Fraternity and Sorority Life :: Resources & Councils
Frequently Asked Questions
What are commonly used terms in fraternity and sorority life?
- Active: A member who has been fully initiated and is in good standing with their chapter.
- Alumni: Any member who was initiated into a fraternity or sorority and has graduated from college.
- Badge/Pin: A pin worn by active members that designates they are a member of that specific organization.
- Bid: A formal invitation to join a fraternity or sorority.
- Big Brother/Sister: An older member of the chapter that serves as a role model and mentor to the newest members or “littles”.
- Crossed: The process of completing the intake process and becoming a full member of the chapter.
- Fraternity: An individual men’s organization characterized by values, ritual, and Greek letters.
- Initiation: A ritual ceremony during which new members promise to uphold the standards of an individual organization and receive lifelong membership.
- Intake: The process by which someone becomes a new member in a culturally-based fraternity or sorority.
- Inter/National Organization: An organization that has chapters across the country or internationally.
- Legacy: A potential new member who has a direct family member(s) that is a member of a fraternity or sorority. Who qualifies as a legacy will vary between organizations.
- Line: Individuals who are members of the same intake class in a culturally-based fraternity or sorority.
- Local Organization: An organization that is only found on that specific campus.
- Neophyte/Neo: The newest members of a culturally-based fraternity or sorority.
- New Member: A group of individuals that have been given a bid, but have not yet been initiated into a fraternity or sorority.
- Potential New Member/PNM: A term used to describe individuals seeking membership in a fraternity or sorority.
- Primary Recruitment/Formal Recruitment: A designated membership period during which National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) sororities hold a series of organized events.
- Probate/New Member Presentation: A show often organized by culturally-based fraternities or sororities to present their newest members to the campus community.
- Recruitment Counselor/Rho Gam: Sorority women who are selected and trained to guide PNMs through the primary recruitment process for PHA.
- Sorority: An individual women’s organization characterized by values, ritual, and Greek letters.
- Stepping: A series of complex, synchronous and precise rhythmic movements. These are typically performed to songs or chants created by member organizations.
- Strolling: Precise and synchronized movements [performed in unison by members of culturally-based fraternities and sororities.
What is the A&M-Commerce policy on hazing?
All potential members who are going into the membership recruitment process are required to complete the Fraternity & Sorority Life Anti-Hazing Form. This form is a contract between the potential new member and the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life, indicating that the potential member will not subject themselves to or participate in any form of hazing.
Hazing a member or prospective member of a registered student organization is strictly prohibited, and is also in violation of student conduct codes and state law. Individuals found to be involved in hazing practices are subject to individual student judicial sanction, and the student organization found to have members involved in hazing is subject to sanctions up to and including loss of organization recognition. Students must not agree to submit to hazing in order to obtain membership in a student organization. It is to be understood that no chapter, colony, student or alumnus shall conduct nor condone hazing activities.
Hazing activities are defined as “any action taken or situation created, intentionally, whether on or off fraternity premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule. Such activities may include, but are not limited to, the following: use of alcohol; abuse using water; paddling in any form; creation of excessive fatigue; physical and psychological shocks; quests, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, road trips, or any other such activities carried on outside or inside of the confines of the chapter house; wearing of public apparel that is conspicuous and not normally in good taste; engaging in public acts of buffoonery; morally degrading or humiliating games and activities; and any other activities that are not consistent with academic achievement; fraternal law, ritual or policy; or the regulations and policies of the education institution or applicable state law.
More information can be found in the Student Handbook.
What is the time commitment?
The time commitment of joining a chapter varies, but the first semester is spent going through the chapter education program. 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, and allow them to become involved with other organizations. Each chapter has weekly chapter meetings and other mandatory events (philanthropies, service, and initiation) throughout the year, but they are planned well in advance. In addition to the weekly meeting, the more your student puts into the chapter, the more they will get out of being a member.
Will joining a chapter hurt my GPA?
Students often find managing their time difficult when moving from the highly structured high school environment to the freedom of challenge. Greek membership assists in that transition by offering scholarship programs that may include study partners, mandatory study hours, and time management and study skill workshops. Your student can also access the network of chapter members who already know how to use campus resources like the library, study skills center, computer labs, and academic advisors. Nothing, however, can take the place of a disciplined and academically focused student to ensure success in college.
What does joining a chapter offer me?
Scholarship: Greek organizations were founded on principles of scholastic achievement and the enhancement of opportunities for their members. Individual chapters also encourage scholastic excellence by planning their own incentive programs and placing grade requirements on both active and new members. Chapters ease the difficult transition to college by offering academic support including things like study groups, tutoring, and time management workshops. These resources give members the support needed to balance high academic achievement and co-curricular activities.
Leadership: Sorority and fraternity members are offered a variety of leadership opportunities and programs in which they can develop skills such as time management, leadership, event planning and implementation, and communication. They manage many programs to further develop these skills. Through this hands-on experience, members are given the tools needed to make meaningful, lasting change within their chapters and beyond.
