Parents

Parents often ask...

How will joining a fraternity or sorority impact my student's academic pursuits?

Sororities and fraternities serve as a great resource for students academically, through study hours and tutoring programs. Most chapters require a high GPA for initial membership into the organization and at a minimum must have a 2.0 GPA (2.5 for both Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic organization). Most chapters enforce a GPA requirement well above this and Greek organizations frequently have higher average GPAs than the campus averages.

What are the social aspects of fraternity or sorority membership?

Membership in fraternities and sororities is inherently social because everything you do is done with your brothers and sisters!  Studies show that members of fraternities and sororities develop in the areas of self-awareness, diversity, citizenship, and relationships at a higher rate when compared to the general college student population.  This is due to the learning that happens during interactions between our members.  More information about this development can be found at the University Learning Outcomes Assessment.

Should alcohol be a concern if my son or daughter joins a Greek organization?

Because the Greek community at the George Washington University contributes to the social activity on campus, it has taken great strides toward creating a responsible and safe environment for its members. All fraternities and sororities have strict policies regulating the management of social events on and off campus. Every chapter conducts alcohol management programming to educate and instill standards and expectations for their members.  Organizations work closely with the Office of Greek Life, the Center for Student Engagement, the Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education, and the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities to conduct safe social activities.

Alcohol abuse is unhealthy and inconsistent with fraternity and sorority ideals. Fortunately, fraternities and sororities at GW are sponsoring and participating in many alcohol-free social activities throughout the year. Examples include recruitment events, barbecues, dinners, and lip sync contests.

Risk management guidelines are set by each chapter's local and/or national board and chapters must adhere to the George Washington University’s Code of Student Conduct. Therefore, we highly encourage your student to ask about the chapter’s responsible management of alcohol at each chapter he or she visits.

Is hazing a part of the Greek culture at GW?

The George Washington University does not tolerate hazing. Hazing includes any activity that subjects members to harassment, ridicule, intimidation, physical exhaustion, abuse, or mental distress. Hazing is not tolerated. If you sense your student may be participating in inappropriate activities as a result of membership in a fraternity or sorority, you should report it. Every report of suspiscious activity will be investigated by the Office of Greek Life, in partnership with Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities, Chapter Advisors, and the National organization.

What is the financial obligation?

Like any opportunity for involvement in college, there is a financial commitment associated with joining a fraternity or sorority. The costs go toward Inter/National fees, chapter expenses and social functions. Financial obligations differ for men and women, and among individual chapters. Additional costs will go to pictures, gifts, social events, T-shirts, etc. There are payment plans available for students, as well as scholarships within the individual chapters. While your son or daughter is participating in the recruitment process, make sure that he or she asks about all financial obligations of membership.

What are unrecognized groups? Are there unrecognized groups at GW?

We would like to advise all parents/guardians that there are some men's organizations that wrongfully attempt to function on our campus that are not currently recognized by the university. The George Washington University does not advise nor control the actions of these groups. These non-recognized groups have a high number of hazing incidents throughout the pledging process and annual “Initiation Week” (sometimes referred to as “Hell Week”).  Many students have reported being threatened by fraternity members for wanting to leave the pledging process or for wanting to report the actions of other members to the university administration. The GW Police Department has also documented situations involving physical altercations with other GW students, as well as various noise complaints at campus locations. Many times the national organizations of these non-recognized groups choose not to acknowledge the university’s concerns or to take action against their chapters.

Unrecognized groups at the George Washington University include:
Alpha Pi Epsilon (or "APEs")

Who is actually in charge of the fraternities and sororities?

Individual chapters elect officers to manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by local alumni who act as advisors. Each chapter is also responsible to their Inter/National organization, which offers support, advice, and direction through paid professional staff and regional volunteers. At GW, our staff in the Center for Student Engagement and Director of Greek Life, serves as the primary contact for the Greek community.

My student is considering joining a fraternity or sorority. What advice should I give them?

Since joining a fraternity or sorority is a lifelong commitment, and there is an expense associated with membership, it should be a joint decision between student and parent. Consider sitting down with your son or daughter and research all of the university-recognized organizations that are at GW. Utilizing local chapter and national websites are a great, convenient way to gather information. Feel free to contact students who are currently involved, along with their parents, and ask them about their experience. In most cases, both students and parents will speak candidly about their Greek involvement.

How can my student get involved in a fraternity or sorority?

Formal recruitment, often times called "Rush," is held at the beginning of the fall semester each year for IFC and Panhellenic groups. The membership intake process to join an MGC organization happens at various times during the year at the discretion of each group.

Where can I find more information?

The Office of Parent Services can advise you on the operations and functions of various university offices and serves as an excellent resource for parents and caregivers.