Facts about Sororities and Fraternities

Things you Should Know Before your Join a Sorority or Fraternity

sorority sisters

One of the fun things that many students look forward to when they go to college is joining a sorority or a fraternity.  Many envision the parties and the drinking, but Sororities and Fraternities are much more than just good parties. Sororities and Fraternities have been around for centuries, providing great sisterhood and brotherhood bonds across the country.  Unfortunately, many of them have a bad reputation due to the amount of partying that they engage in while on campus. However, most sororities and fraternities do great deeds for the community by volunteering at various community service events, and some also raise funds to award scholarships to their members.

Read below to find out a few other facts about Sororities and Fraternities:

  1. Sororities and Fraternities are part of a long-held social system on university campuses known as "the Greek System".
  2. Fraternities and Sororities are not all bad (despite what many people say). Fraternities and Sororities are excellent networking groups for later life, give college students a second "family", and are very philanthropic giving hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours and millions of dollars to worthy causes every year.
  3. Sororities are generally for females, and Fraternities are generally for males - some "sororities" are actually "female fraternities" as defined by their charter. The difference is negligible today although in the past there were differences.
  4. Sexism is sometimes rampant in the Greek System; the unofficial attitude that many (not all) fraternities take toward women is notoriously misogynistic and is demonstrated in some of the practices of the groups (from taking pledges to strip clubs to "tagging" female guests at parties to label them as available or off limits to other members) - there are even cases of institutional sexism, some schools have banned Sorority houses as "bawdy house" since all the residents are female and live under an organized title.
  5. Hazing in the early 1980s and 1990s gave Fraternities and Sororities a bad name, currently most major Fraternities and Sororities have an active anti-hazing policy in place with penalties ranging from expulsion of individual members to absolute discharge of an entire chapter.
  6. Drugs and alcohol are technically banned in all Fraternity and Sorority sponsored functions - but the "Keg Party" is still synonymous with Fraternities on many campuses.
  7. You have to "Rush" or in order to get a chance to get into both Fraternities and Sororities; next, you must pledge, be accepted and finally initiated.  The initiation process varies for each sorority and fraternity, however it usually involves some historic rituals that are meaningful that that particular sorority or fraternity.
  8. A "Legacy" is somebody who is "automatically" accepted into a sorority or fraternity because a family member such as; mother, father, brother or sister, was a member first – but not all Fraternities and Sororities still honor the legacy system.
  9. Some Fraternities and Sororities are still elitist, although some newer, "left of center" Greek Organizations are shaking up the centuries-old foundation of snobbery and selectivity (namely, openly gay Fraternities and Sororities).
  10. No matter what their reputation, Fraternities and Sororities are here to stay and can be a wonderful part of your university experience, the trick is finding the one that best suits you and your personality.

If you are thinking about joining a Sorority or Fraternity, the best thing to do is to start volunteering with them when they have community service activities.  Spend some time with the current members to see if you share common values with them.  You may also want to attend the sorority or fraternity’s interest meeting to find out all of the details regarding the rush and initiation process.  Some sororities and fraternities require members to pay an initiation fee, which can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, so it’s a good idea to ask about the initiation fee when you visit with the members. You will also want to ask about the members’ time requirements and duties after they join.  Additionally, be sure to ask about how long the membership is valid for, if you have to maintain a certain GPA to remain an active member, and does your membership transfer with you if you switch schools. 

Good luck!