Greek property opening up to first-years on Halloween weekend

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For DePauw University first-year, Delaney Dolle, being allowed to go to sororities and fraternities would mean getting to spend time with family. “I have an older sister who is a junior here, and I haven’t really been able to hang out with her on the weekends because she lives in a live-out,” Dolle said.

First-years on DePauw’s campus have not been allowed to enter Greek property, but that changes on Friday at 4 p.m.

This year, the opening of Greek spaces will coincide with Old Gold Weekend, the inauguration of Mark McCoy becoming the 20th president of DePauw, and Halloween. The opening is also later than past years, which has caused some problems for some underclassmen.

Dolle was unable to join her brother, a graduate of DePauw, and the rest of her family at Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity DePauw chapter during Family Weekend because of the rules put in place by the University.

Along with being able to reconnect with her immediate family, Dolle said the opening of Greek property will mean making connections with classmates. “I’m just kind of excited to meet more people, and it’ll be fun that it’s on Halloween too,” she said.

Senior Sydney Jordan, a member of Panhellenic Executive Council, said Greek property typically opens sometime after Panhellenic Kickoff, which is usually later in October. Jordan said Greek property opened for first-years on Halloween weekend when she herself was a first-year.

The Administration made the decision on when to open up Greek property. Nathaniel Reed, vice president of risk management for the Interfraternity Council, said that IFC attempted to move the date to earlier in the semester, but “was shut down by the Administration multiple times.”

Jordan sees the decision to have Greek houses open this weekend as a good idea. “By doing it on Halloween weekend, you’re reducing it down to maybe one large party weekend as opposed to having a huge party weekend when first-years are allowed on [Greek property], and then, in addition to that, also having Halloween weekend,” Jordan said.

Director of Public Safety, Angie Nally, said that having several events on one weekend might increase awareness. “I’m hoping that because we have the dedication of Hoover Hall, Inauguration, the Old Gold football game, other sporting events, as well as people who are celebrating Halloween, and then going on Greek property, that because it is such a big weekend, that all of the extra steps have been put into place to make sure that it’s safe,” Nally said.

Senior Ali Mogck expressed concern about Greek property opening so late in the semester. “I feel like they should have eased the freshmen into Greek life and fraternity parties sooner so that by the time that a big weekend comes like Halloween, they’re more prepared and know the atmosphere,” Mogck said. “They’ll probably still excessively drink, but it’s not as new and it would be a little less detrimental. And then in two weeks again is Monon, and then it’s still pretty new to them.”

According to Nally, Public Safety will be making preparations for the weekend. “Just being aware of the potential dynamic change is important for the officers, and of course we’ll work with our security partner, Nolan Security, to make sure that the parties are adequately staffed with security and work with our CLCD campus partners to work with the chapters to help them to develop their plans and to do those kinds of things,” Nally said.

Halloween presents its own specific complications: Nally said the use of costumes can prevent people from recognizing each other, making it difficult for chapters to record who all is present at a party. Nally has asked first-years to remember to bring their IDs if they attend parties on Halloween weekend.

Jordan noted that Greek chapters have the ability to not only prepare for this weekend, but to provide first-years with safe options instead of parties. “They’re now allowed on property,” Jordan said, “So if they have friends in chapters they can maybe go out with them or choose to spend that night in with them, which is an option that they weren’t really provided with before. There are safe alternatives that weekend to going out. I know some houses host movie nights on weekends.”

Nally agreed that chapters can play a helpful role when Greek property opens to first-years. “Typically because it is such a big weekend,” Nally said, “we’ve really seen the chapters take a lot of extra precautions and do a lot of good things, and so we’re confident it will be that way this weekend.”

Reed said that IFC will be playing its part in preventing risk, as well as other campus organizations such as CATS and Green Dot. “There’s a bunch of groups working together,” Reed said.

IFC has established three shifts of people to serve as contacts in the case of an emergency, and each shift consists of three individuals. Compared to a usual weekend, Reed said, “We have a lot more people to contact if problems do arise.”

Nally stressed that first-years going on Greek property should stay in groups, be active bystanders, practice moderation if they are drinking alcohol, and seek help if necessary.