Information for Parents
The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life is responsible for advising social Greek organizations and their respective governing councils at Shippensburg University. In essence, we aim to help our Greek students be an active part of the University and surrounding community while reinforcing the ideals and expectations set forth by their individual organizations and the University.
Joining a fraternity or sorority is much more than just a social outlet. Fraternities and sororities were founded upon and promote the highest ideals in scholarship, service, leadership, and friendship. Associating with, or joining, a fraternity or sorority gives a student an instant "home away from home" and a family of hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of brothers or sisters around the country, who also can serve as a great network when traveling or looking for a job after graduation.
Membership in a Greek organization should be complimentary to the educational mission of the University, and the skills learned from being a part of an active chapter can be utilized in the classroom setting and beyond. This part of our website is designed to help you learn more about Fraternity & Sorority Life at Shippensburg University. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the office.
Benefits of Membership
There are many challenges to face at Ship. You will be making new friends, adjusting to college academics, and utilizing time management skills. There are many organizations here at Shippensburg University that offers things such as friendship, academic support, leadership skills, and social activities. Fraternity & Sorority Life offer all of these and more. Joining Greek like is an excellent way for you to ease into college life, build your resume and experiences; all while making long lasting friendships.
BENEFIT #1 - BROTHERHOOD/SISTERHOOD
As a member of the Greek community, you will have the opportunity to meet students of various backgrounds with both similar and different interest in a smaller, more comfortable atmosphere than our University of 8,000 usually offers. Within each of the chapters, there is a close bond of friendship and family which only that atmosphere can foster. The ideal of brotherhood/sisterhood is a cornerstone upon which each fraternity/sorority is built and from which you will receive the greatest benefit. Every person contributes to this aspect. The Greek system combines the concept of individualism within the framework of mutual cooperation.
As a member of an organization you will form friendships unlike those found in other organizations. No sorority or fraternity is made up of members who are exactly alike. By choosing to enter fraternity and sorority life, you will meet those who will become your closest friends, those who will cheer you on when you're successful, and cheer you up when the going gets tough. From this unbreakable support system you can easily branch off into other areas of college life, knowing all the while your brotherhood/sisterhood is behind you no matter what.
BENEFIT #2 - SCHOLARSHIP
The academic portion of your college career is one significant determinant in your future success. A primary purpose of the Greek community is to encourage and develop high scholastic achievement among its members. Several factors contribute to this academic atmosphere, including peer tutoring, counseling by other affiliated members, and chapter study hours which introduce new students to the studying that college requires.
Within each organization there are members in a wide variety of colleges and departments. This is an advantage in that you will be able to seek help from others who are taking or have taken the same classes and there will others who can advise you on which classes and instructors are the best in many fields.
Nationally just over 50% of students graduate from college. However, U.S. Department of Education data shows the Greek members graduate at a rate in excess of 70%! Fraternities and sororities help you meet the challenge of balancing academics while gaining the most from your collegiate experience.
The combination of friendships and Greek family, intermingling with solid academic excellence goals help you become a well-rounded, intelligent member of the Ship family, and of the work force when you graduate.
BENEFIT #3 - LEADERSHIP
In a fraternity or sorority, you may be in "charge" of an event or a duty. Everyone in the organization is a leader, whether you're an officer, on a committee, or a participant. You will learn by doing. You will learn how to manage a budget, run effective meetings, speak in public, and motivate others. All of which are skills that will not only benefit your academic career, but your professional career as well. These days it takes more than just a degree to get a good job - it takes leadership experience.
-- 48% of all United States Presidents have been Greek
-- 42% of all United States Senators are Greek
-- 30% of all United States Congressmen/women are Greek
-- 40% of all United States Supreme Court Justices have been Greek
BENEFIT #4 - SERVICE
The Ship fraternity and sorority community provides services to more than just its members. One of the many advantages of being part of the community is time spent helping others in need. The commitment found in members can be seen in the enthusiasm they have in giving back to the community in Community service, also known as philanthropies. Philanthropies are projects and events organized by groups or individuals to benefit the surrounding communities. They can involve members from one Greek organization or from the entire Greek community. What is most important is that Greek organizations work side by side to help local or national charitable organizations and the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction these activities provide. Nationally, Greeks provide the largest network of volunteers in the United States and contribute 10 million hours of volunteer service each year.
-adapted from Penn State University
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you'll find some frequently asked questions parents have when their son or daughter is thinking about joining a fraternity or sorority. If you should have any additional questions, please feel free to contact the office.
How will being a member of an organization contribute to and/or hinder my son's or daughter's educational experience?
Making the decision to join a fraternity or sorority is a significant one. It is a lifelong commitment that extends beyond a student's college career. Fraternity & Sorority Life at Shippensburg University provides students with a variety of opportunities to get involved in their campus community. The expectations associated with being a member of a fraternity or sorority do place demands on a student's time. However, these are not only social and philanthropic. Our organizations place a high emphasis on successful academics. However demanding "pledging" can be, there is always room for flexibility within one's pledge program. The key concept for parents to be aware of is communication! Just as Shippensburg University students are expected to communicate their difficulties to their professors, it is no different within a fraternity or sorority. If your son or daughter experiences being overextended or overwhelmed, encourage him to talk the New Member Educator or Chapter President. Once those difficulties have been communicated, the chapter should make every effort to assist their member. If the problem persists after discussing it with the New Member Educator or Chapter President, please have your son or daughter contact the Fraternity & Sorority Life Office.
What requirements are there to join a fraternity or sorority?
First-year students are not allowed to join a fraternity or sorority until the spring semester. Upperclassmen may join during the fall semester if chapters are taking new members at that time as long as they are an undergraduate student attending Shippensburg University, have at least the chapter minimum GPA, have taken at least 12 credit hours, and are in good judicial standing with the university. Men and women who are interested in joining a fraternity or sorority must sign grade releases and register with the Fraternity & Sorority Life Office while attending any recruitment events. More information on specific recruitment policies, procedures, and dates can be found on How to Join.
Will my son or daughter have to worry about hazing as a part of their Greek experience?
Hazing is perhaps the biggest disgrace of the American fraternity system. Popular movies and television shows have created the impression that all chapters include hazing activities as a step in becoming an active member of the organization. This is not true. Hazing is forbidden amongst all the National Fraternities and Sororities and not to mention in the state of Pennsylvania and on the campus of Shippensburg University. As a conscientious parent of the SU Greek community, it is imperative that you help us to eliminate any potential hazing. That includes an obligation to report hazing if you see it or hear about it through your son or daughter. If your son or daughter needs to report a hazing incident they should contact the Fraternity & Sorority Life Office. For more information you can check out Myths and Facts about Hazing as well as review Shippensburg's Hazing Policy.
Do you have any helpful hints for me as a parent?
The following is a list of suggestions that may help ease your student's transition to both the University and the Greek community.
- Be happy and supportive with your son's or daughter's choice of fraternity or sorority.
- Encourage your son or daughter to attend programs sponsored by Fraternity & Sorority Life Office.
- Ask for details about the financial aspect of membership. If you are paying, you have the right to know. Many onetime dues are paid during the first year, so expect the first year to be the most expensive.
- Initiation is an important time for the new initiates. Be supportive and respectful of this time for your student.
- Talk with your son or daughter. Stay in touch with phone calls, letters, and care packages.
- Encourage your son or daughter to be a part of the University community and to take advantage of its many resources.