Fraternities and sororities were founded on, and continue to operate on a common set of values. The purpose of sorority and fraternity life at Western Michigan University is to cultivate a community of excellence with a particular focus on the area of academic achievement, leadership development, community engagement, and lifelong membership.
Why do people join fraternities or sororities?
Joining a sorority or fraternity is a lifelong commitment that can be one of the most important decisions a man or woman will ever make.
Friendships: Meet many new people and create lifelong friendships
Giving back to the community
Provides students a “home away from home,” and connects students to the university more than many other involvement opportunities.
What are the differences between the Fraternity and Sorority Councils/Chapters?
Every Fraternity and Sorority organization has its own unique values, expectations of members and mission.
Fraternities and Sororities in IFC, CPC, NPHC, and MGC are all Registered Student Organizations.
The purpose of the Interfraternity Council is to ensure cooperation among member fraternities, promote academic success among member chapters, to enforce policies for the betterment of the fraternity/sorority community, and to foster a relationship between member chapters and the greater WMU community.
The purpose of the College Panhellenic Council is to serve as the governing body for eight National Panhellenic Conference member organizations here at WMU. They stand for good scholarship, for guarding good health, for maintenance of fine standards, and for serving the college community. They 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, through mutual respect and helpfulness, is the tenet by which they strive to live.
The purpose of the National Pan-Hellenic Council is to promote interaction through forums, meetings and other mediums for the exchange of information, and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions.
The purpose of the Multicultural Greek Council is to provide representative leadership for the selected sororities and fraternities on the campus of WMU. The MGC has a unique responsibility to develop community service activities, enrich and promote the principles of each member’s organization. The MGC shall participate in events that promote and enrich the cultural climate of WMU and its surrounding communities.
What percentage of WMU students belong to a fraternity/sorority?
Approximately 6.4% of students belong to a fraternity or sorority. There are 7 Panhellenic Council sororities, 11 Interfraternity Council fraternities, 9 National Pan-Hellenic Council fraternities and sororities, and 4 Multicultural Greek Council fraternities and sororities.
NPHC and the Multicultural Greek Council recruitment is called membership intake. The period of membership intake varies from chapter to chapter, but generally does not exceed 10 weeks. While each organization sets its own schedule and requirements for membership intake, candidates must typically have a 2.5 or better GPA, hold at least 12 credit hours, and have an extensive appreciation and history of volunteerism.
How do I determine which organization is best for me?
All fraternities and sororities share the values of scholarship, leadership, service, and brotherhood or sisterhood. Additionally, each organization is founded on its own select values and each organization has its own advantages. As you attend the various recruitment or intake events, make sure to ask the questions that are important to you. The most important thing is to make sure you make the decision on your own. Try not to be influenced by your roommate, best friend, rumors, or the other people going through recruitment/intake. This decision is completely yours to make.
How much does it cost to be a member in a fraternity or sorority?
Joining a sorority/fraternity does carry a financial commitment. Each chapter has different financial expectations and several have substantial scholarships available. You will find out more information from each individual chapter. Greek organizations are quite affordable, and fees go to services that will positively impact you. Often living in a sorority/fraternity chapter house is cheaper than living in a residence hall.
How time consuming is joining a fraternity or sorority?
Education comes first! Sororities and fraternities are always willing to work around a member’s school and work schedules. The time commitment varies from chapter to chapter, but the first semester is usually the most time intensive as the new member goes through the chapter’s education program. After that, each chapter has weekly chapter meetings and other mandatory events (philanthropies, initiation, etc.) throughout the year, but they are planned well in advance. In addition to the weekly meeting, the more you put into the chapter, the more you will get out of being a member. Although sorority women and men are very involved in the community, each chapter is very understanding of the busy schedules of each member outside the chapter.
Is fraternity/sorority life really like the images portrayed in the media?
No. In reality, those images of fraternity/sorority life could not be further from the truth. Although an individual’s actions are entirely up to him or her, national organizations hold their members accountable for their actions using their founding principles and values as guides in their activities.
Do fraternity and sororities participate in community service?
Through local and national philanthropies, fraternities and sororities promote the value of giving back. Many have local charities and national charities they fundraise and volunteer for.
Fraternities and Sororities at WMU did over 17,200 hours of community service in the past year.
I’m concerned about grades- what impact would membership have?
Academics are a priority in the Greek Community.
Some chapters have grade point average requirements.
Study programs are put in place in individual chapters to encourage the members and help them achieve academic excellence.
Greek advisors check the grades of the organization’s members periodically to assess how they are doing academically and to offer support and resources when needed.
