Frequently Asked QuestionsFraternity and Sorority Life

Fraternity and Sorority

What is a fraternity or sorority?

Fraternities and sororities are groups of individuals of similar interest bonded together by common goals, aspirations, and ritual. Rituals are based on common principles such as honor, friendship, truth, and knowledge, and each group works to instill and support these ideals through everyday activities. Membership in a fraternity or sorority is a lifelong obligation. The choice to join the community means working with students who can pursue common goals and ideas while being held to a higher standard. Each chapter develops a special bond that is nurtured thorough common work, ideals, service projects, and other shared experiences.

Why join a fraternity or sorority at Gustavus?

Fraternity and Sorority life at Gustavus offers countless benefits and development opportunities. Students often share that joining their chapter gave them a stronger sense of community, belonging, and purpose while in college and beyond. The Greek community at Gustavus was established in 1904 and prides itself on its three core values of leadership, scholarship, and service. Organizations aim to contribute to campus through philanthropic endeavors, community service, and interpersonal development. Through fraternities and sororities, students participate in social events, develop leadership skills, and make lifelong friends. Almost one-fifth of the Gustavus student body is Greek.

Leadership: Fraternity and sorority life offers an abundance of leadership and growth opportunities. Whether you become involved in Panhellenic, The Inter-Greek Council, or a position within your chapter, you are sure to develop new skills and relationships through your lived experiences. Gustavus Greeks are also heavily involved in athletic teams, Student Senate, ROTC, and other reputable campus organizations.

Scholarship: Greek organizations prioritize and contribute to members’ academic success. Scheduled study time is a component of the new member period and is regulated throughout membership. Each semester the all-Greek GPA average is higher than the overall campus GPA, and all members must maintain a 2.5 GPA to participate in recruitment and remain eligible.

Service: Contributing to the surrounding community is a vital aspect of fraternity and sorority life. Chapters host their own philanthropy event each year to contribute to meaningful causes like medical foundations, national issues like homelessness and domestic violence, and local non-profits. Organizations also participate in other events year-round as required by the Inter-Greek Council. To learn about each chapter’s philanthropy, view chapters’ individual pages, or contact them for details.

Which organizations does Gustavus have on campus?

Gustavus supports a wide variety of fraternity and sorority organizations, all with unique relationships, histories, involvements, and contributions to campus. See "Organizations" for a complete list.

Recruitment and Joining

How do I join?

Recruitment is the process in which Potential New Members (PNMs) explore Greek chapters and ultimately make a selection that’s a mutual fit for both them and the chapter. Recruitment events consist of learning about the distinct values and purpose of each chapter, forming relationships with the members, and ultimately making a choice of whether or not to join the Fraternity and Sorority community. Conversations should revolve around these principles. All sophomores, juniors, and seniors will receive an email with instructions and deadlines for recruitment registration first thing in the fall.

All Potential New Members must register online. For a complete recruitment schedule and registration instructions please view the Greek Recruitment Guide.

When can I join?

Students are eligible to join a chapter as early as Fall of their Sophomore year and can join any fall semester during their time as a student.

What are the requirements of joining?

Potential New Members must adhere to the following requirements in order to participate in the new member period (according to the IGC Constitution):

  1. Must have achieved sophomore standing by year in credit and year in residence at any college or university
  2. Must have a cumulative grade point average above 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
  3. Make a bid (Article IX), after which they will be notified of their unalienable rights according to the New Member Bill of Rights
  4. Any active member or Potential New Member of a Greek life organization who is found responsible for an act of sexual misconduct as defined in the Gustie Guide and who receives a sanction of Disciplinary Probation, Suspension, or Expulsion for such an offense shall not be allowed to retain or obtain membership in the Greek community indefinitely. This judgement shall be reversed in the event of a successful appeal in accordance with the process outlined by the Gustie Guide.

For more questions regarding eligibility, please contact the Inter-Greek Council.

Are there fees associated with registering for recruitment?

No; participating in recruitment is completely free at Gustavus.

How long will joining take?

