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What is a fraternity or sorority?

A fraternity (for male-identified students) or sorority (for female-identified students) is a social, values-based organization typically identified by Greek letters. Membership in a fraternity or sorority is considered to be for life. Membership in a fraternity or sorority will offer experiences with service and philanthropy, leadership development, academic excellence, and deep friendships. Fraternities and sororities have been at UTM since the 1960s. There are currently 21 social (different from academic honor societies) fraternities and sororities on campus to choose from, and all are "chapters" or a branch of a larger inter/national organization.


Why are fraternities and sororities referred to as "Greek" organizations?

The names of fraternities and sororities are two or three Greek letters, often the initials of a Greek motto, which may be secret.


What are the benefits of joining a Greek organization?

There are many benefits to joining a Greek organization beginning with your freshman year until well beyond graduation. While an undergraduate, being Greek provides an outlet to get involved in campus events, build strong relationships with your brothers/sisters, develop leadership skills, and provide community service to both local and national charities and philanthropies. Greek organizations are involved in many campus activities such as intramurals, Homecoming, Greekfest, and All-Sing. In addition to these reasons, joining a fraternity or sorority can also benefit you academically. At UTM, our Greek members traditionally have a higher GPA than the average student. Many organizations also provide scholarship opportunities at either the local chapter or national level for both undergraduate and graduate programs Many organizations also provide networking opportunities and the chance to get involved with alumni groups post-graduation. Deciding to go Greek is a choice that will benefit you during college and beyond!


What percentage of the student population joins a Greek organization?

Currently around 15% of our student population is affiliated with a fraternity or sorority.


What is the cost to join a Greek organization?

The cost varies from chapter to chapter. However, the average cost for the IFC and Panhellenic organizations is around $500 a semester. That number will probably be a bit higher the first semester you join. Each organization does have some type of payment plan so that the dues are manageable. Dues for the NPHC fraternities and sororities are varied and each can give you more information when they begin their intake activities.


How will Greek life affect a student's grades?

One of the main tenets of all of our Greek organizations is scholarship and it is taken very seriously. The members support each other in all of their academic work. They often have study sessions together. As new members, most organizations require study hours so ensure that they are balancing school work and fraternal obligations. Being in an organization is also beneficial because you can always find a sister/brother or someone else in your council who has taken that class or professor before. They are happy to give pointers on how to be successful in the class. Generally, the All Greek GPA is higher than the all student GPA.


How much time will a student have to put into a Greek chapter?

Like most good things in life, one gets out whatever they put into an effort or organization. The first year will take a little more time learning about the Greek chapter's history, organization, and membership. Participation in many of the activities to get to know the other members is a good way to enjoy the benefits of Greek life. As with college in general, after the first year, students have usually figured out how much time they can put into the group without sacrificing their academic progress. While Greek life is a bonding experience, all groups recognize that one's academic work comes first.


Can one participate in other activities on campus when they join a Greek group?

The Greek groups encourage students to participate in other campus programs. Students often find out about other activities on campus through their Greek life peers. It is also a good way to reach other potential members and show involvement and pride in the university.


How does a student become involved with Greek Life at UTM?

Each semester, the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils sponsor a number of organized "recruitment" events – opportunities for non-affiliated students to become acquainted with the Greek system. During recruitment, non-affiliated students have the opportunity to visit all of the IFC fraternities and Panhellenic sororities to meet the members and decide which, if any, of the chapters best suit their needs. The recruitment process is one of mutual selection in which fraternity and sorority members invite individuals to be a part of their organizations, and likewise, potential members select the chapters that are best suited for them.


Our NPHC council comprised of 9 organizations (4 sororities and 5 fraternities), host intake throughout the year, as opposed to recruitment. The intake schedule is based on their own schedules and in consultation with their national organizations. Their processes are individualized and the best way to learn about their organizations is to attend any of their programs and contact the presidents directly for deadlines and further information.


Is it time-consuming to join a fraternity or sorority?

The amount of time involved in joining a fraternity or sorority will vary from chapter to chapter. The semester in which a student decides to become a member will be the most time-intensive period, as this is the time where new members participate in the new member education period. New member education is a period in which new members develop leadership and time management skills, learn about the history of the organization, meet and develop friendships with their new member class and with current members of the organization, and participate in chapter and campus events. Individual chapters have mandatory events such as weekly chapter meetings, community service and philanthropic events and study hours, however these events are planned in advance to ensure that members can plan their schedules accordingly. Being a member of a fraternity or sorority is a great experience, meaning that the more time you put in, the more you will get out of the experience!


Are fraternities and sororities like what I see on TV/movies and read on the Internet?

What you see on TV and in the movies are often stereotypes of the Greek experience. While movies like the House Bunny and Animal House are very entertaining, they do not accurately reflect the fraternity and sorority experience. Every fraternity and sorority is different and unique. The best way to find out what fraternities and/or sororities are like is to go to a fraternity or sorority event to see for yourself.


How do I find out information on a particular organization I am interested in learning more about?

There are several ways to do this. Each organization has a portal on OrgSync which can be found here. You can also access the chapters on the Councils & Chapters page of our website. It provides the national and local webpages as well as information on each chapter’s social media sites. You can also contact the Office of Student Life at greeklife@ut.utm.edu or thehub@utm.edu if you can’t find the specific information you are looking for.


What is the policy on hazing?

Hazing is strictly against university policy as well as state law in Tennessee. We believe the process of joining a Greek organization should be one that is about building up and strengthening men and women. The university’s hazing policy can be accessed under the resources tab. Beyond the university’s policy, each inter/national organization also has a policy prohibiting hazing as a requirement or condition of membership.


While the traditions and process of each chapter is a little bit different, hazing should never be a part of the process. If you believe you or someone you know is being hazed, immediately report it to the Office of Student Life, the chapter advisor, or other campus official. The report can also be filed through the Hawk Alert. The university takes these reports very seriously and will act in a timely manner.


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