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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Greek Life for me?

Joining a Fraternity or Sorority is a life-long commitment that holds endless opportunities for those involved. When you become involved in fraternity and sorority life, you become part of a brotherhood or sisterhood which will introduce you to people you will remain in contact with long after you graduate from SUNY Oswego.

What is fraternity and sorority life?

Fraternity and sorority life means you are a member of a community of fraternities (men) and sororities (women) who use letters from the Greek alphabet for their names. These organizations are selective and often have a long history with the college. All fraternities and sororities have constitutions to guide their practices, have to follow university policies for recruitment, and have executive boards. Fraternities and sororities were created as a place to foster academic, community service, and social initiatives that are unique to each chapter. Fraternity and Sorority life is based on the tenets of friendship, leadership, scholarship, and philanthropy. These are supported by our Standards of Excellence here on campus!

What do students have to gain from joining a fraternity or sorority?

While the benefits may vary depending on the chapter, there are many skills a student can develop while being a member of a supportive peer community. Participation in fraternity and sorority life allows for the development of time management, interpersonal, leadership, and organizational skills just to name a few. Along with these skills, students will participate in organizations that are known campus wide for their community service involvement, and students will develop life-long friendships. Like anything, students will get what they put into the activity.  Greek Life is rich with opportunities for leadership and personal growth!

What are the different types of organizations on campus?

SUNY Oswego has a variety of different organizations and councils on campus. SUNY Oswego is proud of the diversity of our chapters and the variety we can offer potential new members.  We have local organizations, those organizations were typically founded at SUNY Oswego, or another SUNY branch, and have been staples of the community since the early 1920s.  We have great pride in our local organizations and how they thrive!  We also have National organizations, these organizations have chapters all across the country and sometimes internationally in Australia or Canada! This means that an initiated member will have brothers or sisters across the country and even internationally! Within our National chapters, we have NIC, NPC, NALFO and MGC representation! There are also Co-Ed Honor and Community Service based organizations on campus!  These organizations are based in a belief to better our community and world at large. To find out more about each chapter visit the Registered Fraternities and Registered Sororities pages, you can also learn about our diverse chapters at our Governing Councils page.

Who is eligible to join a fraternity/sorority?

Fully matriculated students who have earned at least 12 SUNY Oswego credits or transferred from another institution with at least 12 credits, have a 2.25 GPA or higher and are a second-semester first-year or higher class standing are eligible to join a fraternity/sorority. Chapters may require higher GPAs for eligibility.


What are the financial obligations involved with fraternity and sorority life?

While the costs involved in being a member of a fraternity or sorority chapter vary depending on the chapter. It is important to know that each organization does collect dues, and some have initiation costs as well. The price of membership can vary depending on if an organization is local or national, owns a house, and chapter events. It is important to ask about costs prior to accepting a bid.  You can find this information at the Student Involvement Fair, Go Greek Events, or any of the Recruitment/Rush events!

What impact does fraternity and sorority life have on academics?

Many fraternity and sorority chapters were formed as academic or community service societies with a deep belief in having members excel within the classroom. Greek lettered organizations take pride in the tenet of scholarship and provide academic workshops and mentorship within their organizations to help one another throughout their college careers. However, affiliating with a fraternity or sorority does take time, and a student must balance the rigors of affiliating with an organization and their responsibilities in the classroom. Students should ask about the time involved with affiliating with different organizations during Recruitment/Rush or at informational sessions to make sure they can balance their academic needs along with involvement responsibilities prior to affiliating with a fraternity or sorority.  A student must have a minimum of a 2.25 GPA to join, and some chapters may have raised the minimum GPA even higher!  

What about hazing and other risk management issues?

In accordance with New York State law, SUNY Oswego adamantly prohibits any form of hazing conducted or condoned by any member of the campus community. Organizations and their members who participate in hazing are subject to sanctions from Student Conduct and prosecution in a criminal court under New York State law. Student Involvement also provides risk management training for fraternities and sororities, which focuses on the issues of hazing and alcohol use with organizations. The campus policy on hazing is available to all students in the Student Handbook.

