Will joining a fraternity or sorority adversely affect my grades?

Students often find managing their time difficult when moving from a 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 Norris Brookens 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 the chapter?

The time commitment varies from chapter to chapter, but the first semester is time intensive as students participate in their 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 events (philanthropic, service, social, 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.

Are 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 inter/national organization and the membership badge is often purchased. Contrary to common stereotypes, many chapter members work during the academic year and are financing portions of their tuition and/or housing expenses. More specific financial information can be determined from talking with each chapter individually.

What are these rituals that I keep hearing about?
A fraternity or sorority ritual is a sacred ceremony that reminds members of their founders’ vision and mission. A ritual emphasizes the inter/national organization’s values and the commitment that the member made when becoming a brother/sister. These rituals may be public or private, depending on the organization. Each fraternity or sorority has a ritual at different times throughout membership. These sacred ceremonies do not embarrass or hurt members.

What about hazing?
The University of Illinois Springfield 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 of hazing, how to report incidents and how to seek assistance by both University staff and officers of the inter/national organizations. “ Hazing [is] defined as an act which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or which destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization. The express or implied consent of the victim will not be a defense. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts; they are violations. More information

Are fraternities/sororities primarily social in nature?
There is a social aspect to the Greek community, but the intent is to create members who will become contributing members of society. “Social” events include many education programs/ workshops, community service events, intramural sports, Family Weekend brunches, Homecoming and dinners, in addition to social gatherings and formals. Culturally based chapters hold alcohol-free parties in University facilities to raise money for their service projects. While the term “social” may conjure images of “Animal House” or “Old School,” these images are largely outdated and inaccurate.

What’s the buzz about alcohol?
Fraternities and sororities are required to submit a notification form prior to any event where alcohol is served and are required to follow federal, state, UIS and their inter/national organization’s laws and policies. Chapters are restricted from using chapter funds to purchase alcohol. Instead, they use their funds to participate in non-alcoholic socials, intramurals and other activities on campus. Many fraternity and sorority members choose not to drink at all.

If I join a Greek organization, can I still be involved on campus?
Yes. Fraternities, sororities encourage members to get involved across campus. Students are encouraged to expand their involvement beyond their specific fraternity or sorority into the greater community by participating in numerous activities. Greek organizations are unique in the well-rounded and lifelong membership they provide, but they also believe strongly in encouraging members to use their leadership skills to benefit the larger campus and community.

I’m interested, but I’m still not sure.
Visit Greek Life, individual council and chapter websites, contact the Diversity Center at (217) 206-6333 or stop by the Student Organization Center within the Student Life building. Family members can also learn more about fraternity and sorority life by visiting parent and family page.