn’t going to fit into your soon-to-be exploding social schedule. That’s right, you’re going Greek! The only hang up is that you aren’t sold on a state school hosting more srat Barbies and plastered frat bros then the cast of “Greek.” But don’t worry because CM’s got your back. We’ve found the 10 universities in America that live and die for their Greek traditions but hold onto that small school, community feel.
10. Sewanee—University of the South
Set on 13,000 acres, dense forests and sprawling lawns are the backdrop to enough southern charm to make anyone swoon. Especially on Greek row, where the plantation-style mansions wouldn’t look complete without their towering white columns and red brick walls. Seriously ladies, good luck keeping your composure when those cute frat boys come to serenade your sorority and it looks like a scene from The Notebook. When the sun goes down, those southern belles are more than up for a good time. The Social Chair for Phi Kappa Epsilon, Sally Warm said, “At Sewanee, you are welcome to walk into a fraternity or sorority party at any time, and you do not need to be on any list in order to get in. Sewanee has an extremely large amount of people who are affiliated with Greek life; however, people who aren’t (aka GDI’s or God Damn Independents) are not ostracized by any means.” Try finding that type of inclusive tight-knit community at a huge state school…oh wait, you won’t.
9. Lehigh University
Tucked behind immaculately manicured grounds, this private university has nearly 5,000 undergrads and is home to over 30 Greek organizations. Sports and Greek life definitely set the social tone here. Whether they’re repping their letters while they cheer on the Mountain Hawks against Lafayette College in one of the country’s biggest college football rivalries, or supporting philanthropy events like Pike’s annual blood drive, the campus is always buzzing. But at the end of the day, everyone tends to wind up back on “the hill” to kick it and party on Greek row. And while the party scene puts Lehigh as one of the top party schools in the country, their Hawks against Hazing initiative helps prevent the hazing and violence which tend to go unnoticed at larger universities. IFC President Ryan Newcomer said, “We have one of the most prestigious offices of fraternity and sorority affairs that encourages high levels of accountability. Joining a fraternity is a fun experience, but at Lehigh, that experience comes with an immense responsibility.”
8. Dartmouth University
While this Ivy Leaguer is known for its academic rigor, the caffeinated overachievers here have still managed to make Greek life a prominent aspect of Dartmouth culture. Over 60 percent of the student body finds time between preparing to become the next big CEO and curing cancer to go Greek. The library may be flooded with letter-emblazoned sweatshirts during finals, but these students still hit the party scene with enough force to gain them a national reputation as one of the wildest party schools. They even rank up there with pack-12 schools like Arizona State. When homecoming weekend rolls around you can’t miss Sigma Phi Epsilon’s “Pop Punk” dance party or Chi Heorot’s toga party, aptly named “Octogafest.” If beer pong and tequila are calling your name but you gag at the thought of a lecture with over 50 people, then, honey, this is your school.
7. Washington and Lee University
Greek life is at the heart of W&L with over 80 percent of men and women going Greek. You may be wondering exactly how many Elle Woods-esque Greek-goddesses and Ken Doll frat-brats this school must have if everyone seems to get a bid, but the chapters at W&L are unique in that they aren’t held to traditional quotas. That means they can extend as many bids as they want. It creates a buyer’s market where everyone can fit into a niche that fits their personality. From cardio bunny athletes to sisterhood movie nights to frats sporting that geek-chic look, there’s a place for everyone. During their first semester, freshmen go through “informal rush,” where they get to meet and form relationships with Greek chapters before they have to commit to signing those infamous bid cards.
6. Depauw University
You’ll probably see more Lacoste polos than Birkenstocks in this small town university. If you decide to call Depauw your undergraduate home, you should be prepared to make Greek life your only life. To put it in perspective, the town of Greencastle is so tiny the movie theater only shows two movies at a time. So forget piling all your friends in an Uber and heading downtown to go clubbing, Greek life is all you’ve got. But that also means there’s a community that’s built on small town values and a whole lot of Greek love.
