Welcome, Parents and Family, to Greek life at Wright State University!
Greek life plays a central role in a vibrant campus life at Wright State--part of a complete university experience that prepares our graduates with the knowledge, skills, and cultural and social competency to lead and succeed in a rapidly changing world.
I know this first hand as I, too, had the opportunity to be part of Greek life during my college years. That experience led to rewarding and lifelong friendships--both personal and professional.
At Wright State, we welcome your role as a partner in your student’s educational experience. Your support is essential in helping your student tap into all the resources the university offers to help him or her succeed in college and in life.
Greek life at Wright State offers wonderful opportunities for your student to have fun and grow in a diverse academic and student environment, rich in programs and activities that foster academic achievement, community engagement, and leadership development.
From our award-winning faculty, state-of-the-art classrooms, and innovative and cutting-edge research and academic programs, Wright State has been transforming the lives of students since it was founded over 40 years ago.
I invite you to investigate all that Wright State has to offer your student, including the many opportunities that Greek life provides.
Thank you for your interest in Greek life at Wright State. And all the best to you and your student on an exciting and successful college career.
David R. Hopkins
President, Wright State University
What is my role as a parent?
- Students need support throughout the process of recruitment/intake and new member education. Be supportive and involved by learning as much as you can about Greek life by asking questions of your student as he or she meets members in fraternities and sororities.
- Keep an open mind . . . Greek life is not for everyone. Just because you may have been a fraternity or sorority member doesn't mean that it is the right choice for your son or daughter.
- To encourage your son or daughter to keep an open mind about each organization that they come into contact with. Fraternities and sororities are different on every campus. Let your son or daughter choose the group that he or she feels the most comfortable joining.
- Talk to your son or daughter beforehand about the financial obligation. Determine who will pay for what and where the limits are.
- Encourage your student to keep an open mind throughout the recruitment process. Understand that the fraternity/sorority recruitment is based on a mutual selection process, and students may not always become members of their ‘first choice’ fraternity or sorority. Students can find academic, social, and service opportunities in any and all of our Greek organizations.
- Do not become overly involved in the sorority and fraternity recruitment/intake process; this is your son or daughter's decision. There will be plenty of activities and events for you to attend or even help plan once your student joins one of our organizations!
- Too often, parents do not allow their students to "fight their own battles." It helps the student mature and gain some assertiveness when allowed to call various offices if they have questions or concerns about their decision to go Greek.
- Keep the Office of Student Activities contact information on hand. If you have any questions or concerns about Greek Life at Wright State University feel encouraged to contact our office.
What can I do as a parent or family member?
Be supportive, and learn as much as you can by asking your student questions before they join. Many groups will provide written statements concerning activities, finances, and policies; your student should be encouraged to obtain and read this information. In addition, allow your student to make their own choice (especially if you yourself were Greek). Your support should not end after the recruitment period but continue throughout your student's years in school. Once your student joins a chapter, take advantage of the Mom's and Dad's weekend activities and during the fall participate in Wright State’s Family Weekend. These are great opportunities for you to see your student interacting with their chapter members, and one more way for you to spend time with your student.
How will joining a chapter now benefit my student after college?
The life long friendships your student will make through their chapter can last into post-college years. Membership in a chapter can be a life-long experience. Joining now is really an investment in your student’s future. Wherever a member ends up after college, chances are he/she will be able to find an alumni chapter or other members of their fraternity or sorority in the area. In addition, Greeks have national networks for its members that could be helpful in finding jobs or internships.
What is a philanthropy or service project?
Greek members take it as part of their mission to support their national philanthropies (non-for-profit causes) financially and physically. Throughout the year, each the chapter spends time fundraising (which is considered philanthropy) and volunteering man/labor hours (which is considered community service) to help their particular philanthropy. In addition, the Greek Community Some of the philanthropies and community service opportunities that WSU Greeks have participated in, or donated to include: Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, American Cancer Society, Make-A-Wish, Boys and Girls Club, Ronald McDonald House, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Girl Scouts of America, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Habitat for Humanity, United Rehabilitation Services. The time spent together on these events is one of the many times that fraternity brothers and sorority sisters can bond, while making a difference in someone’s life.
