Fraternity and Sorority Life Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Fraternity and Sorority Life?
Fraternity & Sorority Life is a community of individual, single-sex, Greek-letter organizations. Membership in Drexel's fraternity/sorority community can be one of the most rewarding experiences a student can have, helping them to form a bond and be a part of a community while bettering themselves.

Are fraternities and sororities like what I see on TV and in movies?
Every fraternity and sorority is different and unique. Fraternities and sororities are not as they are depicted on TV, just as relationships and weddings are not as they are on TV. The best way to find out what fraternities and/or sororities are like is to go to a fraternity or sorority event to see for yourself.

What are the benefits of joining a sorority or fraternity?
Drexel University is a large campus, and joining a chapter allows you to become part of a close, tight-knit support group within the larger campus. By being part of the fraternity and sorority community at Drexel, you have a chance to create bonds with people who have similar values and goals, while also finding leadership opportunities throughout the campus and the Philadelphia community. Members say that they have met some of their best friends and created some of their favorite memories while being a part of their chapter. Additional benefits include greater involvement in community service and educational programs as well as leadership opportunities through positions and committees.

If it's so great, why isn't everyone in Greek life? Why would someone not join a fraternity or sorority? 
At the end of the day, joining a fraternity or sorority is about finding your fit. Not everyone is going to feel a connection to our fraternities and sororities and that is okay. We encourage everyone to explore the fraternity and sorority community and make the best decision for you.

Why are there some things fraternity and sorority members can't talk about? What's the big secret?
Initiation into a fraternity or sorority is an exciting, yet serious, ceremony that conveys the purposes and special values of the respective fraternity or sorority. These ceremonies often are referred to as Rituals. Fraternities and sororities pride themselves on the Rituals that their chapters were founded upon. These Rituals are full of the traditions and values that make the chapters unique. An organization's Ritual is what links its members to one another. It is a shared experience no matter when or where a member joined. It is important to note that none of these Rituals include hazing or other inappropriate activities.

Why are fraternities and sororities referred to as "Greek" organizations?
The names of fraternities and sororities generally consist of two or three Greek letters, often the initials of a Greek motto, which may be secret.

What is the normal size of a chapter?
Chapters can range in size from one member to over 100. Average chapter size for Interfraternity Council fraternities is about 70, but can range from 10 to 140 or more. Multicultural fraternities and sororities range in size from one member to approximately 35. Panhellenic sororities, or sororities for those of Greek origin or ancestry, have specific limits in place related to the amount of members they can have. These sororities currently average around 105 members.

Why are some groups called a sorority and others a women's fraternity?
The words fraternity and sorority are used interchangeably for women's Greek-letter groups. Fraternity is derived from the Greek word "phrater," meaning brother, sister, or clan. "Soror," the source word for sorority, is Latin and means sister. The word sorority did not come into usage until the late 1800s, and groups founded prior to then are officially incorporated as women's fraternities. Today the term sorority is used to distinguish women's groups from men's groups.

What's the difference between a local Greek organization and a national Greek organization?
Fraternities and sororities that are defined as "national" or "international" in nature are groups that have many chapters all over the country or world, a central headquarters to their organization, and a common, shared set of values between all chapters of the organization. Fraternities and sororities that are "local" in nature, such as Alpha Pi Lambda (the only local organization at Drexel), do not have multiple chapters around the country. They are the only chapter of their organization and you will not find other chapters of it anywhere else in the world. Many organizations at Drexel started as local organizations that chose to affiliate with national organizations later on. Both local and national/international organizations have different things to offer their members related to networking and programming.
How do I join a fraternity or sorority? 
Joining a fraternity or sorority is a mutual selection process. For fraternities and multicultural groups it is best for you to visit several chapters in order to find the best fit. After multiple visits the chapter may choose to offer a bid. With the Panhellenic sororities, women have the opportunity to visit every chapter during formal recruitment in the fall and through open recruitment in other terms if they have open spots. After several visits to each chapter, women will have the opportunity to select their top choices, and they will then be matched up through the mutual selection process.

Where can I find out more?

For more information in general about fraternities and sororities, contact the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life. For information on a specific chapter, visit their local or national website or contact their chapter president.

When can I join a fraternity or sorority? 
Once you have started classes, you are welcome to join a fraternity or sorority at any time. Most groups typically accept new members in the fall and either the winter or spring terms. The Interfraternity and Multicultural Greek Councils allow chapters to determine when they will take new members. However, Panhellenic sororities can only conduct recruitment in the fall during the formal recruitment process. If after that time, the sorority has open spots, they are welcome to recruit during any term. If you are enrolled in co-op or classes during any term, including summer, you may join during that term.

