Information for Prospective Members
Are you interested in joining a fraternity or sorority? If so, we think that's great news! There are a lot of reasons to "Go Greek" and a lot of benefits one can gain from membership in a fraternity or sorority. Ship students interested in joining a fraternity or sorority are encouraged to review this website, including the requirements for joining a fraternity or sorority. If you have any questions regarding joining and organization please feel free to contact us!
How to Join
Each governing council has a different structure for bringing new members into organizations. Once an individual is selected/invited to join, all groups have an education/orientation period for new members to familiarize themselves with the organization and members prior to initiation. While sometimes termed "New Member" period, this is not to be confused with hazing, which is illegal and against the values of brotherhood and sisterhood. If you think you are being hazed or need more information about anti-hazing efforts, review the Hazing Policy or contact the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life at (717) 477-1848. In addition, please review the Guidelines for joining a fraternity or sorority for more information.
Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) fraternities participate in Rush, which is typically held in the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters every year. During two weeks of events, prospective brothers have the opportunity to meet the members of the different organizations, and then are invited to the final nights of Rush leading up to the extension of Bids. Men then are able choose which organization to join based on individual best fit.
National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) sororities and fraternities decide individually when they are going to have a Membership Intake Process (or “Intake”), and will then hold an information/interest session and select candidates from those interested individuals. The best way to find out about Intake is to attend the programs of the fraternities or sororities you are interested in, and let the members know that you would like to know more about joining. More information regarding events held by these organizations can be addressed with the Multicultural Student Affairs Office at (717) 477-1616.
The process to join a Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) organization varies by the fraternity or sorority involved, although usually these groups hold intake like the NPHC groups as described above. To learn more about joining an MGC organization, attend their educational programs, interest meetings, or Meet the Greeks events. More information regarding events held by these organizations can be addressed with the Multicultural Student Affairs Office at (717) 477-1616.
Women's Panhellenic Council (WPC) sororities have a week of recruitment in the Fall & Spring each year. This week includes various fun & exciting events for potential sisters to meet members from all of the sororities on campus. Each event is an opportunity for potential new members (PNM's) to ask questions and experience what each organization has to offer. There is a mutual selection process culminating in what is termed Bid Day. For more information, please contact the Women's Panhellenic Council Executive Board by emailing email@example.com.
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 offer 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
Greeks often use specific terminology related to their activities and membership. Here are some terms frequently used in Greek life.
Active: A fully initiated member of a sorority or fraternity.
Alumnae: A graduated member of a sorority (singular is alumna).
Alumni: A graduated member of a fraternity (singular is alum).
Badge: Also known as a pin, a piece of jewelry given to initiation members worn to identify their membership in the organization. Typically worn to official events, it is only worn while in business like attire, and usually worn over the heart and above all other pins.
Bid: A formal invitation to join a Greek organization.
Brother: An active member of a fraternity.
Chapter: A local group of a national organization.
Colony: A Greek organization that is just starting & has not yet completed all of the requirements necessary to be a fully chartered chapter.
Continuous Open Bidding (COB): A time after formal NPC sorority recruitment when bids may still be extended and accepted. Not all NPC Chapters participate in COB. This is also sometimes referred to as COR(continuous open recruitment) or CR (continuous recruitment)
Crossing: Ceremony during which new members of multicultural Greek organizations become active, life-long members of their organization.
Fraternity: A Greek organization for men. Many of the older women's organizations are officially known as fraternities rather than sororities. Also refers to co-ed Greek organizations.
Greek: A sorority or fraternity member.
Inter-fraternity Council (IFC): The governing body of fraternities.
Initiation: Ceremony during which new members of NPC and IFC organizations become active, life-long members of their organization.
Intake: Period where students interested in MGC or NPHC organizations can receive a bid to join.
Legacy: A person whose parent, grandparent, or sibling was an active member of a sorority or fraternity.
