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The Freshman’s Guide to the Social Scene at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA

First of all, I would like to point out that I do not condone underage drinking in any form as stated by federal law due to the proven health risks associated with this practice.

Two years ago, as an incoming high school senior ready to start applying to colleges, I sat down and thought to myself what exactly I want out of my four years of college. Number one on my list was a school that would provide me with a strong academic background to prepare me for medical school. Like many incoming college students, I wanted to find that oh so difficult to attain balance between work and play. Although work is a necessity to succeeding in life I wanted to find a school where I could have an equally strong social background. Needless to say, Brandeis was not near the top of my list.

During the application process, I would often look for forums describing the Brandeis social life only to be disappointed when the results were obtained. Brandeis is not known for its social scene, as fraternities are not funded directly by the school, like other big name universities in the Boston-area. I’m looking at you MIT. Then I saw comments that pointed me toward the notion that the Brandeis social scene was what you make of it. I found this odd, but if it takes a little drive on my part to have fun then there’s nothing that’s gonna stop me. I later applied to Brandeis and was accepted only to find that I controlled my destiny. If I’m in college for only four years then I better make the best of it.

Brandeis parties can be categorized into four different groups: frat parties, athletic team parties, miscellaneous group parties and private gatherings.

The fraternities at Brandeis include, Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT), Alpha Eta Pi (AEPi), Phi Kappa Psi (Phi Psi), Alpha Delta Phi (ADPhi) and Sigma Alpha Mu (Sammies). As far as parties go, Iwould rand ZBT the highest because they always have great music, a crowded dance floor, and plenty of beverages to go around. Also, another cool thing about the house is that there parties always include black lights and occasionally they throw white-out parties where everyone wheres white under the black lights. AEPi parties on the other hand, sometimes lack the active environment and instead provide a house to be drunk and merry in a relatively relaxed setting.

Phi Psi hasn’t had many notable parties over my freshman year, but they are looking to branch out over the next year. ADPhi has the same status as Phi Psi, party-wise, but we’ll know soon enough about their ability to compete with other frats. And as for Sammies, they are a fairly new fraternity, two years old I believe. Sammies is constructing a house over the summer with a bar so we should see great things from them. The best way to learn about parties is to have friends in the frats or at least in-the-know, but not necessarily be in one yourself. Frats are a great way to meet people, make lifelong friends and be invited to private parties with the sororities on campus, Delta Phi Eta (DPhiE) and Sigma Delta Tau (SDT).

The athletic team parties are a fun way to meet Brandeis athletes depending on what you’re looking for. These houses usually throw the pregaming events and random costume parties including Halloween, which are always huge.

The miscellaneous parties include those thrown by student groups (not affiliated with fraternities or sports teams). These include the random parties thrown in the Rosenthal sophomore quad that aren’t huge, but worth stopping off at before the bigger party of the night. The Purim party is also huge every year and thrown by the Jewish student life on campus. One of the most surprising organization to throw parties is the group of students that call themselves Flavor Country. These parties tend to be the biggest and best on campus. But you need to be tight with the guys who run these gatherings because there usually is an invitation only list for guys.

One of the best ways to have fun on campus is to definitely form a group of friends and make plans to get together and have your own parties. These are usually thrown in a suite or in some cases freshman dorms (Ahem!). Everyone is so busy during the week with schoolwork and extracurriculars that the only time to connect with your friends is during the weekends. So these private parties are a large part of the Brandeis party scene.

Whatever social path you do decide to take while at Brandeis, remember one thing: you’re only in college for four years. They will go by much faster than you can even imagine. It’s your job to not only craft the foundation of your future, but to also enjoy life as much as possible while you have the time to do so.