What is a fraternity or sorority?

Fraternities and sororities are student organizations that were founded on a set of shared values or principles. These are unique to each organization, but typically involve an emphasis on scholarship and academic achievement, leadership, brotherhood & sisterhood, service to one’s community, and striving for excellence. Membership in a fraternity or sorority starts during the college experience but extends well beyond a student’s time at UWM. Fraternities and sororities are also typically single-gender organizations.

What does it mean to be part of a culturally-based group, historically-Jewish or historically-African American fraternity/sorority?

Organizations that have a tie to a specific cultural or ethnic identity or a religious foundation, are unique in that the history and culture/religion are foundational to their purpose and values, and are intertwined in the programs and initiatives that they pursue. They are open to everyone, no matter your background.

How do I find the fraternity/sorority that is best for me?

Deciding to join and finding the chapter that is the best fit are important decisions for you. Ask good questions and explore what you will gain from the experience. Joining a fraternity/sorority should be a mutually beneficial experience for both you and the organization. The organization that may be the best fit for you might be different than the one that is the best fit for your best friend or roommate. It should be an individual decision.

Chapter web sites, as well as those of the inter/national fraternities and sororities can provide helpful information and answer many questions. Current students who are involved are also important resources. Check out information tables and events. Meeting the members can be one of the best ways to feel out fit.

Will joining a fraternity or sorority impact my grades?

The transition from a more structured high school environment to college requires most students to develop new time management skills to balance their school and other commitments. Adding involvement in a fraternity/sorority into your schedule is something that will require planning to make sure you are making time for studying. Fraternity and sorority chapters offer tools to help support you in finding a balance through academic programs that include structured study hours, mentoring and support, time management and study skills workshops. Each chapter also has an academic standard that you would be required to meet to join as well as to maintain your membership, which encourages academic focus. Grades are tracked for all members throughout the year.

What is the time commitment?

The time commitment varies by each chapter, and fluctuates at different times of the year. During the semester in which you are joining, typically your time commitment is greatest as you are participating in sessions to learn about the chapter and confirm fit before becoming a full member. From there, your time commitment will be dependent on how involved that you choose to be. It is fairly typical that most groups have a weekly chapter meeting, and then 1-2 additional events each week, although from week-to-week, there may be more/less. Individuals who pursue leadership roles in the chapter will likely have additional meetings and/or time spent working on organizational tasks. This is a great question to ask as you are meeting chapters and exploring involvement!

What does it cost to join a chapter?

Fraternities and sororities collect membership dues which provide for a variety of services and events for members. The first semester/year tends to be the most expensive for inter/national chapters, as they often include one-time fees that go to their headquarters, and cover things like your membership badge and certificate. Subsequent semesters tend to go down in cost. Chapters vary both in their costs and what is included in dues. Most fraternities and sororities offer to arrange payment plans for members to break down your semester bill into multiple payments over the course of the semester. There also may be scholarships available to active members. As you explore membership, be sure to ask about the costs associated with membership and what is included. All chapters should provide clear information on this.

Is hazing involved in Greek membership?

UWM has a strict anti-hazing policy, as do each of the fraternities and sororities affiliated with the university. This policy can be found in the Registered Student Organization Manual.

Each chapter provides a period of orientation and education to the new members of the fraternity or sorority. This process typically includes a weekly meeting, education on the history of the fraternity/sorority, retreats, community service projects, and activities to acquaint the new members with each other and the initiated members.

If you suspect that your organization or another fraternity or sorority is participating in something that could be considered hazing, please report it to the Dean of Students Office. You can also call the toll-free national hazing hotline, 1-888-NOT-HAZE (1-888-668-4293), to anonymously report a hazing incident.