Frequently Asked Questions
For many parents and family members, sorority life can be a bit of a mystery. New experiences can be overwhelming at first. Here are some of the most common questions we receive from family members.
1. When can my daughter join a sorority?
First year students must wait until their second semester to join. Transfer students may join during their first semester at Rutgers. Recruitment (also referred to as “rush week” or “intake”) takes place within the first three weeks of each semester. Regardless of the time at which a student wishes to join, he or she must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Be enrolled as a full time student (12 credit hours) at the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus
- Successful completion of at least 12 credit hours at Rutgers or another college/university
- A 2.5 cumulative GPA
Remember, these requirements are minimum standards, so interested students should ask each organization about their specific requirements.
2.What do 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 over time, 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 today. No matter what 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 sorority lasts a lifetime. While other student organizations have a membership expiration date, sorority membership goes with students as they graduate and begin their life’s work.
3.How will my daughter find the organization best suited for her?
Research before, and active participation during the recruitment period are the best strategies for finding a sorority. Most students who join a sorority do so in the second semester of their first year. During the first semester, students are encouraged to attend recruitment events and meet the members. During this time, it is important for your daughter to ask questions so she can begin to differentiate one chapter from another.
Important questions may include:
·How much are dues and fees?
·What exactly happens during the New Member process?
·What kind of scholarship program does the chapter offer?
·What activities is the chapter involved with on campus?
·What is the time commitment?
·What are the service projects this chapters conducts?
·How will membership in this specific fraternity/sorority benefit me?
·What is the chapter's policy on hazing?
It is important to know a great deal about the chapter before deciding to join. Recruitment events provide a time for mutual learning, a time when chapters learn about the new students and the new students learn about the chapters. All chapters are different and by asking questions and noting the differences, your daughter will narrow their selection to the most appropriate chapter.
4.What is the difference between a recognized and unrecognized sorority?
University recognized sororities work closely with the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs. They are held accountable to University policies and are able to participate in Greek Life and University sponsored programs.
Unrecognized fraternities/sororities are not subject to University policy nor are they monitored by the University. Groups that appear on the Unregistered list do not meet the University's standards for recognition and/or have lost recognition for failure to adhere to University policies. We strongly discourage students from joining these organizations.
5. My daughter has been asked to join a sorority. Now what happens?
Once your daughter has decided to join, she will be known as a “new member “ (or associate, pledge, etc.) of the organization. The new member period is a time of learning – learning about how the organization is run, learning about the history of the organization, learning how to work within the larger membership, learning about yourself.
The new member program is designed by the national sorority and typically new members learn this information at a weekly meeting. You’ll likely hear your daughter talk about his or her “pledge sisters” meaning those she has joined with, the “initiates” those who are already members and the New Member Educator – the student in charge of running the new member program.
6.What types of information should I have access to about this new organization my daughter has joined?
Typically at the first new member meeting of the semester the organization will supply your daughter with all of the information they need to know – a calendar of events, contact information for the student officers and alumnae advisors, a financial contract to sign and a list of expectations for the new member (typically this outlines the requirements she must meet before becoming a fully initiated member of the organization.)
All of this information can (and should) be shared with parents. In addition, your daughter should be able to direct you to the national and local websites so that you can begin to learn more about the organization she is joining.
7. What is the cost associated with joining a sorority?
Sororities are NOT funded by the University. Each chapter is self-supported through dues charged to all members. In the first semester of membership, new members are assessed a number of one-time fees (pledge fee, initiation fee, badge fee, insurance). After the initial fees are paid, your daughter's only required expenses will be their regular chapter dues. All financial information for specific chapters can be found here.
8. What is my role as a parent?
Take the time to find out more about the Greek community at Rutgers. Ask questions about what the organizations will offer your daughter and allow them to make the best decision for themselves.
Once your daughter joins, continue to be observant and ask questions. Here are a few suggestions to help ease your daughter's transition to both the University and their new sorority.
- Be happy and supportive of your daughter's choice.
