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Fraternities and sororities (from the Latin words frater and soror, meaning "brother" and "sister" respectively) are fraternal social organizations for undergraduate students. In English, the term refers mainly to such organizations at colleges and universities in North America, although it is also applied to analogous European groups also known as corporations. Similar, but less common, organizations also exist for secondary school students. In modern usage, the term "Greek letter organization" is often synonymous with the terms "fraternity" and "sorority".
Typically, Greek letter organizations are single-sex, initiatory organizations with membership considered active during the undergraduate years only, although a notable exception to this are historically black, latino, asian, and multicultural, in which active membership continues, and into which members are often initiated long after the completion of their undergraduate degrees. Greek letter organizations may sometimes be considered mutual aid societies, providing academic and social activities. Some groups also maintain a chapter house, providing residential and dining facilities for members.
- 1 Terminology
- 2 Types of Greek letter organizations
- 3 Rituals and symbols
- 4 Chapter houses
- 5 Joining a Greek letter organization
- 6 Controversy and criticism
- 7 North American Greek letter organizations in other regions
- 8 History and development
- 9 Sororities
- 10 High school fraternities and sororities
- 11 Interfraternity organizations
- 12 Fraternities and Sororities in Popular Culture
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 Notes
Terminology[edit | edit source]
In modern usage, the term "Greek letter organization" has become synonymous with the North American fraternity and sorority. The term fraternity, often colloquially shortened to "frat" (though use of such term may be derogatory in some contexts), typically refers to an all-male group, while the term "sorority" typically refers to an all-female group. However, some women's groups define themselves as fraternities for women or women's fraternities, such as Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Delta Pi, Phi Mu, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Xi Delta, Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Zeta Tau Alpha, Alpha Phi, Delta Gamma,Phi Sigma Sigma, Pi Beta Phi, Sigma Alpha Iota, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Chi Omega. Additionally, some groups that define themselves as "fraternities" may be mixed-sex, such as Phi Sigma Pi or Kappa Kappa Psi; the same is true of groups that define themselves as "sororities", such as Mu Phi Epsilon and Tau Beta Sigma. Due to the ambiguous nature of the terms "fraternity" and "sorority" with respect to gender, and due to the inaccuracy and potential sexist nature of the use "fraternity" to describe aforementioned organizations, it has become commonplace to use the synonym "Greek letter organization," since the vast majority of fraternities and sororities identify themselves using Greek letters. A recent example of this is the usage of the terms "(historically) Black Greek letter organizations" (BGLOs) and "Latino Greek letter organizations" (LGOs) within the literature. However, since most of those organizations that do not identify themselves using Greek letters are structured similarly to and share other several common characteristics with those that do identify themselves using Greek letters, all of these organizations are still considered to be "Greek letter organizations".
The term social fraternity is used to differentiate four-year, undergraduate, and frequently residential groups from other organizations, many of which also have Greek-letter names, such as honor societies, academic societies, or service fraternities and sororities.
The names of North American fraternities and sororities generally consist of two or three Greek letters, often the initials of a Greek motto. For this reason, fraternities and sororities are referred to by the encompassing term “Greek letter organization” and described by the adjective "Greek," as seen in phrases such as "Greek community," "Greek system," "Greek life," or members as "Greeks." An individual fraternity or sorority is often called a "Greek house" or simply "house," terms which may be regarded as misleading since the usage of a phrase with "house" in it may be taken to refer to a chapter's physical property whereas many fraternities and sororities do not have a chapter house; alternatively, "chapter" and "organization" are used in these contexts, with the latter referring to the group as a collective entity, and the former referring to a specific division of such entity, though not all fraternities and sororities have multiple chapters. The use of Greek letters started with Phi Beta Kappa (then a social fraternity and today an honor society) at the College of William & Mary. Several groups, however, do not use Greek letters. Examples include Acacia, FarmHouse, and Triangle, as well as final clubs, eating clubs and secret societies at some Ivy League colleges, such as Skull and Bones at Yale.