5. Case Western Reserve University
It may come as a surprise that this university known for its competitive engineering and computer science programs is home to a thriving Greek life. With over 40 percent of the student population going Greek I think it’s safe to say geek-chic is back, people, and the students at Case know how to get down. Because Greek life is so big at Case, their events are hard to miss. Their Greek Carnival in the fall welcomes the entire campus back from a long summer of internships and lab research with some good-natured Whack-a-Delt and Dunk-a-Zeta. It’s a great way for the freshman to dip their toes into a Greek world that’s surprisingly diverse. Students don’t just hole up in their 24-hour library becoming the next Steve Jobs. After the year is over, whichever Greek organization attended the most athletic events gets a banner and trophy in Veale Center proudly displaying their letters. But the best part is, after a sporting event, Greeks and GDIs alike all head back to Greek Row to celebrate and party in frat basements where you don’t need to have your name on a list to get in.
4. Wake Forest University
You have to put your thinking caps on before your beer goggles at Wake Forest. With a strict 2.5 GPA requirement to rush, freshmen have to occasionally swap out a keg stand for a library book while they wait out their first semester before rush week. Sure, there are some frats and sororities where a bid is more coveted than vintage Chanel, but with 26 chapters to choose from, finding a home becomes easier than you’d think. Because of this much enthusiasm for Greek life, spirit and philanthropy are always a priority. The Wake ’N Shake dance marathon raises money for the Wake Forest Cancer Center and you better believe Greek life comes out to show off the dancing skills they gain from years of epic basement parties.
3. Texas Christian University
Welcome to the land of milk and honey, y’all, because TCU is known for its Bible-thumping southern sass and huge appreciation for everything Greek. Rush is competitive, so make sure you come brandishing letters of rec. Ladies, when rushing here, don’t forget: the bigger the hair, the closer to God. Anything you can do to stand out against the sea of nearly 1,000 other potential new members you’ll be rushing with is essential. But after bid day the Greek community doesn’t immediately raise up their red solo cups to a good time. They actually all jump on the philanthropic bandwagon to raise money for St. Judes as they pull an all-nighter in TCU’s Up ‘til Dawn event, competing in Duct Tape prom-dress-making competitions and dodgeball tournaments. Elexus Graves, a member of Gamma Phi Beta said, “I would say we are all very proud to be a TCU Horned Frog first, which unites us all, and then we are a Gamma Phi, Tri Delta, Beta, or Pi Phi.”
2. Vanderbilt University
Carly Rotter, president of Kappa Alpha Theta said, “The most impressive thing about Vanderbilt Greek life is the inclusivity among Greeks, as well as between Greeks and non-Greeks. As the students here are pretty much all over-achievers, the majority of Greeks on campus are also members of multiple other non-Greek groups, which allows for an interconnectedness of the whole community. Not to mention that when it comes to parties, I don’t think any other university in the country rivals the extent of the work hard-play hard mentality here at Vanderbilt. It’s honestly still shocking to me as a junior.” But that community spirit isn’t just good for raging keggers. Their enthusiastic spirit shows up in force when it comes to supporting their philanthropies. The IFC Night of Lights charity concert is not only a nod to their Nashville roots, but their commitment to the community, raising over $100,000 for donation.
1. Albion College
With an average snowfall of 37 inches a year, the Greek community has to get creative or they’d be spending all winter in the house binging on Netflix and cuddling with the house cat. The Mock Rock event is one you can’t miss as students “drop it, drop it low” in choreographed dances to celebrate the end of Greek week. Delta Gamma also hit it out of the park when they created their annual Anchor Splash philanthropy event. Who wouldn’t want to watching teams of hunky frat guys splash their way through hilarious synchronized swimming routines? Now that’s totally worth every penny, especially when it goes to charity.
Check out how other schools rank in Greek life:
*Updated by M Lindeman on January 14, 2022 for code issues