For Parents & Families
OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU
As a family member, you may be concerned about your student’s experience at college. For your student, making the transition from high school or a community college, to a four-year university may seem like a big change. The fraternity and sorority community can help provide stability through their transition to network, connect to campus, and find support. Nevertheless, there may be some questions you’d like answered so you can better support your student in their choice to join a fraternity or sorority. Some frequently asked questions and their answers are listed below. Also, please feel free to watch this video created by Phi Delta Theta Fraternity that highlights parents' perspective on their fraternity experience.
FROM OUR DIRECTOR
Dear Parents and Families,
Fraternities and sororities are one of the many ways in which students can get involved and contribute to the University community. Fraternity and sorority members are committed to academic excellence, community service, and philanthropy. Greek membership results in life-long friendships and provides leadership opportunities that can assist students in their academic and professional endeavors. The fraternity and sorority community at the University of Utah consists of 18 organizations – 11 fraternities and 7 sororities. The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life works closely with recognized chapters to enhance the overall Greek experience by upholding academic and community standards, organization Rituals, and University policies governing fraternity and sorority activities.
There are many benefits of being a fraternity or sorority member. Below is a list with just a few ways membership can shape the college experience to new heights:
- Offers a home-away-from-home environment
- Enhances education that happens in and out of the classroom; University of Utah Greeks have higher GPA's than non-affiliated students
- Allows for opportunities to give back, help others, and serve the community through service and philanthropy.
- Provides leadership activities and experiences that aren’t available to non-affiliated students.
- Increases involvement on campus.
- Gives members an advantage of networking with alumni.
- Develops life-long friendships, memories, and a strong sense of accomplishment.
- Allows students to be a part of something greater than themselves.
I invite you to become informed about Greek life activities, especially the new member education process. I encourage you to talk with your student and encourage them to base selection of a Greek organization on personal lifestyle and values, general compatibility, and organization goals. Parents and families can serve as consultants to students as they define themselves during the college years. By exploring our website, you will learn more about fraternity and sorority life which will help you have conversations and connect with your student on this topic. Joining a fraternity or sorority is a life-long decision that should be made with care.
Our goal is to ensure that the Greek experience at the University of Utah provides a safe and enjoyable avenue for students to grow and develop during their college years. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
In Greek Spirit,
Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Greek students promote scholarship by providing academic resources to their members including tutoring, academic advisors, study groups, scholarships, and awards. Involvement in a fraternity or sorority can affect academics in a positive way. Fraternities and sororities at the U historically have higher GPAs than their non-Greek peers. Since fraternities and sororities have GPA requirements to stay involved, this provides an additional level of accountability.
The time commitment varies from chapter to chapter, but the first semester 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 and communicated 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. Research has shown that involved college students are more likely to graduate and they report greater satisfaction with their college experience if they were involved.
The misuse of alcohol is unhealthy and inconsistent with fraternity ideals, but the fraternity and sorority community isn’t the only place on campus your student might be exposed to alcohol or other drugs. Our first suggestion isn’t always parent’s and families’ favorite: We find it helpful to have a frank conversation with your student about alcohol and other drugs before they begin their undergraduate education or transfer to a four-year institution. This helps remind them that you are there as a support system and still have expectations for their wellbeing—regardless of what that might look like for your family. All fraternities and sororities are expected to uphold federal, state, and city laws (in addition to university, fraternity/sorority, and IFC/CPC governing council policies) regarding consumption of alcohol. It is against the law for those under 21 to consume alcohol. Each organization has strict rules regarding alcohol at social events and the consumption of alcohol by underage members and guests. Today's fraternities and sororities strive to promote responsibility concerning alcohol consumption.
Hazing is against the law in the State of Utah and is taken seriously by the University of Utah, Office of the Dean of Students, the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life, and the governing councils. The University of Utah has a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing. It would be dishonest to tell you that chapters had not been found responsible for hazing within the last several years at the University of Utah. We provide in-depth education around what hazing is, how to combat hazing from happening, and what the consequences are to chapter presidents, new member educators and new members of fraternities and sororities. Hazing most typically happens during the new member phase of joining a fraternity or sorority—typically the first eight weeks after receiving an invitation to membership. During this time your student, and other new members, will participate in weekly meetings to learn about the University and the fraternity/sorority's history, leadership retreats, community service projects, and activities designed to build friendships among new members (pledges/associates/candidates are also terms you might hear from your student) and the initiated members. We encourage you to talk with your student about what this new member process is like, how they are spending their time, and what exciting things about their fraternity/sorority they are learning.
Often parents and families have a sense that something is happening that shouldn't be. Please feel free to call us and talk through something that concerns you. We would much rather chat with you about something that doesn’t end up being hazing than you not report something that is. Hazing may be reported to the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life via phone at (801) 581-8061 during the business day or any time using the incident form below. Reports can also be made to the Office of the Dean of Students at (801) 581-7066 or the University of Utah Police Department at (801) 585-2677.
Fraternity and sorority members are elected to officer positions and manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by members serving on committees and by alumni advisors. All of our fraternities and sororities are also part of an inter/national organization that offers support, advice, and direction through paid professional staff members and regional volunteers. Additionally, the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life has professional staff members who are charged with supporting the organizations and students involved in fraternities and sororities. Fraternities and sororities are truly learning labs for leadership development!
Absolutely! Be supportive and learn as much as you can by asking your student questions before they join, throughout their joining process, and while they are an active member! Throughout the process, we suggest that you help your student compare their personal and family values to the values of each chapter. Greek organizations were founded to create better people through membership in values-based organizations. Understanding this is a key component to helping your student choose which organization to join. Many groups will provide written statements concerning activities, finances, and policies; your student should be encouraged to obtain and read this information and share it with you. In addition, allow your student to make their own choice (especially if you were in a fraternity or sorority). Your support should not end after the recruitment period but continue throughout your student's years in school.
Once your student joins a chapter, take advantage of the parent weekend activities. These are great opportunities for you to see your student interacting with their chapter members and one more way for you to spend time with your student. Follow Fraternity & Sorority Life on Instagram and follow your student’s fraternity/sorority as well to stay informed of what’s happening in the community!
Community service and supporting philanthropic organizations are a large part of joining the fraternity and sorority community at the U! Our students give back thousands of hours to various causes in Salt Lake City and the surrounding area while also raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for important causes. Fraternity and sorority members are also very involved in the Bennion Community Center on campus. Outside of just volunteering and raising funds and awareness, there are also ways your student can take on leadership roles to help plan these events for their chapter.
Totally understandable (and not that uncommon)! We are here to help you navigate this exciting, but but complex, process and experience. You can 100% reach out to members of the Fraternity & Sorority Life staff team to get a rundown on all the fraternity and sorority basics and lingo and talk through and specific questions or concerns you have.