Frequently Asked Questions
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 stablity 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.
Will my student's academics be compromised if they join a fraternity or sorority?
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 invovled, this provides an additional level of accountability.
What kind of time commitment will this take?
Participating in any cocurricular 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 if they were involved. Through Greek involvement, your student will learn how to balance academics, work, campus involvement, and social commitments. 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.
What role does alcohol play?
The misuse of alcohol is unhealthy and inconsistent with fraternity ideals. All fraternities and sororities are expected to uphold federal, state, and city laws in addition to university, fraternity/sorority, and IFC/CPCgoverning council policies regarding consumption of 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. We find it to be helpful if you talk with your student about alcohol before they start their college experience.
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'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. All fraternities and sororities have polices that forbid hazing, and we 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, 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.
Hazing may be reported to the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life via phone at (801) 581-8061 or through this incident form. These acts can also be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students at (801) 581-7066 or the University of Utah Police Department (80) 585-2677. Often parents and families have a sense that something is happening that shouldn't be but don't always report this. Please feel free to call us and talk through something that concerns you.
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 Fraternity & Sorority Life has professional staff members who are charged with supporting the organizations and students involved in fraternities and sororities.
What can I do as a family member?
Be supportive and learn as much as you can by asking your student questions before they join, thoughout 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.
For questions that aren't listed above, please contact the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life. We ar happy to answer any questions you might have!