A Parent's Guide to Fraternities and Sororities
As your son or daughter prepares to attend Appalachian State University, they have many options to become involved in campus life. Becoming a part of our fraternity and sorority community is one of them! The Office of Campus Activities wants to make sure you, as their parent, know the benefits of joining a fraternity or sorority.
What will my student get out of fraternity/sorority membership that they would not get out of any other college organization?
Coming to college is one of the major life changes that your son/daughter will go through. Joining a fraternity or sorority will help make the transition easier. Developing life-long friendships with the members in their chapter helps make the campus smaller. For many members, fraternities/sororities become a home away from home. In addition to the brother/sisterhood, every chapter is dedicated to enhancing leadership, scholarship, philanthropy/service, and financial responsibility in their members.
How will joining a chapter now benefit my student after college?
The lifelong friendships your student will make through their chapter will last into post-college years. Fraternity and sorority members have inter/national networks for members to use for careers and job re-locations. Membership in an organization can be a life-long experience that the member and the fraternity and sorority enjoy together. Joining as soon as possible is really an investment in your students's future. Wherever a member ends up after college, chances are he/she will be able to find an alumni chapter or other members of their fraternity or sorority in the area.
Will my student's academics be compromised if they join a Greek chapter?
Academics are a top priority in the fraternity/sorority community. When students join a Greek-letter organization they become part of a larger group of students who value their academic goals at Appalachian. This group understands what the new member is facing and can provide support in many areas. Each chapter on campus has a scholarship officer who initiates programs within the chapter to encourage high academic achievement. There are various resources for members on campus, such as, the Career Center, time management workshops, Academic Counselors, etc.
All chapters have academic requirements to join and maintain membership. These values and guidelines have helped keep fraternity and sorority members on par with their non-Greek counterparts at AppState. In fact, in several recent semesters the All-Greek, All-Fraternity and All-Sorority GPA has been at or above the all-campus average. Please visit the Grade Reports page on this website for chapter by chapter academic rankings.
What is a Philanthropy or Service Project?
Fraternity/sorority members take it as part of their mission to support their inter/national philanthropies (non-for-profit causes) financially and physically. Throughout the year, each the chapter spends time fundraising and volunteering to help their particular philanthropy. Some of the philanthropies that can be found on Appalachian's campus are Ronald McDonald House, Special Olympics, Alzheimer's Research and Literacy.
Service events have benefited the campus community as well as assisting the Boone community. Many chapters ask their members to be a part of serving the community in various ways. Some of the service opportunities include Adopt-A-Street and Habitat for Humanity. The time spent together on philanthropic and service events is one of the many times that fraternity brothers and sorority sisters have the opportunity to bond, while making a difference in a community member's life.
How much time is involved for members of fraternities/sororities?
The time commitment varies from chapter to chapter but the first semester is most time intensive as the new member goes through the chapter's Education Program. The time spent in this program will give your student the opportunity to develop their leadership and time management skills, learn about the history of the organization, develop friendships with their new member class, as well as the rest of the chapter, and allow them to become involved with other organizations.
After the initiation ceremony, expectations will vary. Each chapter has weekly chapter meetings and other mandatory events (philanthropic, service, programs, etc.) throughout the year, but they are planned well in advance. In addition to the weekly meeting, the more your student puts in to the chapter the more they will get out of being a member!
What does it cost to be a member?
The fraternity/sorority experience is an investment in your student's future. The leadership skills, academic assistance, and friendships will benefit your student beyond their college days. The perception that fraternities and sororities are only an option for rich students is widespread and false. Fraternities and sororities are quite affordable and fees go to services that will positively impact your student. Many students work to supplement funding for their dues. Members dues directly support the betterment of the chapter and the national organization. To assist members, chapters may offer various scholarships and grants.
Are fraternities/sororities primarily social in nature?
There is a social aspect to the fraternity/sorority community but these social events include education programs/workshops, community service events, intramural sports, Parents Days, Homecoming Activities and dinner exchanges in addition to "parties" or socials. Today's fraternity and sorority communities, including Appalachian's, have adopted a stringent approach to socializing, thereby creating a safer, more beneficial environment for members.
Is there an alcohol policy?
The National Panhellenic Conference (the umbrella organization for the 26 national sororities) does not allow alcohol in chapter houses, and the Appalachian Panhellenic Residence Hall is alcohol free. At Appalachian there is a set of rules in place during each sorority and fraternity registered function to regulate who can consume alcohol (+21) and how much and what kind of alcohol can be present (no kegs, no drinking games). Each chapter also has an inter/national alcohol policy in which there are yearly educational programs that the chapter is required to present to its members.
What about hazing?
The North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) prohibit all forms of hazing. A holistic definition of hazing is in University's Code of Polices and Regulations applying to all students. The Office of Campus Activities and respective Councils investigates all allegations.
What is the difference between "recognized" and "unrecognized" Fraternities and Sororities?
Fraternities and Sororities that are recognized by the University are in good standing with the University and are closely monitored, advised, and supported by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and the Office of Campus Activities. Recognized organizations are able to participate in a wide range of activities such as Greek Week, Formal Recruitment, Greek Leadership Summit, etc., and have many campus resources available to them including campus facilities. Recognized organizations maintain their good standing through a Standards of Excellence program that assists organizations in maintaining high standards in scholarship, service, leadership, and risk management. Recognized chapters work diligently each semester on their Standards of Excellence packet and are awarded each year at the Greek Awards. The 27 recognized organizations at Appalachian State University are also held accountable through a Greek Judicial Board made up of trained peers who help educate and uphold social and risk management policies.
Unrecognized organizations are no longer associated with the University. They have been removed for failure to uphold standards, social misconduct, and/or hazing. The unrecognized Fraternity or Sorority no longer receives support or advisement from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Unrecognized organizations are not able to utilize campus resources or facilities, they are unable to participate in Greek Life programs, nor are they able to work with the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Unrecognized Fraternities and Sororities are not allowed to have social functions with any of the recognized Fraternities and Sororities. Their recruitment and new member activities are not monitored, nor are their social events. Unrecognized Fraternities and Sororities are not held accountable to the campus Fraternity and Sorority Life policies or regulations. Most organizations that have their recognition removed by the University also have their National recognition removed.
The following Fraternities are currently unrecognized on campus:
- Pi Kappa Alpha - Suspended in 2011 and officially lost recognition indefinitely in 2013 due to hazing and social misconduct.
- Sigma Phi Epsilon (also known as the "Xi Society") - Removed in 2010 due to social misconduct and hazing.
What is my role as a parent?
Take the time to find out more about the fraternity/sorority community at Appalachian. Ask questions about what the organizations will offer your student and allow them to make the best decision for themselves. Identify unrecognized organizations and communicate with your student about the benefits of joining a recognized organization vs. the risks of joining an unrecognized organization (see above). If your student joins an organization take advantage of the numerous opportunities for involvement including Parent's weekend activities and other chapter sponsored parent activities.
How does my son/daughter get involved?
Your student will receive information about Recruitment/Intake via e-mail. At Summer Orientation there will be a Co-Curricular Session on fraternity and sorority life for the students. The Fall semester will start off with several Greek-related events and information sessions prior to formal recruitment. Recruitment and Membership Intake are mutual selection processes with the hope that there is a place for everyone.
Where can I go to learn more?
Contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life in the Office of Campus Activities (828) 262-6252 with questions or concerns. You may also visit the Office of Campus Activities website for further information.