Types of Greek letter organizations[edit | edit source]
- Further information: List of social fraternities and sororities, service fraternities and sororities, professional fraternity, College Literary Societies (American), and honor society
Most Greek letter organizations are social organizations, presenting themselves as societies to help their members better themselves in a social setting.
A variety of Greek letter organizations are distinguished from social groups by their function. They can be specifically organized for service to the community, for professional advancement, or for scholastic achievement.
Certain organizations were established for specific religious or ethnic groups. Some social organizations are expressly Christian, such as Alpha Chi Rho. Jewish fraternities, such as Zeta Beta Tau, Alpha Epsilon Pi, and Sigma Alpha Mu, were established, in part, in response to restrictive clauses that existed in many social fraternities' laws barring Jewish membership, which were removed in the mid-20th century (Sanua 2003; Torbenson 2005). A controversy remains between the idea of creating supportive communities for distinct groups on the one hand and the intent to create non-discriminatory communities on the other [How to reference and link to summary or text].
There are also organizations with a cultural or multicultural emphasis. For example, Kappa Alpha Psi, an African American Fraternity, was established at Indiana University - Bloomington in 1911, the first Chinese fraternity, established at Cornell in 1916, and Sigma Iota, the first Hispanic fraternity, established at Louisiana State University in 1904 (Torbenson 2005). The latter later merged with other Hispanic fraternities and organizations around the nation to form Phi Iota Alpha, the oldest Latino fraternity in existence, in 1931. The Phi Sigma Alpha fraternity in Puerto Rico can also trace its roots back to Sigma Iota. There are now 23 Latino fraternities in the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations. A distinct set of black fraternities and sororities also exists, although black students are not barred from non-black organizations and there are black members of non-black organizations. There is a new Online Social Fraternal organization called MuPiRho. This came about as the result of the popularity of online social networks..
Organizations designed for particular class years do exist, but are usually categorized separately from other types of Greek letter organizations[How to reference and link to summary or text]. While these were once common in older institutions in the Northeast, the only surviving underclass society is Theta Nu Epsilon, which is specifically for sophomores. Many senior class societies also survive, and they are often simply referred to as Secret Societies.
Philanthropy[edit | edit source]
Philanthropy is usually made a part of any Greek letter organization’s program and supported by all active members. Typically, a chapter will either engage in fundraising activities or the members will volunteer for programs. These either benefit the academic community or the public at large. Long-term relationships can also exist between a particular fraternity or sorority and one of the large national disease-specific charitable organizations. Some organizations own and operate their own philanthropy. For example, Pi Kappa Phi owns Push America which works with individual chapters to serve people with disabilities. Phi Sigma Alpha has the Sigma Foundation. Other organizations support established causes, Delta Delta Delta has partnered with St. Jude Children's Hospital pledging 10 in 10; 10 million dollars in 10 years. Alpha Delta Pi supports the Ronald McDonald House Charities as its national philanthropy, Gamma Phi Beta supports Campfire USA, Chi Omega supports the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Zeta Tau Alpha support the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Competition and cooperation[edit | edit source]
Early fraternal societies were very competitive for members, for academic honors, and for any other benefit or gain. Some of this competition was seen as divisive on college campuses. Today there is still competition, but that competition is intended to be within limits, and for nobler purposes, such as charitable fundraising [How to reference and link to summary or text]. Often, organizations compete in various sporting events. There is also a greater emphasis on interfraternity cooperation. The single greatest effort along these lines was the creation of the National Interfraternity Conference a century ago, which was intended to minimize conflicts, destructive competition, and encourage student members to recognize members of other fraternities and sororities as people who share common interests. The National Panhellenic Council has similar goals to unite members of all sororities.
