The decision to join a fraternity rivals one of marriage. The options of women, and that of fraternities, are endless. Yet, in the end, only one reigns supreme. The downside? The money, of course. Do I really need to explain what a wife does to your checkbook? You get the point. When it comes to fraternity life, fratting isn’t free. There’s always a cost, whether a pledge or a brother. Let’s take a look at what exactly we’re talking about. Most importantly, just how much pledgeship is going to cost you.
Off the bat, let’s make this clear, fraternities aren’t cheap. I’m sure you’ll find one or two on campus that charge a hundred bucks to bring together a few guys, but let’s face it, that’s not a fraternity. If you’re going balls-to-the-wall, you’re going to have to pay for it one way or another. For most fraternities in the south, the mere yearly cost is atleast a thousand bucks. Not cheap, but for the benefits you’re given, it’s worth every penny. On the upper end of frat-houses, you’re looking at a few thousand bucks in yearly dues. Don’t get me started on sororities… those girls are pampered, but they sure as hell pay for it.
The difference between the cost of fraternity life as a brother and the cost of fraternity life as a pledge is extreme. When you’re a pledge, life doesn’t get much worse. Like always, I’m speaking for those fraternities at the top of the charts. Those that party hard, fuck bitches and live life to the fullest. Everyone else isn’t worthy of mentioning. Since we’re all about pledging, let’s focus on what exactly your money will go towards in your semester of fun. If you’re a #21 ideal pledge, you’ll learn quickly:
As a pledge, the monetary demands that will be put upon you are immense. Right off the bat, if a brother wants or needs something, a pledge is almost always responsible. While pledgeship varies with every fraternity on every campus, pledges will always have to fork over the cash in one way or another.
Here are a few examples. First off, some fraternities require pledges to carry quarters, dollar bills, etc. in their pockets for brothers to use the vending machines. At any moment a brother can call a pledge for vending machine money. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. When it’s dinnertime, McDonalds is open 24/7. You get the picture. Partying tonight? Don’t put it past a brother to tell a pledge to go buy the liquor. Your ass mine-as-well swipe credit cards because you’ll be dishing out the money all semester.
If a brother is generous, he’ll throw in a few bucks. Other than your #54 big brother, don’t count of any up-front loans. Otherwise, a pledge has to fend for himself. There are stories of pledge classes holding car washes, bake sales, all of the classics you can think of in order to make ends meet during pledgeship. It’s a common reality that numerous pledges drop (quit) because they can’t afford it. Unfortunate, but it happens. Life goes on.
The biggest expense of pledgeship parallels that of designating driving. You’re a professional bitch-on-wheels for a semester, and no brother has any sympathy for how much money it takes to fill up your tank. With gas prices soaring, pledges are moaning. You’ll drive a brother to class, drive them to parties and shuttle girls back and forth from the fraternity house. You’ll have a scheduled set of driving hours, and will always have to drive on a rainy day. God forbid a brother gets wet on his way to class. Cha-ching.
Cigs & Dip
No matter what fraternity you’re pledging, there’s bound to be a handful of tobacco addicts. With cigarettes and dip serving as the majority, you’ll also see cigars, gum, condoms… you name it. Some pledges are required to hold cigarettes on them at all times. Other will have dip, gum and condoms. I mean, who knows when you’ll need a rubber? It’s call pledge-parenthood, a spin-off of planned-parenthood. Pledges not only protect you from drunk driving, they protect you from STD’s and child-support payments. Oh, the irony.
Here’s a piece of advice, and a serious piece at that. When you’re walking around during #2 rush, don’t be afraid to ask a few questions. Talk to the brothers and get serious with them; ask them how much it’s going to cost you. They’ll most likely give you a bullshit low-ball number, but atleast it’s your starting point. It only goes up from there.
If you’re entering a top, social house, expect to spend a thousand. Base your expenses on how popular the house is, and what their reputation has been. While most rumors can be farfetched and ridiculous, some #59 fraternity stereotypes are right on the money. Don’t be afraid to ask around, it might make your decision ten times easier. No matter what, have a sit down with the old folks. You’re not going to be able to pay for it yourself. In the end, it’s all worth it. Four year to live it up, no matter the cost.
It’s not hazing. It’s brotherhood.