What are the housing options?
Some chapters have chapter houses, while others do not. You can learn more about housing options for sororities and fraternities through recruitment or intake.
Will I be able to participate in other student organizations if I join a fraternity/sorority organization?
Yes! Joining a fraternity/sorority organization does not mean that a member cannot participate in or join another student organization on campus, in fact, being a quality fraternity/sorority member means that you ARE involved in other student organizations. We have many members of the Greek system involved in outside organizations on campus, holding jobs, and volunteering on their own time.
How will joining a fraternity or sorority benefit me after college?
Joining a fraternity or sorority is a lifetime commitment with lifetime benefits. Following graduation, members can find alumni groups from their organization all over the nation. These alumni groups offer the continuation of the friendship and experiences of Greek life.
Will sorority/fraternity life help me find a job?
Membership teaches students skills needed throughout life:
Personal and peer responsibility
Social and communication skills
Appreciation for history and learning
Sorority/fraternity membership provides networking opportunities both during college and after. Chapters provide opportunities for networking through alumni events and opportunities. As you prepares for entry level full-time employment, alumni members can assist in job placement and career readiness through their knowledge and connections.
What opportunities will I have to develop my leadership skills?
Sorority and fraternity life will give you the opportunity to be involved both in your chapter and on campus. Members are encouraged to take an active role within the chapter, which includes such things as working on committees, holding executive office positions, and holding chair/assistant positions. There are also national conferences Greek members can attend, as well as serving on their council boards. Greek members are also very involved in other student organizations where they can develop their leadership skills.
If I join a Greek organization, will I be expected to drink?
No! Sorority and Fraternity members do not drink and party any more than non-Greek college students.
Underage drinking and high-risk alcohol use do not align with the values of the sororities and fraternities at WMU. All chapters have risk management policies they follow to regulate social events and to promote a healthy and orderly social environment. Additionally, chapters educate new members on their alcohol policies and other related issues.
There are many women and men within the sorority and fraternity life community who do not drink at all, and that choice is completed respected by their sisters and brothers.
Sorority and fraternity members spend their time just like their independent peers: at school, studying, at work, in campus activities or RSOs, and at sorority/fraternity functions.
Am I allowed to have friends that aren’t Greek?
Of course! Most sorority and fraternity members have tons of friends that aren’t Greek.
Since sorority and fraternity members are very involved in other RSOs on campus, they have many opportunities to make friends that aren’t Greek and their brothers and sisters fully support it.
Who runs the sororities and fraternities?
The sororities and fraternities are self-governing with support from local, regional, and national headquarters. The individual chapters elect officers to manage day-to-day operations of the organization. They also receive support from the Fraternity and Sorority Life office in Student Activities and Leadership Programs, as well as support from their respective councils (IFC, CPC, NPHC, MGC).
Is there hazing in the fraternities and sororities?
Western Michigan University, The Student Activities and Leadership Programs Office, and The Sorority and Fraternity Life Staff have zero tolerance for hazing.
The RSO handbook states no RSO shall conduct hazing activities. As per the WMU Student Code, Article IV, B. 10, hazing is defined as any act which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a person, embarrasses, frightens, or degrades a person or which destroys or removes public/private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership, in a group, organization or team. The expressed or implied consent of the alleged person against whom the actions have been taken will not be a defense. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts-they are violation of this rule. In addition, according to the state of Michigan’s “Garret’s Law,” senate bill #783, hazing may result in criminal prosecution resulting in fines and imprisonment.
If/when hazing allegations are brought forth; the responsible parties will be dealt with in a fast, firm and fair manner.
What kind of questions should I ask current members of a fraternity or sorority?
Why should I join your sorority or fraternity?
What does the new member process/intake look like? What types of events will I participate in during my new member/intake term?
What is the time commitment?
Does the chapter do community service/ have philanthropy events? How often?
How will membership affect my academics? What academic support do you provide?
Does the fraternity or sorority have a chapter house? Do you require members to live in the chapter house? If so, how long?
What are the costs of membership?
What are your values and how does your chapter promote them?
Why did you join your chapter?
What benefits can your chapter offer me now and after I graduate?
What leadership opportunities are available?
Are there scholarships available for new members and/or active members?
What other activities are people in your chapter involved in on campus?
What is your relationship like with the Fraternity and Sorority Life Staff in the Student Activities and Leadership Programs office?
What alumni connections does your chapter have?
Student Activities and Leadership Programs, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo MI 49008 USA | (269) 387-2115