Many women at the University of Florida choose to rush a sorority for networking and service opportunities when they first arrive at college. After joining their chapter, all of these students have to decide between living in an apartment in Gainesville or moving into their sorority house for their upcoming years at UF. This can be a tough decision given that there are many pros and cons to both choices. Most Panhellenic sorority chapters at UF do have a house as their facility, but specifics will vary between each of them.
Being an out-of-state student at UF, I decided to join a sorority to meet new friends when I first got to college. I have loved the experience so far; however, I chose to live in an off-campus apartment near sorority row rather than my house. With my busy lifestyle and heavy academic course load, I valued my personal space and amenities over the benefits of moving into my sorority. I have lived with some of my sorority sisters in an apartment and still go to the house all the time for meals and to study! Everyone has different preferences and lifestyles which are all important to keep in mind when choosing where to live. To help you decide what is the best fit for you, here are some of the benefits of apartments near UF and living in a sorority house around campus:
One of the key perks to living in an apartment is that you will have your individual space for when you need to be alone. In most apartment communities, residents have their own bedroom and sometimes their own bathroom. Even if you have to share a bathroom with a few other roomies it's arguably much better than the communal living in most sorority houses. There are usually only a limited number of other people with who you are going to share common areas while living in an apartment, typically no more than 5. Additionally, the fewer people in the apartment will cause fewer distractions, while on the other hand, it may be very loud and hard to focus while studying in a sorority house.
Ability to Cook
Another positive of living in an apartment is that students have access to a kitchen! This may seem like a small benefit; however, most sorority houses don't have an open kitchen for girls to use on the weekends when meals are served. The kitchen allows apartment residents to be able to grocery shop and make their own meals whenever they want. Also, many apartment communities come with a variety of appliances to use, so there are no limits on what you can make.
Choosing to live in an apartment goes hand in hand with specifically selecting your roommates, whether they are in your sorority or not. You don't have to live in the house to get the same great experience of living with friends in your chapter. Greek Life members have the option to sign with their sorority sisters or even set up a place with their whole sorority fam. On the other hand, it could also be beneficial to utilize a roommate matching program so you can meet other students that are outside your sorority. This could be a great opportunity to expand your network and make some new friends!
Sorority houses are great, but they don't offer many of the features that you can find in Gainesville's off-campus student apartments. Amenities such as a pool, fitness center, and study room can make your living experience much better. These assets give you the chance to not have to scoot to the Lib West or Southwest Rec Center to study or get in a quick workout. Just one reason why many students value the convenience of the amenities at their place.
You Can Still Live Close to the House
Another pro to off-campus apartments is that you can still live right near sorority row without actually having to live in the sorority house. There are many options for apartments near sorority row, such as The Courtyards and Wildflower Apartments, that are probably in close walking distance to your chapter's house. This way you can still easily stop by the house to study or have lunch with a sister anytime you want without having to deal with the downsides of being at the house full time.
Avoid the Many Rules of Communal living
A final benefit to living off-campus is that you don't have to deal with the regulations set in the sorority house. Similar to a UF dorm, the sorority house is on campus, so it's important to keep in mind that there will definitely be few strict rules to adhere by while living there. Being in an apartment will give you more freedom for you to come and go as you please.
Benefits Living in Your Sorority House
Dining and cleaning benefits
The first main positive of living in your sorority house is quick access to homemade meals from the chef with the meal plan. Many chapters have meal plans for all members but when you live in house it's as easy as walking downstairs! Although you may not have as much personal space in a sorority house, housekeepers clean up the communal spaces such as bathrooms and living rooms. This service allows you to save time and have much less independent responsibility to upkeep an entire apartment. Additionally, many sorority facilities are very nice with a modern and renovated style.
Sometimes less expensive than an apartment
Depending on the chapter, living in a sorority house could be cheaper than choosing to live in a luxury apartment close to campus. Most chapters just raise their dues to have live-in fees for their members that decide to live in the house. If this is the case for your sorority, it may make financial sense to live in the house instead of an apartment. Keep in mind that it varies from case to case, and you should ask someone in your chapter for specific financial information before deciding.
Live with Your friends
Another benefit of living in a sorority house is that you will meet and become closer with people that you may not have known as well before. This unique situation will help you get out of your comfort zone and socialize with other girls. There will definitely always be someone that you can count on if you need help with anything while in the sorority house.
Sorority Row is Close to Campus
Living in your sorority house you'll likely just be a quick walk over to campus. Most houses are on sorority row, which is only about 5-10 minutes to campus. For most sorority houses, you won't have to take the bus or drive to get to all of your classes