What is the new member period (formerly ‘pledging’)?
All fraternity and sorority members experience a period of orientation. During this time, your student and other new members will participate in weekly meetings to learn about the university and the fraternity/sorority history, leadership retreats, community service projects, and activities designed to build friendships among new members (pledges/associates/candidates) and the initiated members. ALL FRATERNITY AND SORORITY POLICIES FORBID HAZING, and are committed to a membership education period that instills a sense of responsibility and commitment in the new members. This period will assist your student in overcoming some of the concerns about success in college.
How do I get more information about Greek Life?
There are many sources of information available -- especially if you have access to the world wide web. You can go to the Greek Life webpage for various resources and information. Also, you can contact the Office of Student Activities at (937) 775-5570 and someone can assist you with the questions you may have about Greek Life.
What is Rush/Recruitment/Intake?
Chapters on Wright State’s campus practice either recruitment or Intake. There are two forms of recruitment, formal and informal. Formal recruitment is often held prior to the beginning of the fall semester each year for Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic (NPC) groups. The formal process allows your son or daughter to explore the full range of student organizations and activities. However, throughout the remainder of the calendar year, both men and women will have the opportunity to meet and interact with fraternity and sorority members. The Membership Intake process to join an NPHC organization (the ‘Divine Nine’, historically African American Greek Letter organizations) occurs at various times throughout the year at the discretion of each organization. It is heavily encouraged that students do extensive research into the NPHC organizations by visiting their web sites and reading historical documents about each group, prior to contacting the respected organization.
Who is actually in charge of the fraternities and sororities?
Individual chapters elect officers to manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by alumni who act as advisors. Each chapter is also responsible to report with their Inter/national organization, which offers support, advice, and direction through paid professional staff and regional volunteers. At Wright State, Iris Mirelez, Assistant Director of Student Activities for Greek Life and Leadership, serves as the primary contact for the Greek community. You may contact Iris Mirelez via telephone at (937) 775-5560 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is hazing a part of the Greek culture at Wright State?
The Wright State University has a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing that is consistent with Ohio anti-hazing legislation. As listed in the Wright State University Student Handbook, “No student organization, individual student, or alumnus shall conduct nor condone hazing activities. Hazing activities are defined as:
"Any action taken or situation created, intentionally, whether on or off the campus premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule. Such activities may include but are not limited to the following: use of alcohol; paddling in any form; creation of excessive fatigue; physical and psychological shocks; wearing of public apparel that is conspicuous and not normally in good taste; engaging in public stunts; morally degrading or humiliating games and activities; and any other activities that are not consistent with academic achievement, fraternal law, ritual, or policy, or the regulations and policies of Wright State University, or applicable state and/or federal law(s).” (Wright State Student Handbook)
Hazing is not tolerated. If you sense your student may be participating in inappropriate activities as a result of membership in a fraternity or sorority, you should contact the Office of Greek Life. Calls will be handled in an immediate and discreet manner.
What is the financial obligation?
Like some opportunities for involvement in college there is a financial commitment associated with a joining a fraternity or sorority. The costs go toward the Inter/National fees, chapter operating expenses, and social functions. Financial obligations differ among individual chapters. New members can expect to pay higher dues their first semester than in subsequent ones. While your son or daughter is participating in the recruitment process, make sure that he or she asks about the financial obligations of membership.
What are the social aspects of fraternity and sorority membership?
Because the Greek community at Wright State contributes to the social activity on campus, the University, Office of Student Activities, council executives and national organizations have worked toward the creation of a responsible and safe environment for its members. All fraternities and sororities have strict policies regarding the consumption of alcohol by underage members and guests. All Greek organizations are held accountable to the Wright State University Alcohol Policy and Ohio state laws.
