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Fraternity and Sorority Life
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Welcome Parents

We are delighted that your son or daughter is interested in joining our fraternity and sorority community here at the University of North Florida. While at UNF, your student will encounter many opportunities to become involved outside of the classroom experience, and we believe that one of the best means to become acclimated as an Osprey is to join a fraternity or sorority.

The fraternity and sorority community at UNF provides an immediate connection to a close-knit group of collegiate men and women and prides itself on excellence in our community pillars - scholarship, integrity, leadership, personal growth, and community engagement. Participation in fraternity and sorority life is an outstanding way to ensure that your student receives a well-rounded undergraduate experience; one where they will grow personally and intellectually.

We sincerely hope that your son or daughter will consider the fraternity or sorority experience as a part of their undergraduate journey. And we hope to provide you with information so that you can best support your student.

If you have any questions regarding fraternity and sorority at the University of North Florida, we welcome you to contact us at OFSL@unf.edu.

Benefits of Chapter Membership

Coming to college is one of the major life changes that your student will experience and joining a fraternity or sorority can assist in acclimating your student to UNF. The Greek experience is multifaceted and offers numerous opportunities to your student. They will develop life-long friendships, further develop themselves as leaders, selflessly serve the Jacksonville community and various non-profit organizations, and will be expected to perform to a higher standard academically than non-Greek affiliated students.

The friendships that your student will make through their chapter can last post-commencement. Additionally, (inter)national fraternities and sororities have alumni/alumnae associations across the country to continue providing that support and friendship regardless where your student may live. These networks often assist members in securing jobs, advancing their careers, and continuing to support a life-long membership experience.

Joining a fraternity or sorority is truly an investment in your student's future, and they will reap its benefits both during their collegiate years and for a lifetime.

Commitments Associated with Membership

Time Commitment. While each chapter differs in what it requires of its members, there are certainly time commitments associated with fraternity and sorority membership. Chapters will conduct a weekly membership meeting, meetings for new members, and meetings for the executive board officers. Additionally, your student may be required to attend other events; including but not limited to philanthropies, brotherhood/sisterhood retreats, recruitment activities, and initiation ceremonies. It's important for your student to understand what each chapter's expectations and time commitments are prior to joining. Ultimately, it will be your student who determines their level of involvement that they want to have in their chapter and what kind of experience it will be for them.

Financial Commitment. The Greek experience is an investment in your student's future, and each fraternity and sorority will assess dues to their members. Most often, these dues are paid semesterly and cover the operations and activities hosted by the chapter. Many UNF fraternity and sorority members work to supplement funding for their dues; however, various scholarships and grants are offered to members to help provide financial support. We encourage your student to ask questions related to finances during the recruitment process.

Six Important Questions to Ask Your Child Before They Join

  • What values does this organization promote, and how do they exemplify these values?
  • What is the time commitment associated with membership, and what events/meetings are considered mandatory?
  • What are the expenses associated with membership?
  • How will fraternity or sorority membership affect your student's academics, and what programs does the chapter have in place to support academic success?
  • What leadership opportunities are available to both new members and initiated members?
  • Does the fraternity or sorority have a nationally recognized philanthropy or a particular community service initiative? If so, what is it and is this something your student wants to support?

Your Role

Your role as a parent is important! You have regular contact with your student and know them to select the right fraternity or sorority for them. The most important thing that you can do for your student is to be as supportive as you can. Here are several ways to ensure that you are being an active and informed supporter of your student as they become involved in a fraternity or sorority at UNF:

  • Learn about the fraternity or sorority that your student is interested in by visiting the official website of the fraternity/sorority (inter)national headquarters.
  • Know the academic requirements associated with their fraternity or sorority and ask your student how they're doing in their classes to fulfill and exceed these requirements.
  • Find out the details of the financial obligations of the organization; both as a new member and post-initiation.
  • Ask your student about their membership experience and how they are benefitting from it.
  • Understand the time commitments associated with the new member process and membership experience.
  • Encourage your student to take advantage of chapter services, such as leadership opportunities, scholarships offered, and educational programs hosted by the chapter and through the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life.

Your Student's Safety

We believe that joining a fraternity or sorority can provide your student with a holistic undergraduate experience; one that will prove rewarding both during their time at UNF and long after. This said, we are committed to providing a safe experience for your student and recognize the hesitancy you may have surrounding fraternity and sorority membership. Let us provide you with helpful information so that together we can support a healthy and positive experience for your student.

The New Member Experience

The new member process can take no longer then eight weeks as per Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life policy; however, most new member programs are typically six weeks in length. At the first new member meeting, your student should receive the following from the New Member Educator: a calendar of events, contact information for chapter officers and advisors, a financial contract to sign, and a list of expectations for the new member that outlines the requirements that they must meet before becoming a fully initiated member of the organization. All of this information can, and should, be shared with parents. In addition, your student should be able to direct you to the national and local websites so you can begin to learn more about the organization they are joining.

