Greek Life Info for Parents and Families
Greek life is a way for your student to make lifelong friendships.
When parents learn that their college student is considering membership in a Greek-letter organization on campus, it is common for the questions to start multiplying in their minds. The Center for Student and Community Engagement realizes this and encourages you and your family to use this website as an educational resource.
We want you to feel comfortable with the information presented here so that you can support the well-informed decisions your student will make about whether or not to participate in a Fraternity, Sorority or Social Fellowship.
As your student makes their decision about membership, remember that this is an extremely exciting decision. The fraternity and sorority community here at Adelphi University was established over a century ago. Adelphi University’s Fraternities, Sororities, and Social Fellowships are rooted in four core values: scholarship, leadership, service, and friendship—and today’s students are still proud to participate.
There is a lot of valuable information posted here for your reference. However, feel free to contact us if you have questions or concerns that are not answered here.
Fraternity and Sorority Life at Adelphi University is just one of a number of ways to get involved on campus and for your student to make lifelong friendships. Fraternity and Sorority Life is made up of 17 chapters on campus that consist of groups that are founded on leadership, scholarship, philanthropy and service. Every Greek-lettered organization at Adelphi University is supported and overseen by the Center for Student and Community Engagement to ensure they are abiding by University and state policies. Being a part of a Greek-lettered organization is an enriching college experience that will stay with your student far past their college years. Greek-lettered organizations provide a foundation for developing relationships and networking with alumni/ae to prepare them for after college.
Active – A fully initiated member of a fraternity or sorority.
Alumni/Alumnae – Members who have graduated from a college or university.
Bid – A formal invitation to join a fraternity or sorority.
Big Brother/Big Sister – An active member assigned to mentor and guide a new member.
Brother – A term used by initiated fraternity men to refer to one another.
Chapter – The local group that is part of a national organization.
Chapter Advisor – An alumnus/alumna who serves in an advisory capacity to the local chapter.
Colony – an approved student organization working towards recognition as a chartered chapter of that fraternity or sorority.
Coming Out Show – A show used to introduce new members of the organization.
Cross/Crossed – A term referring to becoming a member after new member orientation/intake, typically used by culturally-based organizations.
Disaffiliate/Deactivate – The termination of a new member’s or initiated members’ relationship with the fraternity or sorority.
Formal Recruitment – Occurs in the spring semester for sororities belonging to the National Panhellenic Conference during which all member organization may recruit to quota.
Fraternity – A group of men bound together by common values, rituals, goals, and brotherhood.
Hazing – An action taken or situation created that recklessly or intentionally endangers another person’s psychological, emotional, or physical health, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate, for the purpose of joining or maintaining membership with any organization, group, or team.
Inactive – An individual who is still a member of the fraternity or sorority but has requested that they no longer participate in the day-to-day activities of the organization due to academic, family, or work commitments.
Initiation – A formal ceremony in which new members become active members of a chapter.
Intake – The time period between being given an invitation for membership and the final initiation/crossing ceremony, this term is typically associated with culturally-based organizations.
InterGreek Council (IGC) – The student-run governing body that oversees all fraternities, sororities, and social fellowships at Adelphi.
Interfraternity Council (IFC) – A governing body representing national and international fraternities. The Adelphi Interfraternity Council is a student-run governing body that oversees the 5 of our fraternities on campus.
Interest Group – A group of individuals interested in becoming affiliated with a fraternity or sorority.
Legacy – the child, sibling, or grandchild (and in some cases niece or nephew) of an initiated member.
Line – The name for a prospective member class for culturally-based organizations.
Line Brothers/Sisters – Individuals who are members of the same intake class.
Multicultural Greek and Fellowship Council (MGFC) – A governing body representing a variety of cultural and multicultural fraternities, sororities, and social fellowships.
National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) – A governing body representing Latino/a based fraternities and sororities.
National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) – A governing body representing 26 national and international sororities. The Adelphi Panhellenic Council is a student-run governing body that oversees the 6 of our sororities on campus.
National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) – A governing body composed of the nine national historically black fraternities and sororities.
New Member – One who has accepted an invitation for membership but has not yet been initiated.
New Member Class – Individuals who are participating in the new member orientation process together.
New Member Process – The time period between being given an invitation for membership and the final initiation/crossing ceremony.
Neophyte – A term that refers to a brother/sister the first semester after they are initiated.
