Parents & Families
Fraternity & Sorority Life
The Fraternity and Sorority Experience
Welcome Parents and Family members to the American University fraternity & sorority website! We hope to provide you with all sorts of information about the organization that your son or daughter wants to join. In addition to providing answers to your questions, we hope to alleviate your worries and give you some important facts about the fraternity & sorority community.
What is a Fraternity/Sorority?
Fraternities and sororities, are groups of individuals of similar interest bonded together by common goals and aspirations. These bonds are created through ritual in which members participate. Rituals are based on common principles such as honor, friendship, truth, and knowledge. Each group works to instill and support these ideals in their members through their everyday activities.
Core Values of Fraternity & Sorority Organizations
Although each organization has a different identity and culture they all have shared core values. Each organization nationally supports its members in the following areas:
- Brotherhood / Sisterhood
What are the benefits of joining a fraternity or sorority at American University?
- Gain a support group that will help transitioning to college life significantly easier
- Cultivate friendships that will last a lifetime
- Access resources to help encourage and achieve academic goals
- Develop leadership skills with hands-on opportunities to practice and lead
- Maximize involvement on campus and in the community
- Serve the community through active participation in community service projects
- Network with alumni to develop priceless career opportunities
- Maximize the college experience while having a lot of fun!
Fraternity & Sorority Eligibility Requirements
- Potential New Members (PNM's) must have completed 12 credit hours of classes
- Minimum Cumulative GPA is a 2.5
- Must be in good standing with the University
Costs associated with membership?
You may have heard the cliché about Fraternity/Sorority members "buying their friends." Nothing is farther from the truth. For the Panhellenic women there is a cost to participate in formal recruitment in the spring that covers costs of food, t-shirts, and helps fund a new member scholarship. When your son or daughter make the decision to join an organization it is important that they understand the costs associated with their membership. For most organizations there is usually a one-time fee to be paid to the national headquarters that covers the cost of their badge, certificate and certain other items. There is also a semester or monthly "dues" that each member pays while they are an undergraduate member of the organization. These fees go to keep the national organization and chapter running.
Sororities: Average cost is $400 for new members, but this ranges from $300-$500 depending on the chapter. Active member dues are around $250 per semester.
Fraternities: Average cost is $260 for new members, but this ranges from $200-$600 depending on the chapter. Active member dues are around $300 per semester.
How your will your student join a fraternity or sorority?
At American University we have deferred requirement. This means that your student can join a Greek letter organization once they have completed 12 semester hours and have a 2.5 GPA. First year students will participate in spring recruitment. The Interfraternity Council organizations have a semi formal recruitment period that lasts three weeks at the start of each semester. The Panhellenic organizations have a formal process that takes place each spring semester that lasts five days and allows mutual selection for potential new members and the chapters. Chapters that are eligible may take a new member class in the fall semester, but this is not guaranteed. The National PanHellenic Council organizations hold intake and information sessions throughout the semester to allow for new members to learn about their organizations.
If your student is thinking about joining one of these organizations encourage them to look at all of the options on campus as this is a lifelong commitment. Recruitment introduces prospective members to the Fraternity and Sorority community and gives unaffiliated students the chance to learn what makes fraternities and sororities unique organizations. Students who wish to participate in the recruitment process are not required to join any organization. Feel free to contact the national organization headquarters with any specific questions in regard to the chapter or the University.
Interfraternity Council Unrecognized Chapter:
- Epsilon Iota - Also referred to as EI is the former Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) chapter that was closed both by the University and Alpha Tau Omega headquarters in March 2001.The fraternity lost university and national fraternity recognition for serious policy violations which involved hazing and alcohol abuse. Upon loss of recognition, members of this group formed this unrecognized organization.
Involvement in this unrecognized organization could pose risks to students, and the university highly discourages individuals from joining them. Please talk with your students about joining only recognized fraternities if they choose to pursue fraternity and sorority membership.
Since joining a fraternity or sorority is a lifelong commitment, and there is an expense associated with membership, membership should be discussed with your student. Consider sitting down with your student to research all of the university-recognized organizations at American University. Using National websites is a convenient way to gather information. Feel free to contact students who are currently involved, along with other parents, and ask them about their experience. In most cases, both students and parents will speak candidly about their involvement.
Also check out these helpful websites: