Frequently Asked Questions
The following FAQs are here to help you in making the decision and lifelong commitment to join a fraternity or sorority!
Q: What is a Greek organization?
A: A Greek organization is a group of individuals bonded together by common goals and values. The bonds between members are enhanced through historical rituals. Rituals are shared traditions and experiences between members of an organization.
Greek organizations are called "Greek" because the names usually consist of Greek letters. The more common terms used when referring to Greek-letter organizations are "fraternity" and "sorority."
While each Greek organization has its own unique values and initiatives, all Greek organizations aim to help its members succeed. All of CSU's Greek organizations have resources to help their members excel academically, socially, professionally, and personally.
Q: What are the benefits of joining a Greek organization?
A: Greek communities offer limitless opportunities for individual growth and development. They also provide plenty of opportunities for fun!
First, the resources to aid in academic achievement are readily available. Members have access to older, more experienced students, mentors, and scholarship programming within their chapters. Every Greek organization understands that academic responsibilities take priority over all other programming or requirements.
Second, leadership opportunities are innumerable. There are leadership positions available within each fraternity and sorority and within the Greek community at large. Greeks are exposed to mentors and role models in every facet of campus life.
Third, a very active and planned social calendar helps members of the Greek community to fine tune interpersonal skills. Constant interaction with members of their own chapter and other organizations help members to network and build long-lasting friendships.
Finally, individuals are able to learn important lessons about themselves from experiences in the Greek community. They can discover their own strengths and weaknesses and learn how to utilize their talents for the future. Time management skills, the importance of cultural diversity, and interpersonal skills are all included in the variety of programming within CSU Greek life.
Q: Will joining Greek life affect my grades?
A: Students often find managing their time difficult when moving from the highly-structured high school environment to the freedoms of college. Fraternities and sororities assist in that transition by offering scholastic programs which might include study partners, study hours, time management workshops, exam and paper libraries, and scholarships. Members can also access a network of their fellow Greek members who already know how to use campus resources like the library, study skills centers, computer labs, and academic advisors.
CSU Greek organizations all have minimum GPA requirements for their members and will help each member achieve it, but members are still ultimately responsible for utilizing the resources made available.
Q: Are fraternities and sororities just like ones in the movies and on TV?
A: Every Greek organization is different and unique, but at CSU, we have yet to come across any Tri-Lambs, 90210 KEG houses, or John Belushi Animal House types.
Q: How does leadership in Greek organizations work?
A: There is a very elaborate hierarchy of power in place to ensure the success and safety of fraternity/sorority members. Within each Greek organization there are numerous student leadership positions. These range from chapter president, vice president, treasurer, and scholarship chairman all the way to kitchen manager and intramural chairman. Each officer has a set of duties they are responsible for completing. Most chapters also utilize a committee system to assist the officers in their duties.
The executive council of officers within each chapter must then answer to several outside governing bodies. These include the student governing boards, the Collegiate Panhellenic Council, the Interfraternity Council, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council. At CSU, these executive councils are comprised of 5 to 9 experienced officers from different fraternities and sororities who are elected to their positions by the presidents of the fraternities/sororities they represent. The executive councils develop and enforce policies within the respective university guidelines.
The second body to which chapter officers must answer is their alumni governing board. This body is made up of alumni who are financially responsible and liable for the success of the organization and chapter house (if applicable). These alumni make sure the organization (and house, if applicable) is functioning properly and that the undergraduate members in the chapter are safe and acting responsibly.
Third, the officers within each chapter must answer to their national organization. Each fraternity/sorority is sponsored and given its charter, or permission to operate, by an inter/national organization. These inter/national organizations ultimately determine the status of their member chapters. Therefore, chapters must meet certain guidelines and complete the appropriate paperwork required by their inter/national organizations to remain active organizations.
Finally, because Greek organizations are registered with CSU as student organizations, they must also abide by CSU policies. These regulations are imposed by university administrators. The final set of policies that Greek organizations must abide by is local, state, and federal laws.
Q: How much time is required for Greek membership?
