Information for Parents
Q: Aren't fraternities and Sororities just like the one shown in the movie "Animal House?"
A: Nobody likes stereotypes. Unfortunately, after the showing of that movie, Greek members have been categorized as partiers, irresponsible, and abusive. In reality, fraternities and sororities are value-based organizations dedicated to the development of character and lifelong friendship.
Q: The Basic Expectations talk about alcohol. What is it really like?
A: Alcohol abuse is unhealthy and inconsistent with fraternity and sorority ideals. All fraternities and sororities are expected to uphold state, county, and city laws, and university policies regarding the consumption of alcohol. In addition, most are not allowed to purchase alcohol for members. The days of large quantities of alcohol at a social function are gone. Instead, you'll find members participating in alcohol-free social activities like airband, roller skating nights, and lip sync contests. Students who choose not to drink will know that it's ok and feel comfortable with their decision.
Q: I'm concerned about grades--what impact would membership have?
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 scholarship programs which might include study partners, mandatory study hours, and time management workshops. Members can access the network of friends who already know how to use campus resources like the library, study skills centers, computer labs, and academic advisors. While fraternities and sororities are concerned about the academic achievement of their members, your son/daughter is still ultimately responsible for utilizing the resources made available.
Q: What about pledging or hazing?
A: New members all experience a period of orientation. During this time, your son/daughter and the other new members will participate in weekly meeting to learn about the college and the chapter, leadership retreats, community service projects, and activities designed to build friendships among the new members and the older members.
All fraternities and sororities oppose hazing and are committed to a membership education period which instills a sense of responsibility and commitment in the new members. This period will assist them in overcoming some of their concerns about success in college.
Q: Who is actually in charge of the fraternity or sorority?
A: Members elected to officer positions manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by members serving on committees and by alumni who act as advisors.
In addition, all VWU fraternities and sororities are part of a national organization which offers support, advice, and direction through a paid professional staff and regional volunteers. Professional staff from the college and university are also employed to assist and monitor the activities. As you can see, a variety of individuals oversee the operations.Q: Doesn't it cost a lot of money to be in a fraternity or sorority?
A: Each organization 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, the only expense will be regular dues. A variety of payment plans are offered.
Q: Being in a fraternity or sorority sounds like it takes a lot of time.
A: Participating in any worthwhile activity always requires an investment of one's time. Research has shown that involved college students are more likely to graduate and they report greater satisfaction with their college experience. Though, members will learn how to balance their academic, work, campus involvement, and social commitments.
Q: How does my son or daughter go about joining?
A: Fraternities and sororities organize a process of meeting people and making friends called recruitment. This time offers potential new members an opportunity to meet other people on campus and learn what each organization has to offer its members.
Everyone likes to belong; to feel a part of something. Each chapter has its own unique programs and strengths, yet all are primarily based on the development of character, social skills, friendship, service to humanity, and academic skills. Just like researching, visiting, and choosing a college, students should seek out the group that best fits their personality, needs and desires. They will find that there is a place for everyone.
Q: What is my role as a parent?
A: Be supportive and learn as much as you can by asking questions of your son or daughter as they meet people through the recruitment process. Members will be more than happy to tell them (and you) about their group.