Structure and organization[edit | edit source]
Most Greek letter organizations were originally organized on one campus [How to reference and link to summary or text]. An organization that has only one established chapter would be called a "local". A local can authorize chapters of the same name at other campuses. After the first authorized chapter, a local would be considered a "national", even if only two chapters are established. Given the development over the past 180 years, North America now has several large national organizations with hundreds of chapters [How to reference and link to summary or text]. Two or more nationals can also merge, and some of the larger nationals were created by merger. Several national fraternities are international, usually implying chapters in Canada.
A local organization can petition one of the existing national organizations and be absorbed into their organization dropping all ties to the former local organization. Recently this has become the preferred method for expansion within national organizations because the members have already formed a bond and presence on campus but are changing their name, ritual, and structure [How to reference and link to summary or text].
The central business offices of the organizations are also commonly referred to as "Nationals". Nationals may place certain requirements on individual chapters to standardize rituals and policies regarding membership, housing, finances, or behavior. These policies are generally codified in a constitution and bylaws. Greek letter organizations may once have been governed by the original chapter, but virtually all have adopted some version of governance with executive officers who report to a board of trustees, and 'legislative' body consisting of periodic conventions of delegates from all the chapters.
Rituals and symbols[edit | edit source]
Most Greek letter organizations today maintain traditions which are generally symbolic in nature and closely guarded secrets, calling it their ritual. They include an initiation ceremony, but may also include passwords, songs, handshakes, and the form of meeting, amongst other things. Meetings of the active members are generally secret and not to be discussed without the formal approval of the chapter as a whole.
For organizations with Greek letters composing their name, these letters are the initials of a motto (such as Delta Upsilon), a set of virtues (such as Alpha Kappa Lambda), or the history of its organization (such as Phi Tau).
Greek letter organizations often have a number of distinctive emblems, such as colors, flags, flowers, in addition to a badge (or pin), crest, and/or seal. An open motto (indicating that the organization has a "secret motto" as well) is used to express the unique ideals of a fraternity or sorority.
Pins or badges[edit | edit source]
Pins have become increasingly popular to collect, even by individuals that never were members. Groups such as the Fraternity Pin Collector Society have collected thousands of pins worth tens of thousands of dollars in individual collections while organizations such as Kappa Kappa Gamma's "Keepers of the Key" work to reunite lost or stolen badges with their original owners.
According to Martin (1918), the primary fraternal jewelers of the late 19th/early 20th centuries were D. L. Auld Co. of Columbus, L. G. Balfour Co. of Attleboro, Mass., Burr, Patterson and Co. of Detroit, Upmeyer Company of Milwaukee, A. H. Fetting Co. of Baltimore, Hoover and Smith Co. of Philadelphia, O. C. Lanphear of Galesburg, Ill., Miller Jewelry Co. of Cincinnati, J. F. Newman of New York, Edward Roehm of Detroit, and Wright, Kay and Co. of Detroit. Currently the most widely used jewelers are Herff Jones, Jostens, and Balfour. Jewelers' initials and stampings are typically found on the back of pins along with the member name and/or chapter information. The history of fraternal jewelers is important when determining age of non-dated jewelry pieces.
Since fraternity and sorority pins are used as the primary symbols for societies, licensing and marketing concerns have developed. As a result, many of the larger organizations have had to put a legal team on retainer as consultants [How to reference and link to summary or text].
Crests[edit | edit source]
Fraternities and Sororities have created crests in order to represent the familial aspect of brotherhood and sisterhood. The greatest representation of fraternal crests are found in yearbooks and chapter publications from 1890 to 1925. Engravings were made of crests and tipped into the yearbooks, often later removed and framed. Sizes range from a square inch to a full page layout. Many of these engravings were signed, creating a period art form.
Fraternal crest engravings were typically made by cutting lines in metal or wood for the purpose of printing reproduction. The earliest known engravings printed on paper in this fashion date back to the 16th century. Much of the engravings done in the 1800s were metal engravings where the image was carved into a piece of steel or iron. In the early 1900s, it became more common to use photo-engraving, or photogravure to print the crests.
