Purpose and Values of Fraternity and Sorority Life

Fraternities and sororities have been a part of Northwestern University for over 150 years. Traditionally, they have challenged students to achieve even greater heights intellectually, personally and socially. Over the years, the fraternity and sorority community at Northwestern has grown, creating a variety of options for fraternity/sorority life including single-sex, culturally based groups. The undergraduate members at Northwestern pride themselves on the individual personality and nature of each fraternity and sorority on campus. The fraternity and sorority community offers a rich and rewarding experience for their members. In addition, fraternities, and sororities have contributed substantially to campus life, community service, and the educational mission of the University.

The strength and attractiveness of fraternities and sororities lie in their ability to develop innovative approaches and to maintain effective programs that maximize the character of the chapters and the community within the overall framework of the University. Although each fraternity or sorority sponsors its own functions and possesses its own identity, all have many things in common. They all seek to foster an environment where one can:

  • Develop bonds of brotherhood and/or sisterhood
  • Develop leadership and interpersonal skills
  • Form lifetime friendships
  • Work together with others in an atmosphere of teamwork
  • Perform community service projects
  • Program social functions for the student community


Northwestern's fraternity and sorority community prides itself on contributing to the University's high academic achievements and standards. Individual chapters focus on academic excellence by holding study tables, conducting inchapter peer advising and scholarship awards. The fraternity and sorority community honors members through scholarships, as well as Greek honor societies such as Order of Omega, Gamma Sigma Alpha, and Rho Lambda. Most chapters require members to maintain a minimum grade point average to remain in good standing and offer support to help them do so. The all-fraternity and sorority grade point average is consistently higher than the all-student grade point average. Alumni help undergraduates with important networking opportunities for internships and future careers.

Civic Responsibility

In addition to scholastic programming, Northwestern's fraternity and sorority members participate in philanthropic endeavors in both the Evanston and Chicago communities. Organizations hold their own philanthropies and encourage members to get involved on an individual basis. These charitable activities not only provide valuable opportunities for interaction with the community, but also establish a basis for philanthropic behavior in the future. National surveys have found that fraternity and sorority members are more likely to volunteer during adulthood. Last year, fraternities and sororities raised more than $60,000 for charitable organizations and volunteered more than 19,000 hours.


Joining a fraternity or sorority provides you ample opportunities to get involved in a leadership role. Whether you serve on your chapter on a committee, your council executive board or take an active role in programs and events, joining an organization will significantly enable your leadership development. Fraternities and sororities are self-governing, giving members numerous leadership possibilities. In addition, joining an organization will open doors to other opportunities on campus.


The brotherhood and sisterhood of fraternity and sorority life is truly a “family” experience. It offers you the security and happiness that’s part of the brother/sister bond. While you don’t have to limit your social life to fraternity and sorority activities, you will find many opportunities to meet and interact with your chapter, other fraternities and sororities and other campus organizations.


The social aspects of fraternal living at Northwestern add another unique facet to one's college experiences. Members of fraternities and sororities have frequent opportunities to interact at events sponsored throughout the year. Within the past several years, Northwestern's fraternity and sorority community has made a continued effort to offer students a safe social environment. Northwestern has instituted risk management policies that aim to combine fun with responsibility. Tragedies at other universities have proven the importance of keeping social activities safe. All of our sorority houses, and several of our fraternity houses, have adopted "substance-free" policies which prohibits alcohol and other drugs in their houses. Northwestern's fraternities and sororities advocate responsible social functions and provide a variety of activities for their members, including formal dances, date parties, exchanges, and coffeehouses.