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Department of Student Affairs: Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs

Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs

Myths & Facts

Myth 1. Fraternities and Sororities encourage binge drinking and drug abuse.

Fact: Due to the fact that fraternities and sororities compromise the largest student organizations nationwide, fraternal communities are constantly in the media spotlight. Social problems such as binge drinking and drug use occur in nearly every facet of society, but their presence is magnified in fraternities and sororities.

Each chapter is required to abide by federal, state, university and their own national headquarters policies regarding drugs and alcohol. Additionally, each organization has significant risk management and risk reduction policies and procedures to promote healthy decision making and provide for the safety of members and their guests.

Myth 2. Being a part of a fraternity or sorority is more expensive than other organizations.

Fact: One particularly prevalent myth about fraternity and sorority life is that being a member is incredibly costly. Many people outside of the community actually refer to this belief by saying that "Greeks buy their friends". The irony in that statement is that it costs money to be a part of any organization, whether it is sports or clubs, or to retain any place of residence, such as in the residence halls.

Since fraternities and sororities are non-profit organizations, dues are used to fund various parts of its day-to-day operations, including: academic incentives, headquarter dues, room and board, scholarships, sporting and social events, and many other normal everyday expenses.  By joining a fraternity or sorority, you are not only helping to sustain the ideals and values set forth by the chapters' founders, you are also making it possible to keep the future alive.

Myth 3: Hazing is simply a reality among fraternities and sororities.

Fact: Hazing is the most publicly feared concept associated with fraternity and sorority life today. These fears are more than justified due to the fact that hazing is easily the most dangerous and destructive practice in which an organization can take part. Although hazing has been prevalent in many sports organizations and band activities as a form of "initiation," Greeks have been the focus of the majority of negative publicity.

Although many people automatically associate the term "hazing" with the idea of mistreating or abusing pledges or new members, any member can be a victim of hazing. Hazing can be defined as singling out an individual or group of people and forcing them to do something that is psychologically, physically, or emotionally harmful or damaging.  Fraternities and sororities nationwide strive to eliminate hazing from their cultures through proactive approaches and strict enforcement of anti-hazing policies. Hazing is strictly prohibited Winthrop University.

Myth 4. Joining a fraternity or sorority inhibits academic performance.

Fact: Admittedly, fraternities and sororities have moved away from their roots of purely academic organizations such as literary societies. However, the transition to social living groups does not necessarily mean that academics were thrown out the window.

Academic performance is encouraged by both all-Greek programming and individual chapter policies. Awards are given to chapters with the highest GPA's, and there also are restrictions within each chapter for members to participate. As with other activities, Greeks must maintain a certain GPA to be eligible to participate.  The fraternities and sororities at Winthrop University pride themselves in consistently having the all-Greek GPA above the all non-Greek GPA.

Myth 5. New Members of fraternities and sororities do not have personal space or time.

Fact: The time and effort required in joining a fraternity or sorority is in no way to interfere with other time commitments or academic success. Prior to being initiated, new members are required to attend weekly meetings and rituals in order to learn about their chapter's history and values.

Another fear is that personal space is non-existent for new members. In a house, members share rooms just as living in the residence halls, so they are able to get to know each other and begin to foster friendships. Also, there is plenty of living and study space located throughout many chapter houses. Most houses have common areas to watch TV, play pool, or just talk.

Myth 6. Fraternities and Sororities are just as seen on TV.

Fact: Many television movies and shows depict the "wild side," of fraternity and sorority life and choose to amplify its supposed "horrors." In doing so, many movies and shows forget to add the beneficial sides of joining a Greek Chapter and portray its positive notes.

Although there are some isolated instances of hazing and alcohol related occurrences, many institutions and chapters are taking preventative stances to further hinder these tragedies.

Statistics

  • 71% of those listed in "Who's Who in America" belong to a fraternity.
  • Of the nation's 50 largest corporations, 43 are headed by fraternity men.
  • 85% of the Fortune 500 executives belong to a fraternity.
  • 40 of 47 U.S. Supreme Court justices since 1910 were fraternity men.
  • 76% of all Congressmen and Senators belong to a fraternity.
  • Every U.S. President except eight born since the first social fraternity was founded in 1825 have been members of a fraternity.
  • 63% of the U.S. President's Cabinet members since 1900 have been Greek.
  • A national conference report shows a high percentage of the 4,000 NIC fraternity chapters are above the All-Men's scholastic average on their respective campuses.
  • A U.S. Government study shows that over 70% of all those who join a fraternity/sorority graduate, while under 50% of all non-fraternity/sorority persons graduate.
  • Less than 2% of an average college student's expenses go toward fraternity dues. (U.S. Office of Education)
  • Over 85% of the student leaders on some 730 campuses are involved in the Greek community.