Maybe We Don’t Need a Fraternity House?

do we need a fraternity house

House Question 1:

I’m in a newer fraternity that just celebrated our two years of being a chapter. We have run into the problem of not having a chapter house on a campus that doesn’t have a ton of Greek life. We have two main problems that result from not having a house. First, we have difficulty throwing parties because no one has a big enough place or somewhere we can consistently use. Second, we have to resort to using only on campus locations for rush. This limits us on the type of events we want to have. My question is: how do we go through yet another school year telling potentials and girls that we’ll have a house soon? We have all the paperwork filled out we just haven’t been able to find one for sale yet. I don’t want to use the lack of house as an excuse but I know that all aspects of the brotherhood will benefit greatly from this. Thank you.

House Question 2:

My fraternity is trying to get a house since our last one did not work out too well with the neighbors. I found one that is for sale and is about 5-10 min away from campus which is not bad. Anyways, I was wondering house buying a house would be different from a fraternity just renting one? Would the house be put under the fraternity or would it have to be put under someone’s name? Also other advice you would have for a fairly smaller chapter on getting this house.


When I was an undergrad we didn’t have cell phones. When my dad was an undergrad he didn’t have computers. When his dad was an undergrad – actually he didn’t go to college because he was too busy shooting Nazis…

What is the point? The world changes.

The concept that a fraternity needs a house is antiquated. It is popular and romanticized because it is all we have ever known. Looking at it rationally, it is a foolish liability that should be avoided.

Think about the drawbacks…

1) They are expensive.

2) The living conditions are often substandard.

3) They are a magnet for getting your chapter in trouble.

4) There are always problems filling it.

5) Summers are always an issue.

6) Your house is always open for inspection.

7) Your nationals wants you to abolish alcohol at the house.

8) Your landlord knows they can take advantage of you as you have limited other options.

9) Parking is always a problem.

10) House projects and cleanups are a pain and huge time suck.

I could go on and on.

The fact is – you can succeed as a fraternity without a house. I would argue that not having one would put you in a stronger position.

Your problem isn’t your lack of a house – your problem is lack of creativity.

Are you really telling me you can’t figure out how to have a party? Why can’t your rent out a bar or other local venue? This has so many advantages – namely pawning off most of the risk management responsibilities on the establishment you rent. There are places out there begging to take your money, and they are more equipped to handle a fraternity party anyway.

The same holds true with your fraternity recruitment. If your only rush strategy is going to the house, then I would imagine your rush efforts are pretty weak.

Turn your lack of a house into an advantage. Pour the funds that would typically go to a house into your social and recruitment programs. Challenge yourselves to be creative with your events. Turn this perceived weakness into a strength, because at the end of the day I think it is.

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.

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