Dartmouth College Greek Organizations
Dartmouth College is host to many Greek organizations and a significant percentage of the undergraduate student body is active in Greek life. In 2005, the school stated that 1,785 students were members of a fraternity, sorority, or coeducational Greek house, comprising about 43 percent of all students, or about 60 percent of the eligible student body. Greek organizations at Dartmouth provide both social and residential opportunities for students, and are the only single-sex residential option on campus. Greek organizations at Dartmouth do not provide dining options, as regular meals service has been banned in Greek houses since 1909.
Social fraternities at Dartmouth College grew out of a tradition of student literary societies that began in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The first social fraternities were founded in 1842 and rapidly expanded to include the active participation of over half of the student body. Fraternities at Dartmouth built dedicated residence and meeting halls in the early 1900s and in the 1920s, and then struggled to survive the lean years of the 1930s. Dartmouth College was among the first institutions of higher education to desegregate fraternity houses in the 1950s, and was involved in the movement to create coeducational Greek houses in the 1970s. Sororities were introduced to campus in 1977. In the early 2000s, campus-wide debate focused on whether or not the Greek system at Dartmouth would become "substantially coeducational", but most houses retain single-sex membership policies.
Currently, Dartmouth College extends official recognition to sixteen all-male fraternities, nine all-female sororities, and three coeducational fraternities. The Greek houses are largely governed through three independent councils, the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, and the Coed Council. Dartmouth College has two cultural interest fraternities, and two cultural interest sororities, which do not participate in the major governing councils, but are member organizations of national associations. A chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society is active, but there are no professional fraternities with active chapters at Dartmouth College.