With rising COVID-19 cases and the spread of the omicron variant both on campus and around the world, Stanford students are readjusting to public health restrictions. The University has moved classes online for the first three weeks of winter quarter, and parties and large indoor gatherings are forbidden. In the face of these policies, Stanford students have turned to the next-best method of turning it up on campus: Zoom fraternity parties. Determined to see if these virtual gatherings are worth the hype, a team of investigative journalists from The Daily spent the weekend exploring Stanford’s emerging Zoom party scene and chatting with students about their experiences.
Just like frat parties irl, the first step toward Zoom frat partying is surviving the massive lines and crowds. Gone (at least for now) are the days of printing fake wristbands and pretending to know upperclassmen to get into Phi Kappa Psi, but Zoom waiting rooms are a whole other beast. As Jackie Hoffman, a Stanford senior and Kappa Sigma’s unofficial waiting room bouncer explained, “Crowd control gets a lot harder when half of the people trying to get in set their Zoom names as ‘Jeff (I know Brad).’”
While skeptical Fizz users may contend that the sterility of Zoom can’t compare to the sticky floors at Sigma Nu, one can’t overlook the similarities between the two experiences. By the time we entered the main room, our ears were flooded with the sound of screen-shared electronic dance music and our eyes were entranced by the sight of hundreds of faces on one screen. Remarkably, we could practically feel the body heat and sweat emanating from the partygoers in the boxes below our own.
“Is that emo girl sporting cat ears and dancing in front of a blurred Zoom backdrop the same one who sits in the back of my math discussion section?” pondered sophomore Alec Kim, “or is she just a random student with a conveniently chosen Zoom filter?”
With the intense excitement and social connection of Zoom partying, it was hard to avoid fatigue, especially after hitting four reggae-themed parties back-to-back in one night. We somehow heard every remix of “Pepas” in existence and bounced along in quiet, fearful anticipation of that one guy who kept getting uncomfortably close to rapping the slurs in “Gold Digger.” Nevertheless, our conversations with students revealed the growingly popular opinion that it’s a lot more convenient to click on a Zoom link than it is to dress up and trek in platform heels at 11 p.m. to the Row.
“Who knows? Soon, we may find ourselves partying from the inviting comfort of our own beds,” junior Jessica Reyes pointed out excitedly, adding a disco filter to her screen.
After bouncing back and forth between Zoom meetings all night, we finally shut off our laptops and headed to bed. We may or may not have dreamt of the chiseled jawline of “Matt (I know James)” who had graced our screens around midnight. The next morning, our Instagram feeds were littered with blurred screenshots and screen recordings of the prior night’s hypest moments, each captioned with the only fitting way to close our investigation: “Yo, last night was a movie.”
Editor’s Note: This article is purely satirical and fictitious. All attributions in this article are not genuine and this story should be read in the context of pure entertainment only.