As a parent, you are no doubt interested in your son or daughter getting the best education they can. Certainly the education they receive in the classroom is the primary reason for coming to Miami University. This guide is designed to help answer questions a parent might have.
What are the advantages of becoming a member of a Fraternal Organization?
Becoming a member of a fraternal organization will provide your child with a number of experiences that will help prepare them for not only a career, but for life. These advantages include:
- Leadership skills: learned through offices in the chapter, through governing Greek councils, or Auxiliary Fraternity/Sorority Organizations.
- Academic success: provided through planned study sessions, partnering with older members of the chapter and hearing guest professors speak at meetings.
- Educational programming: each chapter hosts a number of guest lecturers on topics ranging from alcohol awareness, personal safety, to study skills.
- Enduring friendships and alumni contacts: Being in a Fraternity/Sorority does not stop at graduation. When someone joins, they are a life-long member. As such, they develop contacts and acquaintances that can help them when looking for a job or when they need advice. With 170 years of history to draw from, Miami's Fraternity/Sorority community has an array of alumni who are there to help.
- Developing a sense of civic responsibility: Miami's Fraternity/Sorority members have worked over 10,000 volunteer hours for the Oxford/Cincinnati area. Believing in giving back to the community, your child will have numerous opportunities to participate in helping young children, the elderly, the disabled and their fellow citizens.
- It is fun: The most immediate benefit for your son or daughter is the activities and social events sponsored by each chapter. Whether it is a chapter event, or a Greek Week event, your son or daughter will be around a group of students who know how to enjoy themselves responsibly.
Who is actually in charge?
Students elect their own officers from their members. These officers deal with the day-to-day operations of the organization. Each member learns cooperation and planning skills. Alumni act as advisors to the officers and general chapter members. The houses of each fraternity are owned by a "House Corporation" that manages monies, collects rent and pays bills. All of the sororities have a suite within the Residence Halls.
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 the staff members with in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Leadership, who works directly with the governing Fraternity/Sorority councils, as well as the individual chapters.
How do you become a member?
During the Spring semester, the governing Fraternity/Sorority councils, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) for the men, and the Panhellenic Association (PA) for the women, sponsor what's called "recruitment." It is a series of planned events that provide interested students the opportunity to visit each chapter and meet the members. The National Pan-Hellenic Council chapters conduct intake on a individual chapter basis.
Once recruitment is over, and the chapter has offered an invitation to membership and the student accepts, they become a "new member." Each chapter has different rules, guidelines and terms for this period that lasts about 6 to 8 weeks. The student will spend time learning about the history of the fraternity or sorority, rules and traditions. Once the new member period is over, they will be inducted into full membership. Be sure to have your son or daughter ask each chapter's requirements.
How much does it cost?
You may have heard the cliche about Fraternity/Sorority members "buying their friends." Nothing is further from the truth. Like any national organization, there are bills to pay and cost to membership. When your son or daughter becomes a new member, there is usually a fee paid to the national/international headquarters. There are also monthly or semester dues, depending on the chapter. When it is time to become a full member, 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. These fees go to keep the house and national organization running. Without them, the chapters could not function. View a list of chapter membership dues
- Sororities: Average cost is $500 for new members, but this ranges from $400-$600 depending on the chapter. Active member dues are around $300 per semester.
- Fraternities: Average cost is $460 for new members, but this ranges from $300-$800 depending on the chapter. Active member dues are around $450 per semester. If your son lives in the house, there are room and board fees which are comparable to residence halls fees. The cost to live in the houses vary. Please encourage your son to ask about live-in cost when they go through Recruitment.
What are living conditions like in Fraternity Houses/Sorority Suites?
Miami's Fraternity houses are homes. Each house has a living room, or common area, multiple bathrooms, expansive kitchens and dining rooms. Most have computer facilities and have phone lines in each room where students can connect to the Internet. But the comforts of home are not what make Miami's Fraternity houses homes--it is the brother that flourishes in an environment that promotes learning and friendship. That is the definition of a home and that is in Miami's Fraternity community. Sororities have suites within the residence halls and some of the membership live in corridors within the particular hall.
What about alcohol?
The days of open keg parties at Fraternity/Sorority social functions are gone. Today's fraternities and sororities promote responsible use of alcohol. Miami's Fraternity/Sorority community has been on the cutting-edge of the alcohol issue. Each chapter holds seminars on responsible alcohol use. Miami's Fraternity/Sorority governing groups have adopted their own Greek Alcohol Policy, which all chapters adhere to.
What about hazing?
Hazing is prohibited by all sororities and fraternities at Miami University. All new fraternity and sorority members experience a period of orientation upon joining a Greek Organization. During this time, your student and other new members will attend meetings to learn about his or her fraternity or sorority’s history and organization. There are also leadership retreats, community service projects, and activities designed to build friendships among new members and between new members and initiated members. Hazing is a violation of the Miami University student code of conduct and Ohio state law.
If you ever feel your son or daughter may have been hazed (or harassed), please call 513.529.1462.
Do members participate in service?
One of the most gratifying aspects of fraternity and sorority life is the sense of satisfaction and pride that comes with involvement in community service. Throughout the year each chapter spends time fundraising and volunteering for local and national organizations in need of aid. In 2016 Miami’s Greek community raised $287,666 for local and national charities and volunteered for 22,373 hours of community service for charities such as the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, Hole-In-The-Wall Gang, and Talawanda School District.
Will my student’s academics be affected if he or she joins a Greek organization?
Academics are a priority in the Greek community which is why our chapters strive for academic excellence and improved scholastic achievement. Each chapter has a grade point average requirement that must be met before a prospective member can join. Chapters offer study tables, peer tutoring, time management and study skill workshops, scholastic awards, and incentive programs as well as scholarship opportunities for their members. As a result of the Greek Community’s academic goals, the All-Greek GPA is consistently higher than Miami’s All-Student GPA.
What time commitment is involved in being Greek?
The time commitment varies from chapter to chapter and student to student. The first semester is the most time intensive. New members participate in their chapter’s educational program, during which they develop leadership and time management skills, get acquainted with the new member class as well as the rest of the chapter, and become involved in Greek activities and organizations. Each chapter has weekly chapter meetings, annual philanthropies, service projects, and chapter events. Chapter members are encouraged to become involved in campus activities and leadership positions inside and outside of the chapter while always remembering that academic commitments come first.
What is my role as a parent?
As a parent, you can be supportive of your son's or daughter's efforts to join a chapter. Learn as much as you can about the fraternities and sororities at Miami. Many groups provide written statements concerning activities, finances and policies. Allow your son or daughter to make their own choice (especially if you were Greek). Participate in chapter sponsored events for alumni and parents. Come to homecoming, if possible. Your support should not end after Recruitment, but continue throughout your son's or daughter's years at Miami.