Many people have questions when they are considering pledging a fraternity or sorority. Here are answers to some of the most common questions. Please contact us if you need information or advice about pledging.  
Rights of Potential New Members: The right to be treated as an individual. The right to be treated with respect. The right to be fully informed about the recruitment process, including timelines, membership expectations, binding agreements. The right to ask questions and receive true and objective answers. The right to be treated as a capable and mature person without being patronized. The right to make one’s own choice and decision and accept full responsibility for the results of that decision. The right to have a positive, safe, and enriching recruitment and new member experience. Tips for Students Participating in Recruitment  
Do’s: Ask questions about the fraternity/sorority, its national organization and the local chapter. Visit the national and chapter websites of the chapters you are interested in. Be willing to meet lots of active members. Be yourself and relax. Be open-minded and give all of the chapters equal consideration. Feel comfortable eating or drinking. Dress comfortably and appropriately for the type of event you will be attending. Make your decisions about visiting and joining independently, just because your friend joins another chapter does not mean that you cannot still be friends. Tell the active members about you, your interests, and your goals, not just your year and major.  
Don’ts: Do not hesitate to ask the FSL Staff, Interfraternity/Panhellenic Council Officers, or Rho Gammas (sorority recruitment) questions. Do not discuss opinions of individual chapters with other potential new members. Do not be afraid to report an unfair recruiting practice or violation of recruitment rules. Do not ask about chapter voting. Do not go into recruitment with stereotypes of chapters.

Rights of Potential New Members

  • The right to be treated as an individual.
  • The right to be treated with respect.
  • The right to be fully informed about the recruitment process, including timelines, membership expectations, binding agreements.
  • The right to ask questions and receive true and objective answers.
  • The right to be treated as a capable and mature person without being patronized.
  • The right to make one’s own choice and decision and accept full responsibility for the results of that decision.
  • The right to have a positive, safe, and enriching recruitment and new member experience.

Tips for Students Participating in Recruitment

Do’s

  • Ask questions about the fraternity/sorority, its national organization and the local chapter.
  • Visit the national and chapter websites of the chapters you are interested in.
  • Be willing to meet lots of active members.
  • Be yourself and relax.
  • Be open-minded and give all of the chapters equal consideration.
  • Feel comfortable eating or drinking.
  • Dress comfortably and appropriately for the type of event you will be attending.
  • Make your decisions about visiting and joining independently, just because your friend joins another chapter does not mean that you cannot still be friends.
  • Tell the active members about you, your interests, and your goals, not just your year and major.

Don’ts

  • Do not hesitate to ask the FSL Staff, Interfraternity/Panhellenic Council Officers, or Rho Gammas (sorority recruitment) questions.
  • Do not discuss opinions of individual chapters with other potential new members.
  • Do not be afraid to report an unfair recruiting practice or violation of recruitment rules.
  • Do not ask about chapter voting.
  • Do not go into recruitment with stereotypes of chapters.

What is a Greek Organization?

A Greek organization is a group of individuals with similar interests bonded together by common goals, aspirations, and shared experiences. These bonds are created through rituals in which all members participate. Rituals are based on common principals such as honor, leadership, friendship, service, and justice just to name a few. Each group works to instill these ideals in their members through their everyday activities.

Since the founding of the first college fraternity in 1776 and the first sorority in 1851, these organizations have thrived and multiplied into hundreds of national organizations while making a positive and tremendous impact on the service and social structure of higher education systems throughout the United States and Canada. These organizations are referred to as “Greek” because their names consist of Greek letters that serve as a reminder of the group’s values. The term “fraternity” is a name generally applied to all Greek organizations, both male and female, but usually refers specifically to men’s groups while “sorority” refers to women’s Greek organizations.

The Pillars of Excellence

Four pillars of character, leadership, scholarship, and service guide fraternities and sororities at James Madison University. These fraternal values provide a strong foundation to support a student’s personal development during the undergraduate years. Each chapter is responsible for striving to meet a series of standards that corresponds to each of the four pillars and report their progress to the Fraternity & Sorority Life Staff. Chapters then make an annual presentation of their report to an advisory committee composed of faculty and staff members who provide feedback to each chapter in the process of determining the star rating for each organization.

What is the history of fraternities and sororities at JMU?

Greek organizations have been a part college campuses since the late 18th-century. In the spring of 1939, these organizations spread to what was then Madison College. Today, more than 1,500 students are strong and vital members of the fraternity/sorority community at James Madison University. Although, we are a relatively young institution our campus has a strong Greek system rich with tradition and strong fraternities and sororities. Currently, there are more than 20 chapters on campus ranging from approximately 30 to 120 members.

What are the requirements for joining a Greek organization?

Although the university does not currently set minimum requirements for men and women interested in joining fraternities and sororities many Greek organizations do have inter/national standards for potential new members. These inter/national standards typically require that interested students have a GPA above 2.5. Additionally Fraternity & Sorority Life encourages chapters to only offer bids to students that are enrolled as a full-time student (12+ hours of course work) and in good standing with the university.

Greek Benefits

Membership in a Greek organization offers many benefits. Some examples are listed below.

Leadership

The fraternity and sorority community offers a variety of leadership opportunities to prepare students for future careers. Members are eligible for elected or appointed positions and committee participation within the chapter. Each chapter is self-governing and relies on the special talents of its members for successful management. Members may choose to become involved in the leadership of one of the governing councils or the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society. Conferences hosted on campus, regionally and nationally, provide members with further opportunities to explore the realm of leadership.

Scholarship

Academic achievement is a value of the campus fraternity and sorority community. Members are encouraged to strive for academic excellence through incentive programs, study partners, workshops, and study hours. Members are rewarded for their academic achievements through chapter events and by membership in the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society. Each fraternity and sorority maintains internal academic standards that all members are expected to achieve. The Department of Greek Life assists with these initiatives by tracking scholastic achievement through the Grade and Membership Reports .

Service

The fraternity and sorority community is committed to participating in community service and philanthropic efforts. Many organizations have a specific service or philanthropy, such as domestic violence prevention, Pediatric AIDS, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, and Adopt-a-Highway. As a fraternity or sorority member, you will have the opportunity to support the local and campus community by being involved in volunteer activities such as reading to children, organizing a formal for a local senior care facility, serving in a soup kitchen, sponsoring a blood drive, or doing a clean-up at a local park.

Network/Support

It is important to find a netwrok of friends and allies to provide the support needed to be successful. Members are encouraged to participate in other campus life programs and to join other student organizations. Intramural sports and special campus events provide even more opportunities to meet students, faculty, and staff from various agencies and departments. The chapter also provides opportunities for members to meet brothers and sisters from chapters at other colleges and universities, usually through a regional or national leadership conference. The fraternity and sorority experience is not limited to the college years, as it continues through adulthood. Alumni/ae associations are available across the country and the potential for career connections are endless. Alumni/ae and national volunteers provide advice and guidance for the chapter and its members as well as serve on house and alumni/ae corporations.

University Involvement

Fraternity and sorority members may be found in all parts of campus life: Student Government Association, Intramural Sports, Resident Assistants, Honor Societies, University Programming Board, house councils and area governments, as student staff in many offices and departments, varsity sports and throughout the student organizations found on campus. Fraternity and sorority members play an important role in many of the events and initiatives on the campus, either through their chapter or through involvement with other associations.

Friendship

A fundamental principle of every fraternity and sorority chapter is friendship: a brotherhood or sisterhood that one shares through the good times and provides support during the difficult challenges that come with being a college student. The fraternity and sorority chapter provides opportunities for members to periodically assemble and renew those bonds of friendship: Homecoming, Alumni weekends, newsletters, a chapter web page, and athletic events. Many national chapters have alumni chapters in major urban areas, where alumni/ae from various chapters can continue to create new bonds of friendship.

Lifelong Membership

Membership is a solemn commitment. Joining a fraternity or sorority is a lifelong dedication to the ideals and principals of Greek life. Greek men and women are successful in life because the values learned during the undergraduate years of affiliation continue to be put into action long after graduation.

Facts About Greeks

  • Over 85% of the student leaders on some 730 campuses are involved in the Greek community.
  • All but eight U.S. Presidents have been fraternity men since 1825 when the first social fraternity was founded. Today, 76% of all U.S. Congressmen and Senators are Greek.
  • Of the nations 50 largest corporations, 43 are led by fraternity men and sorority women.
  • Greeks raise over $7 million for charity every year.
  • A U.S. Government study shows that over 70% of all those who join a fraternity/ sorority graduate, while under 50% of all non-fraternity/sorority persons graduate.
  • 850,000 hours are annually volunteered by Greeks across the country.
  • Since 1910, 85% of the Supreme Court Justices have been Greek.
  • Both women appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court were sorority members.
  • Less than 2% of an average college students expenses go towards Greek membership dues.

The Center for Advanced Social Research at the University of Missouri has compiled the following information about Greek Life:

  • Following graduation, Greek-affiliated alumni have higher average incomes than non-Greek alumni.
  • Even when accounting for parents’ educational levels, graduation year, and gender, students who were affiliated with fraternities and sororities have higher average incomes following graduation.
  • Students who join fraternities and sororities are 28% more likely to return to school the following year than students who choose not to join.
  • Following graduation, Greek-affiliated alumni are involved in more civic organizations and contribute more financially to charitable organizations than non-Greek alumni.

Approximately 85% of the top executives of Fortune 500 companies belong to a fraternity or sorority. See more Famous Greeks online!

How do I determine if I want to join a Fraternity or Sorority? If so, which one will be the best fit for me?

If you believe that Greek organizations can enhance your educational experience by emphasizing intellectual, interpersonal, and social development then fraternity/sorority life is for you. All Greek-letter organizations strive for the ideals of lifelong friendship, a sound education, campus and community service, and social interaction. In determining the right organization for you, research not only the James Madison chapter but also the inter/national organization via their website. Look at the motto, mission statement, founding ideals/principles and the philanthropic involvement of the organization. This should ease the decision making process.

How much time is required to be a member?

Participating in any worthwhile activity always requires a time investment. The old saying ìyou get out of it what youà re willing to put into itî couldnà t ring more true. Most of our Greek students are successfully balancing academics, a part-time job and a social life alongside chapter membership. While there are definitely some mandatory commitments that are set well in advance (i.e. weekly meetings, community service projects, new member education, etc.), a student can be as involved as they choose to be. Time requirements vary from group to group depending upon how ambitious of a programming calendar the chapter has. In our experience, the students that are most active and involved are usually the ones most satisfied with their decision to join a Greek organization.