MRABA: membership recruitment acceptance binding agreement
National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO): National umbrella council for Latino Greek letter organization. There are 24 member organizations.
North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC): International organization that governs 66 inter/national fraternities.
National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC): The governing body of the nine traditionally African American fraternities and sororities, also known as the "Divine Nine."
National Panhellenic Conference (NPC): An umbrella organization for 26 inter/national women's fraternities and sororities.
New Member: A person who has accepted a bid to an NPC or IFC organization but has not been initiated yet.
Panhellenic Council (Panhel): A group of sorority women who govern, as a unit, the Panhellenic chapters on a campus.
Potential Member: A student who is not yet part of a Greek lettered organization but is interested in Fraternity & Sorority Life.
Quota: A specific number of women that each NPC sorority may extend membership to.
Recruitment: Formal process where interested women can learn more about NPC organizations and be asked to join.
Ritual: Private ceremony of a Greek lettered organization. The formal document that contains the secret principles and ideals upon which the organization was founded. Only initiated members are privy to the ritual; learning the ritual is usually a part of the initiation ceremony. Ritual is sacred and unique to each inter/national organization and is the common bond between all members of an sorority or fraternity, regardless of when or where they were initiated.
Rush: Period where interested men can learn more about IFC organizations and be asked to join.
Sister: An active member of a sorority.
Soror: A member of an NPHC sorority. This term is usually not used by NPC sororities.
Sorority: A Greek letter organization for women. Many sororities are officially fraternities; however, most refer to themselves as sororities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I join a fraternity or sorority?
Joining a fraternity or sorority at Ship will be one of the best decisions you ever make.
Sororities and fraternities have a rich history at Ship dating back to the 1950s. These organizations are rooted in founding principles that foster academic achievement, student involvement, community service, and life-long friendships. Fraternities and sororities are groups of men and women who come together to form a personal network of individuals with similar ideas, interests, and a mutual pursuit of a well-rounded college education. Advantages include:
- A support group to help make the adjustment to college easier
- Scholastic resources to help student achieve their academic goals
- Leadership skills acquired through hands-on experience
- Encouragement to get involved and maximize their potential on campus
- Opportunities for active participation in community service projects
The real question is why wouldn’t you join?
How will joining a fraternity or sorority affect my studies?
Fraternities and sororities serve as a great resource for students academically through study hours and tutoring programs. Most chapters require a certain grade point average for initial membership into the organization.
Aren’t fraternities and sororities just like the ones in the movies and tv?
Unfortunately, individuals without complete information often define the image of Greek life. Since only a small percent of the 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, Greek Week, and date events.
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. Greek organizations are quite affordable and fees go towards services and events that will positively impact your child. Each chapter is self-supported through dues charged to all members. Also, chapters have payment plans that can be arranged to reduce to ease that responsibility.
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. Each group is governed by its inter/national headquarters, which established their chapter’s regulations, and offers advice and direction through professional staff and volunteers. The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life staff consists of professional liaisons to the Greek community, offering support, advice and guidance to governing councils, chapter officers, advisers, and members.
What about pledging or hazing?
All new fraternity and sorority members experience a period of orientation. During this time, new members will meet to learn about the fraternity’s local and national history as well as the active brotherhood. They may participate in community service projects and activities designed to build friendships among new members and initiated members. Shippensburg has a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing that is consistent with state law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Hazing includes any activity that subjects members to harassment, ridicule, intimidation, physical exhaustion, abuse, or mental distress. Hazing is contrary to the purposes of the fraternity and sorority community and the University; therefore, it is not tolerated. If you sense you may be participating in inappropriate activities as a result of membership in a fraternity or sorority, you should contact the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life immediately. All calls will be handled in a discreet manner.
Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life - Emilee Danielson-Burke firstname.lastname@example.org
Greek Life Graduate Assistant - Lauren Herbert email@example.com
or Visit us on the 3rd floor of the Cedia Union Building (CUB) room 236