Chapter Resources and FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Do fraternities and sororities have to register with the Office of Student Involvement like other organizations?

Each fall fraternity and sorority chapters, as well as governing councils, must register with the Office of Student Leadership and Involvement. Registering is mandatory for all student organizations wishing to receive resources and services from the Homewood Student Affairs Division of Student Life and other campus departments. Only registered student organizations are afforded privileges such as reserving rooms in campus buildings, reserving space on campus (such as the Breezeway and tables in Levering Plaza), and recruiting new members on campus. The registration period is typically from the first day of classes to the last day of September, and is completed online. You will need contact information for your President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer, and Faculty/Chapter Advisor to complete the process.

How does my fraternity/sorority reserve space on campus?

There are several different folks you need to communicate with depending on what room/space you would like to reserve.

For rooms in Levering Hall, Charles Commons, and the Mattin Center or outdoor space, please use the university’s event scheduling platform. If you have any questions, please contact Pat Forster in the Department of Student Leadership and Involvement at pataf@jhu.edu. She will need to know what room(s) you want, what date you want, how many people you expect, and how you want the room set up. Any A/V requests be reserved online through classrooms.johnshopkins.edu and must be made at least three days in advance.

For classroom space after 6 pm and on weekends, email schedule@jhu.eduwith your contact information, your group’s name, and the building, room, and time (start and end) of your meeting.

For the AMR-Multipurpose Room, you must contact the Office of Residential Life at 410-516-8283. The AMR-MPR may only be reserved within two weeks in advance of the requested date.

For Hodson Hall, please use the university’s event scheduling platform.

For the Smokler Center, call 410-516-0333. The Smokler Center has space available for any student group to use for meetings or events. Capacities range from 12 to 200 and A/V services are available.

To have a table in Cafe Q in MSE, visit the library’s website for more information.

How do I get money for my chapter’s program/event?

There are several sources of funding available to fraternities and sororities on campus. The governing councils of both the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council budget moneys for requests from chapters. Simply put your request in writing with all the normal “who, what, when, and whys” of your events and certainly do not forget the “how much.” Give your request to an executive officer of the council(s) so they may present the request to the chapters. It is helpful if your chapter is asking for a specific item (i.e. food, supplies, music, etc) so that the council may pay the vendor directly.

Chapters that co-sponsor a program/event with a group may also apply for funding from the Homewood Student Affairs Collaboration Committee. Application instructions may be found here.

How does my chapter obtain a Tax ID number and why do we need it?

Your chapter, and any non-profit organizations, may apply online for a Federal Tax ID Number here. What you are actually applying for is an Employer Identification Number (EIN) since a fraternity or sorority is a nonprofit organization.

Your chapter will need a Federal Tax ID number if you request funding or reimbursement from any Johns Hopkins University entity. All JHU check requisitions require the organization’s Federal Tax ID number.

Where may my chapter receive mail, UPS, and/or Fed Ex? Where are the fraternity and sorority mailboxes?

Each chapter has a mailbox already in the Mattin Center. They are located in the Student Involvement Center commonly referred to as “the place with the blue couches” to the immediate right when you enter the building. Chapters should use this format to have mail sent to their Mattin Center Box:

Alpha Beta Gamma Fraternity
3339 N. Charles Street.
Wolman Hall 143
Baltimore, Maryland 21218

UPS, FedEx, and US Postal Service packages too big to fit in your mailbox will be held in Wolman Hall 143 until you pick them up. See the front office staff to get your package.

Is there a fax machine or copier my chapter may use for fraternity/sorority business?

Recognized student organizations, of course including fraternities and sororities, may use the fax machine at the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Wolman Hall, Suite 143. A copier is available in the Student Involvement Center for all student organizations to use. Ask Student Involvement staff how to purchase a copy card.

My chapter’s website stinks. How do I establish a new one or get help with an old one?

One of the benefits of being a recognized student organization is the ability to host your website with JHU. To gain a student group website, the student maintaining the website should send an email to webhosting@jhu.edu with the following information: student name, group name, contact phone number (passwords will not be given out over email), faculty/advisor contact (if none, list Jason Heiserman). Also contact webhosting@jhu.edu if you have lost the passwords to edit your site.

Once you have your site established, students may utilize the Digital Media Center for help in designing websites or take classes on how to develop web resources for their chapter.

Glossary

Here are some of the most commonly-used terms among the fraternity and sorority community:

Active – A member who has been initiated into lifelong fraternity or sorority membership and is active at the collegiate level.

