A Parent’s Guide to Fraternity and Sorority Life
There are currently more than 50 general collegiate fraternal organizations on campus, divided into four governing councils. The councils are the Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, Panhellenic Council, United Council of Fraternities and Sororities. Each of these groups represents the entire general collegiate national fraternal community at the university. There are also three National Honor Societies specifically comprised of member of general fraternities and sororities.
Academic success is important to your son or daughter’s new organization. All chapters have a minimum QCA requirement to remain in good standing with the chapter. Also, chapters have campus advisors and alumni/ae advisory boards who serve as support and oversight bodies for the membership in all areas of fraternal life, including academic achievement.
Students and advisory boards set the dues for each fraternal organization, while incorporating national fees and liability insurance. Dues for all chapters go to pay for operational expenses, philanthropic endeavors, intramural sports, insurance, academic incentives, social programs, and parent and alumni/ae functions. They also pay for leadership training, retreat costs, and sponsorship of members for national leadership conferences. No membership dues are permitted to go toward the purchase of alcohol or other illegal activities.
Hazing and Substance Use
Physical and mental hazing is banned by the university, the international fraternal organizations, and by the laws of the state of Virginia. Fortunately, fraternities and sororities at Virginia Tech recognize that hazing has no place in their organizations. Hazing will not be tolerated at Virginia Tech.
The social aspect of fraternity and sorority life is one of the reasons that many students get involved in fraternities and sororities; however alcohol and substance abuse is not tolerated. Most organizations have mandatory educational sessions on the dangers of substance abuse. Virginia Tech is committed to values that are contrary to inappropriate and dangerous behavior. The fraternity and sorority community has and will continue to be a supportive environment for its members to challenge and support students in making good choices, particularly when it comes to the social aspects of collegiate life.
In addition to the organization’s philanthropic, social, and recreational functions, group meetings and other activities, such as study hours and service events, sometimes members are participating in fraternity and sorority life between about four to eight hours per week. Some organizations require more time than others. Be sure to ask questions regarding time commitments during the formal and informal recruitment programs.
Activities and Benefits
Scholarship: Scholarship and academic success are two of the most important aspects of your student’s life at Virginia Tech. The fraternities and sororities promote academics in a variety of ways and have regularly performed above the all-men’s and all-women’s QCA for many years.
Service: Each semester our fraternity and sorority members here and across the country participate in a wide variety of community service projects. These projects take many forms and benefit many worthy causes like the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the March of Dimes, the American Red Cross, the Montgomery County Humane Society, and the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Leadership: Fraternities and sororities provide ample opportunities for students to gain leadership skills that they often cannot find anywhere else during their collegiate years. Collegiate fraternal organizations are self-governing, self-running communities, so committee members and chapter officers are responsible for the operation of the chapter. Fraternity and Sorority Life also offers opportunities to attend regional and leadership conferences like the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values Conference (AFLV), National Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Conventions and Conferences, and national leadership institutes like the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI). Collegiate fraternal organizations also encourage members to hold leadership positions in organizations outside of the chapter.
Brotherhood/Sisterhood: The friendships that your son or daughter will experience in a fraternal organization are invaluable. Being initiated into a fraternity or sorority is life-time membership that comes with a family away from home and a constant support group not just during college, but forever.
Career Networking: Fraternities and sororities have active chapter alumni/ae and national alumni/ae associations that are directly involved with the chapters.