A: Research has shown that involved college students are more likely to graduate and to report greater satisfaction with their college experience. Through fraternity and sorority involvement, members will learn how to balance their academics, campus involvement, and social commitments. Rest assured that members of the Greek community are not required to participate in any event, program, or meeting that might conflict with academic requirements. We want Greek students to keep putting school first. In addition, varsity athletes, members of marching band and debate teams, and students studying architecture or engineering are just a few examples of students with large time commitments who regularly join fraternities and sororities.
Q: What does the financial commitment for Greek life involve?
A: Each chapter is self-supported through dues charged to all members. In the first year of membership, a few one-time expenses are assessed. After those initial payments are made, a member will pay their regular dues for the remainder of their time in the organization as an undergrad. This cost is used to pay for intramural sports, community service projects, scholarships, upkeep of the house (if applicable), and the dozens of social events offered. Consider the cost of being Greek for a full four years and compare it to other four year living options and you may be surprised. For members of the organizations that offer housing, it is often less expensive to be Greek than not. A variety of payment plans are usually offered.
Q: Do Greek organizations haze?
A: CSU and every Greek organization has a firm stance against hazing, as it is easily the most dangerous and destructive practice that an organization can take part in. Although many people automatically associate the term "hazing" with the idea of mistreating or abusing new members, any member can actually be a victim of hazing. Hazing is defined as singling out an individual or group of people and forcing them to do something that is psychologically, physically, or emotionally harmful or damaging. Potential and new members of fraternities and sororities are never forced to do anything that causes them harm.
New fraternity and sorority members experience a period of orientation. During this time, new members will participate in regular meetings to learn about the university and the fraternity/sorority. They may attend leadership retreats, work on community service projects, and participate in activities designed to build friendships among the new members and the older members of the chapter and to instill a sense of responsibility and commitment in the new members.
In addition, The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life provides continuing training and preventative programs on hazing to our community to prevent hazing from happening and to help new members identify if hazing is occurring and how to address it.
Q: Do you have to drink to be in a fraternity or sorority?
A: Alcohol abuse is unhealthy and inconsistent with fraternity/sorority ideals. All fraternities and sororities are expected to uphold state, county, and city laws, as well as university policies regarding the consumption of alcohol. Due to the fact that Greek organizations comprise the largest student organizations nationwide, Greek communities are constantly in the media spotlight. So, while there may seem to be some correlation between drinking and membership in Greek life, it is important to recognize that social problems such as binge drinking occur in nearly every facet of society. The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life requires members of Greek life to attend continuing training and preventative programs on substance abuse to combat this problem.
Alcohol consumption has never been a requirement for Greek membership, and there is a significant percentage of Greek men and women who do not drink. All sororities and some fraternities at CSU offer alcohol-free housing, and all have strict regulations on the use of alcohol. In addition, no fraternity or sorority is allowed to purchase alcohol for members.
Q: Can parents get involved in their student's Greek experience?
A: Parents can be supportive and learn as much as possible by asking questions to their student and to the student's fraternity/sorority. Fraternity and sorority members will be more than happy to tell parents about their group. Parents have opportunity to participate through parent clubs and the many family events that each chapter holds. Most chapters keep family members up-to-date on chapter news through newsletters or social media.
Q: When in your college journey should you join a Greek organization?
A: While some new member classes are comprised of mostly freshmen, students of any class standing (whether it be freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, or sometimes even graduate students) are welcome in the Greek community. When you decide to join depends on you. Some people like to get acquainted with college life before entering into the Greek community. Other people see Greek life as a way to help them do just that. A few organizations even have a minimum credit hour requirement, so you may need to be a sophomore or junior to join.
Q: Are fraternities and sororities conducive to spiritual development?
A: Many members are involved in university-wide religious groups. A few chapters even recruit new members based upon religious affiliation. No Greek organization will prevent a student from practicing his/her faith.
Q: Are Greek students involved in other organizations?
A: Absolutely! Greek students are encouraged to be involved in other organizations, and many members of Greek life hold leadership positions in other non-Greek organizations here at CSU. Many students in Greek life at CSU are also involved in community organizations and community service initiatives. Joining Greek life will not only help you get involved with the fraternity and sorority community, but it will also help you get involved at CSU and in Columbus!