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What is fraternity and sorority life? What is involved in membership?

Joining a fraternity or sorority is a lifelong commitment and an excellent investment for your child’s future. Our students are leaders on campus and are often heavily involved in community service and philanthropy projects. Fraternity and sorority members enjoy the friendship of their “brothers” and “sisters” for life. They are highly involved, academically committed, and well-rounded.

What are the benefits of joining a fraternity/sorority?

Joining a fraternity/sorority at Northwestern affords your student with a family and a sense of having a “home away from home”. Involvement in Fraternity and Sorority Life provides a local and national support network for each student to be used for financial, emotional, scholastic, leadership and career development, and networking support.

How does involvement in a fraternity affect academics?

Involvement in a fraternity or sorority can affect academics in a POSITIVE way. Greek organizations typically have higher average GPAs than their non-Greek peers.

What are the financial obligations?

Financial obligations vary from chapter to chapter, so we advise you to encourage your student to ask current members about the realities of their financial obligation. We will have more information about specific councils on the site soon.

What about hazing?

At Northwestern, your student’s safety is of the highest importance. The University forbids hazing and all other activities that interfere with the personal liberty of an individual. The University defines hazing as any action taken or situation created, whether on or off University premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule for the purpose of initiation into, affiliation with, or admission to, or as a condition for continued membership in, a group, team, club, or other organization.

What is pledging?

Pledging is an outdated term used for the new member education process. This period of time usually lasts 6-10 weeks and is designed to educate new members on chapter/organizational operations, fraternity and sorority culture on campus and the values of the organization.

What are the benefits of membership after college?

In addition to the numerous benefits during college, fraternities and sororities provide a myriad of opportunities to their members after graduation. Fraternities and sororities provide a strong network for your student locally, nationally and abroad for career development and advancement. Furthermore, the leadership and organizational skills members learn in college will be invaluable in their future careers, and the friends they make will surely last a lifetime.

What is my role as a family member?

College can be a stressful time for your student. In addition to the support system they will develop in Fraternity and Sorority Life, they will also need your help. Asking questions about their organization and taking an interest in your student’s activities is a great way to help your student.

How much time is involved when joining a fraternity or sorority?

Time commitments will vary from chapter to chapter, but the first quarter will likely be one of the busiest times. After initiation expectations vary, but each chapter has weekly required meetings as well as other mandatory events (community service, initiation, etc.) that are scheduled well in advance. As with any commitment, the more time your student is able to put into being involved in their chapter, the more they will get out of the experience.

What is philanthropy?

Philanthropic events are events in which fraternity and sorority members will raise money for a particular charitable cause. Many chapters hold events to raise money for campus-wide events, such as Dance Marathon, and most have particular charities associated with their (inter)national headquarters, such as the Red Cross or the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

How does my student get involved with fraternity and sorority life?

Northwestern Fraternity and Sorority Life takes part in a “deferred recruitment”, which means that first-year students are not permitted to join chapters until the winter quarter of their first year. This delay is intended to give first-year students the opportunity to get acclimated to college life and to have plenty of time to get more information about Fraternity and Sorority Life prior to going through recruitment. Students wishing to take part in recruitment are encouraged to attend events sponsored by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life as well as the governing councils and individual chapters. Additional information can be provided on this website and by contacting the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at 847-491-4522.

Who is in charge of my student's fraternity/sorority?

At Northwestern the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life is staffed by a Director, two Assistant Directors, a Program Coordinator and one or two Graduate Assistants. In addition to the support and structure the office provides for the students, chapters also elect undergraduate chapter officers to run the day-to-day operations, have alumni advisors, and are responsible to report to a(n) (inter)national headquarters.

Will my student have to live in the chapter house?

Not all fraternities and sororities have on-campus housing, however, for those that do, individual chapters have their own live-in guidelines. This would be an excellent question for your student to ask the chapter members before joining an organization.