One of the important decisions many college student have to make is whether they’re going to join a fraternity or a sorority. When mentioning the term “Greek life”, many people will conjure up images of the movie Animal House. And though this image is understandable, the reality is quite different.
The first fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa, was formed at the College of William & Mary in 1776, and the first sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, organized in 1870. Today, many other Greek letter organizations exist on most campuses in the U.S. and Canada. The first organization established at Johns Hopkins University was in 1877.
Participation in fraternity and sorority life reaps immediate benefits and some advantages that can last a lifetime. When you join a fraternity or sorority, the benefits are numerous and shouldn’t be ignored when considering becoming a potential new member.
The reasons you may want to join a fraternity or sorority are common among all organizations, although some may play a more important role than others from group to group. These include:
- Companionship and lifelong friendships. The common bond of membership forms a brotherhood of students with shared interests and goals and usually leads to very close friendships that often last a lifetime. Fellowship with people of differing backgrounds and experiences is an important part of fraternity and sorority life.
- Social opportunities. Fraternity and sorority members are expected to help plan and take part in different types of activities ranging from dances and parties to charitable events. Members can expect to have many opportunities to have fun, help fellow students and support their community. A member should never lack for something to do.
- Academic achievement. Academics are usually a major focus of fraternal organizations and members have access to tutoring help and valuable advice from upperclassmen in the group. Studies have shown that members of fraternal organizations have a significantly higher rate of graduation.
- Opportunities for leadership. Those who join the fraternity and sorority community can learn important leadership skills by participating in chapter governance and organizing activities.
- Access to housing. Housing can often be expensive and hard to find on a college campus. Not all chapters offer this but when it’s available chapter house living can be more comfortable and affordable than dorms or apartments.
If you join a fraternity or sorority, expect additional responsibilities. In some cases, members are expected to take part in chapter activities, pay their dues and possibly maintain a high GPA. While these are added responsibilities, most find the rewards of joining a fraternity or sorority well worth it.
The process for joining a fraternity or sorority differs among organizations but generally involves a recruitment period early in either the fall or spring semesters, usually known as “Rush Week”, and then an invitation to join is extended to certain candidates. A probationary membership period follows, upon completion of which a pledge is offered with full initiation into the group.
Registering for Recruitment
If you are interested in joining a fraternity or sorority, you must first register for recruitment. Please click on the button below to register online and see any upcoming dates for recruitment.