What are the requirements for joining a fraternity or sorority at Drexel?
Most chapters require that potential members have a minimum GPA of a 2.5 and that they are full-time matriculated students; however, some group's standards may be higher. Each chapter has its own standards of membership regarding academics and it is important that you ask each one what they are.

What is sorority formal recruitment? What should I expect?
Panhellenic formal recruitment, also sometimes referred to as rush, is the formal process by which Panhellenic sororities invite new members into their chapter. At Drexel it is held during the fall term, and you must register online before the recruitment process. Formal recruitment is held over four days in which you attend various "parties" at each of the Panhellenic sororities. A party may last anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour depending on the day, and gives you a chance to learn a little about the chapter and meet some of the women in each. The maximum number of parties you attend depends on which round of recruitment it is. There are three rounds and potential members will be guided by recruitment counselors in small groups to each of the sororities. Through a mutual selection process, potential new members narrow down their top selections, as the sororities do the same, and they are matched through an online system. The first two rounds are business casual but the third round (referred to as preference) is more serious as it is the time for each chapter to show you what their chapter really means to them. They may tell uplifting stories about their chapter. The final day, bid day, is when you will find out which sorority you were matched with. After the revealing, new members join their chapters for a day of fun activities.

If I go through recruitment am I guaranteed an invitation to join a fraternity or sorority?
No, just as you are trying to figure out which organization you fit best with, chapters are determining which men or women would be the best fit for their organization. Many times this is based on specific criteria such as grades or involvement in campus activities or community service. The best thing you can do is maximize your options by attending as many sorority/fraternity events as possible to allow the chapter members to get to know you on a deeper level. Additionally, if you are not asked to join a chapter, you may try again during another recruitment period and are welcome to ask what you could improve to be a better candidate in the future.

Do I need letters of reference to go through sorority recruitment?
No, letters of reference or recommendations are not required to participate in Panhellenic sorority recruitment, although alumni sorority members often offer to write letters for friends and family members, which can serve as a personal introduction. The letters are designed to give the sorority added personal information, but do not serve as an advantage when participating in recruitment. If friends, employers, or family members offer to write you a letter, please have them mail it to the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life; all letters will be passed on to the sorority recruitment chair. Again, you do not need to have letters to participate in recruitment nor are they expected. Letters are required as part of the application process for the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC/Divine 9/historically African-American) sororities. These should be brought to the sorority formal rush event as instructed.

A family member is a member of a fraternity/sorority that is on Drexel's campus; what do I do? I am a legacy, do I have to join that organization? Am I guaranteed an invitation from that chapter?
It is important to share any legacy information with the group when you are meeting with them or in the application when signing up for sorority recruitment. Each organization has its own legacy policy that defines what constitutes a legacy for their organization as well as how the organization may select for membership. In most cases, being a legacy does not guarantee that you will receive an invitation to join that chapter. Regardless of your connection to a group, we encourage you to explore all the options available to you.

How do I find the right chapter for me?
The best way to decide if a chapter is a good fit is to meet current members and ask questions. Fraternity and sorority information sessions and recruitment events are perfect opportunities to learn more information about each fraternity and sorority to decide if its values are in line with your own.

My parents do not like the idea of fraternities and sororities, what can I tell them?
One of the greatest arguments for joining a fraternity or sorority is that it satisfies the fundamental need to belong. Joining a fraternity or sorority will help to connect you to a group of peers with similar values. Feeling connected will make you more satisfied with your college experience and therefore more likely to succeed and graduate. The Fraternity and Sorority Life website, the chapter advisor, and/or Fraternity and Sorority Life staff are great resources to help address the concerns of your parents.

Do I have to go to all recruitment events? What if I have class, and I need to miss a recruitment event?
The best way to find your fit is to attend as many recruitment events as possible. This positions you to make the most informed decision possible. However, it is up to you which informal events you choose to attend. You should never skip class to attend a recruitment event. Your education is most important. It may be a good idea to reach out to the organization to let them know you are interested in attending the event but have class. This will not only show them you are interested but that you also value your academics. During Panhellenic Formal Recruitment, you are required to attend all recruitment events as part of the formal recruitment process. However, if you have class please follow the guidelines shared after registration about reporting an absence to the appropriate person. If you miss the round and do not inform accurately, you will be removed from the process.

If I attend a recruitment event, do I have to join?
No, many students choose to go through recruitment to meet people and make new friends. Recruitment is the opportunity for you to visit the organizations, get a glimpse of fraternity and sorority life, and assess whether or not you would like to be a part of the Drexel fraternity and sorority experience.

