Monday, April 29, 2013

Fraternity and Sorority Houses

Fraternity and sorority housing refers largely to the houses or housing areas that fraternity and sorority members live and work together in. In addition to serving as housing, fraternity and sorority housing may also serve to host social gatherings, meetings, and functions that benefit the community.

Pi Kappa Phi (Sigma Chapter) - University of South Carolina

Fraternity and sorority houses range in size from three to twenty bedrooms or more. They can usually be identified by large Greek letters or flags on the front of the house. The larger houses generally have a large meeting room and/or dining room, commercial kitchen and study room. There is usually a lounge of some sort, access to which is often restricted to fully initiated members. Fraternities and sororities will also often maintain a chapter room, to which only initiates may ever be admitted and even whose existence may be kept secret. The walls of the house may be decorated with pictures of past chapter events, awards and trophies, decorative (or historic) paddles, or composite photos of members from past years.
Kappa Delta (Delta Omega Chapter) - Mississippi State University

In some fraternities or sororities, only the representatives live in the houses while in others the entire fraternity or sorority may live in the house. Other, larger fraternities or sororities may have more than one house to accommodate all of its members.
Pi Kappa Phi (Alpha Psi Chapter) - Indiana University 

Most houses are paid for by the alumni or the national organization of that fraternity or sorority.  In some cases, the host college might have paid for the house if it is located on campus.  Different schools have different rules when it comes to the finances.  Once you are allowed to have the option of moving into a fraternity or sorority, it is sometimes cheaper to live in a fraternity/sorority house while other schools are much more expensive.  
Kappa Delta (Kappa Alpha Chapter) - Florida State University

Life After Graduation

Being a senior in your sorority is bitter sweet. On one hand you don’t have to go to chapter meetings any more and you are done paying your dues. On the other hand you are going to be leaving your best friends, your little and something you have given so much of your time to throughout college.

Many chapters will have a senior send off where there will be a short ceremony to recognize all that the seniors have done throughout their time in your chapter.  During the senior send off, many times the chapter will get all of the seniors a small gift, something of importance to remember the chapter. Some sororities will write letters for all of the seniors, others will make shirts. Whatever the gift is, it is suppose to have meaning.

There is one thing you can look forward to after graduation – alumnae weekend. This is the one weekend you can act like you are back in college, with all of your sisters/brothers. Alumnae weekend is a time to celebrate all you have done since you graduated and catch up with other alumnae and everyone else from your chapter. Many times, this will be the first time you see many people since graduation so many look forward to it. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


In our collegiate years, many say that these are some of the best years of our lives.  We meet people that we would have never thought we would meet if it wasn't for college.  To take it a step further, those who choose to join a fraternity or sorority may even have a deeper bond then their fellow classmates.  For those who are still in college, it is pretty cool to look back at past chapters and see who was in the fraternity/sorority before you and see them by face.  Then for those who have graduated, coming back and seeing their own picture and seeing brothers and sisters that they shared so many memories with means a great deal.  One way that most sororities and fraternities capture these moments and pictures are through composites.  

Composites consist of taking individual, professional pictures of each member of a fraternity/sorority and taken each year.  Each member has their own spot in the composite with their name and class year (or leadership position within the fraternity/sorority).  In the middle is the school year that the composite was taken, the school, the fraternity or sorority, and the chapter.  Some fraternities/sororities also have "sweethearts" and this individual is sometimes in the composite too.  Below are just a few examples of what some composites look like:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Greek Life Awards

As spring semester comes to an end, it will be time to nominate your chapter and certain members for Greek Life Awards. These awards usually consist of but are not limited to the philanthropic award, outstanding senior award, outstanding new member award, and the most prestigious chapter of the year award. To win any of these awards you will have to write a short essay on why your chapter/member deserves the award.

To win the philanthropic award there are a few requirements. First off, your organization must raise money throughout the semester for their specific philanthropies. Also, most schools require to win this award that you cosponsor an event with another Greek organization. There are many different types of things you may do such as host a guest speaker, organize some sort of tournament or organize a walk/run.