How will joining a Greek organization affect my student's academic pursuits?
Historically, Greek-letter organizations were founded on the principles of academic success and camaraderie. Today is no different. Our members realize that academic achievement is the main priority of Wright State students. Greek-letter organizations continue to strive for academic excellence and promote scholarship by providing academic resources for their members including tutoring, academic advisors, study groups, scholarships, and awards. Chapter members know the importance of helping new students to adjust to University academics. Many chapters have a rewards system based on GPA. Prospective members must meet a minimum GPA in order to be initiated and then must maintain a minimum GPA to remain an active member. In fact, Greek members GPA(s) are traditionally higher than their non-Greek colleagues.
How will my student benefit from joining a fraternity or sorority?
Fraternities and sororities are rooted in founding principles that foster academic achievement, student involvement, community service, and life-long friendships. Advantages include:
- A support group to help ease the adjustment to college.
- Scholastic resources to help student achieve their academic goals.
- Leadership skills acquired through hands-on experience.
- Encouragement to get involved, stay involved and maximize their potential on campus.
- Opportunities for active participation in community service projects.
Furthermore, National studies conducted annually consistently indicate that students who choose to join Greek-letter organizations experience many positive benefits, including the following:
- Greek students are more likely to stay in college than non-Greek students.
- College graduates who belong to a sorority or fraternity tend to be more financially successful than other college graduates.
- Greek alumni give both more money and more frequently to their alma maters than non-Greek alumni.
- Greek students are more active on campus and in community activities. Upon graduation, these members are also more likely to get involved in volunteer and charitable organizations.
Myths & Stereotypes
Dispelling myths about Greek life
Greek organizations have touched millions of lives throughout their 200 years of existence in American higher education. Fraternities and sororities have given innumerable students a sense of belonging, and they have helped to teach teamwork, interpersonal skills, self-control, the importance of being well rounded, and many other values. While undergraduates are the ones most directly affected by their involvement in Greek chapters, the relationships built within the framework of the Greek experience are still fostered and held dear by many people throughout their lives.
As society has changed, so has the role Greek organizations play in American society. Fraternities originally began as literary societies, but over time they developed into social living organizations. This transition brought many social changes for the undergraduates involved. More and more fraternities and sororities are placed in the spotlight and publicly criticized for various social problems.
This list answers many of the stereotypes about Greek life, and the information here will guide you to a better understanding of what the Wright State Greek community is doing to create a safer and more rewarding experience for its undergraduate members.
Being a member of a fraternity or sorority takes up an unreasonable amount of time
It’s true that joining a fraternity or sorority requires a certain amount of time and dedication. However, the time and effort required is by no means enough to interfere with other time commitments or academic success. The Greek commitment begins during a new member or pre-initiation period, when prospective chapter members are required to attend meetings or ceremonies to learn about their chapter’s history and values. Some chapters also administer written tests about chapter history and other information. This education serves a dual purpose: it gives prospective members enough information about their chapter to make an informed decision about whether or not to continue their participation, and it allows chapters to make informed decisions about whether or not to initiate the prospective members.
It’s a common misconception that joining a Greek community takes so much time that academic performance suffers and participation in other extracurricular activities is impossible. It’s true that an active social calendar and other Greek programming does take up a certain amount of time, but it’s incorrect to assume that this time commitment is unbearable or unreasonable. At Wright State academics remain top priority. This means that academic commitments preclude any other time commitments. Members of the Greek community are not required to attend any event, program, or meeting that might conflict with academic requirements.
Students with good time management skills can participate in a Greek chapter and still maintain their grades and involvement in other activities. Varsity athletes, members of pep band, ROTC students, theatre and dance majors, and pre-med or engineering majors are just a few examples of students with large time commitments who regularly join the Wright State Greek community. Remember, the extracurricular programming in the Greek system is available and beneficial, but certainly not required.
