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Fraternity & Sorority Life @ WMU: A Guide for Parents

Sending a student to college can be a challenging and stressful time in a parent's life. While at Western Michigan University, your son or daughter will encounter many opportunities to become involved outside of his or her classroom experience. In fact, nearly 70% of an undergraduate's college career is spent outside the classroom! It is important that you, the parent, be educated about the enriching experience that your son or daughter will find by being involved in a fraternity or sorority at Western. Should you ever have questions or concerns about your son or daughter's pursuit of membership in a fraternity or sorority, or about his or her experience as a member, please call or e-mail a Fraternity & Sorority Life staff member.

What is being involved in a fraternity or sorority all about?

You have probably seen many interesting depictions of "Greek Life" on TV and in the newspaper. The reality is that fraternity and sorority life is rarely that extreme. What the media does not tell you as a parent is that there are many life-long benefits to membership in fraternities and sororities. At a University like Western, membership in a fraternity or sorority offers a home-away-from home and makes the university setting a smaller, more friendly community for your son or daughter. Additionally, involvement in fraternities and sororities often increases students' chances of graduating from college. As a life-long member of a fraternity or sorority, students are offered the opportunity to develop as leaders, serve the local community, and focus on academics and their future career, by connecting with faculty, staff, local alumni, advisors and other fraternal organizations.

My son or daughter is considering joining a fraternity or sorority, how should I advise them?

Since joining a fraternity or sorority is a lifelong commitment, and there is an expense associated with membership, it should be a joint decision between student and parent. Consider sitting down with your son or daughter and research all of the organizations that are available to join. Utilizing local chapter and national websites is a great, convenient way to gather information. Feel free to contact students who are currently involved and their parents and ask them about their experience. In most cases, both students and parents will speak candidly about their fraternity or sorority involvement.

As an educated parent, consider asking the following questions before your student joins a fraternity or sorority:

What is expected of fraternity/sorority members?
How will membership affect academics?
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 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 am not Greek, how can I learn more about it?

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