Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions by parents of students who are interested in becoming a part of a Greek Organization at Gettysburg College. If you would like more information, or have a question not included below, please feel free to contact the Office of Student Activities & Greek Life.
What are the benefits of joining a fraternity or sorority?
Will joining a fraternity or sorority adversely affect a student's grades?
How much time is required to be a member of a chapter?
Are fraternities and sororities expensive?
What about hazing?
Aren't fraternities/sororities primarily social in nature?
What about the stories I see on the evening news about fraternities and sororities around the country?
Beginning college is one of the major life changes that an individual will experience. Joining a fraternity or sorority chapter can help make the transition easier. The fraternity or sorority experience is multifaceted and offers numerous opportunities. Forming friendships with the members in their chapter often helps make the campus seem smaller to students. For many members, these chapters become homes away from home, and the friendships developed become life-long.
In addition to friendship and brotherhood/sisterhood, every chapter is dedicated to enhancing leadership development, promoting academic achievement, and providing service to the campus community. Students have described "being Greek" as one of the most complete involvement opportunities due to the variety and range of chapter programming. In addition, the vast majority of Greeks participate in other campus organizations, peer mentoring programs, sport teams, and other areas of campus life.
Crucial to any type of campus involvement is a primary commitment to academics and successfully developing solid time management skills. It is up to the student to determine the level of involvement that they want to have in the organization as well as what kind of experience it will be for them, both as an undergraduate and during their lifetime membership.
Students often find managing their time difficult when moving from the highly structured high school environment to the freedom of college. Greek membership can assist in that transition by offering scholarship programs that may include study partners, mandatory study hours, and time management workshops. A student can also access the network of chapter members who already know how to use campus resources like the Musselman Library, Writing Center, computer labs, and academic advisors. Nothing, however, can take the place of a disciplined and academically-focused student to ensure success in college.
The time commitment varies from chapter to chapter, but the first semester is time intensive as the students participate in the chapter's New Member Education Program. The time spent in this program should provide an opportunity to develop leadership and time management skills, learn about the history of the organization, and develop friendships among the new member class, as well as the rest of the chapter. Generally the program includes a weekly meetings, time spent with other members, and scheduled study hours for coursework.
Each chapter has weekly chapter meetings and other mandatory events (philanthropic, service, initiation) throughout the year that are generally planned in advance in order to promote reasonable time management. As with any organization, the time commitment increases as a student assumes leadership responsibilities.
Joining a fraternity or sorority does involve a financial commitment. Generally, the most expensive semester of membership is the first, during which a one-time initiation fee is paid to the national organization and the membership badge is purchased.
Many Greeks at Gettysburg cover the cost of chapter dues through no more than two weeks of pay earned during the summer. Contrary to common stereotypes, many chapter members work during the academic year and are financing portions of their tuition and/or housing expenses. Some organizations offer payment plans in order to help spread the cost over several smaller payments. Many fraternities require their members to live in the chapter house for at least one year. Fraternities also assess an out-of-house fee for members who do not live within the chapter house. This money is collected by the college for the Alumni/Housing corporations, and is used to pay for various costs associated with owning a residence and is often re-invested in the brotherhood through scholarships and leadership development programs.
Current information on the associated costs of living in the fraternity houses can be found on our organizational statistics page.
Gettysburg College has a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing for all student organizations. Hazing, or any activity that subjects members to harassment, ridicule, intimidation, physical abuse, or sleep deprivation is entirely contrary to the values and purposes of Greek life. Fraternity and sorority members are educated on the dangers by both College staff and officers of the national organizations. If you ever feel that an individual is participating in any inappropriate activities, in a fraternity or sorority or any other student organization, please contact either the Dean of Students Office or the Office of Student Activities & Greek Life immediately. Reports may also be filed online through the Community Concern Form. To read Gettysburg's complete policy on hazing, click on the link to the left.
There is a social aspect to the Greek community but these "social" events include education programs/workshops, community service events, intramural sports, Family Weekend brunches, Homecoming, and dinners in addition to social gatherings and formals. While the term "social" may conjure images of "Animal House" or "School Days," the image is largely outdated.
Nobody likes stereotypes, and over the years, Greek women and men have been caricatured, lampooned, and portrayed in an unflattering manner by movies and television. This is not to say that members of the Greek community have not committed heinous offenses against their peers; they have. Yet, when the number of students committing these acts is viewed in the context of the American Fraternal system, they represent less than one-one-hundredth of one percent of the total membership. The media does not play up the positive values of Greek groups because they do not perceive these values to have "entertainment value," but those ideals are very characteristic of Greek life. Sororities and fraternities at Gettysburg College, with the support of the Office of Student Activities & Greek Life, are committed to member education programs which instill commitment and pride in the organization, as opposed to the fear and negativity often associated with hazing and alcohol abuse.