Parents & Families
The 150-year tradition of fraternity and sorority membership at Illinois provides an immediate connection to a close-knit group of men and women, helping to make Illinois feel more like home. Fraternity and sorority members are some of the most active student leaders on campus and can introduce your student to a multitude of other student organizations and leadership opportunities. Participating in fraternity and sorority life is a great way to ensure a well-rounded undergraduate experience, and we hope it will be a part of that journey. We invite you to spend some time looking through this webpage and our other publications to learn more about the fraternity and sorority community at the University of Illinois.
Sincerely, Fraternity and Sorority Affairs
What are Fraternities and Sororities?
Fraternities and sororities are social clubs created with the intent of bringing likeminded people together. Initially created as philosophical societies, these organizations paved the way for students to organize around a set of common values. In addition, fraternities and sororities offer leadership opportunities, personal and professional development, engage in community services, and philanthropies while also focusing on academic success. For more than 150 years, Illinois has been home to social fraternities and sororities.
With a student population of more than 7,000 undergraduate students in more than 90 fraternal organizations, fraternities and sororities are considered an integral part of student life.
Where does my student start?
Joining a fraternity or sorority can be one of the most rewarding experiences your student can have as an undergraduate. Their association into membership of likeminded people with similar interests can flourish into lifelong friendships. Historically, students who are connected throughout their college years tend to graduate at higher rates and have an overall greater student life experience.
At an institution, such as Illinois, which has been home to fraternities and sororities for almost 150 years and has consistently hosted more organizations than any other campus in the country, searching for the right fit can seem a bit daunting. Our organizations offer a variety of options for any student who is interested in joining. From organizations that have a general social focus or a service-social focus to those affiliated with an academic major, culture, or religion, we believe the best way to navigate the community is to begin by narrowing your options.
What role do I play?
Learn as much as you can about the Illinois fraternal community and the organization your student is interested in joining.
Ask questions about what the organization will offer your student for them to make the best decision. Fraternities and sororities are different on every campus, so allow your student to choose the group with whom they feel most comfortable.
Your perception of the college experience will be different than your student’s; therefore, keep an open mind.
Once your student joins, continue to be observant and ask questions. Here are a few suggestions to help ease your student’s transition to both the University and their new fraternity or sorority.
- Be happy and supportive of your student’s choice of fraternity/sorority.
- Encourage them to attend programs sponsored by their new chapter and Fraternity & Sorority Affairs.
- Know the name and contact information for the chapter president and chapter advisor. This information can be found on the chapter’s page here on our site.
- Ask for details about the financial aspect of membership. If you are providing financial assistance, you have the right to know. Many one-time fees are paid during the first semester of membership, so expect the first few months to be the most expensive. Joining a fraternity or sorority is a lifetime commitment, both financially and personally. Utilizing local chapter and national websites is a great, convenient way to gather information.
- Stay in touch with phone calls, emails and text messages.
- Attend Parent/Family weekend activities as well as other special events sponsored by the chapter or by the office of New Student and Family Experiences (NSFE).
- Expect to see numerous new t-shirts, photos, and Greek letter paraphernalia.
- Initiation is a big day. Congratulate your student and acknowledge this important milestone in their fraternity/sorority membership journey.
- Encourage your student to be a part of the University community and to take advantage of its many resources.
Where can my student learn more?
Your student can learn more about each of our active chapters and their governing councils here.
Frequently Asked Questions
- I have questions about my student’s chapter. Where should I go?
Questions about activities specific to a certain chapter (i.e. move-in dates or other housing issues, parents’ weekend, chapter bills, etc.) should be directed to the chapter president. You can find contact information for fraternity and sorority presidents on their chapter page here on our site. If you are uncomfortable discussing an issue with a student, the staff at Fraternity and Sorority Affairs can direct you to an alumni advisor, graduate advisor, or the inter/national headquarters.
- What do fraternities and sororities do? What are the benefits of joining?
Fraternities and sororities were first founded in the late 1700’s as opportunities for students to gather outside of the classroom to debate and discuss their coursework free from professors and other administrators. As these literary societies evolved, friendship, campus leadership, and service to others also became part of their organizational mission.
These concepts of leadership, scholarship, service, and friendship for life still exist in today’s fraternities and sororities. No matter what fraternity or sorority a student may join, members participate in programs that encourage academic success, offer opportunities to serve the community, lead their peers, and develop deep friendships. Membership in a fraternity or sorority lasts a lifetime. While other student organizations have a membership expiration date, fraternity/sorority membership goes with students as they graduate and begin their life’s work.
- What is the difference between a recognized and unrecognized fraternity/sorority?
University recognized fraternities/sororities work closely with the Fraternity & Sorority Affairs office. They are held accountable to University policies and can participate in community and University sponsored programs.
Unfortunately, some fraternities and sororities engage in behaviors inconsistent with the expectations and policies of the institution and/or national organization. While many of these organizations typically cease all activity, some may present themselves as fully functional organizations that continue to recruit members. Fraternity & Sorority Affairs urges students and their parents/family members to avoid groups currently functioning without university recognition. To see the current listing of organizations that have had their recognition revoked, their status is listed as Revocation of Recognition on our Chapter Status page. Also, you’ll see a listing of recognized organizations that may have been sanctioned with a specific status due to lesser behaviors that have not warranted revocation of recognition.
- My student wants to move into the fraternity/sorority house. What should I expect?
Fraternity/sorority housing is privately run. The properties are owned and run by a house corporation OR leased and run by a house corporation. NONE of the fraternity/sorority houses are owned or operated by the university.
A House Association or House Corporation (an arm of the organization) is responsible for the execution of leases, the collection of rent, and/or the administration of any policies regarding the need for members to live in the chapter’s facility. You should expect to obtain a copy of the lease before your son/daughter signs it, you should expect to be able to have questions answered by the House Corporation President (an adult advisor in charge of the property) and you should understand the conduct or situations that might give the organization cause to break that lease with your student. The lease your son/daughter signs is a legal document and they will be expected to honor all provisions outlined in the lease, including the payment of rent promptly.
- I have something I need to report. What should I do?
Violations of the Student Code such as hazing are handled through the Office for Student Conflict Resolution. In order to report a violation of the student code, please visit How to Report a Violation for information on the steps to take.
Violations of the university's Sexual Misconduct Policy are handled by Title IX Office. To report an incident involving sexual misconduct, visit this page to learn more about resources and reporting options.
If you feel that a bias-motivated incident has occurred please visit the Bias Assessment and Response Team (BART) to report.
If you have other concerns or are unsure of where to report, please reach out to the FSA Staff for assistance.
If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact our staff.
Greek Parent Orientation
Created by LaunchPoint Consulting, this video was formed with parents, for parents to better understand fraternity and sorority life and learn more about the benefits of joining a fraternity or sorority.