Frequently Asked Questions
How do I determine which organization is best for me?
Whether to join a large or small chapter, a culturally-based group or a general fraternity or sorority, a newly formed chapter or one that has been around for fifty years, is simply a matter of personal preference. Each organization has its own advantages. Selecting a fraternity or sorority is like choosing friends – pick the group with which you feel most comfortable.
Does Greek life inhibit academic performance?
Many Greek organizations were founded on purely academic principles. Although their primary purpose today is social, the tradition of academic excellence remains strong. Here at Murray State University, the Greek GPA average is about .2 higher than the non-Greek average. Academic excellence is encouraged by all-Greek programming and individual chapter policies. Murray State University and the Greek governing councils set academic standards for fraternity and sorority members. In addition, Greek organizations compete for an academic award given to the fraternity and sorority with the highest GPA average. To achieve these goals, Greek organizations develop programs intended to enhance members’ academic performance. Murray State’s Greek organizations offer support in time management, tutoring, study enhancement and incentives, and class assistance.
How much time does fraternity or sorority membership require?
Like most other extra-curricular activities, how much you get out of your Greek membership is related to how much you put in. On average, expect to contribute four hours per week for meetings and mandatory activities. Optional activities such as holding an office, attending social events, playing on an intramural sports team, or helping out with various projects will of course take additional time. With good time management, your Greek activities will easily fit into your weekly schedule and allow plenty of time for classes, studying, work, and participation in other campus activities.
How much does it cost?
You may have heard the cliche about fraternity and sorority members "buying their friends". Nothing is further from the truth. Like any National Organization, there is a membership fee. When someone becomes a new member, there is usually a fee paid to the inter/national organization; there are also semester dues. There is also a one-time fee that covers the cost of a membership badge, certificate, and other important items. All of these fees go to keep the local and national organization running; without them, the chapters could not function. As you begin to think about joining a fraternity or sorority, it is so important to consider the financial responsibility of joining.
What about alcohol?
The days of keg parties at fraternity and sorority social events are long gone!! Today's fraternities and sororities promote responsible use of alcohol. MSU and individual chapters host seminars and programs regularly on responsible alcohol use and safe social events. Every chapter is fully aware of the penalties it could receive if they violate state and local alcohol policies.
Is hazing is part of initiation into Greek life?
Hazing is the most publicly feared concept associated with Greek life today. Although many people automatically associate the term "hazing" with the idea of mistreating or abusing pledges or new members, any member can actually be a victim of hazing. Hazing can be defined as singling out an individual or group of people and forcing them to do something that is psychologically, physically, or emotionally harmful or damaging. While safe induction/initiation practices (often called “rituals”) provide a way for Greeks to bond with fellow members through common experience, hazing is easily the most dangerous and destructive practice that an organization can take part in. Fraternity and sorority members realize that hazing does not help bond members of an organization and, on the contrary, jeopardizes the existence of organizations. For this reason, Greek organizations nationwide have striven to eliminate hazing from their cultures through proactive approaches and strict enforcement of anti-hazing policies.
Murray State University maintains a strong stance against hazing, and any organization caught hazing faces serious consequences. All forms of hazing are strictly prohibited by chapter regulations, national policies, Murray State University, and the State of Kentucky. See Murray State University’s Statement on Hazing (available for download at Resources and Forms) for more information.
What are the advantages of becoming a member of a fraternity or sorority?
Becoming a member of a fraternal organization will provide your student with a number of experiences that will help prepare them for not only a career, but for life. These advantages include:
- Leadership Skills: learned through offices within the chapter, through the Greek Governing Councils, or workshops and seminars put on by Murray State University or the chapter.
- Educational Programming: every semester, MSU and individual chapters host guest speakers and programs ranging from alcohol awareness and personal safety, to study skills, resume workshops and time management.
- Enduring Friendships and Alumni Contacts: being in a fraternity or sorority does not stop at graduation. When someone joins a chapter they become a life-long member. As such, they develop contacts and acquaintances that can help them when looking for a job or when they need advice.
- Developing a Sense of Civic Responsibility: believing in giving back to the community, students will have numerous opportunities to participate in helping various organizations such as the American Heart Association, Special Olympics, and March of Dimes.
- It is Fun: the most immediate benefit for your student is the activities and social events sponsored by each chapter. Whether it is a chapter event or Homecoming, students will be around more students who know how to enjoy themselves responsibly.