Just For Parents
All you need to know before your student goes Greek!
Role as a Parent
As a parent of someone who is interested in joining a fraternity or sorority, you have several roles. These include:
- Be supportive and learn as much as you can by asking questions of your son or daughter as he or she meets people through the recruitment process. Fraternity and sorority members will be more than happy to tell them (and you) more about their group.
- Encourage your son or daughter to attend as many campus events as possible before recruitment. Being involved is the best way to meet active Greek members and learn about their chapters. Involvement in other student organizations is looked favorably upon during the membership selection process.
- Students need support throughout the process of recruitment/rush and new member education. Be supportive and learn as much as you can about Greek life by asking questions of your student as he/she meets members in fraternities and sororities.
- Keep an open mind. Fraternity/Sorority life is not for everyone. Just because you may have been a fraternity or sorority member does not mean that it is the right choice for your son or daughter.
- Fraternities and sororities are different on every campus. Groups that may have been strong on the campus where you attended school may not have the same reputation at Grand Valley. Let your son or daughter choose the group that he or she feels the most comfortable joining.
- Talk to your son or daughter beforehand about the financial obligation. Determine who will pay for what and where the limits are.
- Do not become too involved in the fraternity or sorority recruitment/rush process. This is your son or daughters decision.
- Keep the Office of Student Life contact information on hand if you have any questions or concerns about Fraternity & Sorority Life at the Grand Valley State University 616-331-2345.
- If you sense your student may be participating in inappropriate activities as a result of membership in a fraternity or sorority, you should contact Fraternity and Sorority Life at 616-331-2345 or the Grand Valley Police Department at 616-331-3255. Calls will be handled in a discrete manner.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a fraternity or a sorority?
A fraternity/sorority is a group of men or women bound together by brotherhood or sisterhood and common goals and aspirations. The members that form a fraternity or sorority share their efforts, friendship, and knowledge. Together these members learn, grow and make the fraternity and sorority community stronger. Their common experience builds ties that last a lifetime. This forms a brotherhood or sisterhood amongst members which helps to develop strong and creative leadership leading to success.
Though there are many different fraternities and sororities, they all share common founding principles that are of interest to any Grand Valley Laker. Fraternities and sororities enhance your educational experience by emphasizing intellectual, interpersonal, and social development. The ideals of lifelong friendship, sound education, campus and community service, and social interaction are what fraternity and sorority members strive to live by every day.
Don't fraternities and sororities take up a lot of time?
Fraternity/Sorority membership requires anywhere from 2 to 8 hours a week. Whether it be a community service project, planning an event, or regular weekly meetings, fraternity and sorority members have learned to manage their time wisely with other commitments such as schoolwork, a job, and significant others. This is why so many members have succeeded in their lives.
If I'm new to campus, should I wait until I know my way around classes and campus before I join?
There are many students that take this option. The best answer is up to you! Grand Valley is a medium sized campus with approximately 25,000 students. Some believe the sooner you know more people, the more comfortable you will feel on campus. By joining your first year, you may find adjusting to life at Grand Valley a lot easier. Make the decision that fits you best.
Aren't fraternities & sororities expensive?
Costs vary from chapter to chapter but will typically include the following:
- New Member/Initiation Fees
- Chapter Dues (scholarship initiatives, intramurals, service, and social events)
- Inter/national Dues
- Social Fees
- Room & Board (if the chapter has a house)
- Parlor Fee (if the chapter has a facility utilized by the membership)
Please check with each respective chapter for definitive total costs. It is important to ask these questions upfront so that there are no surprises later. However, many organizations have scholarships or allow for payment plans. Do not be discouraged by costs, ask about your options.
What are the requirements to go through recruitment?
First-year, sophomore, junior, senior, and transfer students are all welcome to go through the recruitment process to join a fraternity or sorority. While a few organizations restrict membership to students in their second semester or older, the majority of GVSUs chapters are open to all classifications. Some chapters also have GPA requirements for potential new members.
For incoming freshman, who do not have an established GPA at Grand Valley, acceptance into GVSU will allow for you to go through recruitment, for organizations that accept first-semester freshman.
When does recruitment happen?
Most recruitment events happen within the first month of the semester (September or February). Most chapters recruit in the fall, and many also recruit in the spring. The Panhellenic sorority formal recruitment process occurs at the end of September, check their council website for exact dates.
How can a student join a fraternity or sorority?
Students go through a recruitment process to join a fraternity or sorority. This process varies by the council and by the chapter. You can learn more by visiting each council's website. Once a student has gone through recruitment and decided to join an organization, the student will go through a new member education or intake process. During this time, the student learns about the history, traditions, and values of the organization. At the end of the new member education period, the new members are initiated into the organization.
Do all members live in the house?
Several fraternities and sororities have facilities where members live together. Students who join chapters with houses typically move into the chapter house during their second year of membership. Each chapter has its own policies for living in the facility. While the majority of live-in members are sophomores and juniors, some chapters have seniors live in as well. Students are encouraged to ask about live-in policies and housing contracts before joining an organization. Several fraternities and sororities do not have facilities, and their members do not have obligations to live in a particular place.
Are Greek students involved in other activities on campus? Will Greek Life take up all of my students time?
Joining a Greek organization does not take up all of one's time; in fact, it is often a bridge for students to get involved in other facets of the GVSU community. Members of the Greek community are leaders and participants in many campus groups including Greek Allies and Advocates, Leadership Summit, Traditions Team, Transitions Orientation, and many more.
In addition, many Greek students hold jobs, volunteer, play a variety of varsity or club sports, and take on heavy course loads. Greek organizations allow members the opportunity to expand and develop their leadership skills. Being a member of the Greek community, however, is a time commitment that one must budget their time for. As a Greek member, your student will have the opportunity to become involved in a variety of organizations in and outside of his or her chapter.
What about hazing?
Hazing is contrary to the missions and values of fraternities and sororities. The state of Michigan, Grand Valley State University, and all inter/national fraternities and sororities have policies against hazing.
As an educated parent, consider asking the following questions before your child joins a fraternity or sorority:
- What is expected of fraternity/sorority members?
- How will membership affect my academics?
- What leadership opportunities are available to students as both new members and active members?
- Does the chapter perform hands-on community service? If so, how often?
- Does the fraternity or sorority require members to live in the facility (if housing is available)? If so, for how long?
- What are the expenses associated with membership? How does this vary as a new member?
- What type of member is the chapter looking for?
- What values does this organization promote?
- Is the organization officially recognized by the University? If not, why is this the case?
- What is the time commitment?