MS–090: The Interfraternity Council and Pan-Hellenic Council

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MS – 090: The Interfraternity Council and Pan-Hellenic Council

(10 boxes, 2.7 cubic feet)

Inclusive Dates: 1935-1988

Processed by: David Hadley

Summer 2007

Link to Full Finding Aid - PDF

Agency History

 The Interfraternity Council and Pan-Hellenic Council were formed to help coordinate the activities between Greek organizations, to establish some uniform practices and expectations for the recruitment of members, and to promote the positive features of the Greek system to other campus constituencies, specifically the trustees, the faculty and the college administration. From the mid to late 1930s through the 1970s, the period covered primarily in this collection, the Greek system played a significant role in the social life of the campus and inevitably had great influence over the student political and social environment at the College.  During this period, roughly two-thirds of the students were fraternity or sorority members.

The Interfraternity Council was formed initially, according to Professor Glatfelter’s A Salutary Influence, in 1916 to ease the growing tensions between fraternities. It gradually faded in importance during WWI, and was reorganized in a limited capacity in the 1920s. In 1935, alumni representatives of the ten national fraternities, including several faculty members, organized the Interfraternity Alumni Conference to assist fraternities with some existing problems regarding rush activity, chapter finances and the relationship between the fraternities and the college administration and faculty.  After World War II, the IFC had to deal with increased disapproval of fraternity activities from the faculty. In the 1950s, the Gettysburg College IFC chapter received several awards of recognition from the National Interfraternity Conference as ranking first among the IFCs in the nation’s small colleges. Initially, the Interfraternity Council included representatives from nine fraternities, and by the 1984-1985 school year, the number had increased to twelve: Alpha Chi Rho, Alpha Tau Omega, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Gamma Delta, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Sigma Kappa, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Sigma Nu, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and Theta Chi.

The Pan-Hellenic Council was formed soon after sororities were reactivated in 1935 and grew in membership and importance as the number of women students increased on the campus. The Council functioned in ways similar to those of the Interfraternity Council, dealing mainly with the establishment of rush procedures to be followed by all of the sororities. The Pan-Hellenic Council served as a judicial board to adjudicate disputes between sororities most often centered on real or perceived violations of the rush procedures. Initially, it contained representatives from only two sororities, but by the late 1970s would eventually grow to establish procedures for and coordinate activities for seven sororities: Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Xi Delta, Chi Omega, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Sigma Kappa, and Sigma Sigma Sigma.    

Scope and Content     

The collection consists of correspondence, official minutes and other organizational details reviewing the activities of the Interfraternity Council and Pan-Hellenic Council, the two student coordinating bodies for the fraternities and sororities at Gettysburg College.  While the material covers IFC and Pan-Hellenic activity from the mid 1930s to the mid 1980s, the most complete section is from the 1940s to 1960s.  The Interfraternity Alumni Conference and National Interfraternity Council also have records in the collection, especially as these organizations related to the student IFC.  There is a great deal of information on the annual weekend get-together of various fraternity chapters at Gettysburg hosted by the IFC. Several studies and essays by the organizations are included, highlighting problems facing the fraternities and sororities, such as declining popularity, bad image, and discrimination policies that sparked debates between the national organizations and their college chapters. Researchers interested in day-to-day affairs of Greek organizations would find much here, as well as a look at the change in Greek life over the five decades covered by the material.

Series Description

The Collection is divided into five series, one series for each of the four organizations represented in the records with an additional series containing statistics compiled pertaining to the individual fraternities and sororities which make up the organizations.

Series I consists of the correspondence, minutes and other records of the Interfraternity Council from the late 1930s to the mid 1980s, with intermittent breaks in between. One of the main focuses is on the yearly conference which was held at Gettysburg every March, with materials consisting of pamphlets, programs, newspaper articles, and the correspondence related to the planning of the event.

Series II consists of records of the Interfraternity Alumni Conference, also known as the Alumni Interfraternity Conference, which as the name implies consisted of Alumni who sought to advise or otherwise aid the fraternity system at Gettysburg.

Series III consists of the records of the National Interfraternity Conference, with correspondence between the Gettysburg IFC and the National IFC Executive Committee and materials on the October meeting of the National group.

Series IV consists of the records of the Pan-Hellenic Council, with minutes, rush materials, Pan-Hellenic publications, and material relating to discrimination practices between the national sorority organization and individual chapters.

Series V is a collection of statistics regarding membership and academic ratings of sororities and the fraternities at Gettysburg College. 

Link to Full Finding Aid - PDF