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Encyclopedia > Greek Life

The terms "fraternity" and "sorority" (from the Latin words frater and soror, meaning "brother" and "sister" respectively) may be used to describe any number of social and charitable organizations, for example the Lions Club, Epsilon Sigma Alpha, Rotary International, or the Shriners. In the United States and Canada, however, fraternities and sororities are most commonly known as social organizations for higher education students. Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... Lions Clubs International is the worlds largest service club organisation with 46,000 clubs and 1. ... Epsilon Sigma Alpha Internatizzle is a service organizzles fo` adult bitchez. ... Rotary International is an organization whose members comprise Rotary Clubs (service clubs) located all over the world (about 30 000 clubs in more than 160 countries). ... A member of the Syrian Corvettes group of Shriners participates in a Memorial Day parade The Shriners, or Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, are an Order appendant to Freemasonry. ... The University of Cambridge is an institute of higher learning. ... Students attending a lecture at the Helsinki University of Technology The word student is etymologically derived through Middle English from the Latin second-type conjugation verb stŭdērĕ, meaning to direct ones zeal at; hence a student is one who directs zeal at a subject. ...


Fraternities are all-male or mixed-sex; the female-only equivalent is called a sorority, a word first used in 1874. Though the word sorority was coined for Gamma Phi Beta, Alpha Delta Pi was actually the first organization to fit the sorority model, as a secret sisterhood founded in 1851 at Wesleyan College. Consequently, there exist some all-female "fraternities" that were named before the newer term was created; examples include Kappa Alpha Theta and Kappa Kappa Gamma, both founded in 1870, and Alpha Phi, founded in 1872. Fraternities and sororities, especially outside North America, are also referred to as student corporations, academic corporations, or simply corporations. 1874 (MDCCCLXXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Gamma Phi Beta (ΓΦΒ) is an international sorority that was founded in November 1874 at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. ... Alpha Delta Pi (ΑΔΠ) was founded May 15, 1851 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia making it the first female fraternal organization. ... 1851 (MDCCCLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Wesleyan College is a private, liberal arts womens college located in Macon, Georgia. ... Kappa Alpha Theta (ΚΑΘ) is an international womens fraternity founded on January 27, 1870 at DePauw University. ... Kappa Kappa Gamma (ΚΚΓ) is a college womens fraternity, founded on October 13, 1870 at Monmouth College, Illinois. ... 1870 (MDCCCLXX) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... Alpha Phi (ΑΦ) is a fraternity for women founded at Syracuse University on September 30, 1872. ... 1872 (MDCCCLXXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... Corporation refers to all different kinds of fraternities and sororities worldwide. ...


With few exceptions (notably "The Artists' Circle", "Acacia", "Pan Sophic", "FarmHouse", and "Triangle"), the names of North American fraternities and sororities consist of two or three Greek letters. For this reason, fraternities and sororities are known collectively as the Greek System and its members as Greeks. The use of Greek letters started with the first such organization, Phi Beta Kappa, which used Greek letters to hide their secret name. The Fraternity Emblem THE CIRCLE, is a fraternity based in the University of the Philippines which maintains a long history of service and association with its College of Fine Arts. ... Acacia Fraternity is a social fraternity originally based out of Masonic tradition. ... Pan Sophic Club is another name for Pan Sophic or the Pan Sophic Fraternity, the oldest independent fraternity in Pennsylvania at Grove City College. ... FarmHouse Fraternity is an all-male international social fraternity founded at the University of Missouri in 1905. ... Triangle Fraternity is a social fraternity, limiting its membership to male students majoring in engineering, architecture, and the sciences. ... The Phi Beta Kappa Key The Phi Beta Kappa Society is an academic honor society with the mission of fostering and recognizing excellence in undergraduate liberal arts and sciences. ...


Outside North America, organizations like college fraternities are rare. However, some other countries with active fraternity-like organizations are the Netherlands and Germany (e.g. the German Student Corps). Corps (das ~ (n), [koːr] (), [koːrs] ()) are the oldest still-existing kind of Studentenverbindung, Germanys traditional university corporations; their roots date back to the 15th century. ...

Contents


The purposes and types of fraternities

There are various types of fraternities: general (sometimes called social), service, professional, and honorary. The most recognizable form of fraternity is the college general, or social fraternity. Most of these fraternities were originally founded on dedication to principles such as community service, sound learning, and leadership qualities, though some have become purely "social". In response to the developing stereotype of excessive alcohol use in fraternity life, some fraternities today are alcohol-free (referred to as "dry"). Professional fraternities, in the North American fraternity system, are organizations whose membership is restricted to students and faculty members in a particular field of professional education. ...