Being a part of a Greek organization is more expensive than other organizations
Many people outside the Greek community actually refer to this belief by saying that “Greeks buy their friends.” They assume that all fraternity and sorority members are rich and that the cost of Greek life is out of reach for many students.
There are costs associated with membership in a Greek organization, but these costs are reasonable considering the benefits. The fees will likely be higher during the quarter you join, but these fees often cover costs associated with the membership badge and a subscription to the national magazine. The fees vary from chapter to chapter and many offer payment plans. Be sure to ask each chapter about the required fees during recruitment.
Greeks are elitist, racist, and sexist
It’s easy for a person to make rash assumptions and judgments about things he or she is not familiar with. Unfortunately, the terms “elitist, racist, and sexist” are very grave accusations, and to stereotype Greeks as having prejudices is unfair and incorrect. These stereotypes are especially inapplicable to Wright State’s Greek community, as steps are taken on a regular basis to reach out to the campus and community. The Wright State Greek community welcomes people of all backgrounds and actively educates all members about the importance and value of diversity.
Many people argue that because fraternities only recruit men and sororities only recruit women that the two institutions are sexist. What these people fail to realize is that federal law exempts fraternities and sororities from Title IX guidelines. Greek chapters are social living organizations and are therefore not required to be coeducational. Wright State fraternities and sororities interact on a regular basis, and the Greek community sponsors educational programs on sexual harassment, abuse, and acquaintance rape annually.
Hazing is a reality among fraternities and sororities
Hazing is the most publicly feared concept associated with Greek life today. These fears are justified because hazing is easily the most dangerous and destructive practice an organization can take part in. Although many people automatically associate the term “hazing” with the idea of mistreating or abusing pledges or new members, any member can actually be a victim of hazing. Hazing can be 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.
Greek organizations nationwide strive to eliminate hazing from their cultures through proactive approaches and strict enforcement of anti-hazing policies. Wright State University’s Office of Student Activities and collaborative partners strive to provide quality anti-hazing programming and education. Wright State students can be assured of a safe and rewarding experience in a Wright State fraternity or sorority.
Greek chapters encourage binge drinking and drug abuse among their members
The movie Animal House has had a profound impact on the beliefs of many Americans about Greek life. But the stereotypical party atmosphere in the movie is not a reality—and certainly not the norm. Because Greek chapters comprise the largest student organizations nationwide, Greek communities are constantly in the media spotlight. Social problems such as binge drinking and drug use occur in nearly every facet of society, but their presence is magnified in fraternities and sororities.
Each Wright State chapter is required to abide by federal, state, and university policies on drugs and alcohol. Numerous programs are in place to educate and help to minimize the role that drugs and alcohol play within the Greek community. Detailed risk management policies outline the required steps to be taken to minimize liabilities and dangers at social events. Annual programming sponsored by the Wright State Office of Student Activities and collaborative partners, as well as, each chapter’s microprogramming have aided in greatly reducing the influence of drugs and alcohol at Wright State.
The Animal House/ Hollywood/TV image is true
In the 1980s the movie Animal House, starring John Belushi, became a smash hit. The movie’s satirical depiction of the wild side of fraternity life—binge drinking, widespread hazing, sexual harassment, wild toga parties, open drug use, and substandard living conditions—became the American public’s perception of Greek life. As the movie grew in popularity, sororities and fraternities nationwide saw a huge downturn in recruitment numbers.
This trend is still seen today. Almost every year the number of Greek chapters shrinks and the number of new initiates dwindles. Unfortunately, much of the poor public perception encouraged by Animal House is undeserved in today’s Greek systems. Nearly every state in the nation has adopted an anti-hazing law. College campuses, Greek systems, national Greek organizations, and individual chapters have all taken strides to reduce hazing, drug and alcohol abuse, and liability through stricter rules and increased educational programming. Granted, there are still isolated incidents of hazing and alcohol-related deaths or injuries, but many institutions, especially Wright State University, are taking proactive stances to prevent these tragedies.
