Frequently Asked Questions
from the North-American Interfraternity Conference
Q: Aren’t fraternities and sororities just like the one shown in the movies “Old School” and “Legally Blonde?”
A: Nobody likes stereotypes. Unfortunately, after the showing of those movies, Greek members have been categorized as partiers, irresponsible and superficial. In reality, fraternities and sororities are value-based organizations dedicated to the development of character and lifelong friendship. The following code of ethics represents some of the basic expectations of fraternal membership:
I will strive for academic achievement and practice academic integrity.
I will respect the dignity of all persons; therefore I will not physically, mentally, psychologically or sexually abuse or haze any human being.
I will respect my property and the property of others; therefore, I will neither abuse nor tolerate the abuse of property.
I will neither use nor support the use of illegal drugs; I will neither misuse nor support the misuse of alcohol.
I acknowledge that a clean and attractive environment is essential to both physical and mental health; therefore, I will do all in my power to see that the chapter property is properly cleaned and maintained.
I will challenge my fraternity members to abide by these fraternal expectations and will confront those who violate them.
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 college 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 laser tag, paintball and movie nights. 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, organized study hours and major mentors. Members can access the network of friends who already know how to use campus resources like the Barret library, writing center, computer labs and the “tree.” While fraternities and sororities are concerned a bout the academic achievement of their members, your student is still ultimately responsible for utilizing the resource made available.
Q: What about pledging and hazing?
A: New members all experience a period of orientation. During this time, your student and other new members will participate in weekly meetings 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 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/ae who act as advisors.
In addition, all Rhodes College 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 are also employed to assist and monitor the activities.
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. Members will learn how to balance their academic, work, campus involvement and social commitments.
Q: Doesn’t 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 and housing fees. A variety of payment plans are offered. Some chapters collect membership dues online using Omega Financial or similar web sites. Below is the average cost by council for an initiated member:
Membership Fee 540.00
Membership Fee 425.00
National Pan-Hellenic Council
Membership Fee 175.00
Like most things being a member of a fraternity or a sorority costs money. Some will say this money is used to buy friends. Other will tell you, if so then it was the best money they ever spent.
Fraternities and sororities collect dues once a semester (some once a month) for each member. The amount is determined by the chapter to ensure that their financial responsibilities to the national organization, governing council and other expenses are covered. Dues usually cover the following:
National membership dues
Insurance for each member
Governing council dues
Some philanthropy and social events.
The first semester will be the most expensive because it will include one-time fees such as new member, initiation and pin. Afterwards, dues will be determined by the chapter and an invoice given to you for the amount.
If your fraternity or sorority has a house, a housing or parlor fee will be assessed. Some chapters prorate this amount based upon your class standing.
In order to be a member in good standing, meaning that you can attend chapter events and socials, you must pay dues on time. All chapters have a payment plan option and some national organizations offer scholarships to help defray these costs.
Keep in mind that the treasurer is a student just like you and s/he goes to class, interns and participates in the fraternity or sorority. They are not financial wizards, but usually a member that has shown a demonstrated desire to lead and is good at finances. If you have questions and/or problems paying your dues, this is the person to talk to about it. Do not have your parent call the treasurer with question or to make arrangements for a payment plan. Make some time for you to sit down with him/her.
If you have questions about the financial requirements, it is very important that you ask them before deciding to join a fraternity or sorority. During recruitment is a great time to do ask these types of questions. Many fraternity and sorority members work part-time during the school year or over the summer to pay their dues.