What is a bid?
A bid is a formal invitation to join a fraternity or sorority.

What if I turn down a bid I receive?
You are within your rights to not accept an invitation to join any groups. Fraternities and sororities are looking for members who want to be actively involved in their organization. They'd much rather you decline the membership invitation than join and not contribute. In some cases, specifically within the Panhellenic Formal Recruitment process, this can limit your ability to join another group for a period of time. For specific information regarding accepting bids, please contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life staff.

Can I join if I am an athlete?
Yes, athletic teams and fraternities and sororities share many of the same values, so it is no surprise that the fraternity or sorority experience is appealing to athletes. The Drexel fraternity and sorority community has a number of varsity and club athletes among its members. If you are concerned about time management, share your concerns with the fraternity/sorority leadership and your coach. They should be happy to work with you to develop a plan for successfully managing both responsibilities.

Can I join a chapter if I am a graduate student?
Each fraternity and sorority has its own unique policy regarding graduate student membership. It is best to ask the organization directly. However, you are not immediately excluded from the fraternity/sorority experience as a graduate student. If you are looking specifically for an organization open to graduate students, please reach out to the Fraternity and Sorority Life staff.

Can I join a chapter if I am a part-time or online student?
Most chapters require that potential members are full-time matriculated students; however, some groups may have different policies. Each chapter has its own standards of membership and it is important that you ask each one what they are. If you are looking specifically for an organization open to online or part-time students, please reach out to the Fraternity and Sorority Life staff.

Can I join while I am on co-op?
Yes. Most fraternity and sorority meetings and events take place in the late afternoon and evening hours, outside of normal business hours. General members and chapter officers regularly balance their co-op and fraternity/sorority responsibilities. If you have a concern about how your co-op may affect your involvement, speak with the chapter leadership about your concerns. They should work with you to develop a plan for successfully managing both responsibilities.

I'm a member of a Greek-letter honor society or service organization, can I join a fraternity/sorority too? 
Social fraternities and sororities should not be confused with the many academic, service, and honor societies that operate on campus. Both share Greek letters in their name and have some other similarities, but each serves a different function. It is possible for a student to be a member of a social fraternity/sorority and an academic or honor society.

What should I talk about at the recruitment events? 
It is important for you to be yourself during recruitment, and let the conversation flow naturally. The organizations are presenting themselves to you just as you are presenting yourself to them. Asking questions is encouraged. Remember, everyone likes to talk to someone who is friendly, and who has comments to make and questions to ask. Please refer to the resources found on the Recruitment page for more advice.

What if I am not interested in any of the groups currently on campus but still want to join Greek life? 
The fraternity and sorority community at Drexel is continually growing. If you have checked out all of the organizations on campus, feel free to contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life to find out about any new groups coming to campus or to discuss bringing a new fraternity/sorority to Drexel. Please know that the process of bringing a new chapter may take a while and is quite involved. Additionally, the University has minimum requirements in place for any new groups.

What if I joined a fraternity/sorority at another campus and transferred to Drexel?
If you joined an organization that is currently recognized at Drexel, connect with the leadership of that chapter as each organization has different policies about transfer members. If your organization is not at Drexel, unfortunately you are not able to join another group. However, please contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life to let us know you are here so you can be invited to come out to any fraternity/sorority event that is open to the campus, such as the Greek Week talent show, speakers, and Night on the Row.

What if I am interested in or asked to join a group that is not listed on the fraternity and sorority life website? 
Drexel students may only join fraternities and sororities recognized by the University and listed on the Fraternity and Sorority Life site. Students and organizations representing themselves as Drexel fraternities and sororities without official University recognition may face disciplinary action through the Student Conduct Process.

Can I join a chapter at another campus if Drexel does not have one?
No, Drexel students may only join fraternities and sororities recognized by the University and listed on the Fraternity and Sorority Life site. There are a number of organizations in the Multicultural Greek Council who have recognized city-wide chapters where students at a number of Philadelphia-area campuses may join the organization. Please contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life to determine if the group you would like to join is recognized by the University as a city-wide organization.

What is new member/intake/pledging?
In most chapters, after accepting a bid (sometimes referred to as an invitation to join), one will enter a period of time referred to as pledging, new member education, associate member education, or intake. This is a period of orientation under the guidance of the initiated members. This is an unforgettable time filled with special events and retreats. It's the time when you learn about the organization and begin to see the great network that connects all fraternity and sorority members together. You should be sure to take the time to ask about each chapter's education of associate/new members while going through the recruitment process.

