As a parent, you undoubtedly are concerned about your student's experience at college and the choices he or she may make. Hopefully this page can answer some of your questions.
For your student, making the transition from high school or community college to a university may seem like an imposing challenge. Perhaps these questions have arisen:
- Will I fit in and make new friends?
- Will I succeed academically?
- Will I be able to get involved in campus clubs and improve my leadership skills?
- Will I find other people who are interested in the same things as I am?
- How can I best prepare for my career and profession?
- Will I feel like a part of the campus community or will I be just another number?
About Sororities and Fraternities...
Sororities and fraternities exist as a proven support network for your student as he or she embarks on this new period in life. Close to one million students across the country currently are fraternity or sorority members. There are currently over 600 women and men in EWU's sororities and fraternities, which consists of 25 fraternal organizations.
Please note: While there is a Sigma Nu fraternity chapter in the Cheney area, it is not an approved and recognized fraternity by Eastern Washington University. Only officially recognized fraternity and sorority chapters may participate in university programs, including (but not limited to) Eagle Family Homecoming, Greek Week, recruitment, and socials.
A sorority or fraternity can help personalize your student's experience at college by:
- offering a scholastic support system
- providing hands-on leadership experience in leading work groups, managing budgets and interacting with other students, faculty and university administrators
- exposing students to potential career tracks through educational programming and alumni discussions
- offering the chance to give back to the community through philanthropy and community service projects
- creating close friendships with men and women who will cheer them on when times are tough
With all these opportunities available, it is no wonder that fraternity and sorority members tend to graduate from college at a higher rate than those not involved in Sorority & Fraternity Life.
What are Sororities and Fraternities really like?
Nobody likes stereotypes. The best way to know a fraternity or sorority is to know its members. Fraternal organizations are made up of a wide variety of undergraduate students, along with thousands of alumni brothers and sisters, each one a unique individual.
Statements of Fraternal Values and Ethics
Basic Expectations of a Fraternity Member
- I will know and understand the ideals expressed in my fraternity ritual and will strive to incorporate them in my daily life.
- I will strive for academic achievement and practice academic integrity.
- I will respect the dignity of all persons; therefore, I will not physically, mentally, psychologically or sexually abuse or haze any human being.
- I will protect the health and safety of all human beings.
- I will respect my property and the property of others; therefore, I will neither abuse nor tolerate the abuse of property.
- I will meet my financial obligations in a timely manner.
- I will neither use nor support the use of illegal drugs or alcohol.
- I acknowledge that a clean and attractive environment is essential to both physical and mental health; therefore, I will do all in my power to see that the chapter property is properly cleaned and maintained.
- I will challenge all my fraternity members to abide by these fraternal expectations and will confront those who violate them.
The Panhellenic Creed
We, the undergraduate members of women's fraternities, stand for good scholarship, for guarding of good health, for maintenance of fine standards and for serving, to the best of our ability, our college community. Cooperation for furthering fraternity life, in harmony with its best possibilities, is the ideal that shall guide our fraternity activities.
We, the fraternity women of America, stand for service through the development of character inspired by the close contact and deep friendship of individual fraternity and Panhellenic life. The opportunity for wide and wise human service is the tenet by which we strive to live.
What about alcohol and Sorority & Fraternity organizations?
Alcohol abuse is unhealthy and inconsistent with sorority and fraternity ideals. All sororities and fraternities are expected to uphold state and city laws, University, fraternity/sorority, and IFC/PHC/DGC/NPHC (the EWU governing boards for fraternities and sororities) policies regarding consumption of alcohol. In addition, fraternities are not allowed to purchase or provide alcohol for members or guests at social functions, while sororities do not allow alcohol, or functions with alcohol, in their chapter houses. The days of open keg parties at "Greek" social functions are gone. Today's sororities and fraternities strive to promote responsibility concerning alcohol.
The University has an agreement with all EWU sororities and fraternities to uphold certain standards. Anyone can view the status of each sorority's and fraternity's academics, conduct and developmental programming status by going to Fraternity & Sorority Recognition Status.
What about pledging or hazing?
New sorority and fraternity members all experience a period of orientation. During this time, your student and other new members will participate in weekly meetings to learn about the University and the sorority/fraternity history, leadership retreats, community service projects and activities designed to build friendships among new members (pledges/associate members/candidates) and the initiated members. ALL SORORITY AND FRATERNITY POLICIES STRICTLY FORBID HAZING and are committed to a membership education period which instills a sense of responsibility and commitment in the new members. This period will assist your student in overcoming some of his or her concerns about success in college.
Doesn't it cost a lot of money to be in a sorority or fraternity?
Each Sorority & Fraternity organization is self-supporting through dues charged to members. In the first year of membership, a few one-time expenses may be assessed. After those initial payments are made, your student's only expense will be the regular monthly or quarterly dues. Costs associated to membership in a Sorority & Fraternity organization usually amount to 2% to 3% of the total cost for an undergraduate education. Where housing is offered, it is competitive and many times cheaper than other housing options, both on and off campus.
Doesn't being in a Sorority & Fraternity organization take up a lot of time?
Participating in any worthwhile activity always requires an investment of one's time. Research has shown that involved college students are more likely to graduate and they report greater satisfaction with their college experience. Through Sorority & Fraternity involvement, your student will learn how to balance academics, work, campus involvement and social commitments.
How does my student go about joining a Sorority & Fraternity organization?
Traditionally, students, parents, and the public think of "Rush" when they think about joining a sorority or fraternity. Only four of our nine sorority chapters and six of our ten fraternities participate in Fall Formal Recruitment (previously known as Rush). The four sororities are classified as Panhellenic sororities and the six fraternities are classified as IFC fraternities. Fall Formal Recruitment begins around the first week of school, but that is not the only time you can join a sorority or fraternity.
If a Panhellenic sorority does not reach the maximum amount of women they can have in their sorority, then they continue recruiting throughout the academic year. However, the NPHC & DGC sororities and fraternities, as well as our local chapters, have informational sessions throughout the academic year.
The NPHC & DGC chapters like to conduct a semi-structured process in professional/business attire. At these sessions, students are able to ask questions specifically about the chapter. Students that choose to attend these meetings should research the chapter ahead of time before arriving to the informational session. There is no application form for these types of recruitment events, so just be on the look out for announcements posted on campus.
Interested non-affiliated students are commonly referred to as Potential New Members (PNM's) or Aspirants. Recruitment and Informational Sessions provide an opportunity for PNM's or Aspirants to meet a number of other people on campus and to learn what each group has to offer. PNM's or Aspirants are encouraged to ask questions and secure answers to each question from several members. Just like researching, visiting and choosing a college, your student should seek out the Sorority or Fraternity organization that best fits her or his personality, needs and desires.
What is my role as a parent?
Be supportive and learn as much as you can by asking your student questions before rush. Many groups will provide written statements concerning activities, finances and policies. Your student should be encouraged to obtain and read this information. In addition, allow students to make their own choices (especially if you were "Greek" yourself). Your support should not end after recruitment or informational sessions, but should continue throughout your student's years in school.