I never participated in Greek life (it didn't exist on my college campus, and none of my friends at other colleges were into that scene), but considering the way it's portrayed culturally, it's hard not to find it anywhere from mildly interesting to fascinating.
So I recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell me what sort of things fraternities get up to that are somehow not illegal.
On a scale of "yep, sounds about right" to "thank you past me for not going to a school with Greek life," the answers were pretty all over the place.
Of course, as BuzzFeed user imzadi pointed out, not all fraternities are the same: "No, really though, I don't recall anything getting to the point of 'this can't be legal, can it?' The media has really used the stereotype of fraternities who do questionable stuff and painted a really broad picture with it."
Buuut, that doesn't mean things don't get gross, wild — or just flat-out weird — in frat houses, as evidenced by these 14 stories:
1. "A fraternity on my campus got in trouble for hosting turtle races in their basement… not due to animal cruelty (the turtles were surprisingly well cared for), not due to gambling (it was actually legal in our state), not due to being over capacity (though the fire marshal may have argued about that), but due to six brothers contracting salmonella after kissing their winning turtles. It was literally treated as a public health hazard! 🤣 🐢"
2. "I wasn’t in a frat, but my friend was, and every year in November, they would have a party called 'Beach Bash' where they would put 14 TONS OF SAND in the basement and add boardwalks and lights and music, and everyone would come dressed in beach wear. This was in Wisconsin in the winter."
3. "One of our frat houses was a few stories tall and had a back stairwell with a large open space at the bottom. A lot of beer bottles went over the railing to smash into millions of pieces at the bottom, but the best was watching a very drunk brother toss a printer over one night. Absolutely exploded when it hit the ground. Think about it every time my printer decides not work."
4. "Former sorority girl here. I knew a frat that had a tattoo 'shop' in their basement."
5. "When I was a freshman, the women in my all-female freshman dorm were invited to a 'Pimps and Prostitutes' fraternity party. Obviously, the goal was to encourage the youngest, newest, and most impressionable women at the school to dress skimpily and show up at this fraternity in order to be plied with beer (obviously illegal for under-21s in the US). Just... super gross. This was in 1988, but I'll bet parties like this still exist."
6. "Although we never hazed initiates or did anything remotely like it, members would routinely run from our house, around the outside of the neighboring dorm, naked, and sing at the top of our lungs a ritual song to two Naval cannons on the other side of the dorm, before sprinting back. This is in Maine, in the winter…"
7. "One frat on campus made their pledges eat a bunch of natural laxatives (like prunes) and then finished off their meal with a chocolate-covered laxative pill.
"Another frat was rumored (and very likely be true) to make their pledges dig a hole, pee in it, and sit in it overnight, every night they went out to pledge."
8. "Using pledges as forced laborers. As gross as most fraternity houses are, they’d be even worse if they didn’t have pledges cleaning."
9. "Goldfish Parties. Frat at my school made every person entering take a shot with a live goldfish in it (shot of water so fish was still alive), then you could chase it with a liquor of choice.
"One of my animal-rights friends tried to go protest. She ended up getting punched in the face. Somehow, the puncher didn’t get kicked off campus. There were no ramifications for the frat other than a stern warning (that they didn’t listen to) to not host Goldfish Parties anymore."