When I first told people I was going to be attending the University of Arizona for college, I got one out of three reactions. The first was, “How are you going to handle the heat?”, which was usually met with the fact that I grew up in Illinois and was sick of the cold weather. The second was, “That is so far away,” which I was already fully aware of. And lastly, the most common reaction, “UA is a big party school, can you handle that?”
Ever since I began my research on the UA, I had become aware of that. We are known for the picture-perfect sororities that are on Instagram’s explore page 24/7 and fraternities that know how to throw some parties. This did not bother nor excite me because, in general, I am more of a kick-back type of person. Ragers are fun once in a while, but eventually it gets boring and you get tired of seeing the same frat boy go from girl to girl for three hours straight.
What I did not expect when I got here was how hard it is to actually get into parties. I assumed that the fraternities would want their parties to be as packed as possible and would let any girl in because, well, they are girls. Coming from me, a freshman who was constantly told how much the UA parties, I assumed it wouldn’t take an arm, leg and a neck to get into these big parties I was warned about.
Oh was I wrong.
The UA is exactly what I’ve coined as a selective party school. A lot goes into the process of being able to party and so many steps need to be taken to get in.
First of all, the rise of wristbands has completely changed the party culture here. I know many juniors who don’t even remember wristbands being a thing when they were freshmen. Now, all people care about is having that paper on their wrist.
I see girls on my dorm floor, 90% of them in sororities, struggling to get into parties because they don’t have wristbands. The only way to get a hold of wristbands is to either be in a sorority and also be at the house when they get dropped off, know someone in a sorority or know somebody in a fraternity. And sometimes that doesn’t even get you anything. Partying at the UA is all about who you know, so if you are a freshman who isn’t in a sorority or hasn’t made friends yet, you are out of luck.
Maybe some people are not out of luck because there are unregistered parties. This basically means that you don’t need a wristband to get in and can just walk up to the door. Some of these are registered, but the majority aren’t. But in order to get into these parties, you have to look the part. And by that, I don’t mean wear the skimpiest dress, I mean have the correct skin color, hair etc.
One night when my roommate finally convinced me to go to a frat party, it was completely obvious the “ideal” girl these non-wristband frats wanted. I saw many girls of color on the lawn calling ubers and rides because the frat wouldn’t let them in. Not only was it girls of color but girls with short hair, girls who weren’t 120 pounds or less and girls who weren’t dressed “slutty” enough. This completely grossed me out and turned me off to frats instantly.
As a freshman, it seems like the only way you can party is to go to frats. Being an upperclassman, you have apartments and bars you can go to to party. As freshmen who live in dorms where resident assistants are following your every move, it is a little bit harder. This is all coming from someone who has no preference toward partying at all. For some people, frat parties are how they socialize, and to call yourself a party school for all is far from correct.
I don’t have a desire to go to fraternity parties because I feel as if more bad happens there than good, but for people who want to have that choice, it should not matter how short their skirt is or the color of their skin. Frat parties have become about boys letting girls that are their type in just so they can flirt and try to get their fun for the night, and that is what is causing this divide. It’s not about partying, it’s about what the boys can do with the girls after.
If you are an incoming freshman looking to come to the UA, I would highly suggest staying away from frat parties. I understand it might mean missing out on some memorable nights, but all of the stress that comes with trying to find wristbands and “accepting” frats isn’t worth it for the usually weird frat boys and mediocre music.
More importantly, if you are an incoming freshman looking to come to the UA for the party culture specifically, there are a few things you are going to have to do to ensure “Thirsty Thursdays.” You are going to have to do at least one of the following: First, join Greek life, or, second, have a roommate who is in Greek life from whom you can leech your party information. Third, be the skinny white girl they prefer. Fourth, know someone in Greek life. And , finally, fifth, don’t be afraid to show skin at parties to ensure the bouncer lets you in.
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