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

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

Two years ago, as a high school senior ready to start applying to colleges, I sat down and thought about 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 solid academic background to prepare for medical school. Like many incoming college students, I wanted to find that oh so difficult to achieve balance between work and play. Although work is a necessity to be successful in life, she wanted to find a school where she could have an equally strong social background. Needless to say, Brandeis wasn’t near the top of my list.

During the application process, I often searched for forums describing Brandeis’ social life only to be disappointed when the results came back. Brandeis is not known for its social scene, as the fraternities are not directly funded 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 towards the notion that the Brandeis social scene was what you thought of it. I found this strange, but if it takes a bit of a boost on my part to have fun, then there’s nothing stopping me. I later applied for Brandeis and they accepted me only to find out that I controlled my destiny. If I’m only in college for four years, I better make the most of it.

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

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, I would pick ZBT as the highest because they always have great music, a crowded dance floor, and plenty of drinks for everyone. Also, another cool thing about the house is that its parts always include black lights and occasionally they cast whitening parts where they are all white under the black lights. AEPi parties, on the other hand, sometimes lack an active environment and instead provide a home to be drunk and have fun in relatively relaxed surroundings.

Phi Psi hasn’t had many notable parts during my first year, but they are looking to expand over the next year. ADPhi has the same status as Phi Psi, in terms of groups, but we will soon know its ability to compete with other frats. And as for Sammies, they are a relatively new fraternity, I think they are two years old. Sammies is building a house for the summer with a bar, so we should see great things from them. The best way to learn about the holidays is to have friends in the fray or at least be aware of it, but not necessarily be in one. Frat are a great way to meet people, make lifelong friends, and be invited to private parties with the on-campus sororities, Delta Phi Eta (DPhiE) and Sigma Delta Tau (SDT).

Athletic team parties are a fun way to meet Brandeis athletes depending on what you are looking for. These houses often host random pre-game events and costume parties, including Halloween, which are always huge.

Miscellaneous parties include those hosted by student groups (not affiliated with fraternities or sports teams). These include the random parts thrown on Rosenthal’s sophomore quad that aren’t huge, but worth stopping by before the biggest party of the night. The Purim holiday is also huge every year and Jewish student life on campus organizes it. One of the most amazing party organizations is the group of students calling themselves Flavor Country. These parties tend to be the biggest and best on campus. But you need to be close to the guys who run these gatherings because there is usually a guys-only guest list.

One of the best ways to have fun on campus is definitely to form a group of friends and make plans to get together and have your own parties. They are usually placed in a suite or, in some cases, freshman dorms (ahem!). Everyone is so busy during the week with school work and extracurricular activities that the only time to connect with their friends is on the weekends. So these private parties are a big part of the Brandeis party scene.

Whichever social path you decide to take while at Brandeis, remember one thing: you’re only in college for four years. They will pass much faster than you can imagine. It is your job to not only create the foundation for your future, but also to enjoy life as much as possible while having the time to do so.

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