- Encourage her to attend programs sponsored by their new chapter and the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs.
- Know the name and contact information for the chapter president, new member educator and chapter advisor.
- 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.
- Stay in touch with phone calls, emails & text messages.
- Attend Parent/Family weekend activities as well as other special events sponsored by the chapter.
- Expect to see numerous new t-shirts, photos and Greek paraphernalia.
- Encourage your daughter to be a part of the University community and to take advantage of its many resources.
9. Who is actually in charge of the sororities?
Individual chapters elect officers to manage the day to day operations of the chapter. These officers are assisted by alumnae who act as advisors. Each chapter is also responsible to report to their inter/national organization, which offers support, advise and direction through paid professional staff and regional volunteers.
Rutgers University operates the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and employs three professional staff members to advise and support the recognized fraternities/sororities. You can contact OFSA at848-932-7692.
10. My daughter participated in recruitment but wasn’t asked to join. Why? Now what?
Fraternities and sororities are private membership organizations and are under no obligation to explain why a student wasn’t offered an invitation to membership, so our office staff will never know the reason why a student wasn’t asked to join.
In some cases the reason is clear – i.e. the student didn’t meet the academic requirement or student had not met enough of the members yet. We suggest that parents and students consider this to be similar to what happens in a job interview. An applicant might have a great resume, but the interview might not go well. Or, the candidate could be a great interview but not have the right credentials. If your student wishes to keep looking for a sorority experience she can participate in recruitment during the next semester. If not, but they’d still like to be involved in campus in some way, you might want to encourage them to think about any of the other 300+student organizations and clubs on campus.
11.What sort of things might my daughter experience as a new member?
The new member process can take no longer then eight weeks as per Rutgers University policy. Your daughter should receive a calendar of events from the New Member Educator (the student charged with the responsibility of administering the new member program) at their first meeting.
Typically you can expect your daughter to have a weekly meeting with the rest of the students who are joining and the New Member Educator. At these meetings students usually participate in teambuilders, learn sorority history, organizational structure, talk about the requirements they must meet in order to become an initiated member, etc. Nothing in these meetings is secret.
Most new members participate in an academic program through the organization (tutoring with an older member, attending study hours at the library, submitting copies of their grades throughout the semester). They are also doing community service, attending some sort of leadership programming (a retreat, workshops, educational speakers) and are likely attending social events.
Again, none of these things are secret, no meetings or events should run past midnight or be held before 7am and all events should be talked about well in advance with the students so that they can adjust their schedule accordingly.
12. What about hazing?
Rutgers University has a zero tolerance for hazing. Hazing is against the law in New Jersey. It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. It is a policy violation for every recognized fraternity and sorority on our campus. Any chapter who violates this policy will be given due process and if found responsible may be subjected to organizational and/or individual sanctions and discipline.
If you believe your daughter is the victim of hazing, we urge you to contact the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs immediately(848-932-7692).
- No person shall recklessly participate in the hazing of another.
- No student or advisor shall knowingly permit the hazing of another.
- No student or advisor shall fail to report hazing.
- The negligence or consent of the student/participant or any assumption or risk by the student/participant is not a defense to any action brought pursuant to this policy.
- The New Member Information Form must be filed with OFSA by the date designated on the Greek Calendar.
- The president or new member educator must be in attendance at all new member functions.
- The president and/or the new member educator must approve all activities planned for new members.
- All new member activities, which are non-academic in nature, must end by the date published in the Greek Calendar.
The student officers, primarily the president and new member educator, are responsible for informing members (pledges, new members, associate members, affiliates, guests) of this policy. The policy will be read by the president at the first meeting of the organization each semester and by the new member educator at the first new member/associate member meeting of the semester.
- All chapters must file the Hazing Compliance Form by the date designated on the Greek Calendar.
- Any allegations that a chapter has engaged in hazing activities will result in an investigation of the matter by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. All new member/associate member activities will be suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
- In all cases of alleged violations of this policy, alumni and national/international headquarters of the organization will be notified.