Service/Philanthropy: As a community, our fraternity and sorority members understand the privilege that we have to receive and education and participate in co-curricular activities. As a result, community service and philanthropy are top priorities for our organizations. Each chapter provides numerous volunteer opportunities for its members and donates thousands of dollars each year to a local or national organization of their choice. Through these experiences, members are taught the value of servant leadership and are driven to become thoughtful, altruistic individuals.
Brotherhood/Sisterhood: The memories, activities and experience of joining a Greek organization are key components in the meaning of brotherhood/sisterhood. Through a variety of events, there are opportunities to meet and interact with other students on campus. Most chapters have formals, alumni events, intramurals, and much more that contribute to the experience of being a part of a larger organization. The values that are learned in this brotherhood/sisterhood will stay with you long after graduation and serve you throughout your lifetime.
What are the financial obligations of joining a chapter?
The fraternity and sorority experience is an investment at the future, so there is a cost involved. Each organization varies on the cost of dues and what they include, so be sure to discuss this point with the chapters as you get to know them during the recruitment/intake process.
What does the recruitment/intake process look like?
The two councils that conduct formalized recruitments, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the College Panhellenic Council (CPC), will open their recruitment registration forms soon. For more information on fraternity or sorority recruitment, please visit the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life, or call the office at 903.468.3123.
The registration form for College Panhellenic Council Formal Recruitment is will be open in the summer. Until then, if you have any questions regarding the registration process, please reach out to the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life or the College Panhellenic Council at [email protected]. Please visit the Registration Page.
The registration for Fraternity Recruitment (IFC) will be open soon. IFC Fall Recruitment is traditionally held in September. Stay tuned for exact dates. Please note that registration for IFC Formal Recruitment will open up on June 1st. You will need to complete the IFC Recruitment Registration. For further information please contact [email protected].
Interest Meetings for the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) and National Pan-Hellenic Council, Incorporated (NPHC) will be held throughout the semester. Students on campus may also use the contact information on flyers to speak with the chapter individually or visit the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life, located in the Student Involvement Suite, 2nd floor of the Rayburn Student Center.
Special Note: Continuous Open Bidding (COB) (which is not always available, and is not applicable to NPHC and MGC fraternities and sororities) is 365 days a year, and is an option for full time students thinking about joining a fraternity or sorority at times other than the beginning of September. Please contact the specific chapter of interest or the Office of Fraternity & Sorority life.
Do I have to be a full-time student or have a certain GPA to join?
- Only full-time (12 credit hours minimum for undergraduate), undergraduate/graduate* students are enrolled at Texas A&M University-Commerce are eligible for membership within a Fraternity or Sorority on the campus. Individual fraternities/sororities within the community may have additional/higher stipulations for potential new members/aspirants to adhere to (i.e. GPA requirement, hour requirement, community service requirement, etc.)
- *If the (Inter)National Headquarters allow for Graduate students to become initiated members through the Undergraduate Chapter, notice of that exception must be provided to the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life staff prior to selection of that member for the Recruitment/Membership Intake process.
- Chapters are required to complete the New Membership Intake/Recruitment packet for the initiation of new members. Please contact your Council advisor to obtain this paperwork. (specific to MGC and NPHC?)
- First semester Freshmen registering for IFC or Panhellenic Recruitment must have a cumulative High School GPA of at least 2.5 (some Greek-letter organizations may require a higher GPA, in addition to 12 or more institutional hours before being eligible for Membership).
- All Recruitment events must take place on campus or at an approved location (by the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life), and be alcohol/drug free.
- Freshmen within their second semester, along with Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors, and Transfer students who aspire to proceed through the Membership Recruitment/Intake Process must have a cumulative of at least 2.5 (some Greek-letter organizations GPA requirements may be higher).
- Potential New Members/Active Chapter members are required to complete an Academic Record Release Form to ensure that an appropriate GPA has been achieved prior to acceptance into a fraternity or sorority chapter on the campus. Potential New Members are also required to have a judicial review completed before acceptance into a fraternity/sorority chapter.
What is a fraternity or a sorority?
Fraternities and sororities are organizations that exist as a support network for their members. Membership can help personalize the college experience by offering a scholastic support system, providing hands-on leadership opportunities, facilitating community service initiatives, and serving as a vehicle for professional networking far beyond graduation. Fraternities and sororities promote intimate bonds of brotherhood/sisterhood and members typically refer to each other as “Brothers” or “Sisters.”Fraternity & Sorority Life at Texas A&M University-Commerce is currently comprised of 20 Chapters that fall under four Councils: The National Pan-Hellenic Council, Incorporated, the College Panhellenic Council, the Multicultural Greek Council, and the Interfraternity Council. Our offices are located in the Rayburn Student Center on the 2nd floor within the Student Involvement Suite.