Philanthropy – An effort, project, or service to promote human welfare of the raising of funds to be donated for that purpose.
Probate – A show used to introduce new members of an organization.
Prophyte – A term that refers to a member who has experienced at least one intake process as a member of the organization.
Quota – The number of new members each NPC organization is allowed to take during formal recruitment.
Recruitment – A series of events offering members and potential members the opportunity to get to know each other.
Sister – A term used by initiated sorority women to refer to one another.
Sorority – A group of women bound together by common values, rituals, goals, and sisterhood.
Step – A series of complex, synchronous and precise rhythmic body movements performed to the tune of stomps, songs or chants created by organization members.
Strolling – The traditional dance or “party walk” performed by culturally-based fraternities, sororities, and social fellowships.
Total – The allowable chapter size as determined by the college NPC.
Hazing means any intentional, knowing, or reckless act occurring on or off the campus of Adelphi University, by one person alone or acting with others, directed against a student, that endangers the mental/emotional or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of affiliating with, joining, pledging, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization whose members are or include students at Adelphi University.
Hazing is against both state and federal law and there is a zero-tolerance policy here at Adelphi University. All of our chapters are updated every semester on hazing policies through the Center for Student and Community Engagement along with the state and federal regulations. It is mandated that every chapter attends an event during National Hazing Prevention Week in the fall. There are a speaker and a presentation that addresses issues related to hazing and how to prevent these behaviors. New members are also required to attend Greek 101, a workshop that focuses on the definition of hazing; the types of hazing that can occur; the importance of coming forward; who to contact if hazing occurs; as well as traditions that encourage group unity.
To Report Hazing: Contact Public Safety at 516.877.3507, the Center for Student and Community Engagement at 516.877.3603, or complete the Hazing Report Form.
One of the foundational pillars to be a member of a Greek organization at Adelphi University and found all over the country is the emphasis on scholarship. First and foremost, academics are a student’s primary responsibility when attending a university and therefore, there is an established minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) for membership. We mandate all individuals to maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher to join or continue membership. It is important to emphasize to your student that even though they are dedicating a lot of time and energy to a Greek-lettered organization, they must still focus on their academics. The Center for Student and Community Engagement is here to help in terms of balancing the demands of a Greek-lettered organization and academics; the executive board of the organization encourages students who are struggling with academics to receive help from our academic support offices and learn time management skills.
Every chapter has its own expectations of its members in regard to finances. Each student will pay dues to their chapter and their organizations’ national headquarters per semester. Please have open conversations with your student about what is expected of them every semester. Typically, most organizations offer online payment and even payment plans so you can pay in installments rather than a large lump sum. To be active in the organization and through the Center for Student and Community Engagement, they must stay up to date on their finances to the organization. The Greek organizations do not receive funding from the university; their yearly budget is based on semester dues.
Being a part of a Greek organization is a substantial time commitment; every chapter and the Center for Student and Community Engagement expect our members to uphold the highest standards. It is important to have open communication with your student in terms of time commitment and making sure they are not dedicating too much time to a Greek-lettered organization if they are not properly balancing academics, work, or other requirements. All organizations understand that they are students first; however, they need to make sure that they know how to properly communicate if they cannot commit to requirements laid out by the chapter.
Joining the Multicultural Greek and Social Fellowship community gives your student the opportunity to improve the community and spread cultural awareness and education through various events. While it is up to your student to decide what organization they want to join, it is important that they reach out to the specific organization and let them know they are interested! Once they know your student is interested, they will invite them to events and invite them to their official informational meeting where they will go over the specific process for their organization. The organizations host events throughout the year to be able to get to know students. If a student has an interest in possibly joining an organization, it is best to first do some research. You can always learn more about our 6 Multicultural Greek and Social Fellowship organizations by visiting their inter/national websites, but the best way to get to know these organizations is through their current membership. Most Multicultural Greek and Social Fellowship organizations recruit 1-2 times a year, so it is important that you follow their deadlines! MGFC organizations that do intake appreciate discretion prior to and during the intake process. Multicultural Greek and Social Fellowship organizations accept students who are interested in promoting their principles of scholarship, service, leadership, diversity, and friendship regardless of race or ethnic background! All students are welcome to pursue membership!
