Need to Know: Greek Life FAQ

1. What is fraternity and sorority life?

2. What do students have to gain from joining a fraternity or sorority?

3. What are the types of organizations on campus?

4. What are the financial obligations involved with fraternity and sorority life?

5. What impact does fraternity and sorority life have on academics?

6. What about hazing and other risk management issues?

7. What if a chapter is not listed on the Registered Sororities/Fraternities page?

Q: What is fraternity and sorority life?
A: Fraternity and sorority life means you are a member of a community of fraternities (men) and sororities (women) who use letters from the Greek alphabet for their names. These organizations are selective and often have a long history with the college. Fraternities and sororities were created as a place to foster academic, community service, and social initiatives that are unique to each chapter. Fraternity and Sorority life is based on the tenets of friendship, leadership, scholarship, and philanthropy. These are supported by our Standards of Excellence here on campus!

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Q: What do students have to gain from joining a fraternity or sorority?
A: While the benefits may vary depending on the chapter, there are many skills a student can develop while being a member of a supportive peer community. Participation in fraternity and sorority life allows for the development of time management, interpersonal, leadership, and organizational skills just to name a few. Along with these skills, students will participate in organizations that are known campus wide for their community service involvement, and students will develop life-long friendships. Like anything, students will get what they put into the activity.  Greek Life is rich with opportunities for leadership and personal growth!

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Q: What are the different types of organizations on campus?
A: SUNY Oswego has a variety of different organizations and councils on campus. SUNY Oswego is proud of the diversity of our chapters and the variety we can offer potential new members.  We have local organizations, those organizations were typically founded at SUNY Oswego, or another SUNY branch, and have been staples of the community since the early 1920s.  We have great pride in our local organizations and how they thrive!  We also have National organizations, these organizations have chapters all across the country and sometimes internationally in Australia or Canada! This means that an initiated member will have brothers or sisters across the country and even internationally! Within our National chapters, we have NIC, NPC, NALFO and MGC representation! There are also Co-Ed Honor and Community Service based organizations on campus!  These organizations are based in a belief to better our community and world at large. To find out more about each chapter visit the Registered Fraternities and Registered Sororities pages, you can also learn about our diverse chapters at our Governing Councils page.

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Q: What are the financial obligations involved with fraternity and sorority life?
A: While the costs involved in being a member of a fraternity or sorority chapter vary depending on the chapter. It is important to know that each organization does collect dues, and some have initiation costs as well. The price of membership can vary depending on if an organization is local or national, owns a house, and chapter events. It is important to ask about costs prior to accepting a bid.  You can find this information at the Student Involvement Fair, Go Greek Events, or any of the Recruitment/Rush events!

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Q: What impact does fraternity and sorority life have on academics?
A: Many fraternity and sorority chapters were formed as academic or community service societies with a deep belief in having members excel within the classroom. Greek lettered organizations take pride in the tenet of scholarship and provide academic workshops and mentorship within their organizations to help one another throughout their college careers. However, affiliating with a fraternity or sorority does take time, and a student must balance the rigors of affiliating with an organization and their responsibilities in the classroom. Students should ask about the time involved with affiliating with different organizations during Recruitment/Rush or at informational sessions to make sure they can balance their academic needs along with involvement responsibilities prior to affiliating with a fraternity or sorority.  A student must have a minimum of a 2.25 GPA to join, and some chapters may have raised the minimum GPA even higher!  

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Q: What about hazing and other risk management issues?
A: In accordance with New York State law, SUNY Oswego adamantly prohibits any form of hazing conducted or condoned by any member of the campus community. Organizations and their members who participate in hazing are subject to sanctions from Student Conduct and prosecution in a criminal court under New York State law. Student Involvement also provides risk management training for fraternities and sororities, which focuses on the issues of hazing and alcohol use with organizations. The campus policy on hazing is available to all students in the Student Handbook.

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Q: What if a chapter is not listed on the Registered Sororities/Fraternities page?
A: There are organizations that operate outside the confines of SUNY Oswego and its policies. We refer to these chapters as unrecognized or underground organizations.  They are not allowed to participate in campus events or request the use of college space. Affiliation with an unrecognized group and actively operating on campus may lead to judicial action, as it violates college policy. Please refer to the Registered Fraternities and Registered Sororities page to see what chapters are in Good Standing with SUNY Oswego.

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