What are the benefits of joining a sorority or fraternity?
Sororities and fraternities have been serving the University of Florida campus since 1884. These organizations are rooted in founding principles that foster academic achievement, leadership, community service, and life-long friendships. Greek organizations are groups of men and women who come together to form a personal network of individuals with similar ideals, interests, and a mutual pursuit of a well-rounded college education. Advantages include:
- A support group to help make the adjustment to college easier.
- Scholastic resources to help students achieve their academic goals.
- Leadership skills acquired through hands-on experience.
- Encouragement to get involved and maximize potential on campus.
- Opportunities for active participation in community service projects.
- National research has shown that involvement in sororities and fraternities increases students' chances of graduating from college.
- Membership in a sorority or fraternity is for a lifetime. Many alumni return to campus for football and other special events. Most chapters at UF have newsletters and special weekends for alumni. These activities promote lifetime friendships that extend beyond individual chapters and include members of the national Greek community.
What is the financial obligation?
While the costs involved in being a member of a Greek chapter vary, it is important to know that each organization does collect dues and some have initiation costs as well. The dues go toward (Inter)National fees, chapter operating expenses and social functions. Financial obligations differ for fraternities and sororities and among individual chapters. New members can expect to pay higher dues their first semester due to initiation fees.
Additional costs throughout the semester may go to meal plans, pictures, gifts, social events, T-shirts, etc. Several chapters at UF offer payment plans and scholarships for members who need financial assistance. While your son or daughter is participating in the membership intake/recruitment process, make sure that he or she asks about the financial obligations of membership.
Are Innovation Academy students able to join?
In order to join or be an active member in a social fraternity or sorority, a student must be enrolled at the University of Florida. Social fraternities and sororities have chapters at the University of Florida, but are national organizations with many different eligibility policies of their own. Examples of these eligibility requirements may include a minimum grade point average and/or a minimum number of enrolled credit hours in order to join or remain active in that particular organization. Knowing the eligibility requirements for each fraternity or sorority is the responsibility of the student seeking membership.
Additionally, to reside in an approved social fraternity or sorority chapter facility (or house), one must be an enrolled, degree-seeking University of Florida student who is an active member of the respective chapter.
Innovation Academy students will be able to seek membership in a social fraternity or sorority as long as they meet the above requirements. This includes pre-enrollment fall semester.
While involvement in some social fraternities or sororities is year-round, most chapters are predominately active during the fall and spring semesters and some have little to no activity during the summer semesters. Accordingly, some chapters may require active membership specifically during the fall and spring semesters.
We encourage our students to inquire about a chapter's membership requirements and its policies on remaining an active member. UF defines enrolled as registered for at least one credit hour for the semester in question.
How much time is involved with being a member of a fraternity or sorority?
The time commitment varies from chapter to chapter, but the first semester is the most time intensive because the new member goes through the chapter's new member education/membership intake program.
The time spent in this program will give your student the opportunity to develop his/her leadership and time management skills, learn about the history of the organization, develop friendships with the new member class, as well as the rest of the chapter, and allow them to become involved with other organizations.
Expectations will vary after initiation. Each chapter has weekly chapter meetings and other mandatory events (philanthropic, service, initiation) throughout the year. These events should be planned in advance.
What are the requirements for philanthropies and service projects?
Throughout the year, each chapter and council spends time fundraising and volunteering to help various service projects and/or philanthropies (not-for-profit causes). The time spent together on philanthropic events is one of the many times that sorority and fraternity members will have to bond while making a difference.
What types of social activities are held?
The social activities within the Florida Greek community include intramurals, philanthropy/service events, Homecoming, and exchange dinners in addition to parties and socials. The Florida Greek community enforces a proactive approach to managing social events.
How do chapters accommodate for studying?
Sororities and fraternities serve as a great resource for students academically. Every chapter at UF is encouraged to have a faculty advisor and scholarship chair that assists members with study hours and academic incentives. Your student can also utilize the network of chapter members, many of whom already know how to access campus resources.
Most chapters require a high GPA for continued active membership in the organization. The average new member and active members GPA for the Florida Greek community maintains well above a 3.0.
Are their safety risks associated with being a member of a fraternity or sorority?
It can be perceived that sorority or fraternity membership may compromise a student's safety and well-being. The University works very hard to make a student’s involvement in any student organization educational and safe. Greek organizations at the University of Florida are required to follow alcohol and risk management policies in accordance with state, local, and federal laws, which are enforced by University administrators as well as the members themselves. In addition, all organizations should have at least one chapter advisor and university faculty or staff liaison to assist and ensure that the chapter is promoting a safe environment for its members (both in and outside of the physical facility).
What are the rules regarding alcohol?
Each sorority or fraternity on campus has (Inter)National alcohol policies, which require members to follow all federal, state, and local laws, governing alcohol consumption. The University also has policies for all students regarding alcohol consumption, that can be viewed here. All of our chapters, housed or un-housed, participate in educational programs about alcohol use and abuse.
What are the rules regarding hazing?
Hazing is both against university policy as well as state law. Hazing is contrary to the purposes of the Florida Greek community and the University of Florida. Both chapters and individual members sign off stating they understand these rules and regulations and will not partake in any form of hazing. If it is discovered that hazing has taken place and the person(s) involved are found responsible judicially, those being hazed and the perpetrators may face sanctions up to and including removal from the University. The chapter may face charges as well. Please refer to www.dso.ufl.edu/sccr/ for more information on the Anti-hazing Policy and procedures for the Greek Conduct Committee.
If you sense your student may be participating in inappropriate activities as a result of membership in a fraternity or sorority, you should contact Sorority & Fraternity Affairs at (352) 392-1671. Calls will be handled in a discreet manner.
Who is actually in charge of the fraternities and sororities?
Students elect their own officers to manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by chapter members serving on committees and alumni who serve as advisors to the officers and general chapter members. Housed chapters are owned by a "House Corporation" that oversees the chapter facility and employs a live-in adult House Director who manages the chapter house and kitchen.
Each chapter is governed by its (Inter)National Headquarters, and governing council here on campus. Additionally, the Center for Student Activities and Involvement, Sorority & Fraternity Affairs, staff supports and advises the governing councils, chapter officers, and advisors. These professional staff members also enforce the policies of the University of Florida.
How can I support my student?
1. Students need support throughout the process of recruitment/intake and new member education. Be supportive and learn as much as you can about the Florida Greek community by asking questions of your student as she or he meets members in sororities and fraternities.
2. Keep an open mind. Being a member of the Florida Greek community is not for everyone. Just because you may have been a sorority or fraternity member doesn't mean that it is the right choice for your daughter or son.
3. Sororities and fraternities are different on every campus. Chapters that may have been strong on the campus when/where you attended school may not have the same "personality" now at UF. Let your son or daughter choose the group that he or she feels the most comfortable joining.
4. Talk to your son or daughter beforehand about the financial obligation. Discuss who will pay for what and determine the limits of spending.
5. Know that the process of joining a sorority or fraternity at Florida is competitive. Not everyone who wants to be a Florida Greek will receive an invitation to do so.
6. Do not become too involved in the sorority and fraternity recruitment/intake process. This is your daughter or son's decision.
7. Too often, parents do not allow their students to ask their own questions. It helps the student mature and gain some assertiveness when allowed to call various offices if they have questions or concerns about their decision to go Greek.
8. Keep Sorority & Fraternity Affairs contact information on hand if you have any questions or concerns about Greek Life at the University of Florida.