Many fraternities and sororities are national organizations with chapters at individual schools. National organizations may impose certain requirements on individual chapters to standardize rituals and policies regarding membership, housing, or behavior. These policies are generally codified in a constitution and bylaws which may be amended at national conventions. Members of a national fraternity or sorority may enjoy certain privileges when visiting other chapters of the same national fraternity. Other fraternities and sororities are "local" and do not belong to a national organization. Local fraternities and sororities can establish their own constitution and bylaws, and do not need to contribute financially to a national organization; however, they do not have access to services that a national organization might provide, such as loans for the purchase or improvement of a residential structure.


Structure and organization

Ritual and secrecy

Most fraternities maintain a ritual system that is highly symbolic in nature and kept a closely guarded secret. Some signs point to common ancestry in both sorority and fraternity ritual, but most are likely derived from Masonic ritual. Other "fraternity secrets" may include passwords, songs, handshakes, journals and initiation rites. Meetings of the active members are generally secret and not to be discussed without the formal approval of the chapter as a whole. Interestingly, there are two national fraternities which were founded as "non-secret" societies: Alpha Kappa Lambda, founded in 1914, and Delta Upsilon, founded in 1834. American Square & Compasses Freemasonry is a worldwide fraternal organization. ... Alpha Kappa Lambda (ΑΚΛ) is a national social fraternity founded in 1914. ... Delta Upsilon (ΔΥ) is a non-secret international gentlemens fraternity founded on November 4, 1834 at Williams College. ...


The Greek letters comprising the "name" of a given fraternity or sorority can have a "secret meaning," known only to initiated members of that fraternity or sorority. In the case of fraternities and sororities that have disaffiliated from a national organization, the Greek letters chosen for the name of the organization are often a derivation of the previous name (for example, Phi Tau is the former Tau chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa) and thus the name bears no special secret meaning. Phi Tau is a coeducational fraternity at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. Phi Tau is also a commonly used abbreviation for Phi Kappa Tau, a (completely separate) national fraternity found on many college campuses throughout the United States. ... Phi Sigma Kappa is a fraternity devoted to three cardinal principles: the promotion of Brotherhood, the stimulation of Scholarship, and the development of Character. ...


Fraternity and sorority houses

See main article: Fraternity and sorority houses

Unique among most campus organizations, members of social fraternities and sororities often live together in a large house or apartment complex. This serves two purposes. First, it emphasizes the bonds the members share as "brothers" or "sisters". Second, the house serves as a central location for the events and administration of the fraternity or sorority. Because of this residential situation, the individual organizations themselves at their respective schools are known as "houses". Professional, academic or honorary societies rarely maintain a permanent housing location, and some may be barred from doing so by their national organization. Chi Psi Fraternity was the first fraternity to have a house, or Lodge as it is referred to by their brothers, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at Lafayette College. ... On May 20, 1841, 10 students at Union College created the fraternity with emphasis on the fraternal and social principles of a brotherhood, rather than the literary characteristics of the 7 existing societies starting with the formation of Phi Beta Kappa at William & Mary. ...


A fraternity or sorority house can usually be identified by large Greek letters on the front of the house, advertising the name of the group. Depending on the size of the house, there may be anywhere from three to forty bedrooms or more. Larger houses generally have a large meeting room or dining room, commercial kitchen with chef, and study room. There is usually a lounge of some sort, access to which is often restricted to fully initiated members. Fraternities and sororities will also often maintain a chapter room, to which only initiates may ever be admitted and whose existence may be kept secret. The walls of the house may be decorated with pictures of past chapter events, awards and trophies, decorative or historic paddles, or composite photos of members from past years.


At many large universities, it is traditional for Greek organizations to enjoy the use of large, Victorian style mansions on campus. In more modern times, some university administrations have sought to seize or buy out these houses and convert them into academic use or demolish them and convert them into additional parking. This ends the use of the house for social purposes, and is often justified as a measure to curb drinking on campus. The term Victorian architecture can refer to one of a number of architectural styles during the Victorian era: Neoclassicism Gothic Revival Italianate Second Empire Neo-Grec Romanesque Revival (Includes Richardsonian Revival) Renaissance Revival Queen Anne Jacobethan architecture (the precusor to the Queen Anne style) British Arts and Crafts movement painted...


For reasons of cost, liability and stability, housing is usually overseen by an alumni corporation or the national organization of the fraternity or sorority. As a result, some houses prohibit members of the opposite sex from going "upstairs" or into the individual bedrooms. However, many of these houses provide guest bedrooms in case visitors are in town. Other houses may impose a curfew or "open door" policy. Furthermore, some national organizations restrict or prohibit alcohol in the house at any time.


