“We come to college not alone to prepare to make a living, but to learn to live a life.” – M.J. Riggs
For your student, making the transition from high school or a community college to a four-year university may seem like an imposing challenge. Many questions may be on his or her mind. Will I fit in and make good friends? Will I succeed academically? Will I be able to get involved in campus organizations and better my leadership skills? Will I find other people interested in the same things that I am? How can I best prepare for my career? Will I feel like a part of the campus community or just another number? With this in mind, joining a fraternity or sorority may be a strong pursuit for your student to answer these questions and enjoy his or her CSUN experience to the fullest capacity.
Fraternities and sororities exist as a proven support network for your student as he or she embarks on this new period of life. More than 750,000 students across the country are currently fraternity or sorority members.
As a parent or guardian, you are undoubtedly concerned about your student's college experience and the choices he or she will make. We have answered some of the questions you may have about fraternity and sorority membership below.
Fraternities and Sororities at CSUN
A fraternity or sorority can help your student personalize his or her college experience by offering a scholastic support system; hands-on experience in leading committees, managing budgets and interacting with faculty and administrators; exposure to potential careers through educational programs and discussions with alumni; the chance to give back to the community through service projects; and close friends who will cheer him or her on when through success as well as support when times are tough. With all these opportunities available to them, it is no wonder that fraternity and sorority members tend to graduate from college at a higher rate than men and women not involved in fraternities or sororities.
Benefits of Fraternity and Sorority Membership
Fraternity and sorority members will have a group of supportive friends to help them make the adjustment to college and be their friends for the rest of their lives. They will be offered scholastic resources to help them achieve their academic goals. As a part of campus life, members are encouraged to get involved both in the campus community and in the community-at-large to exercise their full potential, including the development of leadership skills and opportunities to practice those skills. Students who join fraternities and sororities at CSUN are taught the importance of giving of oneself through active participation in community service projects. Perhaps most importantly, members will be exposed to career opportunities through interaction with fraternity and sorority alumni.
Questions and Myths about Fraternity and Sorority
I’m concerned about my student’s grades—what impact would being a member of a fraternity or sorority have on academic studies?
Students often find managing their time difficult when moving from the highly structured high school environment to the freedom of college. Fraternities and sororities assist in that transition by offering scholarship programs that may include study partners, mandatory study hours and time management workshops. Your student can access the network of members who already know how to use campus resources, including the library, study skills centers, computer labs and academic advisors. While fraternities and sororities are concerned about the academic achievement of their members, your student is ultimately responsible for utilizing the resources made available by the university and membership organization.
What about pledging or hazing?
New fraternity and sorority members all experience a period of orientation. During this time, all new members will participate in weekly meetings to learn about the university and the fraternity or sorority, leadership retreats, community services projects and activities designed to build friendships among the new members and older fraternity members.
All organizations oppose hazing and are committed to a membership education period that instills a sense of responsibility and commitment in new members. This period will assist your student in overcoming some of their concerns about their success in college.
As per the university policy concerning hazing, organizations not in compliance with those standards set forth are subject to consequences enforced by the university.
Who is actually in charge of the fraternity or sorority?
Fraternity and sorority members elected to officer positions manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by members serving on the committees and by alumni who act as advisors.
In addition, most fraternities and sororities are part of a national organization that offers support, advice and direction through a paid professional staff and regional volunteers. Professional staff from the university are also employed to assist and monitor the activities of fraternities and sororities. Ultimately, a variety of individuals oversee the operations of each organization.
Doesn't it cost a lot of money to be in a fraternity or sorority?
Each organization is self-supported through dues charged to all members. In the first year of membership, a few one-time expenses are assessed. After those initial payments are made, your student’s only expense will be their regular dues. If housing is offered, fraternity and sorority lodging is competitive with other housing options. A variety of payment plans are usually offered.
Being a member of a fraternity or sorority sounds like it takes a lot of time.
Participating in any worthwhile activity always requires an investment of one’s time. Research has shown that involved college students are more likely to graduate, and they report greater satisfaction with their college experience. Through fraternity or sorority involvement, your student will learn how to balance their academic work, career pursuits, campus involvement and social commitments.
How does my student go about joining?
Fraternities and sororities organize a process of meeting people and making friends called recruitment. Recruitment offers your student an opportunity to meet current members on campus and learn what each fraternity or sorority has to offer its members. While there is a more formal recruitment process at the beginning of each semester, most organizations are getting to know potential members all year long, so we encourage your student to attend their events and seek them out throughout the year.
Everyone likes to belong. Each fraternity and sorority has its own unique programs and strengths, yet all are primarily based on the development of character, friendship, social skills, and service to humanity and academic skills. Just like researching, visiting and choosing a college, your student should seek out the organization that best fits his or her personality, needs and desires. Each student will find that there is a place for everyone.
What is my role as a parent or a guardian?
We encourage parents and guardians to be supportive and learn as much as they can by asking questions of their student as he or she meets people through the recruitment process. Fraternity and sorority members will be more than happy to tell them (and you) more about their group.