Greek 101: A Parents’ Guide to Fraternities and Sororities at W&J

Founded upon the principles of friendship, community service, scholarship and leadership, Greek life provides students with an enriching and rewarding experience. The Washington & Jefferson Greek Community make up 40% of the W&J student population and are a diverse community with 9 national Greek organizations. The community offers its members opportunities to expand their undergraduate experience through service, leadership, campus involvement, academic excellence, networking, job placement, brotherhood and sisterhood and lifelong friendships. As a parent, your son or daughter may decide to Go Greek and the information below will help give you more insight about Fraternity & Sorority Life at W&J.

Academics

Academics should be your student's number one focus while in college. Typically Greek organizations require a minimum GPA in order to remain a member. Therefore, each individual chapter has an elected official who is responsible for keeping track of members and their academic performance. Furthermore, many fraternities and sororities have educational programs, such as tutoring and study sessions, which can assist the entire chapter in excelling academically. Most chapters also offer member scholarships. Since obtaining a degree is the main reason for attending college, make sure your student realizes that they must keep up their grades if they wants to participate in a Greek organization.

Financial Responsibility

Joining a fraternity or sorority will include a financial commitment. Each individual Greek organization requires their new members and members to pay dues each semester. These fees collected by the chapter include national dues, insurance fees, and local chapter dues which pay for formals, t-shirts, philanthropies, leadership experiences, and fun. All fraternities and sororities are lifetime memberships but costs after you graduate are relatively non-existent.

One additional expense is the Greek fee, $50 per semester billed by W&J College to each fraternity and sorority member on their tuition bill. This money goes towards the operation of the Fraternity and Sorority Life Office, providing leadership and educational opportunities for Greek students, and supplementing the programming individual chapters plan. For more specific financial information regarding each chapter, please contact the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life at FSL@washjeff.edu.  We can put you in contact with the respective chapter member or advisor for specific questions or concerns.

Housing Requirement

The Greek Organizations are responsible for maintaining 100% occupancy of their house at all times during the academic year. If a member leaves or a space becomes vacant and the occupancy of the house falls below 100%, the College will send the Greek Organization an invoice for the rent due for any vacancy. The Greek Organization will then be responsible for allocating those vacancy fees to the individual chapter members.

As a member of a fraternity or sorority at W&J your student will have an obligation to live in the chapter house upon initiation. Each chapter has their own requirements for filling their space but newest members are often called upon first to fill the open spaces. Students are permitted to live in fraternity or sorority housing after their first year of residence at W&J. All ten fraternity and sorority houses are non-smoking residences. In addition, some organizations strive to maintain substance-free housing for the safety of their members.

Hazing

Hazing is illegal in Pennsylvania and does not have any place in the activities of our Greek organizations. Fraternity and Sorority students are educated about the dangers of hazing and how to seek assistance if they witness it. Washington & Jefferson College does not condone hazing or hazing-like activities and all of our national organizations have policies against hazing. Any suggestion of hazing is fully investigated and appropriate actions taken. If you feel that your student may be participating in or is the target of inappropriate activities associated with hazing, you should contact the Hazing hotline at 1-888-668-4293. You can also reach out to the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life at 724-229-5140 or  FSL@washjeff.edu.

Time Commitment

Fraternity and Sorority membership begins during recruitment and lasts a lifetime. While your student is in college, the W&J Greek community will help them meet their personal, academic, social, cultural and recreational goals.

On average, your student should expect to contribute two to four hours per week for chapter meetings and activities. If your student has the time, they can also choose to participate in optional activities, such as holding an office, attending social events, helping out with various projects, serving on committees, etc. Some organizations require more time than others. Advise your student to ask questions regarding time commitments during recruitment.

Activities

The entire Greek community at W&J encourages their members to get involved through a variety of programs and activities. Whether serving on a scholarship committee or chairing a campus fund-raising project, all members are challenged to reach their personal best.

Fraternities and sororities participate in many different activities. The kind of activities your student may participate in will vary depending on which chapter he/she joins. Possible activities may include:

  • Campus Spirit

    • Welcoming families during Family Weekend and Homecoming>
    • Serving on the homecoming court or SGA
    • Conducting environmental and neighborhood cleanups
  • Leadership

    • Attending National wide Greek Leadership Conferences
    • Holding a position on the IFC or Panhellenic Governing Boards
    • Greek Leadership Certification through the G.O.A.L.S Program
  • Mentoring

    • Tutoring elementary school students
    • Participating in Big Brothers/Big Sisters
    • Receiving a little brother or sister in the chapter to mentor and lead
  • Philanthropy

    • Fundraising for charities
    • Volunteering at shelters
    • Organizing clothing and book drives or collections
  • Scholarship

    • Hosting an apple polishing dinner for faculty and staff
    • Becoming a member of Order of Omega or Gamma Sigma Alpha
    • Receiving Chapter and Individual awards at the annual Greek Awards Ceremony
  • Social

    • Attending social mixers
    • Participating in Greek Week
    • Organizing semi formals and formals for members and new members to attend

Joining the fraternity/sorority community at Washington & Jefferson College is an important decision for your student, and one you need to be comfortable with as well. If your student joins a chapter, he or she will be part of a 500+ self-governing community which provides opportunities for both personal and professional development and strives for academic excellence. (The all-greek GPA is consistently higher than the all-college GPA!) Is your student looking for leadership opportunities? We have over 150 in the sorority/fraternity alone. The opportunities available through Greek membership will lead your student to a bright and successful future.

Recruitment

  • For more information on Fraternity Recruitment please visit here
  • For more information on Sorority Recruitment please visit here