Joining a fraternity or sorority

The process of joining a fraternity or sorority is commonly referred to as "pledging" or "rushing." The term "rush" refers to the historical practice where students would hurry to join fraternities at the beginning of the school year in large part to find housing.


Recruitment is done formally or informally. The traditional "formal recruitment" often consists of a period known as "Rush" or "Rush Week". Fraternities and sororities invite fellow students (often referred to as "rushees" or "potential new members") to attend events at the house (or on-campus) and meet the current members of the organization. These formal rush weeks may impose limits on contact between interested students and active members to ensure fairness, such as time requirements to visit each house. "Informal recruitment" as the name suggests, is much less structured. New members are introduced to the fraternity's members and activities through friends and everyday behavior. Many campuses may have formal recruitment periods and also allow informal recruitment after the formal period ends. "Deferred recruitment" refers to systems where students must have at least one semester's experience on campus before joining.


When aspiring to join one of the 9 traditionally black greek letter fraternities/sororities, however, one's status as an aspirant is kept a secret throughout the entire pledging process. It is only when the pledge has been initiated as a full-fledged member of the organization that his/her affiliation with the organization is revealed. If the organization finds out that a pledge's identity as an aspirant has been revealed to anyone other than the members and other pledges of the organization itself, the individual may be denied membership at that chapter at that time. The National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. ...


The new members of black fraternities/sororities are usually revealed during a "probate," a coming-out show in which they quickly recite information about their organization, greet the other black fraternities and sororities (respectfully greeting the organizations of the opposite sex and poking fun at the ones of the same sex), and/or perform a small step show, all the time wearing masks. At the end of the probate, the new members remove their masks and reveal themselves as the newest members of the fraternity/sorority.


Depending on the requirements of the school, prospective members may need to meet certain academic requirements, such as a minimum grade point average, or a minimum number of completed credits, in order to rush. At some schools, Greek organizations may be barred from recruiting new members for a year if the organization's cumuluative grade point average is too low. At the end of this period, the house invites the visitors of their choice to "pledge" the fraternity or sorority. If the invitation, or "bid", is accepted, the student will be admitted to the house as a pledge, a time during which they will enjoy fewer privileges in the house until they are initiated as full members. A student may pledge only one fraternity or sorority at a time, and most often agree to never pledge a second house if they have already been initiated into another one, though this does not preclude such events from happening. In general, this restriction only applies to social fraternities and sororities, and does not bar a member from being a member or later joining professional, service, or honorary fraternities or sororities.


Pledge requirements for each house vary, and some houses have eliminated pledgeship entirely. However, common requirements usually include wearing a pledge or new member pin, learning about the history and structure of the fraternity or sorority, performing public service, or maintaining a deferential attitude toward current members. Although it has become rarer, some houses still practice something like "hell week", when pledges are submitted to compounded endurances, which may still include paddling. Upon completion of the pledgeship and all its requirements, the active members will invite the pledges to be initiated and become full members. Initiation involves gaining full responsibility as a member, now pledges are expected to fully live up the standards of their chapter. It includes secret ceremonies and sacred rituals that the new members are now taught. A spanking paddle is a usually wooden instrument with a wide, flat face and narrow neck, so called because it is roughly shaped like the homonymous piece of sports equipment, but existing in more varied sizes and dimensions, used to administer a spanking to the buttocks; it would be too...


The pledgeship serves as a probationary period in the fraternity or sorority membership process where both the house and the pledge make sure that they have made the right choice. Almost always, after a pledge has been initiated they have a membership in the organization for life. Those pledges who demonstrate their commitment to the organization and its members are initiated, while those who demonstrate little to no effort and/or cause divisions and conflict are dismissed. Some houses will invite anyone who completes the program to become active members, either as a matter of policy, or in order to maintain a stable level of membership.


Starting in the mid to late 1990s, the terms "Rush" and "Pledge" were generally replaced with "Recruitment" and "New Member" respectively. Change is slow in the Greek world, and the use of older terms is still fairly common among houses. Some schools and National Offices use the newer terms.


Hazing issues

Hazing is the ritualistic harassment, abuse, or persecution of prospective members of a group as a means of initiation. In such practices, pledges are required to complete often meaningless, difficult, or (physically and/or psychologically) humiliating tasks. Many activities which evolved into modern hazing originated as legitimate team-building techniques; some are still used today in the US military. In their essence, they are meant to make the individual fail as an individual, teaching them to become a valuable asset to the team and be loyal to its success. This philosophy of team development continued to be used in fraternal organizations as each subsequent war refreshed the pool of ex-military students. Hazing is often ritualistic harassment, abuse or humiliation with requirements to perform meaningless tasks; sometimes as a way of initiation into a social group. ... This article needs to be updated. ...


