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Fraternity and Sorority Life

Family Guide to Fraternity and Sorority Life

As a family member of a Monmouth University student, you play a vital role in your student’s success on campus. Whether you have a preconceived notion of the fraternity and sorority experience or no opinion at all, it is important for families to have some insight into the Fraternity and Sorority community at Monmouth University.

As your student enters college, the one phrase they will constantly hear, aside from school comes first, is “Get involved”. Whether a club, job or a fraternal organization, getting involved is a great way for your student to get to know and interact with their peers, and be connected with the institution, including staff and resources. As of June 2018, 17% of the undergraduate population is part of the Fraternity and Sorority community at Monmouth University.  Because of this, it is important that you, as a family member, have some understanding of what it means to be a member of a fraternal organization should your student have an interest in this experience.

Joining a fraternity or sorority is a big time commitment. In addition to weekly chapter meetings, members are expected to attend events, complete community service hours, support other organizations, and maintain good grades. As a new member, students may have additional hours added to learn about the history of their organizations and get to know their new brothers and sisters.

As a family member, we encourage you to talk with your student about joining a fraternity or sorority, and encourage them to know the time commitment, requirements, financial obligation, and some of the history of the chapters at Monmouth. Each organization has a chapter profile, which we invite you to view to learn about each organization. While it is important to know the positive things our groups are doing, it is also important to know the challenges each group has faced.

Support your student in making their own decision about which organization to join. Legacy connections, the opinions of friends and family, and external reputation can be important things to consider when students make a choice about which organization to join. However, the most important thing is that the student feels a strong connection and fit with that organization, its values, and ideals, even if that is different from all of those other factors.

Think about, and encourage your student to think about, the following questions before your student joins a fraternity or sorority:

  • What values does this organization promote?
  • What is expected of chapter members? What is expected of new members?
  • How will membership affect your academics? What is the current academic status of the chapter?
  • What does the fraternity/sorority do to contribute positively to members’ academic success?
  • What leadership opportunities are available to students as both new members and active members?
  • What is the financial obligation?
  • Does the chapter perform hands-on community service? If so, how often?
  • What type of member is the chapter looking for?
  • What is the time commitment both as a new member and as an initiated member?
  • What challenges has this group faced?
  • What is the chapter’s standing with the University?

Once your student joins, continue to be observant and ask questions.  Here are a few suggestions to help ease your student’s transition to both the University and their new fraternity or sorority.

  • Be happy and supportive of your student’s choice of fraternity/sorority.
  • Encourage them to attend programs sponsored by their new chapter and the Office of Student Activities.
  • Ask for details about the financial aspect of membership. The first semester tends to be a little more expensive, as there are one time, new member fees.
  • Stay in touch with phone calls, emails & text messages.
  • Encourage your student to be a part of the University community and to take advantage of its many resources.

Each organization must submit a new member plan to the Office of Student Activities before the new member/intake process begins. The only confidential information is the ritual ceremony, which occurs at the end of the new member/intake process. Everything else may be shared with anyone.  If your student is not willing to discuss their new member education/intake process with you and you have concerns, please feel free to contact our office.

Often times we hear “I never thought joining a fraternity/sorority was for me”; however, many students give it a chance and are happy with their decision to join. Fraternities and sororities are values-based organizations. We strive for academic excellence, value giving back to the community through different philanthropic causes and community service, and are proud of the fellowship our students find within both their organizations and the fraternal community.