Student Life & Event Services

Frequently Asked Questions

For More Specific Information

What if I have specific questions about Sorority Life or Sorority Recruitment?

Visit our Sorority FAQ webpage, TheSororityLife.com, or complete a Sorority Life Interest Form

What if I have specific questions about Fraternity Life or Fraternity Recruitment?

Visit the Fraternity FAQ webpage or complete a Fraternity Life Interest Form.


For Students

Why join a fraternity or sorority?

Joining a fraternal organization offers many benefits, from academic encouragement and support, lifelong friendships, numerous leadership possibilities, and social activities, to philanthropic and service opportunities. Members are also introduced to alumni of their organizations from all over the world. By joining a fraternity or sorority, a person can create an entire network of people.
 
How do I join?
Recruitment is the process in which Potential New Members (PNMs) explore fraternity or sorority 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. More information can be found on the IFC Fraternity Recruitment webpage, the NPC Sorority Recruitment webpage, or the Culturally Based Organizations webpage. 
 
How much will it cost?
At first glance, joining a fraternity or a sorority might seem expensive. However, the benefits outweigh the costs. Fraternity and sorority chapters are self-sufficient, self-governed and controlled, independent student organizations. Chapters collect dues and membership fees from members and most groups have one-time initiation fees, plus semester dues. Dues are spent on philanthropic and social events, scholarship programming, membership recruitment, and parent/alumni programming. Most chapters offer payment plans and scholarships to help their members meet their financial obligations. Room and board costs for many chapters with facilities are comparable to rates at on and off campus options.
 
How can a fraternity/sorority help me academically?
Academic achievement is a priority for fraternities and sororities. Many organizations enforce grade point average requirements and offer study sessions, tutoring, and other programs to assist members. Many chapters also provide incentives to their members who excel in the classroom. Students who take advantage of the academic support available and properly balance their time between academic and extracurricular pursuits may find that membership enhances their academic performance.
 
How much time does membership require?
Like most other extra-curricular activities, how much you get out of your membership is related to how much you put in. On average, expect to contribute four hours per week for meetings and mandatory activities. Optional activities, such as serving as an officer, attending social events, competing on an intramural sports team, or helping out with various projects, will take additional time. With prioritization and good time management, fraternity or sorority activities can easily fit into your weekly schedule and still allow plenty of time for classes, studying, work, and participation in other campus activities.
 
What about misconduct?
You may have heard about hazing in the media. Hazing is a violation of Interfraternity Council or Panhellenic Council policy and state law. Sanctions can be brought forth for individual students and/or organizations alleged of hazing. If you ever feel you may have been hazed or harassed by a fraternity or sorority at UNI, file an incident report immediately. To file an incident/complaint, please contact the Fraternity & Sorority Life Staff. Each organization has their own policies and procedures for dealing with misconduct. The Interfraternity Council, as well as the Panhellenic Council, has policies. If a chapter violates the IFC or PHC policies and a complaint is filed, a judicial board conducts a hearing and sanctions the organization.

The university defines hazing as: An act that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or that destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of intimidation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization. Participation or cooperation by the person(s) being hazed does not excuse the violation. Failing to intervene, to prevent, to discourage, and/or failing to report those acts may also constitute hazing. For more information regarding university discipline procedures, visit: www.uni.edu/policies/302.  In addition to university sanctions, a person who commits an act of hazing may be subject to criminal charges under section 708.10 of the State Code of Iowa. 

All students will sign that they understand this policy when they sign their membership card with the Office of Student Life for the chapter that they join. The students will also receive a copy of this policy. Hazing may be reported on campus to the Office of Student Life, the Office of the Dean of Students, or UNI Public Safety and anonymously by calling 1-888-NOT-HAZE.
 

For Parents and Families

What does my student have to gain from joining a fraternity or sorority?

There are so many opportunities available, with many extra resources devoted to affiliated students than non-affiliated. There are workshops about personal and professional development, mental health resources, personal safety and self-defense trainings, etc. Many members also enjoy the benefits of adding their fraternity or sorority accomplishments to their resume and find connections easily with affiliated recruiters from any chapter. The experience of leading, collaborating, and growing in a group with so many other young women and men is incredibly empowering. The friendships and sisterhood/brotherhood last a lifetime, as do the benefits of membership. There are so many leadership opportunities in every chapter, in fields ranging from finance, human resources, recruiting, facility management, graphic design, PR and Marketing, academics, philanthropy, etc. The opportunities are endless when you let yourself dive in and try new things!

What can I do as a parent or family member?
As your student considers fraternity or sorority life:
  • Learn as much as you can about the fraternities or sororities, including the national organizations governing those organizations.
  • Ask questions about what the organizations will offer your student. Fraternities and sororities recognized by different schools may take different approaches. Allow your student to choose a group with whom they feel most comfortable.
  • Discuss the financial obligations with your student. Joining a fraternity or sorority provides lifetime membership, and there will be obligations both financially and personally.

​As your student experiences fraternity or sorority life:

  • Keep an open mind. Your college experience may be different than your student's.
  • Participate in chapter events designed for parents. These events provide you the opportunity to participate in events and activities. 
  • Some chapters have organizations for parents to join, such a parents association, a mom's club, or a dad's club. This is a great way to meet the parents and families of other chapter members, while providing support and resources to the chapter.

How does recruitment work?

FOR WOMEN - Recruitment is the process all women interested in joining an NPC sorority must participate in. There are two different types of recruitment – primary and secondary. During primary recruitment, students will have the chance to meet all the organizations on campus and decide which sorority is the best fit for her. Secondary recruitment, or continuous open bidding (COB), is a little different because not every organization will always participate. When they do participate they will typically announce it on social media and the events are typically more informal.

