A Parents Guide to Greek Organizations

Parents and families are key partners in a student's commitment to higher education, and the Office of Student Activities and Greek Life values their interest in better understanding the organizations that their son or daughter chooses to join while in college.  The fraternity and sorority experience may be something completely new to the families of Gettysburg students, or something very different from an older family member's own experience.  We hope the information on our website helps to shed some light on the fraternity and sorority community at Gettysburg, but if there are any additional questions or concerns, feel free to e-mail greeklife@gettysburg.edu or call 717.337.6304 at any time.

 

WEBINAR REGISTRATION

The Office of Student Activities and Greek Life hosted webinars during the summer with information about the Panhellenic sorority recruitment and IFC fraternity recruitment processes.  Below, you will find links to the slide decks utilized during these two webinars.  We discussed the schedule of events, the details of the recruitment process, requirements to join, expectations of membership and housing commitments for fraternity members.  If you have additional questions, knowing that the audio portion of the webinar is not available, please feel free to contact our office.

Panhellenic Recruitment 101 Webinar

IFC Recruitment 101 Webinar


Additional information on organizations and comparison information can be found by clicking the the link.

 

INTRODUCTION

Perceptions of Fraternities and Sororities differ widely among parents and students. This information seeks to explain many of the areas of Greek Life specifically concerning parents. Social Fraternities and Sororities have enjoyed a long tradition at Gettysburg College.

  • Since 1852 social fraternities have thrived on this campus and were joined by sororities in 1904
  • Students at Gettysburg College cannot join a social fraternity or sorority until their sophomore year
  • Today, 47% of the eligible upper-class students are Greek

WHAT ARE FRATERNITIES & SORORITIES?

Although almost everyone has heard about what Fraternities and Sororities are as well as what they do, what are the actual reasons that they exist? Many stereotypes exist about Fraternities and Sororities but when one inquires into their fundamental intent, action, and purpose one will see a very different representation. 

  • Fraternities and Sororities are organizations made up of groups of students that have bonded together and agreed to live out the values espoused by their founders, their creed, and the national organization.
  • The Fraternities and Sororities are values based social organizations; meaning, that the organizations subscribe to a specific set of core values and beliefs that incorporate the concepts of brotherhood, service, tradition, scholarship, leadership and building relationships into their ideals and traditions.

FREQUENT TOPICS OF INTEREST FOR PARENTS

Financial Responsibility 

  • Greek letter organizations have been self-sufficient since their inception, and continue that tradition today.
  • Upon joining a Greek organization, your son or daughter will be billed both a candidate and initiation fee by the national organization.
  • These are one time only fees that will help cover the cost of the materials your son or daughter used during the pledging process (manuals, leadership retreats, etc.). Every semester thereafter, your student will be expected to financially commit to local dues assessed by the chapter, which cover annual educational programs, social activities, and insurance fees from the national organization.  Due to the financial burden of maintaining a chapter house, Fraternities have traditionally higher per semester dues. Generally, dues range from $250-$650 per semester.
  • For more information on the financial responsibilities in a specific organization, please encourage the interested student to ask about dues during the rush process.

New Member Education 

With the common stereotypes of Greek organizations predicated through examples such as "Animal House," many parents have concerns regarding the procedure of joining a Greek organization on campus.

  • The Greeks here at Gettysburg College are a progressive community that has taken a strong stance against any type of hazing.
  • Our new member education process will vary in length by organization, but is not permitted to last more than eight weeks.  During the new member education period the College conducts a core new member curriculum to help students understand key topics related to the Greek community.
  • Every fraternity and sorority must submit their schedule and plan for new member education by the beginning of the semester.  If there are concerns about the activities in which a new member is participating, please contact the Office of Greek Life or the Department of Public Safety. 
  • For more information on hazing in general, as well as the College policy, please feel free to refer to the Student Handbook website.  Any student that feels they are being hazed is encouraged to report the hazing to the authorities and College administration. If you, as a parent are made aware of any hazing that your student experienced while at the college, please report this to the Office of Student Activities and Greek Life.

Housing

  • Due to the fact that there are no sorority houses on campus, sorority membership is not a factor within the housing selection process. However, all eleven of the active Fraternities on campus do have chapter houses; most are owned by an Alumni Housing Corporation, and need occupants to cover expenses related to maintaining the property including regular maintenance and mortgage. 
  • Your son will be eligible to live in the house as early as spring semester of his sophomore year, provided that he has maintained a 2.7 GPA. Otherwise he will move into the fraternity house for his junior year.
  • Your son will more than likely be asked to live in the Fraternity house through his senior year. Please be aware that if your son chooses not to live in the Fraternity house, he will be assessed a non-residence fee every semester in order to offset the expenses of services that the house provides during brotherhood activities.  These non-residence fees generally range from $100-$650 per semester.
  • Please be aware that the individual fraternities Alumni Corporation, and not the college, determine both the housing and non-residence fee for non-College owned housing.  Billing for fraternity housing is done by the College's Financial Services Department as a support service for the fraternities. Housing fees paid to the College are forwarded to the Alumni Housing Corporation for each non-college owned fraternity's operations.

Academics 

The academic life of any student during his or her college years is of the utmost importance for someone looking to succeed during his or her career.  The Greek organizations of Gettysburg College understand this, and strive to provide their members with the best opportunities to succeed while being active in the organization.

  • Fraternities and Sororities include within their education program for new members, study sessions, as well as library hours.
  • Many organizations require a minimum GPA in order to live within the house, remain a member, and even higher GPA requirements to become an executive board member.
  • Each individual chapter has an elected scholarship chair that is responsible for keeping track of members and their academic performance. The scholarship chair helps not only those who are struggling, but also develops programs to assist the entire chapter in excelling academically.  The scholarship chair offers scholarships, awards, and programs for individual members and the chapter in order to realize the entire organizations academic success to its full potential.

Secrecy 

Although some parents who have knowledge about the system may not consider this aspect of Greek life to be of high concern, many of the stereotypes that exist around Greek life cause the issue of secret societies to be a concern for parents.  For those parents who have had no previous involvement or experience with Greek organizations, several aspects of the organizations' membership knowledge and traditions are unknown to the uninitiated. 

  • Fraternity and Sorority rituals and secrets exist not to separate members of the Greek community, but instead are designed to bring together common bonds and shared values.In no way are the ritual and secrets of fraternities and sororities designed to be an elitist dogma that seeks to separate people along the basis of membership in an organization.

Fraternities and Sororities at Gettysburg College offer great opportunities for students to experience leadership, scholarship, service, and life long friendships.