Sending a child to college can be a challenging, yet exciting time in a parent's life. While at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), your student will encounter many opportunities to become involved outside of their classroom experience. It is important that you, as the parent or family member, be educated about the enriching experience that your son or daughter will find by being involved in a fraternity or sorority at BGSU. Below are some questions you may have about fraternities and sororities, in addition to some tips in helping your son or daughter find the organization that is best for them.
What is being involved in a fraternity or sorority all about?
Contrary to what is seen in movies or news headlines about what it means to be in a fraternity or sorority, the fraternal experience at BGSU offers opportunities for members to grow as leaders, serve the community, excel academically, and prepare themselves for a career. Membership in a fraternity or sorority at BGSU offers a home-away-from home and makes the large University setting feel a bit smaller. At BGSU, fraternities and sororities cultivate environments that encourage members to maintain a high GPA, perform community service, become involved in outside student organizations, and ultimately become a campus leader. To put it simply, fraternities and sororities exist to make men better men and women better women; not only while they’re in college, but for their entire life.
My son or daughter is considering joining a fraternity or sorority, how should I advise them?
To be frank, some fraternities and sororities at BGSU are better at creating a positive and enriching environment for their members than others, so it is important for you to be involved in helping your student make the right choice when it comes to joining a fraternity or sorority. Since joining a fraternity or sorority is a lifelong commitment that continues well after graduating college, consider sitting down with your son or daughter to research all of the organizations that are available to join. Utilizing local chapter and national websites are a great, convenient way to gather information.
Consider asking the following questions before your student joins a fraternity or sorority:
• What is expected of fraternity/sorority members?
• How will membership affect your academics?
• 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?
• Does the chapter perform hands-on community service? If so, how often?
• Does the fraternity or sorority require members to live in the facility (if housing is available)? If so, for how long?
• What are the expenses associated with membership? How does this vary as a new member?
• What do membership dues pay for?
• What type of member is the chapter looking for?
• What values does this organization promote?
• Is the organization officially recognized by the University? If not, why is this the case?
• What is the time commitment?
I never joined a fraternity or sorority, how can I learn more about it?
Check our Guide to Greeks or take a look at the websites of the national umbrella organizations that govern our fraternities and sororities:
Be honest, what are the safety risks associated with membership in a fraternity or sorority?
It can be perceived that membership in a fraternity or sorority may compromise a student's safety and well-being because of concerns related to the party culture, hazing, body image issues, among others. At BGSU, we are diligent in creating a positive environment so that these risks are prevented through clear policies and intentional education. In addition to having policies and regulations through their national organization, fraternities and sororities must also stay within accordance with BGSU’s Code of Student Conduct which outlines clear policies regarding alcohol, hazing, event management, drugs, among others. These policies are in accordance with the state law of Ohio and are strictly enforced by BGSU administrators, leadership from the national headquarters, and members of the BGSU fraternity/sorority community themselves. All organizations have at least one alumni advisor to ensure the chapter is acting within accordance of policies. Additionally, every fraternity and sorority that is housed on campus has a live-in staff member who enforces policies, responds to crisis, and serves as a resource to members.
Beyond enforcing policies, the Fraternity & Sorority Life staff is committed to providing educational programming related to alcohol consumption and binge drinking, bystander behavior, body image, among many others to ensure that health and wellness are at the forefront of the fraternal experience. We also partner with several areas on campus that promote wellness and safety such as The Wellness Connection, the Counseling Center, and Student Conduct just to name a few.
Will my son or daughter be hazed in order to join a fraternity or sorority?
A major concern of many parents and families is whether their son or daughter will be hazed in order to join an organization. Not only is hazing against University policy, but also against state law. Thus, there is a zero tolerance for such behavior from fraternities and sororities at BGSU.
Hazing as defined by BGSU’s Code of Conduct:
• Any action or activity which does not contribute to the positive development of a person; which inflicts or intends to cause physical or mental harm or anxieties; and/or which demeans, degrades, or disgraces any person regardless of location, intent or consent of participant.
• Any activity or situation that, intentionally or unintentionally humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers a student for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with any student organization or athletic team.
BGSU has a 24-hour anonymous hazing hotline available for students to use should they or someone they know encounter hazing. The number is 419-372-HAZE (4293).
Will my son or daughter need to live in the fraternity or sorority house?
Typically, fraternities and sororities do have a live-in requirement for one or two years. However, the 2013-2014 academic year is the last year that the current fraternity and sorority facilities will be used. Thus, it is likely that if your son or daughter joins at some point during the ’13-’14 academic year, they will not have the opportunity to live in the chapter house unless a vacancy becomes available for the spring 2014 semester. In May 2014, the current units will be demolished and construction on a new Greek village will begin. This village is set to open for fall 2016. For information on this project, visit the Greek Housing Project website.