To be fair Triangle is not for everyone and there are aspects that may be downsides to some people. It is up to you to determine if these considerations are a positive or a negative for you:
1. As with most worthwhile organizations there is a time commitment. As the saying goes, “You get out what you put in”. The amount of time varies with how much a member gets involved in activities of the organization, but a minimum of 6 hours a week is a good estimate. This includes learning about the history and operation of Triangle, some house cleaning duties, meetings, etc. This also includes helping other brothers just as you receive help. Most people however enjoy giving help to others as a gratifying experience. The time commitment is partially offset by some time-consuming aspects in the dorms such as waiting in line at the cafeteria or riding elevators.
2. For someone who does not want to interact much with the people that he lives with, it is not possible to be a hermit at Triangle. It is not for you, if you have trouble getting along with others.
3. There perhaps is less privacy in Triangle, but it is based on a desire to help anyone that needs it, as opposed to gossiping or belittling anyone.
4. There is perhaps less freedom of action living in a fraternity, mostly in the area of requirements to study in a structured environment in the first semester. In some cases there is also discouragement to do things that would reflect badly on the organization.
5. It is easier to drink in the dorms than at Triangle. For some that is an advantage of the dorm lifestyle. We have a strict no-alcohol policy in the fraternity house adhered to by all members. The university enforces its regulations against fraternities as organizations and can revoke recognition for violations. Whereas in the dorms it comes down on only individuals caught by university officials. Enforcement in reality is more lax in the dorms. The no-alcohol policy does have positive effects on the study atmosphere and risk management.
6. The bedrooms at Triangle are less spacious than the dorm rooms. Typically 160 sq.ft versus 200 sq.ft. However, in the common rooms (living room, dining room, etc) area per resident is more.
7. The architecture of the house is not as aesthetically imposing as the English Tudor or Georgian style of some of the Greek houses. It is comparable to Selleck Hall dormitory, but improvements have been made from the original interior design and we will continue to make improvements in the future.
8. There are less food choices with meals at Triangle versus the dormitory cafeteria. That is just the nature of a smaller operation. Although, you have a voice in the make-up of the menu.
9. There is no cable TV in every room like the dorm. We feel that this is a distraction to studying, tends to cocoon people in their room, and is an added expense. We do have satellite TV in the 2 TV rooms that members can watch together. Triangle does not have land-line phones in each room as does the dorms. Most students these days have a cell phone, and it avoids significant expense.
10. Triangles all start out their college careers as Engineers, Architects, or Scientists, and tend to be specialized in a technical world view. As such there is less exposure to as many opinions, fields of knowledge, and lifestyles as a more generalized living unit, (dorm or other fraternity). However some of our members later switch to other majors and we strive for a well-rounded experience. Many members are in non-technical activities. We believe that there are more advantages to this technical specialization than disadvantages.
11. A guy may have more opportunities to meet women that also live in a co-ed dorm, for example at dinner in the cafeteria. However Triangle members have many other opportunities: at sorority dinner exchanges, in classes, outside activities, in the union, etc. The overall difference, if any, regarding meeting women is slight. We have a good reputation on campus that is very helpful.
12. Sometimes there is a commitment to room in the dorm with a high school friend. That, of course, has to be weighed against your long-term benefits. We certainly would be willing to discuss membership with that person also.
13. Sometimes parents or a girl friend are dead-set against fraternities. This usually is based on misconceptions as to what fraternities in general and Triangle in particular are about. Often we can allay such concerns by talking to them directly and perhaps have them talk to the parents of our members.
In making a decision as important as where to live and who to associate with in your college career you would be well advised to analyze all the factors as carefully as possible. One technique used by engineers as a valuable tool for decision making is the “Kepner-Tregoe Analysis”. This can get quite sophisticated but in its simplified form it is reasonably straightforward to use. First you identify the different alternatives, for example joining Triangle or living in the dorm. Next you identify the various categories of consideration, e.g. help in academics, cost, physical environment of the building, friendships, etc. Then you assign a weighting factor to each category based on its importance; e.g. you could give academic help a factor of 10, post-college professional help a factor of 3. Then for each alternative you assign a numerical value from 0 to 10 as to how it satisfies that category. For example you could give academic help at Triangle a 10 and in the dorm a 7; Living space at Triangle a 6 and at the dorm a 10. The specific values are for you to assign. Then in each category you take the weighting factor times the assigned value and then add up the products for each alternative. The alternative with the highest total is the best logical choice. Some of the values may be subjective and inexact but that’s OK. As long as you are consistent, it is an organized way to reach a decision in a reasonable amount of time. It is better than relying on just a gut feeling. Good luck in deciding this important question and we are available at any time to provide truthful information.