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Information for Parents and Family

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Greek Life

Greek Life Parents & Family

Introduction

Perceptions of Fraternities and Sororities differ widely among parents and students. This information seeks to explain many of the areas of Greek Life specifically concerning parents.

What are Fraternities and Sororities?

Although almost everyone has heard about what Fraternities and Sororities are as well as what they do, what are the actual reasons that they exist? Many stereotypes exist about Fraternities and Sororities but when one inquires into their fundamental intent, action, and purpose one will see a very different representation.  Fraternities and Sororities are organizations made up of groups of students that have bonded together and agreed to live out the values espoused by their founders, their creed, and the national organization. The Fraternities and Sororities are values based social organizations; meaning, that the organizations subscribe to a specific set of core values and beliefs that incorporate the concepts of brotherhood / sisterhood, service, tradition, scholarship, leadership and building relationships into their ideals and traditions.

What are the Benefits of Joining a Fraternity or Sorority?

  • Fraternity or sorority members at Kean University have the ability to achieve academic excellence through study hours, chapter scholarship programs, honor societies, and assistance by older members within his/her chapter.
  • Studies have shown that members of Greek Organizations are statistically more likely to return to school the following year.
  • The networking available through alumni relations and members of other chapters is extensive. One of the four pillars of the Greek community is brotherhood / sisterhood, which is the development of friends into brothers and sisters for life. Being a member provides your student with support through good times and bad as well as job opportunities and networking following graduation.
  • Fraternities and sororities at Kean University encourage members to get involved in their respective chapters, the Greek community, and in campus organizations beyond merely the social level. For our members alone, there are a number of leadership opportunities that can increase students’ achievement in academics, and enhance leadership, communication, and management skills.
  • One concern for prospective students is the size of the University. Fraternity and Sorority Life is one of the best ways for your student to locate that sense of community while still promoting academics, involvement on campus, and developing lifetime friendships and networking.
  • Community Service is a key component of our Greek community. Events are readily available for your student to maintain his/her contributions to the local community.

The Center for Advanced Social Research at the University of Missouri has compiled the following information about Greek Life:

  • Following graduation, Greek-affiliated alumni have higher average incomes than non-Greek alumni.
  • Even when accounting for parents' educational levels, graduation year, and gender, students who were affiliated with fraternities and sororities have higher average incomes following graduation.
  • Students who join fraternities and sororities are more likely to return to college the following year.
  • Students who join fraternities and sororities are 28% more likely to return to school the following year than students who choose not to join.
  • Following graduation, Greek-affiliated alumni are involved in more civic organizations and contribute more financially to charitable organizations than non-Greek alumni.
  • Fraternity and sorority involvement correlates positively with citizen involvement and charitable giving later in life.

Frequent Topics of Interest for Parents and Family

Financial Responsibility - Greek letter organizations have been self-sufficient since their inception, and continue that tradition today.  Upon joining a Greek organization, your son or daughter will be billed both a candidate and initiation fee by the national organization.  These are one time only fees that will help cover the cost of the materials your son or daughter used during the new member process (manuals, leadership retreats, etc.). Every semester thereafter, your student will be expected to financially commit to local dues assessed by the chapter, which cover annual educational programs, social activities, and insurance fees from the national organization.  

New Member Education - With the common stereotypes of Greek organizations predicated through examples such as "Animal House," many parents have concerns regarding the procedure of joining a Greek organization on campus.  The Greeks here at Kean University are a progressive community that has taken a strong stance against any type of hazing.  During the new member education period the University conducts a group of workshops so that students know what constitutes hazing and that it is against the law.  Any student that feels they are being hazed is encouraged to report the hazing to the authorities and the Office of Greek Life. If you, as a parent are made aware of any hazing that your student experienced while at the college, please report this to the Office of Greek Life.

Academics - The academic life of any student during his or her college years is of the utmost importance for someone looking to succeed during his or her career.  The Greek organizations of Kean University understand this, and strive to provide their members with the best opportunities to succeed while being active in the organization.  Fraternities and Sororities include within their education program for new members, study sessions, as well as library hours. Joining a Greek Organization can be time intensive, so Kean University requires that all new members must have a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA. This GPA requirement is to ensure that the students who are joining Greek Organizations are able to manage extra time commitments while maintaining academic excellence. In addition, Kean University has deferred recruitment, which means students can not join a Fraternity or Sorority until their second semester. The purpose of deferred recruitment is to ensure that your son or daughter is acclimated to college life before adding additional responsibilities and time commitments.

All organizations require a minimum GPA higher than a 2.5 in order to join and remain a member, and even higher GPA requirements to become an executive board member.  Each individual chapter has an elected scholarship chair that is responsible for keeping track of members and their academic performance.  The scholarship chair helps not only those who are struggling, but also develops programs to assist the entire chapter in excelling academically.  The scholarship chair offers scholarships, awards, and programs for individual members and the chapter in order to realize the entire organizations academic success to its full potential.

Secrecy - Although some parents who have knowledge about the system may not consider this aspect of Greek life to be of high concern, many of the stereotypes that exist around Greek life cause the issue of secret societies to be a concern for parents.  For those parents who have had no previous involvement or experience with Greek organizations, several aspects of the organizations' membership knowledge and traditions are unknown to the uninitiated.  Fraternity and Sorority rituals and secrets exist not to separate members of the Greek community, but instead are designed to bring together common bonds and shared values. In no way are the ritual and secrets of fraternities and sororities designed to be an elitist dogma that seeks to separate people along the basis of membership in an organization.

Fraternities and Sororities at Kean University offer great opportunities for students to experience leadership, scholarship, service, and life-long friendships.

-Adapted from Gettysburg College

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