Because of the association of fraternities with hazing, schools such as Bates College started banning fraternities as early as the mid-1800s. One fraternity, Sigma Nu, was founded in opposition to the hazing taking place at Virginia Military Institute after the Civil War. Hazing became widespread after World War I. Soldiers returning from the war re-entered colleges, and brought with them the discipline and techniques they learned in boot camp. From the 1960s through the 1980s, however, most organizations (especially those governed by alumni at the national level) implemented clear no-hazing policies. Hazing is also against many colleges' Greek Codes and illegal in many, if not all, U.S. states.[citation needed] The North-American Interfraternity Conference (formerly National Interfraternity Conference) also requires anti-hazing education for members, as do most universities. Since at least the 1990s, any hazing conducted at a local chapter was done without the consent of a national organization and outside the guidelines for their initiation rituals. If discovered, hazing usually results in the revocation of the local chapter's charter and probably expulsion of members from the national organization. For other uses, see Bates (disambiguation), Bates (surname) Bates College is a private liberal arts college, founded in 1855, located in Lewiston, Maine, in the United States. ... ΣΝ (Sigma Nu) is an undergraduate college fraternity with chapters in the United States and Canada. ... The Virginia Military Institute (VMI), located in Lexington, Virginia, is the oldest state military college in the United States. ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties Killed in action: 110,000 Total dead: 360,000 Wounded: 275,200 Killed in action: 93,000 Total dead: 258... Combatants Allied Powers: British Empire France Italy Russia United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary Bulgaria Germany Ottoman Empire Casualties Military dead: 5 million Military dead: 4 million The First World War, also known as The Great War, The War to End All Wars, and World War I (abbreviated WWI) was... Boot Camp, tentatively named, is a software assistant made available by Apple Computer that assists users in installing Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (both Home and Professional Editions) on Intel-based Macintosh computers. ... The North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), (formerly known as the National Interfraternity Conference) has assisted mens college fraternities in working together for nearly 100 years. ...


Many fraternities and sororities today still struggle with the legacy of hazing. It is seen as tradition, and many find that the best indicator of a pledge's worth to the group is their willingness to endure the challenges set out before them. In addition, many argue that participation in hazing is voluntary, and pledges are always given the option to de-pledge (withdraw from the initiation process). Still, most houses believe that meaningless humiliation devalues their respective organizations and is more cruel than effective. While hazing now rarely exists in its most brutal forms, many chapters still incorporate some behavior that their universities and national headquarters deem to be hazing.


History and development

The Phi Beta Kappa Society, founded on December 5, 1776 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, is generally recognized to be the first Greek-letter student secret society in North America. By legend, it was founded by individuals rejected for membership from an older student society known as the Flat Hat Club, which counted Thomas Jefferson among its alumni. The Flat Hat Club, or FHC for short, was founded on November 11, 1750, by six students at the College of William and Mary. FHC was the precursor to Phi Beta Kappa and thus has the distinction of being the first in line of the thousands of Greek-letter fraternities and sororities found on college campuses today. The Phi Beta Kappa Key The Phi Beta Kappa Society is an academic honor society with the mission of fostering and recognizing excellence in undergraduate liberal arts and sciences. ... The College of William and Mary (also referred to as William and Mary, W&M or simply The College by those close to it) is a small public university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. It is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. ... Flag Seal Nickname: The Burg Location Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia. ... A secret society is an organization that requires its members to conceal certain activities—such as rites of initiation—from outsiders. ... The Flat Hat Club or F.H.C. Society was the first of the collegiate secret societies founded in the present United States. ... Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 N.S. – July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–1809), principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and an influential Founder of the United States. ...


The Phi Beta Kappa Society was formed as a forum to discuss topics not covered in the regimented classical education of universities of the era—lending the name literary fraternity to its type. Ironically, that education was responsible for the name—most students were well-versed in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew; Phi, Beta, and Kappa were the initials of an esoteric Greek motto. In addition to its secrecy and selection of a Greek name, it also introduced a code of high ideals, secret rituals and handclasps, membership badges, and oaths that characterized later Greek letter societies. Classical education as understood and taught in the middle ages of Western culture is roughly based on the ancient Greek concept of Paideia. ... Representation of a university class, 1350s. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... Hebrew (עִבְרִית, ‘Ivrit) is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family spoken by more than seven million people in Israel and Jewish communities around the world. ...