Objects[edit | edit source]
Apparels such as shirts, pants, bags, jewelry and key chains are often worn by members with their Greek letters on them. These shirts and other articles may later be used for a pass-down ceremony between seniors and fellow members. Seniors may choose to pass down some or all of the clothing they own that is associated with the sorority. Some of the shirts are ten or more years old and in some chapters, girls will compete for them. In those chapters, generally members feel it is an honor to have older artifacts. At some institutions, it is considered inappropriate and may be prohibited to wear apparel with the society's name when the member is consuming alcohol. It is considered disrespectful to have their letters on when drinking, regardless of their age. Also, it is generally taboo for non-members to wear any apparel with a group's letters.
Membership pins are not worn at all times. Some organizations limit pin-wearing to times of professional or business dress, also known as “Pin Attire” [How to reference and link to summary or text]. The pins are kept forever, they are not expected to return them or hand them down.
Chapter houses[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Fraternity and sorority houses
Unique among most campus organizations, members of social Greek letter organizations often live together in a large house or distinct part of the university dormitories. This can help emphasize the "bonds of brotherhood or sisterhood" and provide a place of meeting for the members of the organization as well as alumni. For reasons of cost, liability, and stability, housing is usually owned or overseen by an alumni corporation or the organization’s national headquarters. As a result, some houses have visitor restrictions, and some national organizations restrict or prohibit alcohol on the premises. At some colleges where chapters do not have residential houses for the general membership, they may still have chapter houses where meals are served for their membership and guests.
Joining a Greek letter organization[edit | edit source]
The process of joining a Greek letter organization varies from organization to organization. Organizations governed by the National Panhellenic Conference or the North-American Interfraternity Conference commonly begin their process with a "formal recruitment" period, often called "rush week," which usually consists of events and activities designed for members and potential members to learn about each other and the organization. At the end of the formal recruitment period, organizations give "bids," or invitations to membership. Most organizations have a period of "pledgeship" before extending full membership. Some organizations have changed the name of pledgeship due to negative connotations to the process (such as calling pledges "postulants" or "new members"), or have given up the process in favor of other joining requirements [How to reference and link to summary or text]. Upon completion of the pledgeship and all its requirements, the active members will invite the pledges to be initiated and become full members. Initiation often includes secret ceremonies and rituals. Organizations governed by the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations, or the National Multicultural Greek Council have very different recruitment processes.
Requirements may be imposed on those wishing to pledge either by the school or the organization itself, often including a minimum grade point average, wearing a pledge pin, learning about the history and structure of the organization, and performing public service. When a school places an age or tenure requirement on joining, this is called "deferred recruitment," as joining is deferred for a semester or year. The pledgeship period also serves as a probationary period in which both the organization and the pledge decide if they are compatible and will have a fulfilling experience [How to reference and link to summary or text].
Controversy and criticism[edit | edit source]
Hazing issues[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Hazing in Greek letter organizations
Hazing is the harassment of new members as a rite of passage, by giving them meaningless, difficult, dangerous or humiliating tasks to perform, exposing them to ridicule, or playing practical jokes on them. It is a crime in 44 states, and most educational institutions have their own definitions of, and prohibitions against, hazing, many required by state statutes.
While hazing is commonly associated with Greek letter organizations, it is also present in college and university communities among athletic teams, marching bands, and military groups (Hollmann 2002). Nevertheless, it is often cited as one of the most harmful aspects of Greek letter organizations and poses a major threat to their existence (Whipple & Sullivan 1998). As a result, many educational institutions have developed anti-hazing programs, which encourage alternatives to hazing through the planning of purposeful activities, inform students of how to take action and avoid being a bystander, and provide clear consequences for those students and/or organizations who violate hazing policies (Hollmann 2002). Additionally, hazing has become a central focus of programs designed to help Greek letter organizations become more value congruent through institutionalized standards and expectations (Shonrock 1998).Attempts at preventing hazing have also targeted Greek letter organizations at the national level. Cobb & McRee (2007) note the important role of culture change within the North American fraternity and sorority movement and even encourage the closure of chapters that consistently partake in illegal and risky activities and pose threats to their local and university communities.
