What is fraternity/sorority life like at William & Mary?
Greek-letter organizations trace their origins to the College of William & Mary. The Alpha chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was founded at the College in 1776 as both a social and scholarly society. Today, approximately 27% of the College’s men and women belong to the 18 fraternities and 11 sororities on campus. The Greek system offers unique opportunities for leadership, service to the community, scholarship, personal growth, and enjoyment. One of the most important aspects of Greek life is the close friendships and bonds of sisterhood and brotherhood. While providing an important focal point for social life, fraternity and sorority membership at the College is an option, not a necessity.
How does one become a member of a fraternity or sorority?
The process of becoming a member of a Greek-letter organization involves three steps: recruitment, new member education, and initiation. The recruitment process consists of a series of chapter-sponsored functions in order to introduce interested students to the Greek system. By spending time with the members of each chapter, the prospective member learns about Greek life and can get a better idea of which fraternity or sorority may be right for him or her. There is no commitment to join a Greek organization if a student decides to participate in the recruitment process.
The Inter-Sorority Council sponsors sorority recruitment over two weekends in September. Fraternity recruitment occurs in both the fall and spring semesters during the first four weeks of the semester (the student may determine which semester he prefers to join). Students interested in joining a historically Black Greek letter organization have academic requirements to fulfill that typically mean they will not join until their 2nd year.
Once a student has accepted an offer from a fraternity or sorority, the new member education period begins. This is a time for membership development through education about the history, traditions, and expectations of the Greek-letter organizations. New member education lasts approximately eight weeks. Following new member education, special ceremonies are held where the new members become initiated into the organization celebrating the bonds of “brotherhood” and “sisterhood.”
What are the financial and time commitments required of students in fraternities and sororities?
The time commitment is greatest during the new member education period when a variety of activities and programs are planned to introduce new members to one another and to the organization. However, once students are initiated into full membership, the amount of time committed depends on individual chapter leadership. While all members are expected to attend weekly meetings, the level of additional involvement in social, educational, or philanthropic activities varies according to members’ interests. The financial commitment is certainly a factor to be considered by prospective members. Sororities generally charge a one-time pledging and initiation fee of $150 and semester dues average $200. Similarly, fraternities charge a one-time pledging and initiation fee of approximately $100 and semester dues average $250.
What is the relationship between fraternities and sororities and the university?
Like all recognized student organizations, fraternities and sororities work closely with the Office of Student Activities, and more specifically with the Associate Director of Student Activities and Assistant Director of Student Activities. The primary responsibility of these two staff positions is to serve as advisors to the College’s Greek-letter organizations and to promote a broad understanding of the roles, rights, and responsibilities of the members of the Greek community within the university. These staff members serve as the primary advisors to the Panhellenic Council and the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) as well as to the leaders and members of individual chapters on campus. Because most of our fraternities and sororities occupy college-owned housing, the chapters also have regular contact with professional and paraprofessional staff (Housing Assistants) employed by the Office of Residence Life.