For Parents and Families:
This is an exciting time in your student’s life and we know that you will have questions concerning your student’s interest and involvement in Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL). Below are answers to common questions and general information about Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University of Akron, including ways you can stay involved with your student’s experience.
Being a part of a sorority or fraternity at the University of Akron provides students with countless benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Increased academic success: our chapters enhance the academic experience by offering scholarships, study skill workshops, and by holding weekly study tables Chapters will also encourage members partnering with other members for academic major support and tutoring. Students are held to GPA requirements within the chapter and the University of Akron’s fraternity and sorority students consistently obtains a higher grade point average than non-affiliated students, with 87% of our members responding that as a result of joining their fraternity/sorority they have increased their academic success. Check out the Fraternity and Sorority Life grade reports on the Scholarship page.
- Development of leadership skills: fraternity and sorority students can participate in various leadership development opportunities designed just for them. We offer first-year members the opportunity to participate in the Greek Leadership Program, provide officer trainer retreats, and bring in speakers on variety of topics. Through holding officer positions in the chapter or through serving on the Greek Governing Council, fraternity/sorority members learn a variety of leadership skills and can attend regional/national leadership conferences.
- An appreciation for civic responsibility: supporting the community through service is an something fraternity and sorority members take seriously. Annually, members dedicate over 17,000 hours of hands-on service in the local area. Over spring break, around 40 members will travel on the annual FSL Alternative Spring Break Trip to Winder, GA serving at Camp Twin Lakes. In addition, our chapters are dedicated to supporting non-profit agencies with philanthropic donations. Raising over $90,0000 annually the chapters support over 20 agencies with their donations. As a community, we come together to support Camp Quality Ohio with philanthropic donations at our annual Songfest.
- Lifelong friendships: Some of the best friends your student will make in college will be form their involvement in fraternity/sorority life. With life-long membership in a fraternity/sorority the friendships developed continue well beyond graduation, giving your student a great support system. In addition to the members in their chapter, your student will meet and get connected to a vast network of alumni. When someone joins, they develop contacts and acquaintances that can help them when looking for a job, provide relocation advice, and additional alumni involvement opportunities. Our national organizations have alumni associations across the United States.
- Fun experiences: The most immediate benefit for your student will gain is countless ways to have a lot of fun. Lifelong memories will be made from participating in activities and social events. Whether it is a chapter event or events geared toward the community, joining a fraternity and sorority provides a well-rounded social calendar. Some special events for our fraternity and sorority members are: Greek Week, Songfest or Greek League Intramurals, Greek Leadership Awards, and Alternative Spring Break to highlight a few!
- Additional educational programming: each chapter hosts numerous programs/events on topics ranging from study skills, personal safety and wellness, managing your finances, to navigating life beyond college.
- Based on assessment data from UA’s FSL Community, members agree that their fraternity and sorority experience has:
- enhanced my ability to establish effective social skills- 91%
- increased my value and respect for those who are different from me- 90%
- contributed to my commitment to service- 87%
- contributed to my academic success- 84%
- encouraged me to adopt a healthy lifestyle- 84%
- enhanced my ability to think critically- 80%
- Overall, our students say that their chapter is their home away from home, providing a familial support system to your student.
There are many ways you can be involved, but here are some ways to provide additional support during key times:
During Recruitment: Be a support system!
There are many ways to support your student during this exciting time. Encourage your student to be confident, show their genuine self, and keep an open mind. We recommend that you:
- Check in with your student during the recruitment process. Encourage them to attend as many events and get to know every chapter and multiple people in each chapter.
- Talk with your student about making an individual decision, especially if you are an alumnus/a of an organization. It’s great to share with them that they are a legacy but be sure to remain open-minded and supportive should they choose a fraternity/sorority other than your own. Chapters change over time and from campus to campus, so encourage your student to find the right chapter for them at UA. Having friends in different chapters is a great thing and they will be part of the larger Greek community.
- Help them weigh the considerations for joining each group. What are the values of the organization, what philanthropy do they support, what is their sisterhood/brotherhood like? What opportunities do they provide for service work, scholarship, and leadership development? What do they like best about the chapters they are considering?
- Talk about the financial responsibility associated with membership. Do they know how much the chapter costs, what do the membership dues cover, and is there is a payment plan? Joining a fraternity/sorority is an investment.
