Information for Parents and Supporters
As a parent, you are undoubtedly concerned about your child's college experience and the choices he or she will make. For your son or daughter, making the transition to Central Michigan University may seem like a challenge. Fraternities and sororities exist as a proven support network for your child as he or she embarks on this new period in life. Over 750,000 students across North America are currently members of the fraternity and sorority community. This information is designed to answer some of the questions you may have about membership. If you still have any questions after reviewing this, please do not hesitate to contact us at (989) 774-3016.
This information is to help give you more insight as to what fraternities and sororities stand for.
Academics should be your child's number one focus while in college. That's why most Greek organizations require a minimum GPA in order to remain a member. Usually, each individual chapter has an elected official who is responsible for keeping track of members and their academic performance. Furthermore, many fraternities and sororities have educational programs, such as tutoring and study sessions, which can assist the entire chapters in excelling academically. Since obtaining a degree is the main reason for attending college, make sure your student realizes that he must keep up his grades if he wants to participate in a Greek organization. The Office of Student Activities and Involvement require a 2.50 grade point average to participate in fraternity and sorority life.
Your child will have financial responsibilities when it comes to joining a fraternity or sorority. Depending on which organization your child wants to join will determine the amount of dues he/she will have to pay each semester. If your student is really interested in becoming a member of the Greek life, you need to sit down with him or her and work out a college budget to determine whether or not joining a fraternity or sorority is affordable.
In the past, fraternities and sororities have received a bad reputation for participating in hazing, which is any action taken that produces bodily harm or danger, mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, fright, or ridicule. Today, all fraternity and sorority policies strictly prohibit any type of hazing activity. In fact, the organizations have taken on a zero-tolerance stance on this issue. Some states even have legislation that makes hazing a third-degree felony. If you feel that your student may be participating in inappropriate activities associated with hazing, please contact the Greek Advisor at (989) 774-3016 or contact the Anti-Hazing hotline at 1-888-NOT-HAZE (1-888-668-4293) IMMEDIATELY.
On average, your student should expect to contribute two to four hours per week for meetings and mandatory activities. If your student has the time, he can also choose to participate in optional activities, such as holding an office, attending social events, helping out with various projects, etc. Some organizations require more time than others. Advise your student to ask questions regarding time commitments during recruitment. You should discuss with your son or daughter what he/she would like to do and then support his/her decision. If your student decides that joining an organization is the right decision, make sure he/she thoroughly researches the different councils and chapters located on Central Michigan University’s campus.
The following is a list of suggestions that may ease your student’s transition to fraternity/sorority membership
- Be happy and supportive with your student’s choice to join a fraternity or sorority and the organization he/she chooses.
- Remember that this is your student’s choice, and he/she should choose the chapter that feels right, regardless of legacies or family history!
- If you have a question about fraternity or sorority life, go to the source and ask the staff.
- Don’t buy into gossip or hearsay.
- Know the names and phone numbers of the chapter president, new member educator, big brother/big sister, chapter advisor, and house director (if applicable).
- Ask for details about the financial aspects of membership. Each chapter governs its finances individually. Many one-time fees are paid in the first semester, so expect the first semester to be the most expensive.
- Initiation is an important time for the new members. Be supportive and respectful of this time for your student. New member programs can range from 1 day to a semester long. However, most programs are 6-8 weeks. Initiation dates should be made public to the new members, so please ask your student when initiation will occur.
- Talk with your student! Phone calls, e-mails, letters and care packages are always appreciated.
- Expect to see new t-shirts, photos, and other Greek paraphernalia.
- Encourage your student to be a part of the Central Michigan University community and take advantage of our numerous resources.
- If you have questions about your student's participation in a fraternity or sorority in regards to disability please contact the office at 989-774-3016.
Frequently asked questions
Aren't fraternities and sororities just like the one's shown in the media (e.g. "Animal House", "Old School", and "Greek")?
Nobody likes stereotypes. Unfortunately, fraternity and sorority members have been categorized as elitist, spoiled, partiers, irresponsible and abusive since the screening of these shows and others. In reality, fraternities and sororities are values-based organizations dedicated to the development of character and lifelong friendships.
Should alcohol be a concern if my son or daughter joins a Greek organization? In other words, what is it really like in a chapter?
All fraternities and sororities have strict policies regulating the consumption of alcohol at social functions. All chapters are expected to uphold state, county and city laws, as well as the Central Michigan University's Policy regarding the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol abuse is unhealthy and inconsistent with fraternity and sorority ideals. In response, the University's fraternities and sororities are sponsoring (and participating) in many alcohol-free social activities throughout the year. Examples include recruitment events, barbecues, and lip sync contests. These risk management guidelines are set by each chapter's local and/or national board and must adhere to Central Michigan University's alcohol policy. Therefore, we highly encourage your son or daughter to ask about the risk management guidelines at each sorority or fraternity.
I want my son or daughter to succeed academically. Will his or her membership hinder those efforts?
The Greek community at Central Michigan University strives for academic excellence and improved scholastic achievement. Each chapter has chosen a grade point average requirement that each member must maintain to be in good standing. Chapters also offer academic assistance for its members, providing study hall areas and peer tutoring. Every chapter understands that its members are students first and provide recognition to those who excel and improve their academic standing. We also have Order of Omega and Gamma Sigma Alpha, honorary fraternities for both men and women that recognize student leaders on campus.
What will it cost for my son or daughter to participate in Greek life?
The financial obligations that accompany membership differ from chapter to chapter. Each organization is self-supporting, functioning from dues paid by its members. The first year of membership is generally higher due to one-time membership fees. Dues and other fees cover items such as room, board, operating expenses (e.g., gas, electricity, water, cable, cleaning supplies, etc.), socials, insurance, composites, leadership programs, alumni functions and new member recruitment. Fraternity and sorority houses offer a "home away from home." Living within a chapter house furthers student growth and development and provides much of the comfort and support of a family environment. The costs of room and board in fraternity and sorority houses are competitive with - if not below - University rates. Each chapter will be able to provide your son or daughter with specific financial information during recruitment or whenever they happen to visit.
What about the "pledging" process and hazing?
When your son or daughter joins a chapter, they will participate in a period of orientation where they learn about the history and values of the organization and the University, as well as attend weekly business meetings (also referred to as "chapter meetings"). Hazing is opposed by all fraternities and sororities on the University campus and is not tolerated! Your son or daughter should never be asked to do anything he or she does not want to do. If you believe your student is being hazed, please contact the Greek Advisor at (989) 774-3016 or the Anti-Hazing Hotline at 1-888-NOT-Haze (1-888-668-4293). For more information on hazing, please visit StopHazing.org.