The first social fraternity was the Chi Phi Fraternity, founded at Princeton University in 1824; however, this original group went inactive the following year and the modern organization of that name did not reform until the 1850s. The first general fraternity therefore is considered to be the Kappa Alpha Society, established at Union College in Schenectady, New York on November 26, 1825. By this time, the literary fraternities had become stodgy. Kappa Alpha's founders adopted many of Phi Beta Kappa's practices, but formed their organization around fellowship, making the development of friendship their primary purpose. The Sigma Phi Society formed in March 1827, followed by Delta Phi in November. These three constitute the Union Triad. The Chi Phi (ΧΦ) fraternity is a college social fraternity in the United States founded in 1824 at Princeton University, in 1858 at the University of North Carolina, and in 1860 at Hobart College, making it the oldest college social Greek-letter society and only college Greek-letter society to have... Princeton University is a coeducational private university located in Princeton, New Jersey. ... The Kappa Alpha Society (ΚΑ) is the oldest college fraternity. ... The architectural centerpiece of the Union campus, the Nott Memorial, is named after the colleges president from 1804-1866, Eliphalet Nott. ... Union Colleges Nott Memorial, one of the most recognized buildings in Schenectady Schenectady (IPA ) is a city in Schenectady County, New York, United States, of which it is the county seat. ... The Sigma Phi Society, founded on March 4, 1827 on the campus of Union College in Schenectady, New York is the second oldest Greek social fraternal organization in the United States. ... The Delta Phi (ΔΦ) fraternity was founded in 1827 at Union College in Schenectady, New York. ... The Union Triad is a term used to refer to Kappa Alpha (1825), Sigma Phi (1827) and Delta Phi (1827), the first three social fraternities in the country. ...


Sigma Phi became the first "national" fraternity when it opened a satellite chapter at Hamilton College in 1831. In 1831, Hamilton student Samuel Eells chose select members from the two established literary societies on campus, the Phoenix and the Philopeuthian, and formed Alpha Delta Phi in 1832. Chapters soon opened on more campuses, spawning more rivals. Beta Theta Pi was founded at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in August, 1839, in response to the chartering of the westmost chapter of Alpha Delta Phi. Unlike its predecessors, however, it made expansion one of its key principles. Phi Delta Theta (1848) and Sigma Chi (1855), also founded at Miami University, emulated Beta Theta Pi's focus on establishing new chapters. These three constitute the Miami Triad. Zeta Psi, founded in 1847 at New York University, similarly pursued expansion. It was the first bicoastal fraternity with its chapter at the University of California, Berkeley in 1870. It also became the first fraternity organized in Canada, with the chartering of its University of Toronto chapter in 1879. Although growth was stunted by the American Civil War, the system underwent phenomenal growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. All societies founded after the Civil War follow the Miami Triad structure. Hamilton College is a private, independent liberal arts college located in Clinton, New York. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Alpha Delta Phi (ΑΔΦ) is a Greek-letter fraternity in the United States and Canada. ... Beta Theta Pi (ΒΘΠ) is an international college social fraternity founded at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, USA, where it is part of the Miami Triad. ... Miami University, founded in 1809, is the second-oldest public college west of the Allegheny Mountains. ... Oxford is located in southwestern Ohio in northwestern Butler County in Oxford Township, originally called the College Township. ... Alpha Delta Phi (ΑΔΦ) is a Greek-letter fraternity in the United States and Canada. ... Phi Delta Theta (ΦΔΘ) is an international fraternity founded in 1848 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. ... Sigma Chi (ΣΧ) is one of the largest international all-male college social fraternities, with chapters at universities in Canada and the United States. ... The Miami Triad is comprised of three fraternities that were founded at the Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. ... The Zeta Psi Fraternity of North America Inc. ... New York University (NYU) is a major research university in New York City. ... The University of California, Berkeley (also known as UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, and by other names, see below) is the oldest and flagship campus of the ten-campus University of California system. ... The University of Toronto (U of T) is a non-denominational, provincially-supported, coeducational public research university located in Toronto, Ontario. ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties Killed in action: 110,000 Total dead: 360,000 Wounded: 275,200 Killed in action: 93,000 Total dead: 258...


Alpha Phi Alpha is generally recognized as the first intercollegiate Greek letter fraternity established for men of African descent when it opened a chapter in 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Alpha Phi Alpha (ΑΦΑ) is an intercollegiate fraternity that is generally recognized as the first established by African Americans. ... This is about the university. ... The City of Ithaca (named for the Greek island of Ithaca in Homers Odyssey) sits on the southern shore of Cayuga Lake, in Central New York State. ...