- Individuals involved in alleged acts of hazing and/or individual officers who knew of or should have known of these activities may also face charges pursuant to the University Code of Student Conduct.
Hazing is defined as any action or situation which includes any mental or physical requirement, request or obligation placed upon any person (pledge, new member, associate member, member, affiliate, guest) which could cause discomfort, pain, fright, disgrace, injury or which is personally degrading or which violates any federal, state, local statute or University policy. Any activity described in this definition upon which the initiation, or admission into, or affiliation with, or continued membership in an organization is directly or indirectly conditional, shall be presumed to be “forced” activity.
- Forcing, requiring or endorsing new members/associate members to drink alcohol or any other substance and/or providing such alcohol or other substance;
- The unauthorized or illegal use of alcohol in any form or quantity during any new member activity;
- Calisthenics (sit-ups, push-ups and runs);
- Branding and tattooing;
- Pushing, shoving, punching, whipping, beating, tackling or any other physical abuse;
- Unauthorized line-ups of any nature;
- Throwing anything (garbage, water, paint, etc.) at an individual;
- Any form of paddling, physical abuse, psychological abuse, deception or shocks;
- Requiring individuals to walk or march in formation of any kind;
- Publicly wearing apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste (uniforms, head apparel, boots/shoes, etc.);
- Not permitting individuals to speak for extended periods of time and/or forced exclusion from social contact;
- Preventing any person from practicing personal hygiene;
- Any activity which interferes with an individuals scholastic pursuits (class attendance, preparation, study time, etc.)
- Forced consumption of food or other substances;
- Theft, defacement or destruction of private or public property
- Conducting unauthorized scavenger hunts, treasure hunts, quests, road trips, paddle hunts, big brother/little brother hunts, big sister/little sister hunts;
- Engaging in public stunts and buffoonery, public displays or greetings;
- Servitude of any nature (food runs, personal errands, academic work, etc.);
- Permitting less than six consecutive hours of sleep each night;
- Conducting a new member related activity between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 7:00am. or awakening individuals during these hours;
- Nudity or exposure to the elements at any time;
- Yelling, screaming or calling individuals demeaning names;
- Engaging in unauthorized activities which involve compelling an individual or group of individuals to remain at a certain location or transporting anyone anywhere, within or outside the city of New Brunswick (road trips, kidnaps, sneaks, drops, etc.);
- Assigning or endorsing “pranks” (stealing composites, trophies, mascots, etc.)
- Conducting activities which do not allow adequate time for study during pre-initiation or initiation periods;
- Conducting activities designed to deceive or convince new members that he/she will not be initiated or will be hurt;
- Carrying of any items (paddles, bricks, rocks, pocket change, dog collars, signature books, etc.)
- Forcing, requiring or endorsing new members/associate members to violate any University, OFSA, national/international policy or any local, state or federal law.
Enforcement of the definition shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
New Jersey Hazing Law§ 2C:40-3. Hazing; aggravated hazing
a. A person is guilty of hazing, a disorderly persons offense, if, in connection with initiation of applicants to or members of a student or fraternal organization, he knowingly or recklessly organizes, promotes, facilitates or engages in any conduct, other than competitive athletic events, which places or may place another person in danger of bodily injury.
b. A person is guilty of aggravated hazing, a crime of the fourth degree, if he commits an act prohibited in subsection a. which results in serious bodily injury to another person.
§ 18A:3-25. Pledge’s Bill of Rights
The Attorney General shall develop a “Pledge’s Bill of Rights” which outlines acceptable and unacceptable behavior and activities in regard to the pledge or rushing activities of college and university fraternities and sororities and other similar campus organizations. In developing the bill of rights, the Attorney General shall review the existing pledge and anti-hazing policies and procedures of public and independent institutions of higher education within the State and shall, as appropriate, incorporate those policies into the bill of rights. The Attorney General shall make the “Pledge’s Bill of Rights” available to each institution of higher education within the State.