 

Typically, you can expect your student to have one or two weekly meetings with the rest of the students who are joining and the New Member Educator. At these meetings students usually participate in teambuilders, learn about the organization's history, organizational structure, talk about the requirements they must meet in order to become an initiated member, etc. Nothing in these meetings is secret.

 

Nothing held during the new member experience should be destructive to your student's well-being.

Hazing Prevention

All fraternity and sorority policies forbid hazing and are committed to a membership education period that instills a sense of responsibility and commitment in the new members. This period will assist your student in overcoming some of the concerns about success in college. The University of North Florida, the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life, its governing councils, and individual chapters have zero tolerance when it comes to hazing, and we take any accusations extremely seriously.

 

If you believe that your student is being hazed in any student organization, fraternity, sorority, or athletics team, we strongly encourage you to report these concerns to the Office of Student Accountability and Resolution via the Student Conduct Referral Report Form.

 

We recognize that this is a time of transition with many unknowns. You care about your student and want the best for them, and so do we. We work hard to aid in your student's personal and professional development and believe in the relevance and benefits of fraternity and sorority membership. Should you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us at OFSL@unf.edu.

Terminology

Active: An initiated member of a fraternity or sorority.

Alumnus (Alumna, Alumni, Alumnae): An initiated member, or group of individuals, of a Fraternity or Sorority who is no longer in college.

Bid: An invitation to become a member of a fraternity or sorority.

Big Brother/Big Sister: An active member of a fraternity or sorority who serves as a mentor to a new member, guiding them through the new member process and initiation.

Chapter: A local group of the (inter)national organization.

Crossed: Primarily used within our MGC and NPHC communities and can be equivalent to being initiated.

Fraternity: A Greek-lettered fellowship of men fostering the common ideals of brotherhood.

Greek: A member of a fraternity or sorority.

Informational: A recruitment event for culturally-based groups.

Initiation: A traditional, secret ritual which brings an individual into full membership.

Intake: The process by which culturally-based organizations recruit, interview, choose, and educate new members.

Legacy: A potential new member whose grandparent, parent, brother or sister is a member of a fraternity or sorority.

Line: The members of a cultural Greek organization new member class.

Neophyte: Newest members of a culturally-based fraternity or sorority.

New (or Associate) Member: a member of a fraternity or sorority who has not been initiated.

Philanthropy: A cause devoted to raising money or awareness that can have significance to the fraternity or sorority itself.

PNM (Potential New Member): A person who has shown interest but not yet been offered or accepted a bid into a fraternity or sorority.

Prophyte: An older brother or sister who has taken part in the initiation of the organization's new members. Commonly used in culturally-based fraternities and sororities.

Recruitment Counselor/Rho Gamma: An upper-class member of a Panhellenic sorority, chosen and trained to assist PNMs during formal recruitment.

Ritual: Secret and inspirational ceremonies that are used to inspire and educated members about the importance of the organization.

Recruitment: The time when fraternities and sororities sponsor activities seeking PNMs and PNMs seek fraternal membership.

Sorority: A Greek-lettered fellowship of woman fostering the common ideals of sisterhood.

Unaffiliated: A student who is not in a fraternity or sorority.

FAQs

  • What does fraternity and sorority life look like at UNF?
    The University of North Florida is proud to have over 30 recognized fraternities and sororities, making us one of the largest Greek communities in the state. Approximately 10% of the undergraduate student population are members of our organizations, and our community has seen significant growth over the last five years.
  • What are the financial commitments associated with joining?
    Fraternities and sororities are not funded by the University of North Florida. Each chapter is self-supported through dues charged to all members. In the first semester of membership, new members are assessed several one-time fees (pledge fee, initiation fee, badge fee). After the initial fees are paid, your student's only required expenses will be their regular chapter dues.
  • Will my student's grades be compromised by joining a fraternity or sorority?
    Historically, fraternities and sororities were founded on the principles of academic success, and this continues today. Our members recognize that academic achievement is their main priority and 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 chapter in excelling academically.
  • Does UNF have Greek Housing? If not, where do members gather on campus?
    Currently, no chapter at UNF has a recognized house or place of residence, and often, meetings are conducted on campus, either in the Student Union or in an academic building. Fraternities and sororities are recognized student organizations and can reserve on campus space at no cost (with a few exceptions). Additionally, the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life prides itself on being a space for our members to come to in-between classes. Our space is equipped with study areas, a living room, and offices for our councils and leadership organizations.
  • What's the difference between recognized and unrecognized chapters?
    University recognized fraternities and sororities work closely with the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life and are held accountable to University policies. These chapters remain in good standing and are chartered to be affiliated with the institution. Unrecognized fraternities and sororities are organizations that are not monitored by the University and, often, their (Inter)National Headquarters. Additionally, organizations that are considered unrecognized do not meet the University's standards for recognition and/or have lost recognition for failure to adhere to University policies. We strongly discourage students from joining these organizations.
  • Who can my student talk to if they have a problem while they are a new member or after they've been initiated?

    There are several people your student can speak with if they have problems or questions:

    • Chapter Advisor (an adult advisor to the organization)
    • Chapter President (the student elected by the organization to lead the membership)
    • New Member Educator (the student elected to administer the new member program)
    • Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life staff

    Contact info for the Advisor, President and New Member Educator should be given to the new members at the first meeting of the new member program. This info can also be obtained by contacting the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life at OFSL@unf.edu.

