The Freshman’s 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 form, as required by federal law, due to the proven health risks associated with this practice.

Two years ago, when I was entering my senior year of high school and ready to start applying to colleges, I sat down and thought about what exactly I wanted out of my four years of college. Number one on my list was a school that would give me a strong academic background to prepare me for medical school. Like many entering college students, I wanted to find that very difficult balance between work and play. Although work is a necessity to be successful in life, I wanted to find a school where I could have an equally strong social background. Needless to say, Brandeis was not at the top of my list.

During the application process, I often searched for forums depicting Brandeis’s 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 colleges in the Boston area. I’m looking at you MIT. Then I saw comments that pointed me to the notion that the Brandeis social scene was what you make of it. I found this weird, but if it takes a bit of me to have fun, then there’s nothing stopping me. I later applied to Brandeis and was accepted only to find out that he controlled my destiny. If I’m only in college for four years, I’d better make the most of it.

Brandeis parties can be categorized into four different groups: frat parties, athletic 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 rate ZBT the highest because they always have great music, a crowded dance floor, and plenty of drinks for everyone. Also, another interesting thing about the house is that the parties always include black lights and from time to time they have parties where everyone is white under the black lights. AEPi parties, on the other hand, sometimes lack the active vibe, and instead provide a home for being drunk and merry in a relatively relaxed environment.

Phi Psi hasn’t had many notable parties during my first year, but they are looking to branch out over the next year. ADPhi has the same status as Phi Psi as a group, but we will learn about its ability to compete with other fraternities very soon. And as for the Sammies, they’re a pretty new fraternity, I think they’re 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 parties is to have friends in the frats or at least be in the know, but not necessarily be in one. Fraternities are a great way to meet people, make lifelong friends, and get invited to private parties with the campus sororities, Delta Phi Eta (DPhiE) and Sigma Delta Tau (SDT).

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

Miscellaneous parties include those organized by student groups (not affiliated with fraternities or sports teams). These include the random parties thrown on the Rosenthal sophomore quad that aren’t huge, but are worth stopping by before the biggest party of the night. The Purim party is also huge every year and is organized by the Jewish student life on campus. One of the most amazing organizations to throw parties is the group of students who call themselves Flavor Country. These parties tend to be the biggest and best on campus. But you have to be strict with the guys running these gatherings because there’s usually a male invite-only 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 throw your own parties. They’re usually placed in a suite or, in some cases, freshman dorms (ahem!). Everyone is so busy during the week with schoolwork 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’ll only be in college for four years. They will pass much faster than you can imagine. It’s your job to not only create the foundation for your future, but also to enjoy life as much as possible while you have the time to do so.

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