Due to the nature of hazing and the secretive nature of Greek letter organizations, hazing is largely underreported. Most, if not all, hazing activities take place either during pledge (or “interest”) activities or rituals, which are always secretive. Additionally, since many Greek letter organizations, such as those governed by the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO),and Multicural Greek Councils which governs organizations with interest of asian, south asian and multicural ethnic backgrounds, prohibit their pledges (also known as “interests”, "prospects" and “new members”) from revealing their association with their organization until they have been initiated (also known as "ghost pledging"), it becomes increasingly difficult for institutions to reach out to members in anti-hazing efforts, and it becomes virtually impossible for these pledges, prospects or interests to reach out for help.
Hazing has been cited as a problem not just within historically white men’s organizations, but also within women’s organizations and within historically non-white organizations. For instance, while the National Pan-Hellenic Council explicitly prohibits hazing, hazing still occurs and has resulted in numerous deaths and injuries, such as the 1989 death of Joel A. Harris, who died during an Alpha Phi Alpha hazing incident; the 1996 death of Michael Davis, who died during a Kappa Alpha Psi hazing ritual; the 2002 death of Joseph T. Green, who died during an Omega Psi Phi initiation ritual; and the 2002 deaths of Kenitha Saafir and Kristin High, who died during an Alpha Kappa Alpha hazing ritual. The problem of hazing with Black Greek letter organizations (BGLOs) has been explored extensively within the literature (cf. Parks 2008; Jones 2004; Kimbrough 2003). Similarly, despite explicit prohibition of hazing by the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations, hazing still occurs in these organizations, leading several chapters to be suspended.
Exclusionary nature[edit | edit source]
Some colleges universities have banned Greek letter organizations with the justification that they are by their very structure set up to be elitist and exclusionary. The most famous, and oldest ban was at Princeton (Leitch 1978), although Princeton has now had fraternities since the 1980s. Fraternities have been banned in recent times from Williams College, Middlebury College, and Amherst College, although they have returned this century to Amherst.
Alcohol and Substance Abuse[edit | edit source]
According to the U.S. Department of Education, fraternity and sorority members drink more than other students, and are therefore more likely to suffer the effects of alcohol abuse, such as poor academic performance, missing classes, fights, vandalism, injuries, and sexual assault, than the general college population.
North American Greek letter organizations in other regions[edit | edit source]
North American Greek letter organizations are present almost exclusively in the United States and the English speaking universities of Canada, with a minority of organizations having chapters elsewhere, such as the Caribbean, Africa, and some in France there have also been temporary accommodations. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign currently has the largest Greek system in the world with 69 fraternities and 36 sororities. Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, a prominent historically African-American Sorority, currently has chapters in the Virgin Islands, Germany, and Bermuda. There was a brief chapter of Chi Phi at Edinburgh, Scotland during the American Civil War to accommodate Southern students studying abroad, and another for American servicemen who were still college students during World War II, but there has been no real export of the system to Europe. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, a historically black sorority founded in Washington, DC, USA, was the very first Greek-lettered organization ever to establish a chapter in Africa (1948). Today, Zeta Phi Beta has chapters in the USA, Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean. Likewise, Zeta Psi and Sigma Alpha Mu have chapters in Canada. Zeta Psi also has one in England. Tau Kappa Epsilon has chapters in Canada and a chapter in Germany. Sigma Thêta Pi is present in Canada and France. In the National Panhellenic Conference, noteable Canadian expansion efforts include Alpha Gamma Delta and Alpha Phi which have seven and six Canadian chapters respectively.
