Frats, dorms, co-ops offer different styles of university living

Jamie Yuccas

As students look toward September, anticipating another semester, they also become anxious about one daunting issue: Where will they live?

Students have three choices – houses and apartments aside – when searching for housing in the University area: University dormitories, greek housing or cooperative living.

All are comparable in price, but their atmospheres differ.

There are seven types of dorm housing, all with different prices.

Single, double, triple and quadruple occupancy rooms are available, along with two- three- and four-person suites.

Different room sizes in the dorms allow for different experiences. Even when students apply for one type of living, they can receive another.

“I lived in a single my freshman year and a four-person suite my sophomore year, both times in Pioneer Hall, and in general I had a pretty good experience with both set ups,” said junior Nick Ng.

“I think liking a single depends on your personality and your luck. I liked it when I needed to study because it was quiet, but I also was lucky because I lived next door to two cool, outgoing guys. So, we hung out,” Ng said.

“Living with four guys, though, was nice,” Ng said. “It was almost guaranteed that when you came home someone else was going to be there, so you always had someone to talk to or hang out with.”

The cost of living in the dorms is about $2,500 a semester plus $1,019 for a meal plan.

“It’s like a big community where you just get to know a lot of people. You don’t want to come to school and be by yourself. The dorm gives you a way to make friends,” said Christopher Buonamia, a University student.

But there are dorm rules. Quiet hours are enforced after 11 p.m. on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends. Twenty-three-hour quiet hours are enforced during midterm and finals weeks.

The dorms also have a zero-tolerance drug policy.

One rule often misconstrued is the no-alcohol-allowed-in-a-dorm-room policy. With the exception of dry dorms, students 21 and older can drink and have alcohol in their rooms. But minors cannot possess alcohol, drink it or be in a room with others who are drinking.

Students who violate the alcohol policy must meet with their hall director and are given a warning.

“The hall directors are pretty reasonable. They’re good at being objective when dealing with different situations,” Buonamia said.

But there are drawbacks to dorm life.

“You live with 500 other people so it can get really loud at times, and the food isn’t the greatest,” Buonamia said.

Greek housing offers only a slight difference.

“You pay $2,400 a semester, you get a cook and Ethernet access just like the dorms, but if you’re a part of the house, you also get parking and have social events with your house,” said Interfraternity Council programming Vice President Mike Kao.

Greek housing rules are comparable to the dorms. There are courtesy hours and 23-hour quiet hours during exam times. No drinking is allowed in common areas, and there’s a set time for lunch and dinner.

The social aspect of the house is different than the dorms.

“Fraternity living has a lot to do with brotherhood and the bonds that tie,” Kao said.

“A downer about living in the fraternities is if someone down the road (another fraternity) does something bad, everyone looks bad,” Kao said.

All sorority houses are dry, but only some fraternity houses have no-alcohol policies.

“No one has to take part in something they don’t want to. The only obligations are attending Monday night meeting and following Robert’s Rules of Order,” Kao said.

“Because we’re self-governed we’re usually respected by the police (when it comes to parties). Someone’s always at the door and managing the bar, and the other fraternities don’t usually call us about noise violations,” said Beta Theta Pi President Mike Peterson.

“The other obligations the guys have is that everyone is assigned a job in the house,” Peterson said.

“Another difference between us and the dorms is that no one gets to keep their room longer than a semester at a time. The people who live here longer have better room picks, but everyone gets the opportunity to change roommates or just get a different place in the house,” Peterson said.

Cooperative living offers four residences including The Chateau, Marcy Park, Marshall and Franklin Student Housing. All four are owned by Riverton Community Housing.

Students pay $490 for a single, $719 for a two-bedroom, $839 for a three-bedroom and $1,055 for a four-bedroom.

Students can have guaranteed parking for $38 a month.

“Some University co-ops are set-up like one big house, but these co-ops are just like normal apartments,” said Riverton employee Megan Loss.

“(The Chateau) consists of mostly grad students and international students. So, it’s a pretty quiet building,” said Chateau resident Miles Chen.

“I do know my neighbors and with the board of directors. It lets people in the building get to know one another,” Chen said.

“You do make a community, but because of the different races, people usually clique up,” Chen said.

Nick Ng summarized the three University living options and said, “Although the dorms or a fraternity may be a good place to start off and meet people, I definitely think it’s good to move on. You need to have a taste of doing your own dishes, cooking your own meals and doing your own laundry. Co-ops or living off campus let you test that out.”