GREEKSPOT.COM - The ultimate resource for fraternity, sorority and Greek life information.Info for Newbies

Greek life can be a little overwhelming to someone who’s new to it all. Here are some of the questions asked most often about fraternities and sororities. Got a question of your own that’s not covered? Just ask -- we’ll respond to you personally (and may add your question and our response here).

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Q. How many sororities and fraternities are there, exactly?
Gee, that’s a tough one. There are 26 sororities (or women’s fraternities) that are members of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC). Sixty-six fraternities belong to the National Interfraternity Conference (NIC). But in addition to these national conferences, there are many other service and honorary Greek organizations as well as local and regional fraternities and sororities.

Q. What is Rush?
Rush is the process one goes through to join a fraternity or sorority. The process is much more formal for women than for men, and sorority Rush is usually organized by the university’s Panhellenic council.

Q. What’s a legacy?
A legacy is a rushee whose parent, grandparent, or sibling is an initiated member of a particular Greek organization. Contrary to popular myths, being a legacy does not guarantee that a rushee will be offered membership in his/her family member’s organization.

Q. What is initiation?
Initiation is when a new member (sometimes referred to as a “pledge”) becomes an official member of a sorority or fraternity. A ceremony is usually involved, and members receive the official sorority or fraternity badge at that time. Typically, the ceremony is private and can only be attended by intitiated members.

Q. What are the historically black Greek letter organizations?
The organizations which are part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), or historically black fraternities, are: Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, and Phi Beta Sigma. Sorority NPHC members include Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Zeta Phi Beta.

Q. What are Latino (& mutli-cultural) Greek letter organizations?
The only two latino greek letter organizations which are part of the National Intefraternity Conference are Lambda Sigma Upsilon & Lambda Theta Phi. Other Latino Greek Organizations fraternities include Lambda Upsilon Lambda and Psi Sigma Phi. Sororities include Chi Upsilon Sigma, Omega Phi Chi, Mu Sigma Upsilon, Lambda Theta Alpha, Lambda, Lambda Tau Omega.

Q. Who are some of the more well-known fraternity and sorority members?
There are many noteworthy members of Greek organizations, including actors, politicians, athletes, and scientists. Some of the more recognizable celebrities include Steven Spielberg (Theta Chi), Bob Dole (Kappa Sigma), Sheryl Crow (Kappa Alpha Theta), Maya Angelou (Alpha Kappa Alpha), David Letterman (Sigma Chi), Candice Bergen (Kappa Kappa Gamma), Ronald Reagan (Tau Kappa Epsilon), Woody Harrelson (Sigma Chi), Faith Daniels (Zeta Tau Alpha), Sela Ward (Chi Omega), Brad Pitt (Sigma Chi), Julia Louis Dreyfus (Delta Gamma), Andrew Greenstein (Lambda Sigma Upsilon), Johnny Carson (Phi Gamma Delta), and Joan Lunden (Delta Gamma).

Q. When can I wear my Greek letters and sorority or fraternity crest?
This varies by organization, not only on a national level, but on a campus-by-campus basis as well. Usually it’s OK to wear your letters even if you’re not initiated. A few exceptions to this is Pi Beta Phi (new members can wear “Pi Phi” but not the Greek letters or crest) and Kappa Alpha Theta (members can wear “Theta” instead of Greek letters until they’re initiated). Most Greek organizations reserve the crest for initiated members. Members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity are never allowed to wear their letters. Instead, “Fiji” is used for this organization.

Q. What is the NPC?
NPC is the National Panhellenic Conference. This organization is the governing body for most national sororities. To be a member of NPC, a sorority must have been established nationally for at least 13 years. All collegiate chapters must be at senior colleges and universities that offer bachelor degrees. There must also be at least 14 chapters of which the youngest chapter is at least two years old.

Q. What’s a philanthropy?
Sororities and fraternities adopt a cause called a philanthropy. A philantropy is a charitable organization supported by a sorority or fraternity with volunteer time and money. Typically, the sorority or fraternity will hold fundraising events to raise money to these organizations. National organizations support some charities; local chapters may choose to support additional charities, sometimes in the local community.

OK, so why should I rush or pledge a fraternity or sorority? Click Here for the reasons



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