Greek Life

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Greek Life


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1 College Junior

Greek Life: Greek life doesn't really make sense at a school like Swarthmore, but the fraternities have a lot of parties. The sorority doesn't have a house.

3 College Freshman

Greek Life: There is very minimal Greek life on campus. There are only two fraternities and one sorority, and the sorority is always very active in community service. I don't know as much about the fraternities.

3 College Freshman


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3 College Sophomore

Greek Life: There is very limited Greek life, and the people tend to be of similar ethnic background.

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4 College Freshman

Greek Life: There is palpable tension between greeks and non-greeks. Swarthmore claims to be a non judgmental community but there are a lot of generalizations regarding fraternity members.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Greek life is almost non-existent at Swarthmore. The few die-hards who remain in the fraternities throw decent parties throughout the year, but the frats are by no means a major social force at Swarthmore. There are no sororities at Swarthmore, and there are a few complaints about this from a tiny minority of girls on campus. In general, though, Swatties are happy that Greek life is practically invisible on campus. The main reason for this is that many see it as a haven for cliquish behavior and exclusivism.

There are buildings on campus designated for the two fraternities, but members do not live in the houses; the buildings are used for additional party space and events. Pledges do continue to come in from first-year classes, but some students say the fraternities were dealt a death blow after the abolition of football on campus (even though Delta Upsilon mainly comprises baseball players and Phi Psi is mostly lacrosse players). The number of students participating in Greek life has increased over the years, but it still is not a major social driving force on campus. Swarthmore is definitely not the school for students looking to become the next Otter or Bluto.

Facts & Statistics

Undergrad Men in Fraternities
Freshman Men in Fraternities
Undergrad Women in Sororities
Freshman Women in Sororities
Number of Fraternities
Number of Sororities
  • Delta Upsilon
  • Phi Psi
Did You Know?
  • Delta Upsilon is an international fraternity, whereas Phi Psi was created at Swarthmore and is the only Phi Psi frat anywhere.
  • Famous Delta Upsilon alumni from Swarthmore include: Dr. Christian Boehmer Anfinsen Jr. (Nobel Prize winner for chemistry), Neil R. Austrian (former president and COO of the NFL), Dick Hall (former professional pitcher), H. Thomas Hallowell (former president of Standard Pressed Steel Company; donator of Hallowell and Dana dorms at the College), Thomas Kershaw (businessman and owner of the famous Bull and Finch Pub, the bar popularized by the TV series "Cheers"), Leland S. MacPhail (president of National League Baseball and GM of the New York Yankees), Thomas B. McCabe (president of Scott Paper and former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board; donator of McCabe Library at the College), Amos J. Peaslee (U.S. Ambassador to Australia), James A. Perkins (former president of Cornell University), Edward C. Prescott (Nobel Prize winner for economics), Philip T. Sharples (donator of the College's Sharples Dining Hall)

Student Polls

What is Greek life's role in the campus social scene?    Based on 21 responses

  • 0% Greek life is pretty big. You don't have to join to enjoy the parties, but you might want to consider it.
  • 43% Greek life is average, and no one will treat you differently if you don't join.
  • 0% Greek life is huge-you're no one if you're not Greek.
  • 57% Greek life is pretty low-key and has little effect on the social scene.
  • 0% We don't have Greek life.

What is the general attitude of non-Greeks toward Greeks?    Based on 21 responses

  • 5% Most non-Greeks think Greeks do great things for the community.
  • 52% Most non-Greeks are indifferent about Greeks.
  • 33% Non-Greeks think Greeks are only good for the parties they throw.
  • 10% Non-Greeks see Greeks as snobby and cliquey.

What kind of housing is available for Greek students?    Based on 20 responses

  • 0% Greek students live in opulent chapter houses.
  • 0% Greek students live in dedicated wings in the dorms.
  • 90% No special housing is available.
  • 10% Greek students live in run-down chapter houses.

How difficult is it to get into a fraternity or sorority?    Based on 21 responses

  • 43% Very easy.
  • 48% Somewhat easy.
  • 10% Somewhat difficult.
  • 0% Very difficult.
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