Joining a Greek organization inhibits academic performance
Admittedly, fraternities and sororities have moved away from their roots of purely academic organizations such as literary societies. However, the transition to social groups does not necessarily mean that academics were thrown out the window. In fact, the opposite is true at Wright State. Undergraduates are attending the university to pursue an education, not membership in a Greek chapter.
This knowledge ensures an “academics first” attitude within the chapters. Academic performance is encouraged by both all-Greek programming and individual chapter policies. In general, each chapter has scholarship and new member education chairpersons who are responsible for maintaining academic success within the chapters. Study hours, academic accountability partners, and scholarship are a few examples of academic programming at the chapter level.
Greek chapters are irresponsible because they do not answer to a higher authority
There is a common misperception that because Greek chapters are social organizations maintained by the undergraduates who are members of them, there is a complete lack of authority and control. Truth be told, an elaborate hierarchy of power is in place to ensure the success and safety of undergraduate members.
Each fraternity and sorority has the opportunity to hold a number of leadership positions. Each officer has a set of duties he or she is responsible for completing. Chapters may 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 bodies:
- Greek Affairs Council (GAC), National Pan-Hellenic (NPHC), Interfraternity (IFC), and National Panhellenic Conference(NPC) executive councils act as governing bodies for the fraternity and sorority chapters. These executive councils are comprised of seven or eight experienced officers who are elected by the presidents of each fraternity or sorority. The executive councils develop and enforce policies within the Wright State Greek community.
- Each Chapter’s Alumni/ae Advisory Board is made up of Chapter Alumni/ae who volunteer their time to advise the chapter. These Alumni/ae make sure the Chapter is functioning properly and that the undergraduate members are acting safe and responsibly.
- Each chapter is sponsored and given its charter, or permission to operate, by a large national fraternity or sorority. These national organizations ultimately determine the status of their member chapters. (One chapter, Beta Phi Omega, is nota a part of a larger national organization but has been on Wright State’s campus since Wright State’s first year. This chapter has an active Alumni Governing Board and is required to meet all policies of a national organization.) Therefore, all of Wright State’s chapters must meet certain guidelines and complete the appropriate paperwork required by their national organizations.
- And because Greek chapters are registered with Wright State as student organizations, they must also abide by university policies. These regulations are imposed by university administrators.
- The final and most stringent set of policies that Greek chapters must abide by is state and federal laws. In conclusion, there are many bodies in place to help maintain a safe and appropriate environment for members of the Greek community.
Fraternities and sororities do not foster leadership skills
There’s no shortage of leadership opportunities in the Wright State Greek community. Each individual chapter has elected officer positions each year, and Greek-wide leadership positions on the Greek Affairs Council (GAC) National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), Interfraternity Council (IFC) and National Panhellenic Council (NPC) are also available.
Another great resource for developing leadership abilities is the abundance of role models and mentors who share their experiences and knowledge with younger members. Also, Greek community members have access to leadership programs and resources provided by the Wright State Office of Student Activities.
The Greek experience will not mold well-rounded individuals
This belief is without a doubt the most incorrect assumption about Greek life. Greek communities offer limitless opportunities for academic, leadership, social, and personal development.
Chapter members have access to older, more experienced students, mentors, and scholarship programming within their chapters. Wright State University values academic excellence, and this attitude is carried on within the Greek community through the credo “academics first.” Chapters understand that academic responsibilities take priority over all other programming or requirements.
You’ll find leadership positions in each chapter, within the Greek community, and across the entire university. Greeks are exposed to mentors and role models in every facet of Greek life. Members of the Greek Community have access to leadership programs and resources provided by the Wright State Office of Student Activities.
An active social calendar helps members of the Greek community to finetune interpersonal skills. Constant interaction with members of their own and other chapters helps members to network and build long-lasting friendships.
Individuals 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 covered by speakers, roundtable discussions, and other programming sponsored by the Wright State Greek community.
