At the University of Alabama, Greek life is a huge part of campus culture with around 33 percent of students participating in sororities and fraternities. That being said, one staple of Alabama Greek life is swap season. Swaps are themed mixers held at fraternity houses, and every week during the fall almost every Panhellenic sorority and IFC fraternity participate in these socials. Some previous themes are doctors and nurses, heaven and hell, neon lights, rave and tacky tourist.
Image Credit: Emily Moessner
Swaps are many freshmen’s favorite memory, as they are a ton of fun and are a great bonding experience for members. I know personally that going shopping for outfits, getting ready together and hanging out at the social is how I made some great friends in my sorority.
However, the usual routine for swaps may be changing for next year. Last week UA Panhellenic sent out a newsletter mentioning that they are trying to reform the current swap routine. They mention that one possible reform is to implement a Tuesday night dinner between the fraternities and sororities, so that the members are able to meet each other before the Thursday night swap. The hope for that being that it would make things less awkward for both parties, and so that members would be able to see a “familiar face” at the swap.
Image Credit: Emily Moessner & UA Panhellenic
I was interested to see what other people thought about the potential swap reforms, so I asked around and got some opinions.
One sorority member told me,
“I don’t know how I feel about the potential weekly dinner idea. I think it could be a little awkward, because I could easily see the guys siting on one side of the room, and the girls on the other. I don’t know if it would actually encourage conversations between us.“ – Sara Buxton
Another member took the opposite approach and said,
“I like the idea! I’m not sure if it would be completely effective, but I like the potential of getting to know some of the guys in an alcohol-free environment, where you’re actually able to hear what they’re saying.” – Alexis O’Hagan
The newsletter also mentioned four swap rules that are already in place that members sometimes forget. One rule that isn’t exactly enforced is how food is supposed to be provided at each party. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t even seen a bag of chips provided at any of the swaps that I’ve been to. Another is how there are supposed to be non-alcoholic drinks provided. Again, at every swap I’ve walked into I’ve seen copious amounts of Nattys, but I’ve never seen any house providing water bottles or sodas. I would love to see some of these rules actually enforced next swap season, and I have the hope that swap reforms will help make that happen.
What do you think about potential swap reforms? Let us know in the comments below!