What's a fraternity/sorority initiation like? Why is it so significant for members?

Initiation into a fraternity or sorority is an exciting, yet serious, ceremony that conveys the purposes and special values of the respective fraternity or sorority. These ceremonies often are referred to as Rituals. Fraternities and sororities pride themselves on the Rituals that their organizations were founded upon. They are full of the traditions and values that make the chapters unique. They are special because they are what binds every member of a particular fraternity/sorority to one another no matter when or where they joined. However, these Rituals should not be confused with hazing and other inappropriate activities.

Will I be hazed?
Drexel University, the three Councils, and all chapters have a zero-tolerance policy with regard to hazing. No member is allowed to take part in any form of hazing as a new or current member of his or her chapter. Hazing also is against the state law of Pennsylvania.

Who do I speak with if I think I or others are being hazed?
Students who feel they are being subjected to hazing are urged to speak up immediately and notify the Fraternity and Sorority Life Office or Public Safety. If you have witnessed or have knowledge of a possible hazing incident in the Drexel community, please contact any of the following: 

What if I join and it's not the right fit? Can I leave?
New members may decide to leave an organization at any point prior to initiation and still be eligible to join another group on campus. While members may also choose to disaffiliate after initiation, at this point they would be unable to join another fraternity or sorority. It is important to use the recruitment period to get to know about the groups so you are certain about your decision and your fit in the group.

What are the responsibilities/expectations for membership in a fraternity/sorority?
Expectations and requirements are different for each organization, and you should ask about these during recruitment. Typically, fraternities and sororities have expectations/requirements related to the following: GPA/grades, dues, attendance at chapter meetings, involvement in community service, involvement in chapter education and events, and general personal conduct.

How active do I have to be?
Your level of involvement in your fraternity/sorority depends on the requirements of the chapter and your interest in differing experiences. Be sure to ask about requirements during recruitment but be aware your experience in a fraternity/sorority is up to you. You can be as involved as you want to be. Once a member, you will find that participating in fraternity/sorority events and getting to know your brothers/sisters is something you will really enjoy.

Is there a cost to join a fraternity? How much does it cost to join a fraternity or sorority?

There are fees related to joining a fraternity/sorority. However, a common misconception is that being a part of a fraternity or sorority is financially burdensome and unaffordable. There are membership dues that you will be responsible for paying each term that will vary depending on what organization you choose to join, but the upside is that there are several opportunities to receive scholarships within the community. National organizations, councils, and individual chapters offer scholarships. Additionally, many chapters offer payment plan options. If you choose to live in a chapter house, dues and living expenses may turn out to be lower than the cost of living in the residence halls depending on the organization. It is important to note that for many organizations, the first term of membership may be the most expensive as most groups require new members to pay one-time fees related to initiation and the purchase of a chapter badge. Be sure to ask questions about dues during the recruitment process.

What do the dues pay for?
Dues can cover any number of things and will differ from chapter to chapter. Feel free to ask the chapter treasurer what your dues are covering. This information is usually shared annually as part of the budget approval process as well. However, they typically go to pay for local/national insurance coverage, fees to the national organization for administration and programming, chapter operations, and programming. Sometimes dues may also include extras such as t-shirts and fraternity/sorority items. Dues do not pay for alcohol of any kind; alcohol may not be purchased through chapter funds.

What about when I am on co-op or study abroad? Do I stay active and pay dues?
Many fraternity and sorority members are even more active in their chapters during co-op, depending on its location. Some chapters offer discounted dues or special statuses for members studying abroad or on co-op on a case by case basis.
If I join a sorority or fraternity, can I also get involved in other areas on campus?
Fraternities, sororities, and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life encourage members to get involved. In fact, members of fraternities and sororities hold key student leadership positions in Student Government, Black Student Union, WISE, VOICE, the yearbook, and other student organizations. Additionally, members serve as Resident Assistants, Orientation Leaders, and Leadership Assistants. Fraternity and sorority members also assist the University with many major events including orientation, Welcome Back Week, and open houses. Additionally, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life has a program for new members called Greek FIRE: First-year Initiates Reaching Excellence. The program encourages the newest members of the community to get more involved in fraternity and sorority life and the campus as a whole while developing themselves holistically.

What do fraternity and sorority members actually do? 
Fraternity and sorority members are active in hands-on community service, academic and professional development programs, philanthropic fundraising, cultural education, and leadership experiences.

What leadership opportunities does Greek life provide?

The Drexel fraternity and sorority community provides numerous opportunities to take on leadership roles within the chapter and outside of it. Multiple skills such as time management and interpersonal communication are all strengthened by leadership positions.

