As a parent, you undoubtedly are concerned about your son’s or daughter’s experience at college and the choices he/she will make. This website is designed to answer some of the questions you may have about fraternity or sorority membership. For you son or daughter, making the transition from a high school or a community college to a university may seem like an imposing challenge. Perhaps these questions have arisen:
- Will I fit in and make new friends?
- Will I succeed academically?
- Will I be able to get involved in campus clubs and improve my leadership skills?
- Will I find other people who are interested in the same things I am?
- How can I best prepare for my career and my profession?
- Will I feel like a part of the campus community or will I be just another number?
About Fraternities and Sororities
Fraternities and Sororities exist as a proven support network for your son or daughter as he or she embarks on this new period in life. Close to a million students across the country currently are fraternity and sorority members. There are approximately 150 men in our 8 fraternities and 150 women in our six sororities. The fraternity and sorority can help personalize your son’s or daughter’s experience at college by offering a scholastic support system; by providing hands-on experience in leading committees, managing budgets, and interacting with faculty and administrators; by exposing the student to potential careers through educational program and discussions with alumni; by offering the chance to give back to the community through service projects; and by creating close friendships with men and women who will cheer him or her on when the times are tough. With all these opportunities available, it is no wonder that fraternity and sorority members tend to graduate from college at a significantly higher rate than those not involved in fraternities and sororities.
What are fraternities and sororities really like?
Nobody likes stereotypes. The best way to know a fraternity and sorority is to get to know its members. Fraternities and sororities are made up of a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate students, along with thousands of alumni brothers/sisters, each one of a unique individual. At the heart of every fraternity and sorority is a set of value-based principles dedicated to the development of character, leadership, scholarship, service, and lifelong friendship. The code of ethics for which many fraternities and sororities strive is represented as follows: A Statement of Fraternal Values and Ethics BASIC EXPECTATIONS – In an effort to lessen the disparity between fraternity ideals and the individual behavior and to personalize these ideals in the daily undergraduate experience, the following BASIC EXPECTATIONS of fraternity membership have been established:
- I I will know and understand the ideals expressed in my fraternity Ritual and will strive to incorporate them in my daily life.
- II I will strive for academic achievement and practice academic integrity.
- III I will respect the dignity of all persons; therefore, I will not physically, mentally, psychologically, or sexually abuse or haze any human being.
- IV I will protect the health and safety of all human beings.
- V I will respect my property and the property of others; therefore, I will neither abuse nor tolerate the abuse of property.
- VI I will meet my financial obligations in a timely manner.
- VII I will neither use nor support the use of illegal drugs or alcohol.
- VIII I acknowledge that a clean and attractive environment is essential to both physical and mental health; therefore, I will do all in my power to see that the chapter property is properly cleaned and maintained.
- IX I will challenge all my fraternity members to abide by these fraternal expectations and will confront those who violate them.
The Panhellenic Creed
We the undergraduate members of women’s fraternities, stand for good scholarship, for guarding of good health, for maintenance of fine standards, and for serving, to the best of our ability our college community. Cooperation for furthering fraternity life, in harmony with its best possibilities, is the ideal that shall guide our fraternity activities. We, the Fraternity Women of America, stand for service through the development of character inspired by close contact and deep friendship of individual fraternity and Panhellenic life. The opportunity for wide and wise human service, through mutual respect and helpfulness, is the tenet by which we strive to live.
What about alcohol and fraternities/sororities?
Alcohol abuse in unhealthy and inconsistent with fraternity and sorority ideals. All fraternities and sororities are expected to uphold state and city laws, university, fraternity/sorority, and IFC/NPHC/Panhellenic (the governing boards for fraternities and sororities) policies regarding consumption of alcohol. IN addition, fraternities and sororities are not allowed to purchase alcohol for members or guests. The days of open keg parties at Greek social functions are gone. Today’s fraternities and sororities strive to promote responsibility concerning the use of alcohol.
What impact could fraternity/sorority membership have on grades and GPA?
Students often find it difficult to manage their time when moving from the highly structured high school environment to the freedoms of college life. Fraternities and sororities assist in that transition by offering scholarship programs which may include study partners, mandatory study hours based on GPA, and time management workshops. Your son or daughter can access and network with members who already know how to use campus resources like the library, tutors, computer labs, study lounges, and academic advisors. While Greek organizations are concerned about members’ academic achievement and progress, your son or daughter is still ultimately responsible for utilizing the resources made available to students at Georgia Southwestern. In addition to your son or daughter’s academic progress, many fraternities and sororities carry minimum GPA’s in order to remain active or be a part of that particular Greek Organization.
What about pledging and hazing?
New Fraternity and sorority members all experience a period of orientation. During this time, your son or daughter and other new members will participate in weekly meetings to learn about the university and the fraternity/sorority history, leadership retreats, community service projects, and activities designed to build friendships among new members (pledges/associates/candidates) and the initiated members. ALL FRATERNITY AND SORORITY POLICIES FORBID HAZING, and are committed to membership education period which instills a sense of responsibility and commitment in the new members. This period will assist your son or daughter in overcoming some of their concerns about success in college.
Who is actually “in charge" of the fraternity and sorority?
Fraternity and sorority members are elected to officer positions and manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by members serving on committees and by alumni serving as advisors. All of our fraternities and sororities are also part of an (inter)national organization that offers support, advice, and direction through paid professional staff members and regional volunteers. Professional college staff is also employed to assist, educate, advise and monitor the activities of Greek organizations.
Doesn't it cost a lot of money to be in a fraternity or sorority?
Each fraternity and sorority is self-supported through dues charged to members. In the first year of membership, a few one-time expenses are assessed. After hose initial payments are made, your son’s or daughters only normal expenses will be the regular dues which can be as low as one dollar a day. A variety of payment plans are usually offered and should be explored. Where housing is offered, fraternity and sorority lodging is competitive with other housing options on and off campus.
Doesn't being in a fraternity or sorority take a lot of time?
Participating in any worthwhile activity always requires an investment of one’s time. Research has shown that involved college student are more likely to graduate, and they report greater satisfaction with their college experience. Through his or her Greek involvement, your son or daughter will learn how to balance academics, work, campus involvement, and social commitments. Most GSW Greeks also work at least part time (around 20 hours a week)
How does my son or daughter go about joining a fraternity or sorority?
Fraternities and sororities utilize a process commonly referred to as “rush”, “recruitment” or “intake” in order to meet prospective members. Recruitment/intake offers non-affiliated students an opportunity to meet a number of other people on campus and to learn what each group has to offer. “Rushees” (as prospective members are often called) are encouraged to ask questions and secure answers to each question from several members. Just like researching, visiting, and choosing a college, your son or daughter should seek out the fraternity/sorority that best fits his/her personality, needs, and desires. Rushees will find what they want if they keep and open mind and have the grade point average (GPA) required. Each group has different GPA standards, so check with each individual group for its requirements.
What is my role as a parent?
Be supportive and learn as much as you can by asking your son or daughter questions before the rush. Many groups will provide written statements concerning activities, finances, and policies; your son or daughter should be encouraged to obtain and read this information. In addition, allow you son or daughter to make his/her own choice (especially if you yourself were Greek). You support should not end after rush but continue throughout your son’s or daughter’s years in school.