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Parents and Families FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

parentsAs a parent or family member, you may be concerned about your student’ 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 a stable experience and network to support your student through this transition.  Nevertheless, there may be some questions you’d like answered so you can better support your son or daughter in their choice to join a fraternity or sorority.  Some frequently asked questions and their answers are listed below: 

Will my student's academics be compromised if they join a Greek chapter?

Greek students promote scholarship by providing academic resources for their members including tutoring, academic advisors, study groups, scholarships, and awards. Involvement in a fraternity or sorority can affect academics in a POSITIVE way.  Fraternity and Sorority organizations at the U historically have higher GPAs than their non-Greek peers.  Take a look at the last few grade reports, here!

What kind of time commitment will this take?
Participating in any extracurricular activity always requires an investment of one's time. Research has shown that involved college students are more likely to graduate and they report greater satisfaction with their college experience. Through his or her Greek involvement, your student will learn how to balance academics, work, campus involvement, and social commitments. The time commitment at the U 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 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 role does alcohol play?
Alcohol abuse is unhealthy and inconsistent with fraternity ideals.  All fraternities and sororities are expected to uphold state and city laws in addition to university, fraternity/sorority, and IFC/MGC/NPC governing council policies regarding consumption of alcohol.  Each organization has strict rules regarding alcohol for social events, consumption of alcohol by underage members and guests.  Today's fraternities and sororities strive to promote responsibility concerning alcohol consumption.

What about hazing?
All fraternity and sorority members experience a period of orientation.  During this time, your student and other new members will participate in weekly meetings to learn about the university and the fraternity/sorority history, leadership retreats, community service projects, and activities designed to build friendships among new members (pledges/associates/candidates) and the initiated members.  ALL FRATERNITY AND SORORITY POLICIES FORBID HAZING, and are committed to a membership education period that instills a sense of responsibility and commitment in the new members.  This period will assist your student in overcoming some of the concerns about success in college.  Hazing is against the law in the State of Utah and is taken seriously by the University of Utah, the Office of the Dean of Students, and the governing councils.  The University of Utah has a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing.

Hazing may be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students (801-581-7066) or the University of Utah Police Department (801-585-COPS(2677)).

How are chapters managed? Who is actually in charge?
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 the Dean of Student has two staff members and one graduate assistant has who are charged with supporting the organizations and students involved in fraternities and sororities.

What can I do as a parent or family member?
Be supportive and learn as much as you can by asking your student questions before they join.

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.  In addition, allow your student to make their own choice (especially if you yourself 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.

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Last Updated: 9/25/17