Once they join
Should your student join, be sure to participate and witness their growth firsthand. Once they become a member of the fraternity and sorority community, there will be opportunities for you to be a part of this aspect of their college life. Many of the chapters at the University of Akron host events such as family weekend or a Mom’s/Dad’s day in order for the family to learn more about their student’s chapter and stay involved! In addition, you may want to:
- Ask about your student’s new sisterhood/brotherhood, the values of the chapter they joined, and historical pillars of membership.
- Research on the chapter’s (inter)national website.
- Know the grade requirements to maintain membership and challenge them to take advantage of academic resources being offered.
- Ask about their big/little and other mentors in the chapter.
- Encourage your student to take a leadership role in the chapter.
- Encourage your student to take advantage of additional resources that come with fraternity/sorority membership- such as scholarships, leadership development opportunities, and networking.
Each fraternity/sorority is run by student leaders that are elected by the members annually. These leaders are the officers of the chapter and deal with the day-to-day operations of the organization. The student leaders are responsible for planning all events, providing ongoing education for members, and conducting the business of the chapter. The students that serve in leadership roles often further enhance critical skills employers are looking for.
The student leaders receive support from trained alumni that serve as advisors to the officers and general chapter members. If your student’s fraternity/sorority has a house on campus, these properties are generally owned and ran by a House Corporation that manages monies, collects rent and pays bills.
Each group is governed by a national/international headquarters, which establishes chapter regulations and offers advice and direction through professional staff that visit the chapter at least once a year. Additionally, the University employs staff members within the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, who work directly with the governing Fraternity/Sorority councils, as well as the individual chapters.
Fraternity and Sorority membership at UA is more affordable than at many large institutions. The first semester of membership is always the most expensive, as there are many one-time fees that are due to the national organization. Membership dues vary from chapter to chapter, but on average we see most groups costing between x0x a semester. Many of the students pay their own membership dues and work hard to save up the money need over summer or winter breaks.
A majority of our chapters have chapter housing, which provides students with an affordable housing option. Most chapters do not require members to live-in, unless they hold a specific leadership position. Living in a chapter house can be a wonderful shared living experience. All members, regardless of living in the house or not, will pay for a portion of the upkeep of the chapter house. This is usually included in the membership dues.
Hazing has no place in fraternities and sororities and it every member’s responsibility to ensure hazing does not occur. Hazing is against the law in the state of Ohio and can jeopardize a student’s membership in their chapter, while jeopardizing their enrollment at the University. Anyone who knows or suspects that someone is being hazed should contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life or the University of Akron Police (330.972.2911). The University of Akron has a zero-tolerance policy for hazing as does every chapter at the University of Akron. New members, New Member Educators and Presidents are educated on what could be considered hazing and how to report/share any concerns.
Collin’s Law (Ohio’s Anti-Hazing Act) has gone into effect as of October 2021. It includes a number of changes:
- Expands the definition of hazing and specifies that hazing may include “coercing another to consume alcohol or a drug of abuse."
- Increases the penalty for hazing to a 2nd degree misdemeanor.
- Expands the list of officials required to report hazing.
- Widens the scope of those who can be punished for participating in or permitting hazing. (A violation that results in serious harm is a 3rd degree felony.)
- Requires that those aware of hazing report it to authorities, with penalties up to a 1st degree misdemeanor for failing to do so.
- Requires the Ohio Department of Higher Education to implement a statewide anti-hazing plan.
- Requires staff and volunteers at colleges and universities to undergo training on hazing awareness and prevention.
In response to Collin’s Law, all UA students, faculty, and staff have completed a hazing prevention training course. Incoming students must complete this course before they are eligible to join any student organization on campus, including fraternities and sororities. New members in the fraternity and sorority community take an additional Greek Life specific hazing prevention course.
Review the State of Ohio’s definition of hazing here
Review The University of Akron’s hazing policy here
A common misconception about fraternity and sorority life, is that it is focused and centered on partying and alcohol. While known as social organizations, partying is not the main focus of the sororities and fraternities on the University of Akron’s campus. Members of the Greek community are busy studying, raising money for philanthropies, participating in service events to help the community, and spending time with their brothers or sisters during events such as socials. There are members of the community that do not attend parties or drink, so we encourage your student to learn more about the social culture of the chapter they are interested in joining.
If you have a question that was not answered above, please feel free to email us!
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