Joining a chapter eliminates the ability to develop friendships with other students on campus
This belief is absolutely false. Interaction with students in and out of the Greek community occurs all the time. Friends are made in the classroom and in all types of extracurricular activities, and the list goes on and on. Many members of the Wright State Greek community made lots of friends while living in either the residence halls or in off-campus apartments. And most students maintain strong friendships with students from high schools or hometowns—whether or not they join a fraternity or sorority.
To foster an inclusive atmosphere, the Greek community at Wright State has taken huge strides planning campus-wide events. Chapter philanthropies, Homecoming festivities, and events such as Up-til-Dawn have all been designed to include the entire Wright State student body and surrounding community.
Parents can’t be involved in their student’s Greek experience
Each Wright State fraternity and sorority plans events to involve the families of chapter members. Chapters may host a Dad’s Weekend, Mom’s Weekend, Sibling’s Weekend, or Family Weekend. Keep in mind that individual chapters are responsible for planning their own events, so it might be important to ask chapters about these events. In addition, most chapters keep family members up to date on chapter news through newsletters or other means.
Joining a fraternity or sorority does not offer any advantages over other collegiate activities
Many people outside the Greek community do not see the wealth of opportunities available through fraternities and sororities. They’re wrong.
Academic resources—such as older undergraduates, study hours, study groups, and friends to keep students academically accountable—are not in short supply. Leadership skills are fostered through chapter offices, university leadership positions, and many role models and mentors. A planned social calendar aids in developing interpersonal skills, a network of friends and resources, and lifelong friendships. The Greek experience also offers community service opportunities.
Greek life also offers a network of Alumni/ae throughout your lifetime. Being a part of a Greek organization offers a lifetime bond that is not likely to be found in other campus organizations.
New members are not allowed to participate in chapter decision making
It is generally believed that new or prospective members of Greek living organizations are allowed no input whatsoever, that they are treated as inferiors, and that they are subservient to active chapter members. In reality, new members are the foundation of any Greek chapter. They can make or break chapter success depending upon the effort, heart, and soul they put into their chapter.>
Different fraternities and sororities use different programs to prepare their new members for initiation. Some chapters utilize a new member system. This system is designed around the idea that new members will learn and grow the most in a close-knit group with other new members, or a new member class. New members are not allowed to vote in chapter, but are offered many opportunities to become active in their organization. For example, planning a community a service project or becoming a committee member. While new members may not vote, they have a great deal of input in chapter events and decisions. In this particular system, new member class unity is believed to be the foundation of brotherhood and growth. Friendships and bonds are strongest among members of the same age and new member class.
A second type of new member education is called an associate program. New members are called “associates” because they are associating with the chapter prior to initiation. Associates have the same privileges as the active members within the chapter. Voting privileges and responsibilities are the same for all members, regardless of age or class. This system focuses on chapter-wide unity. Friendships and bonds are not necessarily stronger among members of the same age or class.
Each type of education program has its strengths and benefits. Regardless of format, this programming is vital to developing worthwhile and active chapter members.
Fraternities and sororities do not benefit their surrounding communities
By being in the public spotlight, Greek communities are often blamed for social problems and isolated tragedies, but rarely given the credit they deserve for positive contributions to their communities.
Each national fraternity and sorority has an established philanthropy (donated funds), or community service program (donated man/labor hours), that raises money for a charity of choice. These philanthropies are carried out by member chapters all over the nation. The community service programs are good for public relations, and they help with recruitment efforts, but above all they allow chapters to give back to the community. These nationally designed service projects make up only a small percentage of the actual service projects carried out by Greek communities. Wright State Greek undergraduates donated many hours and dollars to the surrounding community last year. Most of the time and money was donated at Chapter-initiated events and by individual volunteerism. These community service projects are fun and often double as social events because chapters regularly donate their time and energy to events sponsored by other chapters.
This document modified from http://www.K-State.edu/greek/families/stereotypes.htm
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Spring 2016 Report