Women's organizations also formed contemporaneously: the Adelphian Society was established in 1851 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia making it the first secret society for collegiate women. The Philomathean Society (not associated with the Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania) was also founded at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia in 1852, and I.C. Sorosis was founded in 1867 at Monmouth College, in Monmouth, Illinois. However, they did not take their Greek names (Alpha Delta Pi, Phi Mu and Pi Beta Phi, respectively) until much later, so Kappa Alpha Theta (January 1870) and Kappa Kappa Gamma (October 1870) are the first women's Greek letter societies. The term "sorority" was not yet in use, so the earliest houses were founded as "women's fraternities" or "fraternities for women." The first national to adopt the word "sorority" was Gamma Phi Beta, established in 1874 at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. Alpha Kappa Alpha formed America's first Greek-letter sorority for Black college women in 1908 at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Wesleyan College is a private, liberal arts womens college located in Macon, Georgia. ... Macon is a city located in central Georgia. ... Monmouth College is a four-year coeducational private liberal arts college located in Monmouth, Illinois. ... Monmouth is the county seat of Warren County, Illinois and home of Monmouth College. ... Alpha Delta Pi (ΑΔΠ) was founded May 15, 1851 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia making it the first female fraternal organization. ... Phi Mu (ΦΜ) is the second oldest secret organization for women in the United States. ... Pi Beta Phi (ΠΒΦ) is an international fraternity for women that was founded on April 28, 1867 in Monmouth, Illinois at Monmouth College as I.C. Sorosis. ... Kappa Alpha Theta (ΚΑΘ) is an international womens fraternity founded on January 27, 1870 at DePauw University. ... Kappa Kappa Gamma (ΚΚΓ) is a college womens fraternity, founded on October 13, 1870 at Monmouth College, Illinois. ... Gamma Phi Beta (ΓΦΒ) is an international sorority that was founded in November 1874 at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. ... Syracuse University (SU) is a private research university located in Syracuse, New York. ... Clinton Square in Syracuse. ... Alpha Kappa Alpha (ΑΚΑ) Sorority, formed in January 15, 1908 at Howard University, became Americas first Greek-letter organization established by Black college women. ... Howard University is an historically black university in Washington, D.C. Notable alumni include Toni Morrison, Thurgood Marshall, Ossie Davis, Debbie Allen, and Phylicia Rashad. ... Flag Seal Nickname: DC, The District Motto: Justitia Omnibus (Justice for All) Location Location of Washington, D.C., with regard to the surrounding states of Maryland and Virginia. ...


Fraternities have long been associated with the American educational system and many of their members have gone on to be successful in the various realms of American society. Notably, Delta Kappa Epsilon, founded at Yale University in 1844 counts six members who went on to become President of the United States as well as numerous other prominent political and business figures amongst its members. Delta Kappa Epsilon (ΔΚΕ; also pronounced D K E or Deke) is the oldest secret college mens fraternity of New England origin. ... Yale redirects here. ... The presidential seal was used by President Hayes in 1880 and last modified in 1959 by adding the 50th star for Hawaii. ...


In the United States, high school fraternities and sororities were initially popular as well, but were mostly banned during the early decades of the 20th century and are very rare today, if still extant. In their day, they were not only modeled after college counterparts, but also their chapters were counted with collegiate chapters in the rolls of their national organizations.


Portrayal of fraternities and sororities in popular culture

Fraternities and sororities have been portrayed both positively and negatively in popular culture. Often their widespread use in comedy as antagonists has propogated negative stereotypes. The most famous portrayal of a fraternity in a comedy is National Lampoon's Animal House, starring John Belushi and co-written by Chris Miller, an Alpha Delta alumnus from Dartmouth College and Harold Ramis, a Zeta Beta Tau alumnus from the Washington University in St. Louis chapter. Though the Delta fraternity protagonists were meant to be portrayed positively in the film, it is often used by those skeptical of fraternities to describe the dangers of the binge drinking culture seen in fraternities. Comedy is the use of humor in the form of theater, where it simply referred to a play with a happy ending, in contrast to a tragedy. ... National Lampoons Animal House (often called Animal House) is a 1978 comedy film in which a misfit group of fraternity boys takes on the system at their college. ... John Adam Belushi (January 24, 1949 – March 5, 1982) was an American actor and comedian most notable for his work on Saturday Night Live, National Lampoons Animal House, and The Blues Brothers. ... Dartmouth College is a private academic institution in Hanover, New Hampshire, in the United States. ... Harold Ramis (right) with Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray in Ghostbusters. ... Washington University in St. ... Drinking too much beer may qualify as binge-drinking if it leads to at least two days of inebriation and the drinker neglects usual responsibilities Binge drinking is an intermittent consumption of excessive quantities of alcohol. ...