Alumni/Alumnae Initiated fraternity (alumni) and sorority (alumnae) members who have graduated from college.

Badge – The pin of an initiated member indicating membership in the fraternity or sorority.

Bid – A formal invitation to join a particular fraternity or sorority.

Big Brother or Big Sister – An active member of a fraternity or sorority who serves as a mentor to a new member, guiding them through their new member program and initiation.

Brother – A term used by fraternity members to refer to one another.

Chapter – A local group of a larger national or international organization, designated by a specific Greek name.

Chapter Advisor – An alumnus/alumnae of a fraternity or sorority who establishes and maintains a close advisory relationship with a chapter and assists members and officers in all areas of chapter operations.

Charter – The document issued from a headquarters to a chapter that indicates the group is a full-fledged member of the national or international organization.

Colony – A group of students seeking a charter from a national or international fraternity or sorority.

Depledge – To terminate one’s fraternity or sorority membership before initiation.

Disaffiliate – When a member temporarily removes his or her association from his or her chapter, usually during formal recruitment time.

Formal Membership Recruitment (NPC) The process of mutual selection between potential new members and the NPC chapters.

Fraternity – The name that applies to all Greek letter organizations characterized by a ritual, pin/badge, and strong ties to friendship and moral principles. Informally, women’s fraternities are called sororities.

Greek – Any member of a Greek-letter social or community service organization (fraternity or sorority).

Hazing – Any action taken or situation created, intentionally, whether on or off fraternity premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule (taken from the Fraternity Executives Association statements of position).

Headquarters – The central international or national organization of a particular fraternity or sorority.

Initiation – The formal ceremony endorsed by the fraternity or sorority headquarters that marks the beginning of active membership. Each chapter has a different set of requirements in order to be initiated.

Inter-Fraternity Council – The governing body of eleven fraternities recognized at Johns Hopkins. Known as the IFC, it sets policy for its member organizations, facilitates and promotes the recruitment process, co-sponsors service and social events, and holds member organizations accountable to established bylaws and the Undergraduate Student Handbook and Student Code.

Initiated Member/Initiate Any member, alumnus or undergraduate, who has completed the new member/pledge process and has participated through the initiation ceremony.

Intake – The process of NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic Council) chapters engage in to recruit, interview, and choose new members.

Legacy – The brother or sister, son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter of a fraternity or sorority member. Each local chapter has its own policy regarding offering membership to legacies; being a legacy does not mean automatic membership into a particular chapter.

NALFO – National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations; the national umbrella organization for Latino/Latina Greek organizations.

NIC – North American Interfraternity Conference

NPC – National Panhellenic Conference; the umbrella organization of 26 inter/national women’s fraternities and sororities.

NPHCNational Pan-Hellenic Council, “The Divine Nine”; an national association of African-American Greek-letter organizations composed of four sororities and five fraternities. NPHC councils are organized at the campus, city, and regional levels.

New Member – A member of a fraternity or sorority who has not been initiated. Some organizations refer to new members as pledges.

New Member Program – The process, endorsed or prescribed by the fraternity or sorority headquarters, to teach the history, ideals, and values of fraternity and sorority life. The length of time of each chapter’s new member program may vary.

Panhellenic – Meaning “all Greek,” it is the governing council for the five NPC sororities at Johns Hopkins; it is the collegiate counterpart of NPC.

Philanthropy – A charitable fundraising event sponsored by a fraternity or sorority. It also refers to the charitable organization of choice of a chapter; sometimes officially named by the inter/national organization.

Potential New Member – A college woman who is participating in, or is eligible to participate in, Panhellenic Formal Membership Recruitment.

Recommendation – A personal letter of reference provided by an alumnus of a fraternity or sorority to the local chapter. Letters of recommendation do not guarantee an invitation to join from any fraternity or sorority.

Rho Gamma (Recruitment Guide) – A NPC woman who agrees to disaffiliate herself from her sorority to assist Potential New Members navigate the Formal Membership Recruitment process. These women are charged with providing impartial assistance to PNMs in making choices about selecting membership in NPC organizations.

Ritual – Secret ceremonies performed by fraternity and sorority chapters, and prescribed and endorsed by their headquarters, that are an outward depiction of the fraternity’s or sorority’s stated values, aims, and principles.

Signing – A hand gesture used by NPHC and most multicultural fraternity and sorority members to signify their membership in the organization.

Sister – A term used by sorority members to refer to one another.

Unaffiliated A term used to describe student that are not members of a campus fraternity or sorority.