What if a chapter is not listed on the Registered Sororities/Fraternities page?

There are organizations that operate outside the confines of SUNY Oswego and its policies. We refer to these chapters as unrecognized or underground organizations.  They are not allowed to participate in campus events or request the use of college space. Affiliation with an unrecognized group and actively operating on campus may lead to judicial action, as it violates college policy. Please refer to the Registered Fraternities and Registered Sororities page to see what chapters are in Good Standing with SUNY Oswego.

Greek Life Terms

Greek Letter Organizations use many terms that you may not have heard before.  We tried our best to compile a list of keywords and terms that will make understanding the process a little easier!


A fully initiated member of a sorority or fraternity. 


Initiated fraternity or sorority members who have graduated from college. Many serve as chapter advisors and mentors or come back and support the community during Homecoming, Friends and Family Weekend, and Greek Week.


A special symbol for a chapter that represents their chapter's history.


The pin of an initiated member.  The badge is special and unique to each chapter.


A formal invitation to join a sorority or fraternity. 

Big Brother or Sister

An active member of a fraternity or sorority who serves as a mentor to a new member, guiding him or her through the new member program and initiation.


Audible sounds used by members to acknowledge or gain the attention of other members. Calls may vary regionally within organizations, and some organizations may use more than one call.


A chartered fraternity or sorority recognized by a parent (national) organization -OR- a local fraternity or sorority.


The same as being initiated. The term means different things to different groups, but generally means crossing over from a pledge to full membership.

Deferred Recruitment

Simply, it means that a campus holds formal recruitment during the SPRING semester.


A formal ceremony in which a pledge/new member becomes an active member. 


The process several chapters perform to recruit, interview, choose, and educate new members.  Intake is similar to Recruitment but involves both the recruitment and new member process.


Title of a potential new member who the group knows is interested. Sometimes these students will band together and form an interest group.


A rushee who has a grandparent, parent, or sibling who is a member of a particular sorority or fraternity.

Line Name

The name given to a pledge class. Some groups do number their lines by Alpha, Beta, Gamma…. But also their line has a name to define them. Many times it is an acronym.


The members of a cultural Greek organization's new member class.


A sorority or fraternity that is located at one campus or may have a small number of chapters in a certain region. 


A sorority or fraternity which has chapters throughout the country and a national headquarters. 

New Member/Pledge

A student who has accepted a bid to become a member of a chapter and has not yet been initiated. 

Neophyte (aka "Neo")

A new member of a cultural Greek organization

New Member Presentation (aka Rollout, Probate)

A formal presentation of a new line to campus, usually done in a public forum after members have been initiated.  This is an honor and used to present the new members to the community. Family members and alumni may also be invited to celebrate these new members!

New Member Program

A period of learning about fraternity and sorority life prior to initiation. This period varies for all groups. You learn the history, values, mission, and philanthropy of your chapter, as well as what makes your chapter unique. 


Potential New Member, someone who has not yet accepted a bid to a chapter.


The charity and/or service projects sponsored by a chapter. 


Term used to refer to an older brother/sister from your chapter, common in the multicultural organizations.

Rho Chi (Recruitment Guide)

A sorority member who has disaffiliated herself from her chapter during formal membership recruitment. She is specially trained to help potential new members and answer any questions they may have about sorority membership.  They are there to help you find your forever home.


A mutual selection process by which sororities and fraternities recruit new members and students learn more about each chapter. 


Term used to refer to a sister in an NPHC or Multicultural organization


A historically black tradition characterized by synchronized hand foot movements, along with singing, dancing, chanting, and acting. Many Latino/Latina and Multicultural groups participate in stepping as well.


A line dance done by members of cultural Greek organizations.  Chapters on campus will hold Stroll events during the year!