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Greek Life 101

(February 25 2013) Written by: Peter Ryan, Jr. in Fraternity / Sorority Life, Student Life

Aside from being a Student Ambassador I work for the RIT Greek Programming Board as the Development & Education Coordinator. My job entails planning events that have the aim of improving Greek Life in terms of risk awareness and management, new member education, health and wellness, leadership development, and scholastics. I am a big advocate of Greek Life and encourage everyone to look into joining a Greek organization.

Greek Life refers to the collection of fraternities and sororities on campus. There are many different fraternities and sororities but there is only one organization has a particular name which consists of letters of the Greek alphabet. The presence of an organization on-campus is known as a chapter. Students in Greek organizations generally have higher GPAs and have a higher degree of involvement on-campus. Greek organizations value academics, philanthropy, and camaraderie and generally have strong social presences.

If you decide to go Greek you should do your homework and find the group that is best for you. It's a good idea to go out and meet brothers and sisters of as many organizations as you can and learn more about what they do on-campus, what they're values are, what they're philanthropies are, and general information about the fraternity/sorority as a whole.

Here are some terms you might come across as you look closer at Greek Life:

  • Bid: a formal invitation to join an organization.
  • Chapter: an on-campus group of an organization (chapter may also refer to the actual meeting of the chapter as well).
  • College Panhellenic Council (CPC): an umbrella organization for women's sororities.
  • Greek Programming Board: a student organization that plans Greek events and programming.
  • Initiation: The initiation is the formal ceremony when new members join the Greek organization.
  • Interfraternity Council (IFC): an association of collegiate men's fraternities.
  • National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO): an umbrella council for Latino organizations.
  • National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC): an association of historically African American organizations.
  • Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life: the office that oversees Greek Life at RIT.
  • Pledging: After recruitment, the Greek organization sends invitations to join, known as “bids.” A PNM may get none, or one or more bids. If the PNM chooses to join, he or she is “accepting the bid” and then becomes “a pledge” of the fraternity or sorority. During the pledge period, pledges learn even more about the organization and decide if it’s right for them.
  • Potential New Member (PNM): someone who is interested in Greek Life and may join an organization.

Going Greek has lifelong benefits and can help you get the most out of not just college but of life. Don't just take my word for it. Here's what other Greeks have to say:

"Membership in Greek Life is a life altering experience and it allows you to grow as an individual in ways that you never thought that you could." -- Eric Pope, Associate Director for Greek & Departmental Assessment and brother of Theta Chi

"I joined greek life for the camaraderie, and stayed for experiences and friends that I've made." -- Derek Palmerton, chapter President of Tau Kappa Epsilon

"Becoming Greek helped me with networking and gave me an opportunity to meet and learn from professionals in all different industries." -- Tyler Pixley, former chapter President of Sigma Chi

"Greek Life has opened up so many doors for me; I've learned how to handle responsibility, manage my time, become a leader, and grow as a person. Without Greek Life, I don't know where I would be. Greeks mimic the same sets of values and I'm so proud to be apart of this community of outstanding people." -- Taylor Evans, President of Zeta Tau Alpha and President of National Society of Collegiate Scholars,

"I joined Greek Life because I wanted to get involved, make a difference and continue to grow as a leader. Being Greek has allowed me to do all these things as well as meet and work with so many amazing people. I know that being Greek has not only helped me through my years at RIT, but will also continue to help me after I graduate." -- Jenna Deutsch, former President of Zeta Tau Alpha and Social Media Strategist for RIT Big Shot

"The reasons that I joined Greek Life were at first to have a strong alumni and professional network. But once I joined I realized that its much more. I became very close friends with people that I never would have met. It also helped me grow as an individual. My communication and leadership skills have improved which will be very beneficial for me professionally." -- Vinay Kaushik, brother of Sigma Chi and IFC Vice President of Programming

Check out the Greek Life website to learn more!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@pryanjr) for more frequent updates.

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