Parents Guide to Fraternity and Sorority Life
- What is a fraternity or sorority?
Fraternities and sororities are unique organizations on campus. They are a student organization recognized by NC State, but also a local chapter of a national organization with undergraduate chapters at colleges and universities across the nation. First and foremost, they are values-based organizations that create opportunities for students to get involved in campus life. Each group focuses their activities around what we call the Pillars of Fraternity and Sorority Life: Brotherhood, Sisterhood, Scholarship, Leadership, and Service.
- How many students at NC State join a fraternity or soroity?
More than 11% of the undergraduate students at NC State are members of fraternities and sororities. That tracks consistently with many of our peer institutions.
- What kind of time commitment will this take?
Students should consider time commitments when joining any organization on campus. Fraternity and sorority membership does require a commitment of time. You should count on your student participating in regular weekly meetings along with service projects, leadership programs, and social activities throughout the year. Like any activity, students need to strike a good balance with their commitments.
- What are the benefits to joining?
The greatest benefit to joining is finding a small group of students that help make a large campus feel like home. Students can take on chapter leadership roles, gain experience through community service, and get involved in campus leadership through their fraternity or sorority. And since membership is for a lifetime, these opportunities continue well past graduation.
- How much does it cost?
Each organization sets its own budgets and dues so costs vary from chapter to chapter. Membership dues can range from $200 to $1000 each semester and each group includes different activities and fees in their structure. It is important that your student ask for a detailed breakdown of costs from any organization they consider joining.
- Do all fraternities and sororities have a house?
Currently 24 of our chapters operate a house for their members. Costs for housing (room and board) in fraternity and sorority houses tend to be consistent with similar costs for living in NC State residence halls. As with dues, it is important that your student ask for a detailed breakdown of costs. Chapters that do maintain a house will have a minimum of one year residency in the house for all members.
- What role does alcohol play?
Alcohol is challenging issue for college students in general and for fraternities and sororities. Organizations receive significant training from both the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life and their national organizations regarding alcohol and risk management. All of our Panhellenic sororities and several fraternities prohibit alcohol in their chapter houses. Alcohol is not permitted in recruitment activities or new member education programs.
- What about Pledging or Hazing?
All chapters have a new member education program that is designed to teach them the history, traditions, values, and expectations of their organization. Hazing has no place in these programs and the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life works closely with each local chapter and national organization to set clear expectations for new member activities. This includes setting reasonable limits on time commitments, activities, and length of program. If you have concerns about that hazing may be occurring, please contact the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life and speak with a staff member.
- Who oversees fraternities and sororities?
Each sorority and fraternity at NC State is a local chapter of a national organization which means they all have a governance structure that includes local and regional alumni volunteers and a national leadership structure. The Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life recognizes these undergraduate chapters and provides a level of oversight designed to promote a healthy experience for our students.
- What can I do as a parent or family member?
You should take an active interest in your student’s fraternity or sorority membership, just as you would with an academic program. You can help them make good decisions by listening and offering good advice. It is important to remember that your student is an adult and their membership agreement is between them and their organization and you can best help them by asking questions and helping them make the most of their membership.