Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of joining a fraternity or sorority?
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.
Will joining a fraternity or sorority adversely affect a student's grades?
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 Babbidge Library, Writing Resource Center, computer labs, and academic advisors. Nothing, however, can take the place of a disciplined and academically-focused student to ensure success in college.
How much time is required to be a member of a chapter?
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 meeting, a project session, review material, 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.
Aren't fraternities and sororities expensive?
Joining a fraternity or sorority does involve a financial commitment. The most expensive year of membership is the first year, during which a one-time initiation fee is paid to the national organization and the membership badge is purchased.
Many Greeks at UConn 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. Most chapters at University of Alberta have some housing available for fraternity and sorority members. In many cases, the smaller number of rooms and the lower cost of fraternity/sorority housing is a significant advantage in building lifelong friendships at University of Alberta.
What about hazing?
The University of Alberta 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 University 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 Fraternity and Sorority Advisor (firstname.lastname@example.org) immediately.
Aren't fraternities/sororities primarily social in nature?
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. In 2008, our 17 chapters and just over 500 members raised over $53000 and executed over 6700 service hours while providing fraternity and sorority members with opportunities in leadership, fellowship and student growth aligned to the Universities Dare to Discover vision. While the term "social" may conjure images of "Animal House" or "Old School", the image is largely outdated and inaccurate.
What about alcohol?
At the University of Alberta, high risk binge drinking is addressed through programs and a partnership with the Alcohol and Other Drug Services Office. Fraternities and sororities at any event where alcohol is served are required to follow provincial and city as well as University of Alberta bylaws, and their international or national organizations laws and policies regarding alcohol. Chapters are restricted from using chapter funds to purchase alcohol.
If my student joins a Greek organization can they still be involved on campus?
As defined in the Universities Dare to Discover, the university experience extends beyond the classroom. Fraternities, sororities, and the Office of the Dean of Students encourage members to get involved. Students are encouraged to expand their involvement beyond their specific fraternity or sorority into the greater community by participating in numerous activities. Community Service is one of the four pillars of Greek Life at University of Alberta and chapters participate in numerous community service opportunities in the greater Edmonton area.
For additional information about Greek Life feel free to stop by the Student Union Building, Room 5-02 or contact us:
The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life