Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
August 16, 2022

As a new school year kicks off, several fraternities have begun planning their signature fall parties. Since most of fraternity life is imbued in traditions, most of the fraternities on campus hold signature parties annually, each with a unique theme.

The brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), for example, are known for their annual toga party, held in the early weeks of the fall semester.

“The theme itself is pretty self-explanatory, as I’m sure anyone who has seen the movie Animal House is well versed in toga parties (although ours tend to be a bit more tame than John Belushi’s),” junior Nick Ginsberg, Treasurer for AEPi, wrote in an email to The News-Letter.

AEPi hosts their toga party in the beginning of the year when the weather is still nice. Though the fraternity has recently opened a new house on E. University Parkway, AEPi continues to hold many of their parties, including their toga party, outside on their balcony in the Northway Apartments, which offer an aerial view of Homewood campus from the north. This, according to Ginsberg, gives the party a “unique spin compared to most frat parties.”

Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s (SAE) events often draw large crowds to their house on St. Paul Street. Among SAE’s staple events is the annual Front Nine party, held each fall. This event is generally more interactive than your average fraternity party consisting of dancing in basements — for one, it themes the venue as a golf course.

“For this party, you go to the house, walk in and each room is a different theme or hole,” sophomore Sam Romanoff, the Social Chair for SAE, wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “It really gets the people involved and is a lot of fun, and a good change from the normal and plain fraternity dance parties around campus.”

To complete eighteen holes, SAE hosts “The Back Nine” in the spring.

Like AEPi and SAE, Phi Kappa Psi (Phi Psi) hosts one of its signature parties in the fall. Phi Psi’s “Habitat Party” is held annually on or around Halloween. Phi Psi hosts this party in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds homes for the impoverished in East Baltimore.

Typically, a representative from Habitat for Humanity stands at the door and collects $5 from all partygoers. The proceeds from the entry fee at the door go entirely to Habitat for Humanity. The Habitat Party’s emphasis on philanthropy distinguishes it from other fraternity parties at Hopkins.

“I’d say the main reason it’s unique is because it’s philanthropic,” junior Michael Nakan, the President of Phi Psi, told The News-Letter. “You get events, which are very philanthropically oriented, which no one wants to go to because they’re no fun, and you get fun events, which everyone wants to go to without giving back to the community, so [the ‘Habitat Party’] is a good blend of these two worlds of having Greek Life and philanthropy.”

In addition to its charitable nature, the event offers a festive Halloween atmosphere.

“We also decorate the house a lot, so it’s a lot of Halloween stuff like skeletons and jack-o-lanterns,” Nakan said.

In order to throw a successful party, fraternities begin planning far in advance.

“Planning a fraternity party is a lot more work than most people think,” Romanoff wrote.

Both Romanoff and Nakan agree that a successful party is largely dependent on advertising. Many fraternities rely on social media, such as Facebook events, to alert students about their parties.

Other logistics, such as party theme, finding a DJ and selecting the appropriate date for the event, must be taken into consideration.

However, at the end of the night, the goal of each fraternity party is to ensure that the guests have a great time.

“Hopkins is such a stressful and intense place, these parties need to be places [students] can come and forget about everything else besides having fun,” Romanoff wrote. “This is the environment we want to have when a party happens, and that’s what [students] are looking for too. So, if we both achieve those goals, the party can be classified as great.”

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