Family Frequently Asked Questions
For many parents and family members, fraternity and sorority life can be a bit of a mystery. New experiences can be overwhelming at first. Here are some of the most common questions we receive from family members.
First-year students must wait until their second semester to join. Transfer students may join during their first semester at Adelphi. Recruitment (also referred to as “intake”) typically takes place within the first three weeks of each semester. Regardless of the time at which a student wishes to join, they must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Register online for either fraternity or sorority. If you are interested in joining a culturally based fraternity, sorority, or social fellowship, please refer to the Multicultural Greek and Fellowship Council on MyAULife. Culturally based organizations also host individual recruitment events. You are encouraged to reach out to an individual group through MyAULife or contact the Center for Student and Community Engagement for more information.
- Be currently enrolled as an undergraduate, full-time student at Adelphi University (Garden City) and maintain full-time status throughout membership. Cannot be a first-semester freshman.
- Have an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher (varies depending on the organization). First semester transfer students must provide documentation of a 2.5 from their previous institution.
- Successful completion of at least 12 college credits. These credits must be completed at an accredited University.
- Receive an invitation to join a fraternity, sorority, or social fellowship.
- Sign a Bid/Invitation Acceptance Agreement.
Fraternities and sororities were first founded in the late 1700’s as opportunities for students to gather outside of the classroom to debate and discuss their coursework free from professors and other administrators. As these literary societies evolved over time, friendship, campus leadership and service to others also became part of their organizational mission.
These concepts of leadership, scholarship, service and friendship for life still exist in today’s fraternities, sororities, and social fellowships. No matter what fraternity, sorority, or social fellowship a student may join, members participate in programs that encourage academic success; offer opportunities to serve the community; lead their peers; and develop deep friendships. Membership in a fraternity, sorority, or social fellowship lasts a lifetime. While other student organization members end after graduation, fraternity/sorority/social fellowship membership goes beyond graduation.
The best strategies for finding a fraternity, sorority, or social fellowship are to research before recruitment and actively participate during the recruitment period. During each semester, students are encouraged to attend the Activities Fair, Meet the Greeks, Recruitment Expos and Informationals to meet current members. During this time, it is important for your student to ask questions so they can begin to differentiate one organization from another.
Important questions may include:
- How much are dues and fees?
- What exactly happens during the New Member process?
- What kind of scholarship program does the organization offer?
- What activities is the organization involved with on campus?
- What is the time commitment?
- What are the service projects this organization conducts?
- How will membership in this specific fraternity/sorority/social fellowship benefit me?
- What is the organization’s policy on hazing?
It is important to know a great deal about the organization before deciding to join. Recruitment events and informationals provide a time for mutual learning, a time when chapters learn about the new students and the new students learn about the chapters. All chapters are different and by asking questions and noting the differences, your student will narrow their selection to the most appropriate chapter.
University recognized fraternities/sororities/social fellowships work closely with the Center for Student and Community Engagement. They are held accountable to University policies and are able to participate in Greek Life and University-sponsored programs.
Unrecognized fraternities/sororities are not subject to University policy nor are they monitored by the University. Groups that are not recognized do not meet the University’s standards for recognition and/or have lost recognition for failure to adhere to University policies. We strongly discourage students from joining these organizations.
Once your student has decided to join, they will be known as a “new member” of the organization. The new member process is a time of learning – learning about how the organization is run, learning about the history of the organization, learning how to work within the larger membership, and learning about yourself. The new member process is no longer than 6 weeks.
The new member program is designed by the national fraternity/sorority/social fellowship and typically new members learn this information at a weekly meeting. You’ll likely hear your student talk about the “initiates” those who are already members and the New Member Educator – the student in charge of running the new member program.
Typically at the first new member meeting of the semester the organization will supply your student with all of the information they need to know – a calendar of events, contact information for the student officers and alumni/ae advisors, a financial contract to sign and a list of expectations for the new member (typically this outlines the requirements they must meet before becoming a fully initiated member of the organization.)
All of this information can and may be shared with parents. In addition, your student should be able to direct you to the national and local websites so that you can begin to learn more about the organization he/she is joining.
Fraternities/sororities are NOT funded by the University. Each chapter is self-supported through dues charged to all members. In the first semester of membership, new members are assessed a number of one-time fees (new member fee, initiation fee, badge fee, insurance). After the initial fees are paid, your student’s only required expenses will be their regular chapter dues. It is important to note that other miscellaneous expenses may be required during membership (i.e. t-shirts, formals, socials, etc.).