§ 18A:3-26. Information on hazing included
The bill of rights developed by the Attorney General pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.388 (C.18A:3-25) shall include information on the criminal penalties for hazing and aggravated hazing established pursuant to P.L.1980, c.169 (C.2C:40-3 et seq.).
Pledge’s Bill Of RightsStatutory Authority
This Pledge’s Bill of Rights has been developed by the Attorney General pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A: 3-24 et seq.
For the purpose of this Pledge’s Bill of Rights, a pledge is defined as any student of the college/university attempting to become a member of a fraternity or sorority or other similar campus organization.
Definition of Hazing
For the purpose of this Pledge’s Bill of Rights, “hazing” shall mean:
As indicated, pursuant to the New Jersey Statute:
- 2C: 40-3 a. A person is guilty of hazing, a disorderly persons offense, if, in connection with initiation of applicants or members of student or fraternal organizations, he knowingly or recklessly organizes, promotes, facilitates, or engages in any conduct, other than competitive athletic events, which places or may place another person in danger of bodily injury.
- b. A person is guilty of aggravated hazing- a crime of the fourth degree, if he commits an act prohibited in subsection a., which results in serious bodily injury to another person.
- 2C: 40-4 Notwithstanding any other provision of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to a prosecution under this act.
- 2C: 40-5 Conduct constituting an offense under this Act may, at the discretion of the prosecution attorney, be prosecuted under any other applicable provision of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes: and other behaviors or activities in addition to those prohibited under N.J.S.A. 2C: 40 et seq.
13. Who can my daughter talk to if she has a problem while as a new member?
- Chapter Advisor (an adult advisor to the organization who is a member of the sorority)
- Chapter President (the student elected by the organization for the semester/year to lead the membership)
- New Member Educator (the student elected to administer the new member program)
- Office of Fraternity/Sorority Affairs
- Contact info (phone and email) for the Advisor, President and New Member Educator should be given to the new members at the first meeting of the new member program. This info can also be obtained by contacting the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs at 848 932 7692.
14.Is there anything my daughter cannot tell me about the sorority?
No. The only secret information is that which is learned at the official initiation ceremony held at the end of the new member education period. All other information should be easily obtainable by your daughter and shared with you.
15. What if my daughter wants to quit the sorority?
On occasion, students feel it necessary to quit their new sorority. It may be that the time commitment proves to be challenging, the financial obligation is too expensive or the student believes she has made the wrong choice in organizations. If the student has made a choice to quit, she can do so by speaking with the Chapter Advisor, Chapter President or New Member Educator.
Some organizations hold an “exit interview” to find out why the student is leaving, others may have paperwork for the organization that the departing new member must complete. Either way, the student can leave the organization, but should understand that in most cases any money that has been paid to the group cannot be refunded and that the organization will likely ask for certain items to be returned,like a new member manual of information or the new member pin.
16. When is my daughter finished with the new member program? What happens when the program is completed?
Again, the maximum time for an organization to administer a new member program is 8 weeks. At the end of the 8 weeks the new members must be initiated, which means that they must participate in the formal ceremony that confers full membership on her. The date of the initiation ceremony is not to be a secret from the new members or their families.
17. My daughter wants to move into the 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 housesare 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 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 daughter signs is a legal document and they will be expected to honor all provisions outlined in the lease, including the payment of rent in a timely manner.
18. My daughter has a University Hold and can’t register for classes. How can we fix this?
Chapters will place a "hold" on a student's records when she fails to meet their financial obligations. A hold will prevent a student from scheduling classes, from obtaining an official transcript and may even result in the cancellation of an upcoming class schedule.
To remove the hold, the student must make the payment directly to the sorority (NOT the University). Once the bill is paid in full, the organization’s Chapter Advisor will notify the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and we will submit a request to release the hold.
In these situations all questions about payment must be directed to the organization’s Chapter Advisor.
If you still have questions about fraternity/sorority life, please feel free to contact our office at 848 932 7692 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org