Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the benefits of joining a chapter?
- Is there an alcohol policy?
- Is there a hazing policy?
- What is the role of parents/guardians?
- Will academics be compromised by joining fraternity or sorority?
- Who is responsible for running a fraternity or sorority?
- What is the time commitment for being in a fraternity or sorority?
- What does it cost to be a member?
- What is a philanthropy or service project?
- It’s all Greek to me… How do I tell the chapters apart?
- How do I get involved?
The fraternity or sorority experience is multifaceted and offers numerous opportunities for friendship, leadership, scholarship and service. Joining a chapter helps connect students to a smaller community in which they develop lifelong friendships with the members in their chapter and others. For many members, these organizations become a home away from home.
Oftentimes, the friendships students establish within their chapter and the larger fraternity and sorority community last beyond the college years. Membership in a chapter is a lifelong experience, and joining as an undergraduate is an investment in the future. Wherever a member decides to reside after college, there is a national network of support, and chances are he or she will be able to find other members of their organization nearby.
In addition to developing lasting friendships, each chapter emphasizes leadership, scholarship, philanthropy and service, and financial responsibility through various programs and opportunities. It is up to each member to determine the level of involvement they want to have in the organization and to shape the experience he or she wants to have. Fraternities and sororities are great places for students to find extra support and a sense of community on campus.
The National Panhellenic Conference (the international governing council for women’s chapters) has never allowed alcohol in chapter houses, therefore all sorority houses at UW-Eau Claire are alcohol free. Some fraternities also prohibit the use of alcohol on their chapter property. Each chapter has an inter/national alcohol policy, which requires yearly educational programs for members. Inter/national organizational policies override any campus alcohol policies.
Hazing is an act that stands in direct contrast to the ideals, practices, and rituals of fraternities and sororities and is therefore not tolerated. The Interfraternity Council, the Inter-Greek Council, and the Panhellenic Council at UW-Eau Claire uphold the following hazing standards:
No chapter shall allow any of its pledges, members, or other persons to participate in any pre-initiation or hazing ceremony or practice which involves physical exhaustion or abuse, or would in any way interfere with the person’s mental or physical ability to perform college work effectively or tend to reflect unfavorably upon the fraternity or sorority in the eyes of the public, or is of a dangerous, rude, or vulgar nature, whether taking place within or without the chapter house.
Any allegations of hazing or like practices in violation of these standards by fraternities or sororities or their individual members shall be reported to the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council and/or the Dean of Students Office, as appropriate.
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire also follows the Wisconsin Administrative Code UWS Chapter 17 and Wisconsin Statue 948.51.
UWS 17.09 Conduct subject to disciplinary action. In accordance with s. UWS 17.08, the university may discipline a student for engaging in, attempting to engage in, or assisting others to engage in any of the following types of nonacademic misconduct:
(1) Dangerous conduct. Conduct that endangers or threatens the health or safety of oneself or another person.
(2) Sexual assault. Conduct defined in s. 940.225, Stats.
(3) Stalking. Conduct defined in s. 940.32, Stats.
(4) Harassment. Conduct defined in s. 947.013, Stats.
(5) Hazing. Conduct defined in s. 948.51, Stats.
(6) Illegal use, possession, manufacture, or distribution of alcohol or controlled substances. Use, possession, manufacture, or distribution of alcoholic beverages or of marijuana, narcotics, or other controlled substances, except as expressly permitted by law or university policy.
What is the role of parents/guardians?
The most important thing parents/guardians can do is to be supportive and keep an open mind. Though parents/guardians may not have been members of a fraternity or sorority, membership in a fraternity or sorority could be a great opportunity for students. If students are interested in becoming a part of the fraternity and sorority community, parents/guardians and students should do their research. Look at information about each organization. Parents/guardians should encourage their student to ask questions about what the different organizations can offer.
Parents/guardians should discuss the financial commitment of joining a fraternity and sorority with their student. Clarify what expenses will be supported by the parents/guardians and what expenses will need to be paid for by the student.
If a student decides fraternity and sorority life is a good fit, allow the student to make their own decision about which organization to join. Fraternities and sororities are different at every campus, and it is important for the student to choose a group with whom they feel the most comfortable. Once the student chooses to join a chapter, there will be plenty of opportunities for parents/guardians to be engaged, whether it’s having conversations with their student about his or her chapter experience, or visiting for a Family Weekend activity.
The transition from the highly structured high school environment to the freedom of college can be difficult for many new students. Fraternities and sororities seek to assist their members by providing a number of services ranging from scholarship programs to study partners to study hours to time management workshops. Each chapter also elects or appoints a scholarship chair who assists members who are struggling and helps them to set goals for future success. By joining a chapter, members also have access the network of chapter members who already know how to use campus resources like the library, tutors, computer labs, and academic advisors. Despite the plethora of resources, nothing takes the place of discipline, focus, and hard work, and it is up to each member to make sure he or she is managing time well and using the resources available.
The opportunity to develop leadership skills is one of the greatest benefits for joining a fraternity or sorority. Each chapter elects an executive board of collegiate members to serve in various positions.The executive board is also advised by one or more alumni of the organization who assist with chapter operations and procedures.
Time commitment varies from chapter to chapter, but members can normally expect to attend a weekly membership meeting, meetings for new members, and meetings for executive board.In addition, members may be asked to attend special events such as philanthropies, socials, recruitment, and initiation. Check with each chapter about its individual member requirements.
Like most other organizations, fraternities and sororities charge member dues to help support services and initiatives provided by the organization for its members. Dues directly support both the local chapter and the national organization with which the chapter is affiliated. Fraternities and sororities are quite affordable with the help of monthly payment plans and various scholarships or grants that may be available.
You are encouraged to ask individual chapters specific questions about finances and the resources available to help supplement the cost. Each chapter is individually responsible for determining dues, as well as one-time new member and initiation fees, and the financial officer for the chapter can provide a detailed breakdown of what dues help support.
One of the pillars of fraternity and sorority life involves giving back to others through philanthropy or service. Philanthropies are not-for-profit causes that chapters adopt as an organization to help support. Some of the philanthropies sponsored by chapters at UW-Eau Claire include the following: the Red Cross, Sigma Serves Children (Robbie Page Memorial), Speech and Hearing, and Choose Children. Organizing philanthropic events helps members gain valuable new skills and provides an opportunity for members to bond while supporting a great cause. Chapter members also volunteer their time at a number of community agencies including local schools, food pantries, and animal shelters.
All the chapters at UW-Eau Claire bring something special and unique to the campus and to the fraternity and sorority community. The best way to distinguish between the organizations is to get to know the members and to ask plenty of questions about each organization. You can also visit the local chapter web sites or visit the inter/national websites for the organizations.
Women’s recruitment takes place at the beginning of the fall semester. Any woman interested in joining a sorority is encouraged to register for and attend the fall recruitment events. Men interested in joining a fraternity should contact the chapter’s recruitment chair(s). Contact information is available on the local chapter websites.