In Puerto Rico there are a number of social fraternities and sororities, a few having chapters in the United States such as Phi Sigma Alpha. Puerto Rico does have many chapters of professional, honorary, and service fraternities and sororities from the United States such as Sigma Lambda Beta International.
History and development[edit | edit source]
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Beginnings[edit | edit source]
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 society in North America. It was founded by John Heath, who had failed at admission to the two existing Latin-letter fraternities at the College, the F.H.C. Society (nicknamed the “Flat Hat Club”) and the P.D.A. Society (“Please Don’t Ask”). The main developments associated with Phi Beta Kappa are the use of Greek-letter initials as a society name and the establishment of branches or "chapters" at different campuses, following the pattern set by Masonic lodges.
However, Phi Beta Kappa was very different from a typical college fraternity of today in that the membership was generally restricted to upperclassmen, if not seniors; and men who had been initiated as students continued to be active in the society after becoming members of the faculty of the host university. The annual Phi Beta Kappa exercises at Yale were public literary exercises, with as many or more faculty members of the society than undergraduate.
As Phi Beta Kappa developed it came to be an influential association of faculty and select students on several college campuses, with membership becoming more of an honor and less of social selection. The increasing influence of the society came to seem by many as undemocratic and contrary to the free flow of intellectual ideas in American academia, and, as a curious side effect of the anti-masonic controversy of the early Republic, the secrets of Phi Beta Kappa in the appendix to a book published in 1831. After that time, Phi Beta Kappa ceased to be a social fraternity in any real sense and is now only an honorary society, although prominent and respected.
College literary societies, or Latin societies, were common in the early 18th century, both smaller private ones and large socieites that operated campus wide. These organizations used both Roman and Greek themes, held meetings, elected officers, operated libraries, and provided models for many of the early college fraternities.
Chi Phi was established at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey on December 24, 1824 on the principles of Truth, Honor, and Personal Integrity. However, shortly after the founding Chi Phi became dormant for a number of years, at which time the Kappa Alpha Society was established at Union College in Schenectady, New York on November 26, 1825. Kappa Alpha possessed most of the distinctive elements of a modern fraternity, and was clearly the model that inspired the development of other societies. (Kappa Alpha Society is distinct from Kappa Alpha Order.) Kappa Alpha's founders adopted many of Phi Beta Kappa's practices, but made their organization an exclusively student organization, and adopted a much more elaborate initiation. Its example encouraged the formation of two competitors on campus; the Sigma Phi Society formed in March 1827, followed by Delta Phi in November. These three have been called the Union Triad.
The Fraternity system becomes "national"[edit | edit source]
Sigma Phi became the first "national" fraternity when it opened a second chapter at Hamilton College in 1831. That encouraged the formation of Alpha Delta Phi in 1832 at Hamilton. Delta Upsilon, the first non-secret, non-hazing fraternity was founded at Williams College in Massachusetts in 1834. Beta Theta Pi was founded at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in August, 1839 in response to the chartering of the new chapter of Alpha Delta Phi. Alpha Sigma Phi was founded in December 1845 at Yale followed by Phi Delta Theta (1848) and Sigma Chi (1855) at Miami University. Along with Beta Theta Pi, these three fraternities have been called the Miami Triad. Also, around that time the Jefferson Duo was formed at Jefferson college in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, consisting of Phi Gamma Delta (1848) and Phi Kappa Psi (1852). Although this is a duo, it is recorded along with the other triads formed at the time. Union College continued its role as the "Mother of Fraternities" with the founding of Psi Upsilon (1833), Chi Psi (1841) and Theta Delta Chi (1847). With this second "triad", Union College can lay claim to the foundation of nearly half of the thirteen oldest fraternities in the country.
The Mystical 7 was founded at Wesleyan University in 1837, and established the first chapters in the South, at Emory in 1841, and elsewhere. Sigma Alpha Epsilon was founded at the University of Alabama in 1856, and it is the only fraternity founded in the Antebellum South that still operates.
