Fraternity and Sorority Life
Joining a Fraternity or Sorority
Approximately one in five Muhlenberg College students joins a Greek-letter organization. Becoming a member of a fraternity or sorority is an exciting journey that can complement the total college experience. Membership is challenging, rewarding, and fun. Below are answers to some common questions about recruitment and membership. For further details on specific requirements and recruitment activities, use the menu on the right to navigate to other portions of the website.
When does recruitment occur?
Most North-American InterFraternity Conference (NIC) and National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) -affiliated organizations traditionally hold a fall "Recruitment Week," a week-long process of mutual selection in which the members (initiates or actives) of each sorority or fraternity have the opportunity to meet interested independent students. Each chapter plans a series activities designed to share aspects of the chapter with the potential new member and for the initiates to examine a potential new member’s potential to be a positive contributor to the chapter. At the end of Recruitment Week, each chapter offers “bids” to those potential new members it feels will enhance the organization.
Some NIC-affiliated groups have recently moved toward "open recruitment". In this process, new members are recruited throughout the year. The new member process is more individualized and is usually a part of a member development process in which all members participate.
Other organizations conduct recruitment over several weeks, taking significantly more time to get to know potential new members through more in-depth programs and events. These programs quite often highlight the values and ideals of the organization.
What happens after I accept a bid?
When you accept a bid from one of the organizations, you are required to complete a New Member Release Form. The release form grants consent to the Office of Greek Affairs to release your educational records (grades) to the chapter for use in determining eligibility for membership in the chapter as well as scholarship programs, advising, and chapter averaging at any time during your membership in the chapter. It also asks you to acknowledge that you may be required to live in the chapter house, through the completion of your senior year, if necessary. Finally, it verifies that you have read and understand both the state and College policy on hazing and your requirement to report violations to the proper authorities.
Within a day or two of accepting a bid from one of the chapters, you will begin the New Member Education process (NME). All chapters have an education period for new members varying between four and ten weeks in length depending on the organization. This is a time to learn more about the chapter, its national origins, and the work and contributions you will be expected to do as a member. As a new member, you hold many of the same rights as "active" members from the day that you accept your bid. You also have the right to request a complete schedule of the new member education program, in advance, so that you can better plan your academic work and personal time.
How do I participate in recruitment?
The IFC, CPH and independent chapters will announce recruitment schedules and timelines. You might receive an email or hear about it from an active member. Links on the right of this page will direct you to registration for both IFC and CPH recruitment activities. Independent chapters may not require registration and will contact you directly.
If I participate in formal recruitment activities, am I obligated to join?
No. Recruitment is a process of mutual selection; you have to want the organization as much as it wants you. If you receive a bid, you always have the option of declining the invitation.
What if I only want to be in a certain fraternity or sorority?
Keep an open mind and look at all the options available to you. No one can "guarantee" you a bid to a particular organization. Decide first if Greek life fits your lifestyle, then explore all the chapters to see what each one offers. If you are interested in Greek life (versus chapter life) and keep an open mind, there is a place for you in the Greek community.
What do chapters look for in members?
Quite simply, a chapter is looking for an individual who embodies and will uphold the values and ideals of the organization. All chapters strive to achieve a well-rounded, balanced group of members. Their selection of new members should be based on an assessment of what skills, talents, and personalities will help the group achieve that balance. There is no cookie-cutter model or perfect member for any chapter. The best advice is to be you and show your personality and interests. This will help guarantee a better match.
What should I know if I am a legacy to a fraternity or sorority?
A legacy is defined as a student whose immediate family member is an alumnus or active member of a chapter. A legacy is not obligated to join the same chapter as his/her family member. The chapter is likewise not obligated to offer a bid to that student who is a legacy. The chapters are looking for compatibility, not a family connection.
What are the financial obligations of joining a chapter?
An important consideration in deciding whether or not to join a Greek organization must be whether or not you are able to meet the financial responsibilities. Both you and your family should be aware of the dues, fees, and other expenses. Membership can be expensive when you first join, as there are many one-time fees. If you have questions regarding the cost of a chapter, please feel free to ask chapter leadership. They should give you straightforward answers and allow you to talk with the officer in charge of the finances. All NPC sororities are required to provide a financial statement of costs to potential new members during Recruitment Week.
Should I pledge a chapter if I have strong religious preferences?
Ritual is important part of each chapter. The rituals of a chapter are what bind the members to one another and to the members who came before them. These rituals, however, may have roots in the culture and religious backgrounds of the founding members of the chapter. Because the organizations were founded many years ago and religious preferences among the members over the years have changed, allowances have been made for those who may disagree or vary from the religious background of the rituals. If you are concerned about the religious overtones, you may want to ask members about the background of the founding members.
What are my obligations to the chapter house?
If the chapter maintains a house or shelter, you will be required to agree to help fill the rooms in the chapter house before any member of the chapter will be permitted to live off campus or to participate in the Muhlenberg College housing lottery. This does not mean that you will automatically be living in the house, but it does mean that the needs of the chapter in fulfilling this obligation haveto come first.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN THINKING ABOUT RECRUITMENT…
- Why do I want to “go Greek”? What do I want in a Greek organization?
- Are these qualities present in the chapters I am looking at?
- Do the chapters stress values and interests that are important to me?
- How will being a member of a Greek organization benefit me in the future?
- What can I gain from membership, and what can I contribute?
- Can I afford the financial obligations of membership?
QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT ASK DURING RECRUITMENT EVENTS…
- How does the chapter promote academic achievement?
- How is the chapter involved in community service and philanthropy work?
- What are the financial obligations if I become a new member?
- What do you like best about Greek life at Muhlenberg?
- How long is the new member program, and how much time will I need to devote to it?
- What have you gotten out of being in this organization?; What makes it special?
- What are the rules pertaining to living in the house, and what is the availability of housing?
- What kind of education, social, and leadership events are planned for this year?