FOR MEN - The Fraternity Recruitment Week allows men to meet current fraternity men from each chapter. It's an organized week of informal chapter events. At any point in the school year, chapters are seeking men who align with their chapter's values and ideals. They will host informal recruitment events, and interested men are also encouraged to reach to a chapters.

How do I support my student through recruitment?

So, your student has decided to participate in sorority recruitment and you probably have a lot of questions. This can be a huge step and we want you to be a part of it. Throughout recruitment, she will probably call you to digest her confusion, sadness, excitement and anything else she might feel. How do you support her, especially if you aren’t familiar with sorority? Keep reading to find out. 

1. Be apart of the process with them

Research the organizations on her campus with them, discuss their values, philanthropies, missions, etc. If you do the preliminary research with them you will be ready to support them during recruitment. Help them decide what they wants out of a fraternity or sorority experience. You can also review common terminology together. This will help them be prepared and confident when recruitment starts. You can also discuss with them what they wants out of fraternity or sorority membership. During recruitment, this will guide their decisions and make their choices a little easier. 

2. Listen to them

Sorority or fraternity recruitment is a unique experience due to the long days, meeting a lot of new people and opening up to them quickly. Your student going through recruitment is going to need to process what they are experiencing. During Sorority Primary Recruitment, there are trained women, called recruitment guides or Rho Gammas, who can help your student work through her feelings. Even with that support, they may be more comfortable talking to you. The most important thing to do is listen to them. They will need you to lean on during this time. 

3. Connect with other fraternity or sorority members

Look into connecting with sorority women or fraternity men who have been through this experience. Try posting on social media and utilizing the contacts you have. Many Greek members would be willing to speak with potential members and offer advice. They can also answer questions and provide information about the experience. Your student can also connect with these individuals during recruitment when they needs someone to talk to. 

4. Support their decisions

If you are familiar with fraternities or sororities, perhaps you or a family member are a member, you have probably heard of legacies. Many family members want their students to join their organization so they can share in that experience, but the truth is this process is about them and what they want. They will be happier in the organization they want to join and not the one they feels they have to join. Let them know that you support them in whatever organization they join because it isn’t about the letters they wears, but being a sorority woman or fraternity man. 

What are the requirements for joining?

Each fraternity and sorority on campus sets their own requirements to join their organization. However, there are requirements that all chapters have. For example, you must be an undergraduate student seeking a bachelor’s degree to participate in recruitment. Member organizations will set more specific requirements, such as GPA, though students can register for recruitment no matter their GPA.

Will my students high school GPA affect her chances of joining a sorority?

Member organizations do set GPA requirements for membership. Learn more about how GPA affects sorority recruitment.

Will joining a fraternity or sorority affect my student's grades?

Every chapter prioritizes the academic success of its members. All fraternities sororities have GPA requirements and incorporate study groups or other academic programs to ensure members are staying focused on coursework. Many chapters offer scholarships to support the academic success of their members as well.

Will my student be supported?

Each chapter has alumni/ae advisors that oversee various parts of chapter operations. All chapter advisors are there to support chapter members and be a resource. In addition, the University of Northern Iowa has professional staff members that works on campus. They are trained in various areas to be a resource for the fraternal community. They provide guidance for chapter programming, personal development and more.

Is it safe?

Our campus has made safety a priority. Member organizations have committed to positively influencing the physical and mental health behaviors of their members. Sorority sisters and fraternity brothers strive to keep one another safe by hosting educational programs and supporting one another. Our campus also requires alcohol education and bystander intervention training, Red Watch Band, for all fraternity and sorority members.

How much does it cost?

There is a cost associated with being in a sorority and members are held accountable for meeting their financial obligations. Though the costs will differ between chapters, most costs are split up over an academic term and chapter treasurers will work to create payment plans if needed. The cost for each organization should be discussed during the recruitment process by the member organizations and the councils on campus.

How can I learn more as a parent or family member. 

We highly encourage you to check out the Family & Friends section of TheSororityLife.com. This website covers how can you support your student, what the benefits are for your student, and much more!

Glossary of Greek Terms:

  • Active Member - an initiated member of a sorority
  • Alumnus/Alumna - a member that has graduated from his/her chapter
  • Bid - an invitation to membership in a chapter
  • Brother - Fraternity men may refer to each other as "Brother"
  • Chapter - the local collegiate group of an inter/national sorority or fraternity
  • Colony - a group of students who have started a new fraternity or sorority
  • Greek - a term applied to members affiliated with a Greek-letters organization
  • IFC - Interfraternity Council, governing body of fraternities at UNI
  • Initiation - the ceremony in which a new member becomes an active member
  • Legacy - a potential new member whose mother, sister, or grandmother (for women) or father, brother, or grandfather (for men) is an alumnae or initiated member of a fraternity or sorority.
  • NIC - North American Interfraternity Conference, body of 66 inter/national men's fraternities (There are 5 at UNI)
  • NPC - National Panhellenic Conference, body of delegates from the 26 national sororities (There are 5 at UNI)
  • New Member - a member of a sorority who is not yet initiated
  • Panhellenic - the governing council of sororities at UNI
  • Philanthropy - charitable project to raise money and awareness for a particular cause sponsored by a chapter
  • Potential New Member (PNM) - A non-Greek undergraduate student who participates in the recruitment process
  • Quota - number of women a sorority may offer bids to during formal recruitment
  • Recruitment - Social experience organized by the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils in which mutual selection allows each potential member to determine chapter membership
  • Recruitment Guest - an undergraduate woman who is taking part in the recruitment process
  • Ritual - the expression of values and principles upon which the sorority was founded
  • Sister - Sorority women may refer to each other as "Sister"
  • Sorority - a Greek-letter sisterhood