What ever happened to house parties?

On any given weekend when you are in need of something to do, there’s no doubt you will be able to spot a variety of club flyers on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and especially GroupMe. 

However, these used to not be the only flyers that would clutter any given timeline. It can be argued that in recent years the promotion of house parties has dwindled drastically, taking a back seat to numerous other events. 

Kendra Mitchell began her tenure at FAMU in 1998 and reflected on her experience with house parties at the beginning of her college career in comparison to her attendance as she continued through college. 

“I attended a few house parties when I first enrolled; I mostly spent time in the Kappa house and at the surrounding ‘clubs.’  They were so small that they could arguably be considered house parties,” said Mitchell. “By my second year, I was no longer on that party scene. Instead, I spent time with my gospel choir friends. We redefined what house parties meant to us.”

Despite the decrease in publicity compared to previous generations, the energy of house parties seems to have remained consistent. 

“I don't really know what people do at house parties nowadays. I know when I was in high school, for instance, we spent most of our time dancing until we sweat through our clothes. I lived in the suburbs of Chicago at that time, so we were all about showing our footwork,” Mitchell said. 

This energy, however, is obviously not enough to keep people going. A major benefit that comes along with going to a club are the professional security guards who have been trained to handle unforeseen situations. 

However, this is not something that is common for house parties. This presents a significant risk to students and sometimes deters from going to parties of this kind.

Lynda Seigler attended FAMU from 2005 to 2009. House parties were a consistent source of weekend entertainment for her and her circle of friends. 

“House parties were always known as a possible risk, but that was the choice we made to have fun because clubs have more restrictions,” said Seigler. “As I got older and had more and more negative experiences with them, such as shootings, fights and drinks being ‘roofied,’ I discovered that maybe I needed to leave that scene alone.”

An increase in violence at house parties has resulted in the loss of our very own Rattlers. For instance, 20 year-old Quinton Langford was gunned down after a house party near campus let out during 2016 Homecoming festivities. 

Instances like this have steered Jason Reaves, a junior criminal justice student, away from the house party scene. 

“I think I’ve gotten to the age where I’d rather pay to get into a club than to waste my time to go to a house party that will most likely get shut down, have drama and even risk my life,” said Reaves. “As an underclassmen you are just trying to be on the scene. You are broke and house parties are most of the time the only option if you don’t want to come out of pocket.”

With new technology, such as social media platforms, the ways in which we promote house parties have changed drastically as well. 

“I do not remember how we knew about parties beyond having upperclassmen hanging around the set and McGuinn/Diamond dorms. I guess in the late 1990s, word-of-mouth was the primary form of advertising,” said Mitchell. 

Mitchell, Seigler and Reaves all have one thing in common: They all shared a common satisfaction for house parties in their earlier college years, but distanced themselves due to issues like increased violence. 

As the years go by it will be interesting to see if they will even be relevant for the next generation, or if new measures will be taken to ensure they have risk-free fun.