Take the time to find out more about the Greek community at Adelphi. Ask questions about what the organizations will offer your student and allow them to make the best decision for themselves.
Once your student joins, continue to be observant and ask questions. Here are a few suggestions to help ease your student’s transition to both the University and their new fraternity, sorority, or social fellowship.
- Be happy and supportive of your student’s choice of fraternity/sorority/social fellowship.
- Encourage them to attend programs sponsored by their new chapter and the Center for Student and Community Engagement.
- Know the name and contact information for the chapter president, new member educator and chapter advisor.
- Ask for details about the financial aspect of membership. Many one-time fees are paid during the first semester of membership, so expect the first few months to be the most expensive.
- Stay in touch with phone calls, emails & text messages.
- Attend Parent/Family weekend activities as well as other special events sponsored by the chapter or the University.
- Expect to see numerous new t-shirts, photos and Greek paraphernalia.
- Encourage your student to be a part of the University community and to take advantage of its many resources.
Individual organizations elect other students as executive officers to manage the day to day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by alumni who act as advisors. Each chapter is also responsible for reporting to their inter/national organization, which offers support, advice and direction through paid professional staff and regional volunteers.
Adelphi University operates the Center for Student and Community Engagement (SCE) and employs a professional staff member and graduate assistant to advise and support the recognized fraternities/sororities/social fellowships. You can contact SCE at 516-877-3603.
Our fraternities and sororities are private membership organizations and are under no obligation to explain why a student wasn’t offered an invitation to membership, so our office staff will never know the reason why a student wasn’t asked to join.
In some cases the reason is clear – i.e. the student didn’t meet the academic requirement or the student had not met enough of the members yet. We suggest that parents and students consider this to be similar to what happens in a job interview. An applicant might have a great resume, but the interview might not go well. Or, the candidate could be a great interview but not have the right credentials. If your student wishes to keep looking for a fraternity/sorority/social fellowship experience, they can participate in recruitment during the next semester. If not, but they’d still like to be involved on campus in some way, you might want to encourage them to think about any of the other 55+ student organizations and clubs on campus.
The new member process can take no longer than six weeks as per Adelphi University policy. Your student should receive a calendar of events from the New Member Educator (the student charged with the responsibility of administering the new member program) at their first meeting.
Typically, you can expect your student to have a weekly meeting with the rest of the students who are joining and the New Member Educator. At these meetings, students usually participate in team builders, learn fraternity/sorority/social fellowship history, organizational structure, talk about the requirements they must meet in order to become an initiated member, etc. Nothing in these meetings is secret.
Most new members participate in an academic program through the organization (tutoring with an older member, attending study hours at the library, submitting copies of their grades throughout the semester). They are also doing community service, attending some sort of leadership programming (a retreat, workshops, educational speakers) and are likely attending social events.
Again, none of these things are secret, no meetings or events should run past 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends. All events should be talked about well in advance with the students so that they can adjust their schedules accordingly.
There are several people your student can speak with if they have problems or questions:
- Chapter Advisor (an adult advisor to the organization who is a member of the fraternity/sorority)
- Chapter President (the student elected by the organization for the semester/year to lead the membership)
- New Member Educator (the student elected to administer the new member program)
- Center for Student and Community Engagement
- Contact info (phone and email) for the Advisor, President and New Member Educator should be given to the new members at the first meeting of the new member program. This info can also be obtained by contacting the Center for Student and Community Engagement at 516.877.3603.
On occasion, students feel it necessary to withdraw from their new organization. It may be that the time commitment proves to be challenging, the financial obligation is too expensive or the student believes they have made the wrong choice in organizations, etc. If the student has made a choice to withdraw, they can do so by speaking with the Greek Advisor within the Center for Student and Community Engagement. The paperwork also has to be filled out if the student chooses to depart the new member process.
Either way, the student can leave the organization but should understand that in most cases any money that has been paid to the group cannot be refunded and that the organization will likely ask for certain items to be returned, like a new member manual of information or the new member pin.
Again, the maximum time for an organization to administer a new member program is 6 weeks. At the end of the 6 weeks, the new members must be initiated, which means that they must participate in the formal ceremony that confers full membership on new members. The date of the initiation ceremony is not to be a secret from the new members.