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Frequently Asked Questions about Greek Life

  • More than 1,000 undergraduates are members of IUP’s 32 social fraternities and sororities. What are the benefits of joining? The drawbacks? The cost? Here are some straightforward answers to questions asked about Greek life.

    Why do people join?

    Good social life? Strong support system? Kinship? Tradition? Leadership? Networking? All are valid reasons, but the one cited most by members is the sense of community. Joining the Greek community is one way to make a large campus seem smaller, friendlier, and easier to handle. It gives you a place to feel home at and people you can always count on.

    How can I get the lowdown on Greek Life?

    Attend Greek Life events. Talk to members one-on-one. Call the Office of Student Leadership and Greek Life at 724-357-2598.

    When do I make my choice?

    In order to enter the recruitment process for a fraternity or sorority, the potential new member must be at least a second semester freshman or have earned a minimum of 12 credit hours from IUP or have transferred with those hours and have a cumulative grade-point average of 2.25. Look for signs around campus, and check this webpage for regular updates.

    Are all the chapters alike?

    No. While most strike a balance among social life, service, academics, campus, and community involvement, each has its own personality. Some are more sports-minded, others are the proudest of volunteer work or their high academic standards. Do not believe all you hear about Greek life. All members of the community strive to uphold the integrity and values of both the Greek system as a whole and their individual chapter.

    Would joining affect my grades?

    Grade point averages for fraternity and sorority members are about the same as for all students, and some chapters pride themselves on surpassing the average. When you visit them during recruitment, do not be afraid to ask chapters about their standards. Most chapters work with their membership to attain high grades through incentive programs and common study times.

    What about cost?

    There is a range, so ask the individual chapters. Some chapters have payment plans and financial aid for students in need. Dues for a fraternity or sorority are an investment in a place that will welcome you even after you graduate. Be certain to read the available literature about chapter dues. This will help you understand what is included and what fees may be additional.

    How do I find the right chapter for me?

    A few are probably “right.” it is a feeling-out process. The trick is to narrow your options without limiting them. Keep an open mind, watch for cues, avoid preconceptions, and—just as you did in applying to college—consider several alternatives. Word-of-mouth can be informative, but gossip is not fact. Make your own judgment during recruitment. Where do you feel at home?

    What about hazing?

    Hazing is against the law. Rites and traditions vary from chapter to chapter. Some are secret, but none should involve abuse of any kind. Please report anything of this nature to the Office for Student Leadership and Greek Life. IUP’s official hazing policy.

    Are Greeks different from anyone else?

    Not really. Those in position to compare, like faculty advisors, say members behave (and occasionally misbehave) no differently than other students. Greeks are typically more involved, and therefore, better at managing their time. Yet, without letters on sweatshirts, Greek students look just like everybody else.

    What leadership experience will I get?

    Fraternities and sororities govern themselves (within guidelines from IUP and their national organizations), keep their own books, and plan menus and events. Community and business leaders often cite the Greek experience as a valuable training ground for challenges in later life. The leadership opportunities available to Greeks are plentiful. You can cater your experiences to match your personal or professional goals. Often you are able to take on a leadership role right after joining.

    Would I lose touch with friends who choose not to join?

    Many Greeks and non-Greeks remain close, especially if the share other interests. You would widen your circle of friends and contacts by joining a fraternity or sorority. And speaking of contacts, chapter alumni often come through with summer job offers and other career connections. As long as you are committed to your friendships, joining a Greek organization should never interfere.

    How “active” do I have to be?

    That is up to you. The old cliché “you get out of it what you put in” is true! Membership in Greek organizations is a commitment, but you are a student first at IUP. You need to decide how active you want to be, and communicate this to the chapter.

    What if I am not a drinker?

    You will have company in many sororities and fraternities. The spotlight on alcohol-related issues of health, safety, and liability has fostered programs to reduce misuse within Greek life. Greeks drink no more than the typical student and will never force you to drink.

    Do Greeks really have a better social life?

    Most members think so, because so much opportunity for interaction is built in to the community that goes beyond parties to include such activities as intramural sports, alumni events, conventions, and weekend getaways. Brotherhood and sisterhood events are common in most chapters and include weekly television or movie events, dinner, or even bowling.

    Does the system breed elitism or conformity?

    The elitism issue is probably a throwback to days when there were fewer choices. As to conformity, you can make that call during recruitment. If all members dress and sound alike, draw your own conclusion. Being an individual is essential to your personal well-being and is a value of all Greek organizations. Look for a place you are comfortable as yourself.

    Where can I get answers to my own questions?

    Do not hesitate to call or e-mail us with any questions that you may have concerning Greek life. Our phone numbers and e-mail address are located here.