  • What if my student wants to quit their fraternity or sorority?
    On occasion, students feel it necessary to quit their fraternity or sorority. It may be that the time commitment proves to be challenging, the financial obligation is too expensive, or the student believes they made the wrong choice in organizations. If the student has made a choice to quit, they can do so by submitting a written resignation and speaking with the Chapter Advisor, Chapter President or New Member Educator. The student can leave the organization but should understand that any money that has been paid to the group cannot be refunded and that the organization will likely ask for certain items to be returned, like a pin or membership certificate.
  • Who oversees the fraternities and sororities?
    Individual chapters elect student officers to manage the day to day operations of the chapter. These officers are assisted by alumni who act as advisors. Each chapter is also responsible to report to their (inter)national organization, which offers support, advice and direction through paid professional staff and regional volunteers. The University of North Florida operates the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and employs two professional staff members to advise and support the recognized fraternities and sororities at UNF. You can contact the OFSL staff at OFSL@unf.edu.
  • What are the requirements to join a fraternity or sorority at UNF?

    The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life requires the following to be eligible for membership in any of UNF's fraternities and sororities:

    • Minimum overall Cumulative GPA, including a transfer GPA, of a 2.5. If the student does not have a college GPA, they must have a minimum high school GPA of a 3.0.
    • Be a fully matriculated student at the University of North Florida.
    • Be currently enrolled in classes at the University of North Florida.
  • If I am an alumnus of an organization, does that organization have to offer my student an invitation to join?
    Every fraternity and sorority differs in its policy regarding this matter. Check with your organization's headquarters for information and an accurate answer to this question. You may discover that the organization you belong to may not be the best fit, on this campus, for your student. We kindly ask our Greek-affiliated parents to allow their student to make the best decision for themselves as membership is a lifelong commitment.
  • My student participated in recruitment or intake but wasn't asked to join. Why? Now what?
    Our fraternities and sororities are private membership organizations and are under no obligation to explain why a student wasn't offered an invitation to membership, so our office staff will not know the reason why a student wasn't asked to join. In some cases, the reason is clear - i.e. the student didn't meet the academic requirement. We suggest that parents and students consider this to be similar to what happens in a job interview. An applicant might have a great resume, but the interview might not go well. Or, the candidate could have a great interview but not have the right credentials. If your student wishes to keep looking for a fraternity or sorority experience, we encourage them to explore their options to do so. If not, we hope that they will consider joining one of UNF's 200+ clubs and organizations.
  • Are letters of recommendation required to be invited to join a fraternity or sorority?
    For our IFC and Panhellenic organizations, letters of recommendation are not required; however, they are helpful in allowing the chapter to learn more about your student. For our MGC and NPHC chapters, it may be required of your student to obtain letters of recommendation as part of their application or interest packet. If your student is interested in joining an MGC or NPHC organization, we recommend having them ask if letters are required and who may write them.
  • What are the safety risks associated with fraternity or sorority membership?
    Stereotypes suggest that fraternity or sorority membership may compromise a student's safety and well-being. At the University of North Florida, we pride ourselves on being proactive in educating our chapter and council leaders on our hazing prevention and risk management policies. Our OFSL policies are in accordance with the state law of Florida and are enforced by both UNF administrators and members of fraternities and sororities themselves.
  • What does the "pledge" process look like?
    Formerly referred to as "pledging," all fraternity and sorority members experience a period of "new member education". During this time, your student and other new members will participate in weekly meetings to learn about the organization's history, participate in community service projects, and activities designed to build deep and trustworthy friendships among new members and initiated members. The (inter)national organizations mandate that each of their chapters utilize their guidelines and resources for how to execute the new member process successfully and safely. A new member process should never include activities or experiences that are harmful, uncomfortable, disgraceful, or unsafe.
  • Is hazing a part of the UNF fraternity and sorority community culture?
    The UNF fraternity and sorority community, its governing councils, and its member organizations do not tolerate hazing in any form. Hazing is against the law in the state of Florida and is a violation of the UNF Student Code of Conduct. Any chapter who violates this policy will be given due process and if found responsible may be subjected to organizational and/or individual sanctions and discipline.
  • Is there anything my student cannot tell me about their fraternity or sorority?
    No. The only secret information is that which is learned at the official initiation ceremony held at the end of the new member education period. All other information should be easily obtainable by your student and shared with you. In addition, most national fraternities/sororities include information for Parents/Families on their websites.
  • What is the policy on alcohol use in the fraternity and sorority community?
    Every fraternity and sorority has a policy or position statement regarding the use of alcohol or the presence of alcohol at chapter events. In addition to this, UNF expects all organizations to adhere to federal, state, and local laws and the Code of Student Conduct as it pertains to alcohol. Chapters and/or members failing to do so may be subject to sanctions imposed by the city or state, (inter)national organizations, the University, the chapter's governing council, or the individual chapter's judicial board.