The length of the new member period (known as the time from when a member joins the chapter to the time he or she is initiated), differs between chapters. The new member period can last anywhere from two to six weeks depending on the new member program. This is a great question to while completing the recruitment process!

Can I wait and join a chapter my junior or senior year?

Yes, it is encouraged that everyone who is interested in a chapter experience the recruitment process.

What is hazing, and will it happen to me?

Hazing is defined as any action taken which produces bodily harm or danger, mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, fright, or ridicule. Once a common tradition, hazing has been banned by all national fraternal organizations and institutions of higher education. Gustavus rigorously enforces this policy, and organizations that violate the policy are subject to immediate suspension of campus recognition and privileges. Please see more information in "Hazing Prevention" or the Gustie Guide 

If I go through the recruitment process, am I obligated to join?

You are under no obligation to join a chapter just because you participate in recruitment. You are encouraged to participate in all recruitment activities because it is an excellent opportunity for you to learn about Greek life and meet new friends. Because Greek life is a lifelong commitment, you should feel comfortable with your choices throughout the process.

Can I join more than one social organization?

No. Although you may become familiar with all organizations through the recruitment process, you may only accept one invitation to join a chapter. There are, however, other Greek-letter organizations that center on certain professions, academic honors, or community service. Students are welcome to join both a social as well as non-social organization as well as any other student organizations.

New Member Education

What is the new member education period like?

The new member education process is a time to bond with individuals in the organization; learn the history of the chapter, organization, and College, and create relationships within your class and chapter. Most groups host weekly new member meetings, special programs, and social events designed to educate on the values of the chosen chapter. Most organizations will pair new members with a mentor to help guide them throughout their time in the organization. Becoming a new member is a welcoming, educational, and rewarding process, and community is a guiding value of the College and Greek life. You should be able to experience this process in a way that you feel safe, valued, and welcomed and never shamed, humiliated, or fearful. The Campus Activities Office is always available to address individual student concerns and help them have a positive new member experience. See the New Member Bill of Rights in Appendix A of the Inter-Greek Senate Constitution:

Appendix A: New Member Bill of Rights

  1. The right to experience a new member Education process that is consistent with the institutional mission statement of Gustavus Adolphus College and Inter-Greek Senate.
  2. The right to ask questions and receive accurate and objective answers from members.
  3. The right to engage in leadership development opportunities and explore one’s individual leadership potential.
  4. The right to experience a sense of pride for one’s chapter and alma mater.
  5. The right to make informed choices without undue pressure from others.
  6. The right to maintain and improve relationships with others beyond one’s affiliation.
  7. The right to build awareness and appreciation for fraternity or sorority history.
  8. The right to experience a genuine sense of brotherhood/sisterhood.
  9. The right to a new member education process that encourages mental and physical well-being.
  10. The right to develop and/or enhance healthy social skills.
  11. The right to have a positive, safe and inspiring new member education period.
  12. The right to new member activities which reflect the value of scholarship.
  13. The right to receive assistance in developing and/or pursuing career goals.

How will joining a fraternity or sorority impact my academics?

Academic achievement is a priority for Gustavus Greek students. Many organizations enforce grade point average requirements and offer study sessions and other programs to assist members achieve their potential. Students who take advantage of the academic support available and properly balance their time between academic and extra-curricular pursuits find that membership enhances academic performance. Several national studies have consistently found that retention rates are significantly higher for fraternity and sorority members than for unaffiliated students. During the new member period, all chapters are required to include study hours in their schedules.

What are the costs of joining?

Chapter dues vary between organizations, as do methods of payment and fundraising. Individual chapters can provide more detailed information about their financial commitment of joining.

What is the time commitment of joining?

As with other extra-curricular activities, the more time and effort you contribute to your Greek experience, the more benefits and integration you’ll experience. Chapters hold at least one “chapter” meeting each week, typically hosted over the weekend. Optional activities such as holding an office, attending social and community events, or participating in various projects will vary within each individual chapter. With time management, your Greek activities should fit into your weekly schedule and allow plenty of time for classes, studying, family, work, and participation in other campus activities and sports.