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A Pirate Parent's Guide to Greek Life

As a parent, it's a good idea for you to learn about fraternities and sororities so you can help your son/daughter make the best decision about whether or not he/she should be part of a fraternity or sorority. Educate yourself by checking out this parents' guide to fraternities and sororities.

Academics
The number one goal at East Carolina University, should be to graduate.  Fraternities and Sororities can help your son or daughter, achieve this, if they work hard and commit themselves to being successful in the classroom.  Most Greek organizations require a minimum GPA in order to remain a member. Usually, 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 chapters in excelling academically. Most chapters also offer member scholarships. Since obtaining a degree is the main reason for attending college, make sure you son or daughter are successful in the classroom if they want to be a member in good standing of their respective organization.

Financial Responsibility
Your child will have financial responsibilities when it comes to joining a fraternity or sorority. In most organizations, there is a one-time new member/initiation fee as well as semester membership dues. Depending on which organization he wants to join will determine the amount of dues they will have to pay each semester. If your child is really interested in becoming a member of the Greek life, you need to sit down with him or her and work out a college budget to determine whether or not joining a fraternity or sorority is within reason.

Hazing
In the past, fraternities and sororities have received a bad rap for participating in hazing, which is any action taken that produces bodily harm or danger, mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, fright, or ridicule. Today, all fraternity and sorority policies strictly prohibit any type of hazing activity. In fact, the organizations have taken on a zero-tolerance stance on this issue. Some states even have legislation that makes hazing a third-degree felony. If you feel that your student may be participating in inappropriate activities associated with hazing, you should contact the Office of Greek Life immediately at greeklife@ecu.edu or 252-328-4235. 

Time Commitment
On average, your student should expect to contribute a few hours per week for meetings and mandatory 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, etc. Some organizations require more time than others. Advise your child to ask questions regarding time commitments during recruitment/intake.

Activities
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:
• Fundraising for charities
• Tutoring elementary school students
• Conducting environmental and neighborhood cleanups
• Sponsoring blood drives
• Organizing clothing and book collections
• Volunteering at shelters
• Participating in intramural athletics


If your child decides to go Greek, you should stress how important it is to balance social activities and academics. If your students grades start to slip, they may want to cut back on the activities in which they are involved, and their Greek chapter will likely ask them to do the same as a way to encourage your student to refocus on academics.

Keep in mind that while fraternity/sorority membership is great for some students, it's not for everyone. You should discuss with your son or daughter what he/she would like to do and then support his/her decision. If your student decides that joining an organization is the right decision, make sure he/she researches the different chapters thoroughly. 

Additional Parent FAQ's can be found here