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Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life | Division of Student Affairs | Clemson University

For Parents

What will my child get out of fraternity or sorority membership that they would not get out of any other college organization?

Coming to college is one of the major life changes that your son/daughter will go through. Joining a fraternity or sorority will help make the transition easier. The fraternity or sorority experience is multifaceted and offers numerous opportunities to your student. Developing life-long friendships with the members in their chapter and other chapters helps make the campus seem smaller. For many members, these chapters become a home away from home. In addition to the brother/sisterhood, every chapter is dedicated to enhancing leadership, scholarship, philanthropy/service and financial responsibility through various programs, services, and opportunities. It will be up to your student to determine the level of involvement they want to have in the organization and what kind of experience it will be for them.

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. Greeks have national networks for members to use for securing jobs and advancing careers. Membership in a chapter can be a life-long experience that the member and the fraternity/sorority enjoy together. Joining now is an investment in your student’s future as they will reap the benefits now and for a lifetime. Wherever a member ends up after college, chances are he/she will be able to find other members of the same fraternity/sorority.

Will my student’s academics be compromised if they join a fraternity or sorority chapter?

Students often find managing their time difficult when moving from the highly structured high school environment to the freedom of challenge. Fraternity/sorority membership assists in that transition by offering scholarship programs that may include study partners, study hours, and time management and study skill workshops. Your student can also access the network of chapter members who already know how to use campus resources like the library, study skills center, computer labs and academic advisors. Nothing, however, can take the place of a disciplined and academically focused student to ensure success in college. For specific information about grades for individual organizations, please check our Grades/Statistics Link

Aren’t fraternities and sororities just like the ones in the movies and television?

Unfortunately, individuals without complete information often define the image of fraternity and sorority life. Since only 2 percent of the U.S. population is Greek, most people don’t have first-hand experience and stereotypes are the norm. Greek organizations do hold social events, but most of these do not include alcohol. These “social” events include educational programs/workshops, community service events, intramural sports, Parent’s Days, Homecoming, Greek Week and date events in addition to parties and mixers. Today’s fraternity and sorority communities across the nation have adopted a stringent approach to socializing thereby creating a safer, more beneficial environment for its members. There are strict guidelines and procedures concerning the availability of alcohol at chapter events, and these rules are enforced by the national organizations, the University, and by internal chapter standards.

How much time does a chapter take up?

The time commitment varies from chapter to chapter, but the first semester is most time intensive as the new member goes through the chapter’s Education Program. The time spent in this program will give your student the opportunity to develop their leadership and time management skills, learn about the history and tradition of the organization, develop friendships with their new member class as well as the rest of the chapter and allow them to become involved in other activities and organizations. After the initiation into the chapter, expectations will vary. Each chapter has weekly chapter meetings and other mandatory events (philanthropies, service and initiation) throughout the year, but they are planned well in advance.

Doesn’t membership cost a lot of money?

The perception that fraternities and sororities are only an option for “rich” students is widespread and false. Fraternities and Sororities are quite affordable and fees go to services that will positively impact your child. Each chapter is self-supported through dues charged to all members. In the first year of membership, a few one-time expenses are assessed. First semester costs run a little higher, but will go down the following semester.

What about pledging or hazing?

All new 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 and initiated members. ALL FRATERNITY AND SORORITY POLICIES STRICTLY FORBID HAZING. Clemson University also has a strict policy against hazing. If you have a concern about hazing, please contact us immediately at greek@clemson.edu.

Who actually is in charge of the organization, and is there outside support?

Students elected to officer positions manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by members serving on committees, so everyone is involved in and exposed to leadership positions. Each member learns cooperation, communication and planning skills. Alumni act as advisers, and some chapters have alumni advisory boards that work with its members. Each group is governed by a(n) inter/national headquarters, which established their chapter’s regulations, and offers advice and direction through professional staff and volunteers.
The Assistant Directors of Fraternity and Sorority Life are Clemson’s professional staff liaison to the Fraternity and Sorority community, offering support, advice and guidance to governing councils, chapter officers, advisers and members.

What is my role as a parent?

Take the time to find out more about the fraternity and sorority community at Clemson. Ask questions about what the organizations will offer your child and allow them to make the best decision for themselves. Once your child chooses to join a chapter, there will be opportunities for Parent’s Weekend activities, visiting chapter events, and possibly joining the chapter’s Parents’ Club. Take the time to talk to your child about Fraternity and Sorority life and their chapter.