More recently, the movie Old School portrays a different kind of fraternity. It stars Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Will Ferrell as three friends in their thirties trying to relive their college years. To do this, they move into an off-campus fraternity house and start recruiting members, ranging from average college students to an 80 year old man named Blue. The movie parodies college fraternity life by focusing on hazing, drinking, partying (including a Snoop Dogg concert at the house), and girls. Old School is a comedy motion picture released by DreamWorks SKG in 2003, about three thirty-somethings who seek to re-live their college days by starting a fraternity, and the tribulations they encounter in doing so. ... Cordozar Calvin Broadus, Jr. ...


The realm of reality television also aimed to reveal the workings of Greek life to the masses in the two MTV shows, Fraternity Life and Sorority Life. Both short-lived, the two shows included negative and positive portrayals of fraternities and sororities; each series drew mixed reactions from the audience, and each only lasted two seasons before being cancelled. Among national and local Greek organizations, there was debate regarding how chapters should answer casting calls to appear on the programs. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Due to their predominantly single-sex memberships, Greek organizations (particularly fraternities) and their members are sometimes portrayed in comedies as being homosexual or homoerotic in nature. Ironically, homosexuals in fraternities and sororities have traditionally experienced discrimination due to their orientation. [1] The word homosexuality has acquired multiple meanings over time. ... Homosexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by esthetic attraction, romantic love, or sexual desire exclusively for another of the same sex. ... This article is about discrimination in the social science sense. ...


Categories of fraternities and sororities

Fraternities and sororities may be categorized in numerous ways, and any organization may fall into multiple categories. These types of divisions include the following:

  • Purpose: general (social), professional, honor, or service
  • Size: local or "national" organization; ranges of size and geographic distribution among the "nationals"
  • Religious: affiliated with one religion
  • Gender: male-only, female-only, or coeducational
  • Cultural: houses with a special focus on one culture or ethnicity
  • Multicultural: houses with a special focus on multiple cultures or ethnicities
  • Era: the epoch in which the organization was founded

For lists of major organizations, see

Social or General Fraternities and Sororities, in the North American fraternity system, are those not associated with a particular profession or discipline; they are formed solely for the purpose of developing friendships. ... Cultural interest fraternities and sororities, in the North American student fraternity and sorority system, refer to general or social organizations oriented to students having a special interest in a culture or cultural identity. ... Service fraternity may refer to any fraternal public service organization, such as the Kiwanis or Rotary International. ... In the USA, an honor society (or honour society) is an organization of rank, the induction into which recognizes excellence among ones peers. ... Professional fraternities, in the North American fraternity system, are organizations whose membership is restricted to students and faculty members in a particular field of professional education. ... A fraternity is an organization that represents the relationship between its members as akin to brotherhood. ...

Interfraternal and professional organizations

  • North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) - association of 64 men's social fraternities; local chapters usually known as Interfraternity Councils
  • National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) - association of 26 international social women's fraternities and sororities; local chapters usually known as Panhellenic Councils
  • National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) - association of 9 historically African-American fraternities and sororities; local chapters usually known as Pan-Hellenic Councils
  • National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations NAFLO - association of 24 Latino Greek Letter Organizations
  • Association of Fraternity Advisors
  • College Fraternity Editors Association
  • Fraternity Executives Association
  • Professional Fraternity Association
  • Association of College Honor Societies
  • National Multicultural Greek Council (NMGC) - council of 12 multicultural Greek letter organizations
  • Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) - local associations of Latino, Latina, and Asian-Interest fraternities and sororities

The North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), (formerly known as the National Interfraternity Conference) has assisted mens college fraternities in working together for nearly 100 years. ... The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), founded in 1902, is an umbrella organization for 26 inter/national womens sororities. ... The National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. ... For general discussion of dark-skinned people, see Black people. ... The National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) is an umbrella council for 24 Latino Greek Letter Organizations established in 1998. ... The English word Latino derives from the Spanish word latinoamericano (the Portuguese word is also latinoamericano) and refers to inhabitants of Latin America, and their descendents living outside of Latin America. ... The Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS), founded in 1925, is a predominantly American organization that serves a number of functions with respect to national collegiate and post-graduate honor societies. ... The National Multicultural Greek Council (NMGC) is an umbrella council for 12 Multicultural Greek Letter Organizations established in 1998. ... World map showing the location of Asia. ...

