Questions for Parents and Students to Ask Prospective Fraternities
Q: Does the fraternal environment promote or encourage unsafe alcohol consumption?
A: No. Alcohol abuse is unhealthy and inconsistent with Greek ideals. All fraternities and sororities are expected to uphold state, county, and city laws, as well as university policies regarding the consumption of alcohol. In addition, fraternities and sororities are not allowed to purchase alcohol with chapter funds. Greeks at Michigan State University also participate in many alcohol-free social activities, including intramural sports, philanthropy events, community service projects, and our week long culminating event. Students can feel comfortable in an environment where they can experience the same brotherhood or sisterhood, regardless of their decisions concerning alcohol and partying.
Q: Don't all fraternities haze?
A: Michigan State University’s Greek Community enforces a strict NO HAZING policy. Don't believe "Animal House" and "GREEK." In reality, fraternities and sororities are values-based organizations dedicated to the development of character and lifelong friendships. Organizations have public standards regarding academics, behavior, and community.
Q: I'm concerned about grades--what impact would membership have?
A: Students often find managing their time difficult when moving from the highly structured high school environment to the freedoms of college. Greeks assist in that transition by offering scholarship programs which might include study partners, mandatory study hours, and time management workshops. The network of their Greek brothers and sisters who already know how to use campus resources like the library, study skills centers, computer labs, and academic advisors are invaluable! Greeks can also take advantage of the knowledge older members have about their major, classes, professors, internship and other academic opportunities.
Q: What about pledging?
A: New members all experience a period of orientation. During this time, new members will participate in weekly meetings to learn about the university and the fraternity or sorority, leadership activities, community service projects, and events designed to build friendships among the new members and with the older members. New member programs often mirror the operations of the active chapter. A pledge class may be expected to plan a social or philanthropic event. Often, fraternity pledge classes will complete a house project involving raising money or building something for a chapter house.
Q: Who is actually in charge of the fraternity or sorority?
A: Members elected to officer positions manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by members serving on committees and by alumni who act as advisers. Collectively, the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Independent Greek Council oversee the policies and the recruitment processes for fraternities, sororities, historically black organizations, and multicultural organizations respectively. Michigan State University also has a professional that provides direction and guidance to the Greeks on campus. Trace Camacho is the Assistant Director of Student Life and is in charge of all Greek Affairs on campus. You may reach him directly at 517- 355-8286 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each chapter also has a national organization that it is responsible to and provides resources and opportunities to the chapter.
Q: Doesn't it cost a lot of money to be in a fraternity?
A: Each fraternity is self-supported through dues charged to all members. In the first year of membership, a few one-time expenses are assessed. After those initial payments are made, the only expenses will be regular dues and possibly rent. Many fraternities offer housing to their members. In almost every case, it is less expensive to live in fraternity housing than on campus. Most houses are located near campus as well. Fraternity houses offer many of the same amenities as in campus housing: internet, cable, and phone service, study areas, recreation areas, and a great community!
Q: What is my role as a parent? (Specific to Parents)
A: Be supportive! Try to learn as much as you can by asking questions of your son as they meet people through the recruitment or rush process. Greeks will be more than happy to tell him (and YOU) about their organizations. Parents can get involved in a number of ways, including a parent's club, individual visits to houses and talks with chapter members during parent's weekend, and an assigned parent representative who is willing to talk with other parents of potential members about their son's experience in the chapter.