How will my student benefit from joining a sorority or a fraternity?
Sororities and Fraternities have been serving the Hofstra University since 1936. These organizations are rooted in founding principles that foster academic achievement, leadership, community service, and life-long friendships. Fraternity & Sorority organizations are groups of individuals who come together to form a personal network of individuals with similar ideas, interests, and a mutual pursuit of a well-rounded college education. Advantages include:
- A supportive community to help make the adjustment to college easier.
- Scholastic resources to help students achieve their academic goals. Many national organizations offer scholarships to their members.
- Leadership skills acquired through hands-on experience.
- Encouragement to get involved and maximize their potential on campus.
- Opportunities for active participation in community service projects.
- National research has shown that involvement in sororities and fraternities increases students' chances of graduating from college.
- Membership in a sorority or fraternity is for a lifetime. Many alumni return to campus for special events. Most chapters at Hofstra University have newsletters and special weekends for alumni. These activities promote lifetime friendships that extend beyond individual chapters and include members of the national Greek community.
What is the financial obligation?
While the costs involved in being a member of a Fraternity & Sorority chapter vary, it is important to know that each organization does collect dues and some have initiation costs as well. These dues are for national or international fees, chapter operating expenses and social functions. Financial obligations differ for each chapter. New members can expect to pay higher dues their first semester.
Additional costs throughout the semester may go to pictures, gifts, social events, T-shirts, etc. Several chapters at Hofstra offer payment plans and scholarships for members who need financial assistance. While your student is participating in the membership intake/recruitment process, make sure that they ask about the financial obligations of membership.
How much time does Fraternity & Sorority membership involve?
The time commitment varies from chapter to chapter but the first semester is the most time intensive as the new member goes through the chapter's new member education/membership intake program.
The time spent in this program will give your student the opportunity to develop their leadership and time management skills, learn about the history of the organization, develop friendships with their new member class, as well as the rest of the chapter, and become acquainted with the Greek community as a whole.
After initiation, expectations will vary. Each chapter has weekly chapter meetings and other mandatory events (philanthropic, service, initiation) throughout the year. These events should be planned in advance
What are the safety risks associated with membership in a sorority or fraternity?
It can be perceived that Fraternity or Sorority membership may compromise a student's safety and well-being. Hofstra University takes every precaution to ensure this is not the case. Greek-letter organizations at Hofstra University are required to follow alcohol and risk management policies in accordance with state, local, and federal laws, which are enforced by University administrators as well as the members themselves. In addition, all organizations should have at least one chapter adviser and university faculty or staff liaison to assist and ensure that the chapter is promoting a safe environment for its members.
Is there an alcohol policy?
Each Fraternity or Sorority on campus has a local or (inter)national alcohol policy, which requires members to follow all federal, state, and local laws, governing alcohol consumption. In addition, all of our chapters participate in educational programs about alcohol use and abuse.
Well, what about hazing?
Hazing is both against University policy as well as state law. Hazing is contrary to the purposes of the Hofstra Greek community and Hofstra University. Both chapters and individuals members sign off stating they understand these rules and regulations and will not partake in any form of hazing. If it is discovered that hazing has taken place and the person(s) involved are found responsible judicially, those being hazed and the perpetrators may face sanctions up to and including removal from the University and a loss of chapter recognition.
If you sense your student may be participating in inappropriate activities as a result of membership in a Fraternity or Sorority, you should contact the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement (516) 463-6914 or Public Safety (516) 463-6606. Calls will be handled in a discrete manner.
Who is actually in charge of the Fraternities and Sororities?
Students elect their own officers to manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by members serving on committees and alumni who serve as advisors to the officers and general chapter members. Each group is governed by its inter/national headquarters, which established their chapter's regulations, and offers advice and direction through professional staff and regional volunteers.
Information for Parents
Your role as a parent is important as your student decides whether to join a fraternity or sorority. Encourage your student to find out more information about the organization. They can do this by using the internet, talking with members, and by attending an informational seminar and or sponsored events. Ask questions about the group your child is considering, but trust that they will make the best decision for themselves. Be sure to check our list of recognized and unrecognized organizaitons, found here, to be sure that they are joining a chapter affiliated with the university. If your student joins a fraterntiy or sorority, stay involved by attending chapter events or community service projects with them. Most importantly, be as supportive as you can. The decision to join a fraternity or sorority is a lifelong commitment with benefits extending far beyond one's college years.
Information About Hazing
Below is some information parents can use to determine if your son may be a victim of hazing and/or participating in any illegal pledge activities.
- Trust your common sense. If you question the value, safety, or potential negative impact of an activity, then you have the right to express concern and get an explanation. Start by asking your student to explain the things the group is requiring them to participate in to become a member. If they are resistant or simply will not answer you, then that should be a red flag.
