Learning that your son or daughter is considering joining a Greek organization can present several questions for parents, especially those who didn't join a fraternity or sorority while in college.
How will my student benefit from joining a fraternity or sorority?
Fraternities and sororities are rooted in founding principles that foster academic achievement, student involvement, community service, and life-long friendships. Advantages include:
- A support group to help ease the adjustment to college.
- Scholastic resources to help student achieve their academic goals.
- Leadership skills acquired through hands-on experience.
- Encouragement to get involved, stay involved and maximize their potential on campus.
- Opportunities for active participation in community service projects.
Furthermore, National studies conducted annually consistently indicate that students who choose to join Greek-letter organizations experience many positive benefits, including the following:
- Greek students are more likely to stay in college than non-Greek students.
- College graduates who belong to a sorority or fraternity tend to be more financially successful than other college graduates.
- Greek alumni give both more money and more frequently to their alma maters than non-Greek alumni.
- Greek students are more active on campus and in community activities. Upon graduation, these members are also more likely to get involved in volunteer and charitable organizations.
How will joining a Greek organization affect my student's academic pursuits?
Historically, Greek-letter organizations were founded on the principles of academic success and camaraderie. Today is no different. Our members realize that academic achievement is the main priority of ASU students. Greek-letter organizations continue to strive for academic excellence and promote scholarship by providing academic resources for their members including tutoring, academic advisors, study groups, scholarships, and awards. Chapter members know the importance of helping new students to adjust to University academics. Many chapters have a rewards system based on GPA. Prospective members must meet a minimum GPA in order to be initiated and then must maintain a minimum GPA to remain an active member. In fact, Greek members GPA(s) are traditionally higher than their non-Greek colleagues.
What are the social aspects of fraternity and sorority membership?
Because the Greek community at Astate contributes to the social activity on campus, the University, Office of Greek Life, council executives, and national organization have worked toward the creation of a responsible and safe environment for its members. All fraternities and sororities have strict social event policies and are held accountable to the Arkansas State University Code of Conduct and laws of the State of Arkansas.
What is the financial obligation?
Like some opportunities for involvement in college there is a financial commitment associated with a joining a fraternity or sorority. The costs go toward the Inter/National fees, chapter operating expenses, and social functions. Financial obligations differ among individual chapters, as well as living in or out of a chapter house. New members can expect to pay higher dues their first semester than in subsequent ones. While your son or daughter is participating in the recruitment process, make sure that he or she asks about the financial obligations of membership.
Is hazing a part of the Greek culture at Astate?
Arkansas State University has a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing. ASU defines hazing as, "any mental or physical requirement, request, or obligation placed upon any person that could intentionally or unintentionally cause discomfort, pain, fright, disgrace, injury or which is personally degrading for the purpose of initiation into, admission into, affiliation with, or as condition of continued membership in, a group or organization. A person's expressed or implied consent to hazing does not negate the standards above." Hazing is not tolerated. If you sense your student may be participating in inappropriate activities as a result of membership in a fraternity or sorority, you should contact the Office of Greek Life. Calls will be handled in an immediate and discreet manner.
What is Rush/Recruitment/Intake?
Chapters on the ASU campus practice either recruitment or Intake. There are two forms of recruitment, formal and informal. Formal recruitment is often held at the beginning of the fall semester each year for IFC and NPC groups. The formal process allows your son or daughter to explore the full range of student organizations and activities. However, throughout the remainder of the calendar year, both men and women will have the opportunity to meet and interact with fraternity and sorority members. The Membership Intake process to join an NPHC organization occurs at various times throughout the year at the discretion of the council and each organization. It is heavily encouraged that students do extensive research into the NPHC organizations by visiting their web sites and reading historical documents about each group, prior to contacting the respected organization.
What is pledging?
All fraternity and sorority members 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 fraternity/sorority history, leadership retreats, community service projects, and activities designed to build friendships among new members (pledges/associates/candidates) and the initiated members. ALL FRATERNITY AND SORORITY POLICIES FORBID HAZING, and are committed to a membership education period that instills a sense of responsibility and commitment in the new members. This period will assist your student in overcoming some of the concerns about success in college.
What is a philanthropy or service project?
Greek members take it as part of their mission to support their national philanthropies (non-for-profit causes) financially and physically. Throughout the year, each the chapter spends time fundraising and volunteering to help their particular philanthropy. Philanthropies and service events held by ASU Greeks that have benefited the campus and Jonesboro community. Some of the organizations and causes that ASU Greeks support include, but are not limited to: St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Make a Wish Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research, Women's Crisis Center of Northeast Arkansas, Jonesboro Jaycees, March of Dimes, and Children's Miracle Network. The time spent together on these events is one of the many times that fraternity brothers and sorority sisters can bond, while making a difference in someone's life.
How will joining a chapter now benefit my student after college?
The life long friendships your student will make through their chapter can last into post-college years. Membership in a chapter can be a life-long experience. Joining now is really an investment in your student's future. Wherever a member ends up after college, chances are he/she will be able to find an alumni chapter or other members of their fraternity or sorority in the area. In addition, Greeks have national networks for its members that could be helpful in finding jobs or internships.
What can I do as a parent or family member?
Be supportive, and learn as much as you can by asking your student questions before they join. 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 your student to make their own choice (especially if you yourself were Greek). Your support should not end after the recruitment period but continue throughout your student's years in school. Take advantage of Mom's and Dad's weekend activities held by the chapters. These are great opportunities for you to see your student interacting with their chapter members, and one more way for you to spend time with your student.