Officially, Middlebury does not have a greek life system. There are no fraternities or sororities because they go against the rules on separating by gender. BUT, social houses are the remnants of the greek life system at Middlebury and are a part of the social life puzzle on campus.
There are officially five social houses for the 2012-2013 school year: Omega Alpha (Tavern), KDR, Xenia (sub-free), The Mill and ADP. Three of the five social houses are located in the Ridgeline area (the woods behind the Robert A. Jones House (RAJ) and two are located on the boundaries of town. All five have “rush,” and “pledge.” Rush week is a time to get to know the social house and its members. Events usually include some dinners, ice cream socials, etc. These are usually non-alcohol events but may be followed by parties with alcohol (minus, of course, Xenia). Pledge is the process of officially declaring your intention to join the social house. It is a multi-week process that in the past would “prove” yourself to be a member but these days involves simply taking part in all the activities (some at all hours of the day/night). As a pledge, you sign a document saying that you are participating in “challenge by choice.” There is no hazing allowed but “challenge by choice” ensures you understand that anything you’re asked to do is a choice that you can say no to without fear of being disqualified from the pledge process. Recent Community Council developments have allowed first-years to rush social houses in their second semester, but students are only able to move in after their third. You are, however, welcome to attend parties.
Each of the social houses has their own building. Sometimes the houses have trouble filling their houses with residents but are required to do by the school. Some years, people who are not members of the social house end up living in the social house for that reason. Each social house has an RA but usually also a president of the social house (often different people). Each of the social houses has a stereotype of course but that doesn’t need to be listed here. Ask around for what social house might appeal to your party style. Also remember that social houses are only one part of the social life on campus. If it’s not your style, then there are other options…
A number of houses that are not social houses host parties too. It can take years to visit all the various houses Middlebury owns and doesn’t own. Off-campus: Red Door, Washington Street, above Taste of India, Leatherworks. On campus: the mods, 107 shannon, palmer, brooker, beach house, turner? When partying in these traditionally “off-campus” locations, be careful and figure out how to get there and back safely since they are usually farther into the dark streets of Middlebury that you think.
Language houses and theme-houses are fun to explore too. To name a few, try finding out where PALANA, the Chinese House, and Weybridge are located.
Many, many students throw parties in their own dorm rooms. Power to you. Be safe about it. Don’t be afraid of Public Safety comes aknockin’ on your door. They need to respond to noise complaints (turn your music down or at least give your neighbors a heads up/invite) and ensure safety of everyone.