Learning that your son or daughter is considering joining a fraternity or sorority 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/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.At A-State, our fraternity and sorority members have a 91% graduation rate.
- 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.
What is Rush/Recruitment/Intake?
Chapters on the A-State campus practice either recruitment or Intake. For IFC and Panhellenic groups, there are two forms of recruitment--primary/formal and informal/open bidding. Primary recruitment is often held at the beginning of the fall semester each year for IFC and Panhellenic groups. The primary recruitment process allows your son or daughter to explore the full range of fraternities and sororities and activities. The primary recruitment process allows your son or daughter to meet each of the organizations, their values, what charities they support, what events and activities they host, etc. It is beneficial in that your son and daughter have the opportunity to see ALL of their options. When it comes to the informal/open bidding process, the opportunities for membership are limited. For Panhellenic groups, after primary recruitment in the fall and during the spring semesters if any sorority has vacancies in their membership (i.e. if someone graduates in December, transfers, etc), they have an opportunity to fill those vacancies by extending what's called an "open bid." Keep in mind that these membership opportunities are not guaranteed and not all sororities have these opportunities to fill vacancies.
For IFC groups, they have an opportunity to extend "open bids" after Primary Recruitment in the fall semester; however, it is not guaranteed that all IFC fraternities will choose to extend open bids following Fall Primary Recruitment. In the spring semesters, all IFC fraternities have the opportunity to extend open bids. Again, not all choose to, so it is best to not go into the spring semester expecting all fraternities to recruit and extend open bids.
For NPHC fraternities and sororities, the "Membership Intake Process" to join an NPHC organization occurs at various times throughout the year at the discretion of the council and each fraternity/sorority. 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. If your son or daughter is interested in membership opportunities within NPHC, please make sure they visit our NPHC Intake webpage. There is helpful information on how they can prepare for the Membership Intake Process, including making sure to attend an "Intake 101 Seminar," which is offered three times a semester. Encourage your student to follow A-State NPHC on Instagram, @astate_nphc, to stay in-the-know of upcoming events and activities. Encourage them to attend events hosted by the chapter/organization they are interested in joining.
What is "pledging"?
Formerly referred to as "pledging," all fraternity and sorority members experience a period of "new member education". During this time, your student and other new members will participate in weekly meetings to learn about the university and the fraternity/sorority national history, participate in leadership retreats, community service projects, and activities designed to build deep and trustworthy friendships among new members and initiated members.
Inter/national organizations mandate that each of their chapters utilize the inter/national organization's clear-cut guidelines and resources for how to successfully and safely execute the new member process. All fraternity and sorority inter/national organizations strictly prohibit hazing and expect their chapters to follow the designated new member process verbatim. The new member education period will instill a healthy and safe sense of responsibility and commitment in the new members. A new member process should never include activities or experiences that are harmful, uncomfortable, disgraceful, or unsafe.
We strongly recommend you to click on our A-State Hazing Information & Parent FAQs page. The Parent FAQs page hosts information on important questions you can ask your student before and during their new member process to ensure they are having a positive and healthy experience. Please visit our Hazing & Parent FAQs page.
If you feel your student is experiencing hazing, please anonymously file an A-State Confidential Hazing Report or call the Office of Greek Life at 870-972-2055. Any time we receive a report or concern, we work to protect the privacy of the reporter and immediately conduct an investigation alongside the Office of Student Conduct. At A-State we believe in the power of the fraternity & sorority experience and we work hard to protect your student's experience to ensure it is positive, fulfilling, healthy, and full of good memories.
Is hazing a part of the Fraternity & Sorority culture at A-State?
Arkansas State University has a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing. A-State 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 or feeling pressured to participate in inappropriate activities as a result of membership in a fraternity or sorority, you should file an A-State Confidential Hazing Report with the University and/or contact the Office of Greek Life at 870-972-2055. Submitted reports and calls will be handled in an immediate and highly confidential manner.
For more detailed information regarding hazing, including Parent FAQs, please visit our A-State Hazing Information and Resources webpage.
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 A-State students. Usually, each individual chapter has an elected official who is responsible for keeping track of members and their academic performance. Furthermore, many fraternities and sororities have educational programs, such as tutoring and study sessions, which can assist the entire chapters in excelling academically. Most chapters also offer member scholarships. Since obtaining a degree is the main reason for attending college, make sure your student realizes that he/she must keep up his/her grades if he/she wants to participate in a fraternity or sorority.
What are the social aspects of fraternity and sorority membership?
Fraternity and sorority membership will provide your student with fun activities and events that will help connect him/her to campus and make many new friends! We do, however, recognize the partying stereotype that is often associated with fraternity/sorority men and women. Because the Fraternity & Sorority Life community at A-State contributes to the social activity on campus, the University, Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life, council executives, and inter/national organizations have worked to implement measures and guidelines that empower the students to uphold a responsible and safe environment for its members. All fraternities and sororities have strict social event policies and are held accountable to the A-State Code of Conduct, A-State Fraternity and Sorority Social Guidelines, and laws of the State of Arkansas. Each fraternity and sorority also has an inter/national judicial board process, overseen by a chapter advisor, that serves to hold all members accountable for their actions.
Lastly, we highly recommend parents of ALL A-State fraternity/sorority or non-fraternity/sorority affiliated students have conversations with your student now about safe and healthy decision making and your family/personal values.
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/intake process, make sure that he or she asks about the financial obligations of membership.
What is a philanthropy or service project?
Fraternity/Sorority members take it as part of their mission to support their national philanthropies (non-for-profit causes) financially and physically. Throughout the year, each chapter spends time fundraising and volunteering to help their particular philanthropy. Philanthropies and service events held by A-State Fraternity & Sorority Members strongly benefit the campus and Jonesboro community. Some of the organizations and causes that A-State Greeks support include, but are not limited to: St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, Make a Wish Foundation, Breast Cancer Research & Education, Women's Crisis Center of Northeast Arkansas, Special Olympics, United Way of NEA, 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-collegiate 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, Fraternity & Sorority Members 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. On average, your student should expect to commit two to four hours a week for meetings and mandatory events. We recommend students utilize a daily planner and/or electronic calendar to chart their commitments, (i.e. academic class due dates, tests, sorority/fraternity meeting and event dates, etc). This will aid your student in successful time management.
Upon joining, 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 are a Greek alumni). 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 many of the chapters, as well as A-State. You are also encouraged to participate in any philanthropic/fundraising events the chapter hosts! 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.
Overall, membership in a fraternity and sorority will offer your student outstanding personal accountability and social development, as well as lifelong friendships. However, you know your student. If you feel at any point he/she is not having a positive experience, please express your concerns by filing a Confidential Hazing Report or calling the Office of Greek Life at 870-972-2055.
We recognize that this is a time of transition with many unknowns. You care about your student and want the best for him/her, and so do we. We work hard to aid in your student's personal and professional development. We believe in the vast benefits that come along with fraternity/sorority membership and feel confident that your student will grow in positive ways. Should you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us. Thank you for being a positive influence and presence in your student's life.