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Sororities and Fraternities in College: Initiation & Symbols

sororities and fraternities in college

A fraternity in college is a brotherhood group formed towards achieving common academic goals and other aspirations.

These brothers make a commitment to each other by sharing efforts, knowledge, and friendship goals. This experience builds ties that go beyond college life. When the same is done by female students, it is called a sorority. 

How Do Sororities and Fraternities Work?

1. The Start Process

If you are the one starting a fraternity or sorority, you have to know if you are starting a chapter that is going to be based on a previously existing fraternity or sorority.

In this case, it will be called a colony until the chapter attains full recognition by the institution. Alternatively, you can start an entirely new fraternity as a New Greek Letter Organization (GLO).

When starting a new fraternity or sorority chapter, national organizations will give rules to be followed. Also, learning institutions have their own rules that determine how an organization will become a fully recognized college sorority or fraternity

For starters, there has to be a group of students who have expressed the desire to start one. These must be students of the same sex and have been able to maintain a particular average grade point.

As usual, the process cannot be complete with paperwork. There have to be application details that stipulate the philanthropy goals of the group and scholarship details. 

Even more importantly, there have to be respective bylaws and a clear constitution. In most cases, national fraternities and sororities have these details but the new ones have to create them. 

2. Recruitment Process

The process of recruiting members to a fraternity or sorority differs by college or campus. In a typical college scenario, fraternity recruitment starts at the start of the fall semester.

However, other colleges prefer the process to take place at end of summer. This gives students ample time to settle in classes before they can think of joining these groups. 

The process of rushing in a fraternity is more informal than compared to a sorority. The formal rush of fraternities also involves informal events that take place.

It is the time for a potential member to meet the rest of the fraternities in line with the guidelines of the college. The new members will also visit the fraternity houses. 

The informal rush events also feature event parties. If you are joining a fraternity or sorority where your father or mother was a member, you will receive special consideration during the rush. 

Sororities and fraternities in college

The recruitment time is meant to give potential new brothers and sisters to meet the existing members. It is a time to see the rushes and determine if you fit in.

If the existing members are convinced you are a fraternity or sorority material, they will extend a formal bid for you to accept and officially become a pledge.

3. Pledging 

Pledging is a long process in fraternities, taking up to a year. However, there are those fraternities that can take only weeks. In pledging, you become familiar with the sorority or fraternity.

It is a time to learn about each member, the founders, the fraternity’s history, and the Greek system

The bonding has to feature pledges. It is also a time for you to prove you are a worthy member. When the brothers feel that you have satisfactorily completed your pledge education, it is time for initiation.

The initiation process involves a ceremony full of robes, chanting, candlelights, and blindfolds. 

Bad Side of College Fraternities and Sororities

1. Social Exclusivity

These groups promote a negative environment that does not favor nonmembers. At times, fraternity or sorority members are discouraged from associating with other college students who are not members.

There can even be punishment for members who are attending events that are not part of the fraternity. This move is not good for a typical college social environment.

2. Academic Repercussions

Members’ academic standings can be negatively affected. Fraternities and sororities require commitment from their members.

Sororities and fraternities in college

They have to take part in activities such as social events, fundraising, and parties. It can be hard to juggle between classes and these responsibilities.

3. Hazing 

The initiation rituals and traditions of fraternities can be connected with negative outcomes. There are times when these practices cause injuries or even death.

Besides, fraternity and sorority leaders subject new members to bad habits such as drinking or performing dangerous physical stunts. 

Sorority Names and Fraternity Symbols in College

Most college fraternities are represented by 2-3 letters which come from the Greek alphabet. The same letters usually have their respective symbols.

The first fraternity that was established in 1776 was known as Phi Beta Kappa. It was a college group that used Greek letters to establish itself as a unique society. 

The selection of these three Greek letters was a representation of their secret motto depicting philosophy as their guide to life.

This is what made other subsequent fraternities continue with the use of Greek mottos when naming their organizations.

Sororities and fraternities in college

The use of Greek and Latin languages has always been associated with intellectual standings. These names have stood today and are being used by the present fraternities and sororities. 

In The United States, there are Greek-letter social orders that have always played a role in the naming of sororities, especially in the 21st century.

Popular sorority names established recently include Kappa Theta Eplison, Zeta Chi Phi, Gamma Rho Lambda, and Omicron Epsilon PI.

Popular sorority names that have been disbanded in the recent past include Pi Delta Kappa, Pi Lambda Sigma, and Beta Phi Alpha. 


What is a sorority house?

This is a large home that acts as a group living space. The house usually serves all the members of a particular sorority.

In a typical sorority house, social gatherings, fundraising, and other group chapter meetings take place. Inside this house, eligible members of the sorority can opt to live there during their college years.

In some colleges, new members are supposed to live in the sorority house for some time.

Is sorority or fraternity bad?

These assemblies are good because they teach students to learn how to work with a group. However, the drawbacks of sorority and fraternity groups surpass the benefits.

From time immemorial, these gatherings have been associated with bad behavior ranging from alcoholism or immorality.

A member of a sorority or fraternity is three times more likely to be involved in sexually immoral acts compared to non-members. 

Is being in a sorority worth it?

When a sorority in college is formed with members who want to achieve clear academic goals, it is worth it. It helps to cultivate and nurture young women to possess leadership skills when they are still in college.

By and large, sorority sisters can also gain a sense of social identity and learn to associate with like-minded individuals. 

Do sororities make you do bad things?

Sororities in college can make new members, popularly known as rushes indulge in activities that are not appropriate.

As the rushes meet each other during the recruitment process, there are several initiation events that they have to participate in.

In some sororities, this does not only involve discussing sisterhood. There can be drinking or other activities associated with bad behavior.

Is sorority a cult?

Sororities are not cults but they have a lot of similarities. Sororities are a group of sisters with similar devotion and objectives.

This is very close to the definition of a cult. The hand signs, pledges, written letters, and ritual chants are some of the activities that make a sorority resemble cultism.