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Community Report Card

collage of greek event photos from IFC, PHC, NPHC and MGC chapters

For Parents

Frequently Asked Questions

Your son or daughter has embarked upon a great adventure by choosing to attend The Pennsylvania State University. Your student has many opportunities ahead of him/her as a student at Penn State, as they learn to navigate the campus, classes and life.

It is not uncommon for students to feel overwhelmed in a new environment and the search for a sense of community should be expected. To find that community, some students will turn to joining traditional collegiate social organizations, such as fraternities and sororities. By joining a fraternity or sorority, your student is joining hundreds of other student members who can offer an environment of friendship and familiarity.

On June 2, 2017, Penn State announced a number of aggressive measures related to Greek Life, including the transfer of responsibility to the University for disciplinary matters, a transition to deferred recruitment for new members, and an automatic ban on any group that employs hazing which involves alcohol or serious abuse. Penn State's priority is the safety and well-being of all students and the steps being implemented are focused on that goal. In addition, the University is committed to implementing solutions that will concentrate on the positive aspects of fraternities and sororitis, such as leadership opportunities, character, responsibility and scholarship.

Penn State will permit students to join fraternities and sororities after their first semester of enrollment in the 2017-18 academic year, and will assess the benefits of a move to a longer deferred recruitment period for new Greek-life members. This change is being implemented for safety and academic purposes. University officials believe that the first semester is a time for students to focus fully ontheir academics and acclimate to the University,as well as mature in their decision-making abilities.

Overall, the men and women in fraternities and sororities are committed to their academics, volunteer their time in the community, develop and strengthen their leadership skills, and form a campus network with other fraternity and sorority members.

Parents Often Share These Initial Questions:

How will my student benefit from joining a fraternity or sorority?

Sororities and fraternities have a rich history at Penn State dating back to the 1870s. These organizations are rooted in founding principles that foster academic achievement, student involvement, community service, and life-long friendships. Fraternities and sororities are groups of men and women who come together to form a personal network of individuals with similar ideas, interests, and a mutual pursuit of a well-rounded college education. Advantages include:


How will joining a fraternity or sorority affect my student's academic pursuits?

Sororities and fraternities serve as a great resource for students academically through study hours and tutoring programs. Most chapters require a high grade point average for initial membership into the organization. This critical change is being implemented for safety and academic purposes. University officials believe that the freshman year is a time for students to focusfully ontheir academics and acclimate to the University. All chapters at Penn State are required to hold a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5; however, many of our chapters pride themselves on their outstanding academic achievements because they hold grade point averages much higher than the minimum requirement. Visit the online report card for each fraternity and sorority to learn more.


What are the social aspects of fraternity and sorority membership?

The fraternity and sorority community at Penn State are making serious efforts to create a more responsible and safe environment for its members at social events. All fraternities and sororities have strict policies regulating the consumption of alcohol for underage members and guests, and all organizations are held accountable for violations of their respective governing council's social policy by either the University or the council.


What is the financial obligation?

Like any opportunity for involvement in college, there is a financial commitment associated with a joining a fraternity or sorority. The fees go toward the Inter/Nationals, chapter operating expenses, and social functions. Financial obligations differ among individual chapters. New members can expect to pay higher dues their first semester than in subsequent ones. Additional costs throughout the semester will go toward chapter meal plans, pictures, gifts, t-shirts, etc. While your son or daughter is participating in the recruitment process, encourage him/her to ask about the financial obligations of membership. The University is also instituting a semesterly membership fee for all individual members beginning in the spring semester of 2018. This fee, which shall be $90 for Interfraternity & Panhellenic Council members and $30 for Multicultural Greek & Nationa Pan-Hellenic Council members, is being used to increase safety initiatives and resources, as well as educational activities.


Is hazing a part of the fraternity and sorority culture at Penn State?

Hazing, which is against Pennsylvania Law, should not be a part of joining any organization and Penn State has a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing that involves alcohol or serious physical abuse. If hazing of this nature is found to have occurred, it will result in immediate revocation of the organization’s University recognition. Individuals also may face disciplinary action for their involvement in hazing activities. Hazing includes any activity that subjects members to harassment, ridicule, intimidation, physical exhaustion, abuse, or mental distress. Hazing is contrary to the purposes of the fraternity and sorority community and the University, and is not tolerated.

If you sense your student may be participating in inappropriate activities as a result of membership in a fraternity or sorority, you should contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life immediately. All calls will be handled in a discreet manner. Or, you can confidentially report the hazing incident online


Who is actually in charge of the fraternities and sororities?

In the recent past, fraternities and sororities operated under a self-governance model with the belief that it was a growth opportunity for students, who would learn, develop and mature through these leadership opportunities by overseeing their own operations. However, to increase the safety for members and others on campus, the University instituted a number of new measures in June 2017, which include University oversight of the fraternity and sorority organizational misconduct and disciplinary process. Other measures include strict social restrictions and monitoring of social events by University staff members.

The Intefraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council both serve as the governing bodies for fraternity and sorority chapters on campus, helping to unify and oversee the groups, and serve as a link to campus, community and University administration. Fraternities and sororities at Penn State, as at most colleges and universities in the U.S., are considered private, independent,socialentities that freely associate and determine their own membership.Individual chapters elect officers to manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by alumni chosen by the chapters, who act as advisers. In cases where there are fraternity houses, those dwellings are located off campus and are generally privately owned by the fraternity’s alumni board or other third-party landlord. Each chapter also is responsible to its Inter/national organization, which offers support, advice and direction through paid professional staff and regional volunteers. The professional staff in Penn State’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life serve as advisers to the four governing councils and serve as the primary contacts with the University for the fraternity and sorority community.


What is my role as a parent?

 

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213-216 HUB-Robeson Center | 814.863.8065 | Contact The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life