Fraternities and sororities outside North America

Europe

  • EKV European Federation of Christian Students' Associations

Austria

  • AKV Aggstein, Austria 1928

Belgium

K.A.V. Lovania Leuven is a catholic academic fraternity, founded in 1896 at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Louvain, Belgium. ...

Estonia

Revelia fraternity (also Korp! Revelia, C!Rev!) is a social organization of higher education male students in Estonia. ...

Finland

  • Eteläsuomalainen Osakunta 1905
  • hämäläis-osakunta 1653

Germany

Coat of Arms of the K.St. ... Konrad Hermann Josef Adenauer (January 5, 1876 – April 19, 1967) was a conservative German statesman. ... Couleur of Corps Hannovera Göttingen Bismarck 1836 The Corps Hannovera Göttingen is one of the oldest German Student Corps, a Studentenverbindung or student corporation founded 18 January 1809 at the Georg August University of Göttingen. ... Göttingen ( ) is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany. ... Freiberg, Obermarkt square Freiberg is a city in Saxony, Germany, capital of the district Freiberg. ... From left to right: Brühls Terrace; the Hofkirche and the castle; the Semper Opera House. ... Aachen (French Aix-la-Chapelle, Dutch Aken, Latin Aquisgranum, Ripuarian Oche) is a spa city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands, 65 km to the west of Cologne, and the westernmost city in Germany. ... Freiberg, Obermarkt square Freiberg is a city in Saxony, Germany, capital of the district Freiberg. ... The RWTH Aachen is a large university located in Aachen (Germany). ... Aachen (French Aix-la-Chapelle, Dutch Aken, Latin Aquisgranum, Ripuarian Oche) is a spa city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands, 65 km to the west of Cologne, and the westernmost city in Germany. ... A Studentenverbindung (the umbrella term that includes the Burschenschaften, Landsmannschaften, Corps, Turnerschaften, Sängerschaften, Catholic Corporations and Ferialverbindungen) is a German student corporation similar to fraternities in the US or Canada. ...

Latvia

  • Umbrella organization of Latvian Fraternities List of existing Latvian fraternities

Lithuania

  • Korp! Neo-Lithuania 1922

The Netherlands

  • Amsterdamsch Studenten Corps 1851
  • Delftsch Studenten Corps 1847
  • Groningsch Studenten Corps Vindicat atque Polit 1815
  • Leidsche Studenten Vereniging Minerva 1814
  • Rotterdamsch Studenten Corps 1913
  • Rotterdamsche Vrouwelijke Studenten Vereeniging 1915
  • Het Utrechtsch Studenten Corps 1816
  • Utrechtsche Vrouwelijke Studenten Vereeniging 1899

Poland

  • Konwent Polonia the oldest in Poland, since 1828
  • K!Arkonia the second oldest in Poland, since 1879
  • K!Welecja the third oldest in Poland, since 1883

Portugal

  • Repúblicas da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra since the XIV century

The Philippines

See Fraternities and sororities in the Philippines. Note: International Affiliation indicates relationship with a similar fraternity and/or sorority existing at the same level of education in other countries. ...


See also

It has been suggested that Open Motto be merged into this article or section. ... Fictional fraternities and sororities exist extensively in popular culture. ... A fraternal organisation is an organisation that represents the relationship between its members as akin to brotherhood. ... A Studentenverbindung (the umbrella term that includes the Burschenschaften, Landsmannschaften, Corps, Turnerschaften, Sängerschaften, Catholic Corporations and Ferialverbindungen) is a German student corporation similar to fraternities in the US or Canada. ... German Burschenschaften are a special type of Studentenverbindungen (student fraternities); they were founded in the 19th century as associations of university students inspired by liberal and nationalistic ideas. ... Some notable secret societies at colleges and universities: Abaris (1995) at Dartmouth College Anak Society (1908) at Georgia Institute of Technology Berzelius (1848) at Yale University Bishop James Madison Society (1812, 20th Century) at the The College of William and Mary Book and Snake (1863) at Yale University Cambridge Apostles... Alumni/nae initiation is a process where someone who did not join a sorority or fraternity in college is initiated as an alumni/nae member. ... Monasticism (from Greek: monachos—a solitary person) is the religious practice of renouncing all worldly pursuits in order to fully devote ones life to spiritual work. ... See also Orders of Chivalry in the British honours system After the failure of the crusades, the crusading military orders became idealized and romanticized, resulting in the late medieval notion of chivalry, as reflected in the Arthurian romances of the time. ...

External links

  • Greekopedia: A wiki for Fraternities and Sororities

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