- Is your student engaging in activities meant to earn their place with an organization inconsistent with their character or are the activities embarrassing or abusive?
- Is your student losing weight, sleeping excessively or always tired, avoiding coming home or staying out late, having trouble sitting and/or showing signs of depression?
- If your student is being hazed, they might express concern directly to you. In this case, you should do everything in your power to encourage your stop to stop participating in any acts of hazing immediately. Try to get as much information you can from your student about the hazing activities, the perpetrators, and time and places of events.
- Sometimes, your student will downplay hazing by stating "It's not a big deal" or "Don't worry about it, I can handle it". You should not accept these common responses and continue to discourage your student from participating in these activities.
- If your conversation with your student still leaves you with an unresolved concern or suspicion of hazing activity then you need to contact someone immediately. When contacting someone, please remain calm and provide as much information as you can. You may be very upset, but remember the individual you contacted must collect as much information as possible and may ask a series of questions, so please do not take your anger out on them.
If you sense your student may be participating in inappropriate activities as a result of membership in a fraternity or sorority, you should contact the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement (516) 463-6914 or Public Safety (516) 463-6606. Calls will be handled in a discrete manner.
Myth #1: Hazing is a problem for fraternities and sororities primarily.
Fact: Hazing is a societal problem. Hazing incidents have been frequently documented in the military, athletic teams, marching bands, religious cults, professional schools and other types of clubs and/or organizations. Reports of hazing activities in high schools are on the rise.
Myth #2: Hazing is no more than foolish pranks that sometimes go awry.
Fact: Hazing is an act of power and control over others --- it is victimization. Hazing is pre-meditated and NOT accidental. Hazing is abusive, degrading and often life-threatening.
Myth #3: As long as there's no malicious intent, a little hazing should be O.K.
Fact: Even if there's no malicious "intent," safety may still be a factor in traditional hazing activities that are considered to be "all in good fun." For example, serious accidents have occurred during scavenger hunts and kidnapping trips. Besides, what purpose do such activities serve in promoting the growth and development of group team members?
Myth #4: Hazing is an effective way to teach respect and develop discipline.
Fact: First of all, respect must be EARNED--not taught. Victims of hazing rarely report having respect for those who have hazed them. Just like other forms of victimization, hazing breeds mistrust, apathy and alienation.
Myth #5: If someone agrees to participate in an activity, it can't be considered hazing.
Fact: In states that have laws against hazing, consent of the victim can't be used as a defense in a civil suit. This is because even if someone agrees to participate in a potentially hazardous action it may not be true consent when considering the peer pressure and desire to belong to the group.
Myth #6: It's difficult to determine whether or not a certain activity is hazing--it's such a gray area sometimes.
Fact: It's not difficult to decide if an activity is hazing if you use common sense. Ask questions, be proactive and seek out resources.
Adapted from Death By Hazing Sigma Alpha Epsilon. 1988.
- Students need support throughout the process of recruitment/intake and new member education. Be supportive and learn as much as you can about the Hofstra fraternity and sorority community by asking questions of your student as they meet members of fraternities and sororities.
- Keep an open mind! Being a member of the Hofstra Fraternity & Sorority community is not for everyone. Just because you may have been a sorority or fraternity member doesn't mean that it is the right choice for your student.
- Sororities and Fraternities are different on every campus. Chapters that may have been strong on the campus when/where you attended school may not have the same reputation now at Hofstra. Let your son or daughter choose the group that he or she feels the most comfortable joining.
- Talk to your student beforehand about the financial obligation. Determine who will pay for what and where the limits are.
- Know that the process of joining a sorority or fraternity at Hofstra is competitive. Not everyone who wants to join will receive an invitation to do so.
- Do not become too involved in the Sorority and Fraternity recruitment/intake process. This is your student's decision.
- Too often, parents do not allow their students to "fight their own battles." It helps the student mature and gain some assertiveness when allowed to call various offices if they have questions or concerns about their decision to go Greek.
- All Member Activities must take place on campus. If your student is being asked to go off campus, alert the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement.
- Hofstra University does not recognize or acknowledge Fraternity, Sorority, club, or organizational houses. Off campus houses are completely unaffiliated with the University.
- Keep the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement contact information on hand if you have any questions or concerns about Fraternity & Sorority Life at the Hofstra University (516) 463-6914 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you sense your student may be participating in inappropriate activities as a result of membership in a fraternity or sorority, you should contact the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement (516) 463-6914, Parent and Family Programs Office (516) 463-4698 or Public Safety (516) 463-6606. Calls will be handled in a discrete manner.