Greek Life 101
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers!
1. Is Greek life only part of the collegiate experience?
Membership in a Greek-letter organization is for a lifetime. The experience provides opportunities for friendship and connections as well as personal and professional growth. Even after graduation, many alumni continue to be involved by joining local alumni associations and/or volunteering for their inter/national organizations.
2. What are the benefits of joining a Greek-letter organization?
Membership in a Greek-letter organization provides a number of different opportunities, including the ability to connect and share common interests, develop leadership skills, gain academic support, and serve others and the community.
First and foremost, organizations promise a lifetime of friendship and support. These connections — to collegians and alumni— also provide valuable professional networking opportunities during college and beyond.
Greek-letter organizations strongly believe in making a difference and leaving a lasting impact. Each organization supports various philanthropic causes through donations and community service. Members continue to support these important endeavors well after college by participating in alumni associations.
Members may serve in leadership positions. The experience combined with training offers members the chance to develop and enhance valuable skills, such as public speaking, organizational leadership, peer-to-peer communication, and budgeting.
3. How are Greek-letter organizations structured?
Each organization has a multilayer volunteer structure with a fully staffed inter/national office to support organizational initiatives.
Members join collegiate chapters first, which are run by elected chapter officers and supported by the inter/national organization’s volunteers and staff.
Upon graduation, members transition to alumni status. By joining a local alumni association, a member can continue to make connections, participate in leadership opportunities, and support philanthropic causes.
4. What are Greek-letter organizations looking for in members?
Each Greek-letter organization has its own criteria for membership. But, in general, organizations are looking for friendly, smart and motivated individuals who want to be active participants.
Starting a chapter is a unique opportunity. Charter members tend to have an entrepreneurial spirit and are focused on leaving a lasting legacy on the campus.
5. Does it cost anything to join a Greek-letter organization?
Members are required to pay annual membership dues. Each organization works with its chapters to set realistic dues, which go to the respective inter/national office as well as to the chapter budget to support local activities, including philanthropies and social events.
6. What are the academic expectations of membership?
Greek-letter organizations are committed to academic excellence and supporting members in their academic endeavors. Each organization sets GPA requirements for members. Most organizations provide additional tools and resources to help members excel in the classroom.
7. What is a legacy and what does it mean when joining an organization?
A legacy is a sister or brother, daughter or son, granddaughter or grandson, or great-granddaughter or great-grandson of an initiated member of a specific Greek-letter organization. Although each organization establishes its own legacy policy, in general, careful consideration is given to legacies interested in joining. There is no guarantee an offer of membership will be extended.
8. How do I learn more or express my interest in Greek life at Pfeiffer University?
To learn more or express your interest, visit www.GoGreekAtPfeiffer.com and fill out the interest form.
You can also email Ron Laffitte, Vice President for Student Affairs, and President Colleen Keith to tell them how excited you are about this opportunity. Once they get a better understanding about the level of interest from the student body, they will determine if Pfeiffer University is ready to establish a Greek-letter community on campus.
9. What's it like to be a new member? What does that process look like?
Most organizations have a curriculum specifically designed for new members to help them get to know and become immersed in the organization. Typically, the curriculum covers the organization's history, important procedures, risk prevention and member safety, and available resources. Furthermore, there are bonding activities and events so new members can get to know one another as well as active members before initiation.
10. What is initiation like?
Initiation is a beautiful part of the Greek-letter experience. Every group has its own ritual ceremony to officially welcome new members into membership, celebrate friendships, and teach new members the organization’s secret matter. For example, many groups have a secret handshake that only members know. So, at the initiation ceremony, new members may learn this handshake because they are officially members.
11. How do you promote connections and friendship within chapters?
Typically, these friendships and connections start at chapter meetings. Most chapters hold chapter meetings once per week for all members to get together, catch up, and conduct chapter business. Additionally, other events may be planned to bring everyone together and build a strong support system. Examples of planned events include baking or cooking a meal, celebrating birthdays, or having a movie night.
12. What does intergenerational mentoring look like?
In general, organizations connect their collegiate members to their alumni members through alumni associations and events.
13. What is the local support for a chapter?
Local support for a chapter includes various levels of volunteerism. Alumni may participate on a daily or weekly basis to advise a chapter or they may donate large chunks of time for just one or two days during recruitment.
14. What about hazing in Greek-letter organizations?
Hazing is prohibited in Greek-letter organizations. For most organizations, any member who participates in or permits hazing is subject to dismissal or other disciplinary action.
15. What about risk management and the safety of members?
Most Greek-letter organizations have tailored programs and curriculum that address the topics of risk management and safety that allow members and chapters to contribute to a safe campus and community.
16. What type of financial support do Greek-letter organizations provide to members?
Every Greek-letter organization handles financial support a little differently. In general, organizations typically have scholarships available to members. Some of these scholarships are based on financial need. More commonly, they're awarded based on a member’s academic endeavors.
17. Are members expected to perform a certain number of service hours or study hours?
Every Greek-letter organization has its own expectations for members. Some do require a certain number of service hours and/or study hours while others leave that for individual chapters to decide.
18. What's the time commitment like? Can I be involved in other activities too?
The time commitment varies from chapter to chapter. Generally, most members do participate in other student organizations. In fact, most Greek-letter organizations encourage members to be active participants in campus events and activities outside of the chapter.
19. What about philanthropy and community service in Greek life?
Philanthropy and service to the community are part of the values and mission of most Greek-letter organizations. Each group has a philanthropic cause it supports locally and nationally. Causes vary from literacy and getting children access to reading materials to breast cancer awareness and fighting hunger. Greek-letter organizations are known for their charitable work.
20. What academic support is available through Greek-letter organizations?
Most Greek-letter organizations place an emphasis on academic excellence. The support may look a little different from organization to organization. However, most provide a support system as well as tools to help set members up for success.