Co-Ops Vs. Frats

The Search for the Ideal Party Scene 

By James Dennehy


Berkeley is dominated by two major party scenes: The Fraternities of UC Berkeley and the independent, co-ed Berkeley Student Cooperatives. These two scenes are rigidly isolated with minimal crossover between their patrons. Hopefully these guidelines will help you make up your mind about where you’ll enjoy yourself the most.


Recommended party: Stebbins, Casa Zimbabwe

The co-ops of Berkeley are less visible and often get overlooked when searching for a Friday night get -together. But these parties can be more welcoming to BCC students, as many co-op residents attend BCC themselves. Co-op parties are kickbacks because the houses have quiet hours on most nights, but occasionally they will rage floor-to- floor and even house-to-house.

“The parties at Stebbins have always been fun, but this year the party group has really outdone themselves. Our room-to-room in October was the most hectic party I’ve ever been to, ” said first time Stebbins resident, Ali Sanford. When a co-op throws a massive party, it’s often more bizarre and intimate than your average house party. Many residents cover themselves in face/body paint and there’s always at least one séance room.


Recommended Parties: Sigma Pi, Sig Ep

Avoid: Pike, DKE, DU

Having two roommates in a fraternity, I’ve been afforded an opportunity few BCC students receive: a bid into UCB’s Greek life. I’ve lost track of how many frat parties I’ve been to, mostly because they’re all the same, but the number is staggering.

Simply knowing a brother or having a text message saved can unlock the gates to free DJ sets, alcohol, and a community of intoxicated peers. Overall, these parties can be extremely fun and crazy (I’ve personally witnessed frat brothers pouring a raw egg in a beer and shotgunning it). Though a fraternity’s main appeal may be excessive alcohol and the lunacy that follows, they also sponsor sporting events, barbecues, watch parties, and steak-and-cigar nights.

“A frat party has the most potential of any party, but can also be the worst place to be,” says KDR and SMD brother, Jacob Strelnikov, “It’s really what you make it. I always focus on having a good time instead of meeting or impressing people.”

The deciding factor on whether you’ll have a fun time at these events is if you know a member of the fraternity. The dance floor and free light beer is available to anyone, but knowing a brother will open up doors you didn’t know existed.

These two collectives are polar opposite scenes with the only real similarities being their mutual enjoyment of great parties. Above all else, I would suggest experimenting and to hold off judgments until you’ve seen a good number of the scenes. No two frats or co-ops are the same. Inside the spectrum between co-op kickback and frat rager there is something for everyone.


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