To win the outstanding senior award your chapter must nominate a senior that has stood out throughout their college career in the Greek community and around campus. Many chapter will nominate their past president for this award or someone who has shown great leadership to your chapter and Greek community.

The outstanding new member award goes to a new member that is doing extraordinary things in the Greek community in a short period of time. For example, if there is a new member that is on your e-board and has really stepped up over a short year.

Chapter of the year is what every chapter aspires to get. This award is given to the one chapter that excels in all aspects of Greek life. To win this award your chapter has to be noticed for the philanthropic work they do, for supporting all other chapters and organizations and showing pride in their chapter.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New organizations coming onto campus

As Greek life at your school gets bigger, you will have new sororities and fraternities appear on your campus. Most of the time, Panhellenic Council or IFC will meet and vote on the expansion of Greek life. Once it is decided to expand Greek life, different sororities and fraternities will pitch why they should be colonized on your campus. Then it will be voted on and the chosen organization will start doing PR around campus. They will have leadership consultants come to campus and set up table times and information sessions about their organization to see who and how many are interested in joining.

Next they will interview the students interested and select whom they want to give bids out too. Once the members receive a bid they will start participating in sorority or fraternity events and being to learn about the new organization they joined. Being apart of a colony means you will be a founding sister or a founding father, which is pretty cool. You can make your sorority or fraternity into whatever you want!

For all the other already established Greek life organizations, they will now start seeing new letters around campus. Many times the established organizations are not too excited about having new Greeks on campus, but it doesn’t last forever. As time goes on, they will assimilate into the Greek system and everyone will be friends.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Big Brothers and Big Sisters

One of the most proudest and happiest moments, on an individual level at least, for active brothers/sisters in a fraternity or sorority is receiving their little brothers/sisters.  While new members are currently pledging, somewhere in the middle of their pledge process, they will be given a big brother/sister.  The big is there to help you along the hardships of the pledge process and to support you in anything in general.  Your big is your ally, your big is there to lean on, and your big will always be there for you.  No fraternity or sorority will always assign their bigs and littles the same way.  One way includes letting the new members that are pledging to decide who they want.  Another way is that the new member does not get a say at all.  Then another process includes having the new members make a list of their top 3 or 5 and then the active brothers/sisters match up from there.  The active members can choose to pair up by similarities, who they think will mesh the best, or pair up total opposites so that forces them to get to know each other and build a bond.  Fraternities and sororities also tend to have the big/little ceremony differently also.  Fraternities might have a ritual and then hang out afterwards and just with each other and the other new bigs and littles.  Sororities also might have a ritual, but they also tend to have a more extravagant big/little "reveal."  For example, some sorority women that is going to receive a little will hide in a box and pop out at the appropriate time.  Then once the previous little gets to have a little the following semester or following year, the previous big is now a big and a grand big.  This is cool because there could potentially be a long bloodline dating as far back as the founding father and founding sister.  Regardless of how big brothers and big sisters are chosen, the bond will be there for a lifetime.  They will be the first one to wish you a happy birthday, they can be attached by the hip whenever they are out, they are the closest ones in a fraternity/sorority, they can possibly be your best man or maid of honor at your wedding.  A bond like a big and a little is stronger than no other.

Monday, April 15, 2013


What are these Greek paddles that you always see in the movies?  What are they actually used for?  Do they really spank each other with them?  What is the secret behind these paddles?  I bet you, and most people, have wondered this and asked similar questions.

The real purpose of paddles to the Greek community is actually primarily just used as gifts.  Once an individual starts pledging a fraternity or sorority, they are usually given several tasks throughout the weeks that they are pledging.  As a pledge class, one task includes making and decorating a paddle, either for their big brother/sister or, in many cases, their pledge master who has taught them vital information throughout the pledge process.  Creating a paddle is just one of many activities done to bring brothers and sisters together.  The actually paddle itself is not cheap.  Smaller paddles are about $22 while larger paddles can be an upwards of about $100.  Once these paddles are purchased, there are no limits on how to actually design the paddles, but what most people put include the person's name that the gift is going to, what fraternity/sorority they are in, activities that they are involved in, and other unique designs.  No two paddles will ever be the same.

Below are just some examples of Greek paddles: