I’m a tour guide on campus, and I often get asked what Greek life is like at Villanova without sorority or fraternity houses. I love my chapter, but what I’d love even more would be to live in an on-campus sorority house so I could go to sleep each night and wake up every morning surrounded by my favorite group of women.
Fraternity parties are a staple weekend event for Villanova students and have always taken place off-campus. While the thought of loud, messy parties in our backyard might make you cringe, frat parties taking place on campus instead of in the surrounding neighborhoods could actually be beneficial. Villanova should invest in Greek housing to make frat parties safer and fairer and to make campus life more fun.
Ending the system by which one needs to request a ride or an invite to a frat party would level the playing field for who gets to attend. Most often, the women from sororities – which are majority white and wealthy – receive the most invitations. Because fraternities can only afford to rent small apartments or houses off-campus, their party capacities are extremely limited. Fraternity members are then unable to invite their friends that aren’t fraternity or sorority members (two-thirds of the men and half of the women at Villanova), whereas a larger party space would allow more people to party and make difficult decisions about who to invite a little bit easier.
On-campus frat parties would be much safer than the off-campus parties we have now. Parties within walking-distance would prevent the occasional car accidents that designated drivers get into by speeding or packing 10-plus people into a sedan. Fraternities do not publicize the address of parties to prevent them from getting out of hand, and women attending fraternity parties are already in a vulnerable position because they are a guest in an unfamiliar space. This creates an imbalance of power and a breeding ground for sexual misconduct and excessive drinking.
At the University of Pennsylvania, fraternities and other student groups can register their parties and receive reimbursement from the student life office to hire professional security and bartenders for up to four events per semester and can pay to host additional events. Professional bartenders reduce the risk of drinks being contaminated with drugs and professional security guards checking IDs would limit underage drinking, which combined could prevent sexual assault and alcohol-related injuries.
Even community members in the Bryn Mawr area have expressed their desire for Villanova to build Greek housing. In 2018, Lower Merion Township conducted a survey of Villanova students and employees and residents of Lower Merion to find common pain points and goals in our relationship. One Lower Merion resident suggested that the Villanova administration “allow a sorority & fraternity ‘row,’ rather than disgusting homes scattered throughout the community. National fraternities are very serious about their houses, so if the fraternity houses were OFFICIAL through Nationals rather than just a large home in Bryn Mawr… students would be more closely watched, not just by Villanova, but by the national fraternity executive board.”
Where could this frat row be located? Potentially Southwest Campus -- Moriarty, O’Dwyer and Delurey Hall are widely considered the most undesirable places to live, but this would quickly change if they were converted into fraternity or sorority houses. The University also owns parts of Aldwyn Lane, the road behind the Wildcat Path, that could develop into high-quality Greek housing.
Imagine walking to Villanova’s Greek Row on a sunny Saturday and seeing outdoor philanthropy events and tailgates, or imagine a sorority recruitment where girls could actually run “home” to their sisters instead of just meeting up and giving hugs at the Oreo. Investing in Greek housing would allow Villanova and our surrounding townships to create a safer and more equitable environment that’s also more fun.