What networking opportunities are there within Greek life?
Networking is a great benefit of fraternities and sororities. There are numerous opportunities to meet many different kinds of people, both in the community and professionals outside it. Alumni events held by the chapters are an excellent way to connect with older members who may be in the same field you are studying or who can connect you with a friend who is. Drexel encourages fraternity and sorority members to connect with everyone in the community, not just their own chapter members. This provides an extended alumni database and an increased number of networking opportunities.

Are fraternities and sororities primarily social in nature?

Drexel encourages members of the fraternity and sorority community to be very outgoing and to establish relationships with members of other chapters as well as those outside of the fraternity and sorority community. Social events include educational programs/workshops, community service events, intramural sports, Greek Week, and dinners in addition to social gatherings and formals. While the term social may conjure images of "Animal House" or "Old School," the image is largely outdated and inaccurate. Although a social aspect is part of the fraternities and sororities, they place a heavy focus on other types of programming including academics, community service, and leadership.

Will Greek membership affect my grades?
Joining a fraternity or sorority is a time commitment, but one of the core values of fraternities and sororities is academic excellence. Each chapter sets standards for academic expectations. If members do not meet their requirements, there are several resources available for students to receive assistance. Often chapters organize incentives and awards for the most improved GPAs or the best GPAs. Mandatory study hours and competitions are also very common.

Will I lose touch with friends who choose not to join?
Fraternity and sorority life is an opportunity to build relationships in addition to those that have already been established. Involvement in a fraternity or sorority does allow plenty of time to focus on academics, join other clubs and organizations, and socialize with friends who are not in the same chapter or who are not involved in the community. Drexel encourages fraternity and sorority members to maintain a well-rounded experience through interaction with both Greeks and non-Greeks.
Is there Greek housing? Who owns it?
Yes; Drexel University owns all of its fraternity and sorority houses, and they are located on 34th Street and Powelton Avenue.

Do all fraternities and sororities have chapter houses? 
No, not all organizations have chapter houses. Most Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council organizations do have housing. None of the Multicultural Greek Council organizations currently have housing. View a listing of all housed organizations.

If they don't have houses, where do they meet?
Chapters without houses typically meet in on-campus spaces reserved through event services.

When can I move into the fraternity/sorority house?
Students in their sophomore year and beyond may live in these facilities as spots are available. For most chapter facilities, application and payments are done through University housing.

How much does it cost to live in a fraternity house? 
The rates for fraternity and sorority housing are set annually by the Drexel University Board of Trustees and can be viewed on the University Housing website.

Will I be required to live in fraternity/sorority housing if I join?
Housing requirements are set by the individual chapters in order to fill their facility to capacity. Be sure to ask chapters about housing requirements during the recruitment process.
What are the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. (NPHC), the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), and other acronyms? 
These umbrella organizations provide oversight to the individual fraternities and sororities and their chapters, similar to what the NCAA does with varsity sports. They advocate for their member organizations at a national level and create standards that their member organizations must uphold.

Who is in charge of fraternity and sorority life at Drexel?
The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, as a part of the Division of Student Life, oversees Drexel's fraternities and sororities. The office has a Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life as well as an Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, both of whom are full-time, master's-level professional staff, as well as an administrative coordinator.

Who is in charge of each organization?
In addition to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, each organization also has a faculty/staff advisor and alumni advisor who oversee the chapter. Some chapters also have their own chapter advisory board of alumni/volunteers who assist and advise them. Each of the nationally affiliated organizations has a network of national volunteers and/or paid national staff who oversee the chapters. Many have Leadership Consultant staff who travel to their chapters at least once per year.

Is there a lot of alcohol and substance abuse associated with fraternities?
Although the common stereotype is that fraternities and sororities enable binge drinking and reckless behavior, Drexel chapters work hard to dispel such stereotypes. Fraternities and sororities are required to follow very strict and detailed risk management policies, which are established by both their respective national organizations and governing councils. In addition, the sororities at Drexel University do not permit alcohol at any time on their properties. The fraternity and sorority community at Drexel University focuses on educating men and women on the dangers of binge drinking and of drug and alcohol abuse, and actually must follow stricter policies related to alcohol than the general student body and other student organizations.

What if I do not drink?
The decision to drink or not is a very personal one, which most fraternities and sororities will respect. Fraternities and sororities are involved in so many activities and programs that do not involve alcohol that you are sure to have a great time as a member. Additionally, some organizations may actually prefer members who do not drink underage or at all, as it reduces risk and concerns for their leadership. Be sure to ask each chapter about their memberships' view of alcohol and about the social events they participate in during the recruitment process.

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