How Honorable Men Handle Alcohol Free Fraternity Housing

alcohol free fraternity

This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.


I am a junior in a fraternity and running for president, we have not yet held fraternity elections. We are a dry fraternity nationally and this chapter has been dry for the last 3 years I have been in the house.

Before that we were ok with drinking in private rooms not big parties. Now we sometimes have isolated incidents of drinking in the house, and if we have blatant evidence we give a fine. Some members feel we should have the opportunity to drink in the house, with certain individuals moving out the office of presidency in my chapter will have to decide to secretly allow drinking or to continue being truly dry.  I think my chapter is going through withdrawals from alcoholism.

I feel both ways on this issue. I feel we still can do a lot to make our fraternity better in other ways than drinking alone can help. Also I am concerned from a standpoint of liability, if we drink in the house what the consequences could be on me the president.

If we allow it we can’t have any written rules on it, if the drinking causes some kind of problem we don’t have the resources other wet houses have. And if one of our chapter advisers comes by they could shut us down.

I want to build my brothers up and give us more opportunities and push us into doing more for ourselves and campus.  How can I make this place better and continue having dry housing. I’m looking for advice on how to deal with this issue; with my brothers when talking about my potential presidency. I feel we can do a lot of other things to make our brotherhood better before we deal with the alcohol issue.


Your integrity is a valuable thing.  It should not be compromised.  You, and every brother in your fraternity, have agreed to abide by the policy of your national fraternity.  No one put a gun to your head to join.  You were free to join any fraternity knowing these rules.

By sneaking around the policy now you are essentially saying that your word doesn’t mean much, and that you and the brothers in your chapter are not trustworthy.

My advice is to follow the policy, work to get it changed, or quit the fraternity.  Any other action is dishonorable and shows weak character.

That being said, it is very easy to thrive under these conditions.  Thousands of chapters all across the country do.

Your brothers’ biggest worry is probably that this policy will impact the social scene of the chapter.  It doesn’t have to.  You can have the same great events, with alcohol, at third party locations.  And there are benefits to doing it this way.  There is no set-up or clean-up, and a lot of the risk management responsibility will be transferred to the third party vendor.

The risk management piece is an especially big benefit.  I recently worked with a chapter that was put on probation because an underage girl was caught drinking by campus police.  They asked her where she was, and she said she was at this fraternity house for a party.  The fraternity and the girl claimed they did not provide her with alcohol.  However, the school disagreed and the chapter was given a semester of social probation for this incident.  This issue would not have happened at a third party location.

For the record, I do disagree with a mandated dry-house policy.  I understand how it helps chapters, but I think that taking away choice and freedoms is not something that a fraternity should do.  I wrote an article not too long ago titled: The Pros and Cons of a Alcohol Free Fraternity House and is definitely worth a read.

That being said, you guys have already made your choice to belong to an alcohol free house.  You can either be the type of guys who play by the rules or don’t.  Remember that honor and integrity are precious things, and are easily lost.  Be men of honor.

My advice – step up and lead.  I realize that some of your brothers have an issue with this policy.  But if this issue didn’t exist there would be another one.  True leaders will learn to overcome these issues and inspire their fraternity to greatness.  You can still have great social, athletic, academic, philanthropic and brotherhood programs with an alcohol free house.  Focus on making those areas even better.  If you do, the brothers will not be as bothered by this issue and the protests will quickly go away.

This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.

Recent Posts