Growth was then mainly stunted by the Civil War. Theta Xi, founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York on 29 April 1864, is the only fraternity to be established during the War. However, following the War, the system as a whole underwent strong growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both in the number of organizations founded and chapters of existing organizations established. This was aided, in part, by the reopening of schools and the return of veterans as students.
Alpha Phi Alpha,, Phi Iota Alpha, Rho Psi, Phi Sigma Nu, and Zeta Beta Tau were founded as the first fraternities for African-American, Latino-American, Asian-American, Native American, and Jewish students, respectively.
Sororities[edit | edit source]
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, also known as the three link fraternity, was the first organization to form a women's auxiliary when it formed the Daughters of Rebekah in 1851 but the term sorority was not yet coined during that time. However, many of the first societies for women were not modelled as fraternities, but were women's versions of the common Latin literary societies. The Adelphean Society (now Alpha Delta Pi) was established in 1851 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The Philomathean Society (later named Phi Mu) was founded at Wesleyan College a year later in 1852. The Adelphean Society and the Philomathean Society did not take on their modern Greek names (Alpha Delta Pi and Phi Mu, respectively) until 1904 when they expanded beyond the Wesleyan campus. They are now often referred to as the Macon Magnolias. Many aspects of Alpha Delta Pi and Phi Mu (such as the stars and hands on their badges and the mascot of the lion) are similar due to the fact that while at Wesleyan a founder of Alpha Delta Pi and Phi Mu's Mary Ann DuPont (Lines) were roommates.
On April 28, 1867, I.C. Sorosis (later known by its original Greek motto Pi Beta Phi) was founded at Monmouth College, in Monmouth, Illinois. It is the first sorority founded on the model of the men's fraternity. A year later it established a second chapter at Iowa Wesleyan College.
In the mid-1800s women were beginning to be admitted to previously all-male universities, and there were many women who felt that it was in their best interest to band together. The first collegiate women formed women's fraternities in an effort to counteract the widespread opposition to their presence (Turk 2004). Others disagree with this agonistic historical view [How to reference and link to summary or text].
Kappa Alpha Theta was the first Greek letter women's fraternity founded in 1870 at DePauw University. The earliest organizations were founded as "women's fraternities" or "fraternities for women;" the term sorority was coined by professor Frank Smalley in 1874, in reference to the Greek organization Gamma Phi Beta being established at Syracuse University, Gamma Phi Beta. Alpha Phi was also established at Syracuse University, in 1872, and along with Alpha Gamma Delta, these three sororities make up the Syracuse Triad. The first organization to adopt the word sorority was Sigma Kappa, established on November 9, 1874 at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
Alpha Kappa Alpha, Lambda Theta Alpha, Alpha Pi Omega were founded as the first sororities by and for African-American, Latina-American, and Native American members respectively. In 1913, at Hunter College, New York, Phi Sigma Sigma became the first non-denominational sorority, allowing any woman, regardless of race, religion, or economic background into membership.
A number of sororities have been founded at the graduate school level. In 1917, at New York University School of Law five female law students founded Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority. Currently active collegiate membership is only open to undergraduates.
High school fraternities and sororities[edit | edit source]
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High school fraternities and sororities, or secondary fraternities and sororities, are social fraternities for high school-aged children. There are a few active high school fraternities and sororities, including Alpha Omega Theta in New York, The Lounge in Saginaw, Michigan, Phi Eta Sigma and Zeta Mu Gamma in Puerto Rico, and DeMolay, Sigma Nu Xi and Sigma Alpha Rho (SAR) in the mainland United States. Although these are analogous societies, they are considered wholly different and unrelated societies. Theta Phi Delta was the first high school sorority founded in Durham, North Carolina in 1996 and to be incorporated in 2004.
Interfraternity organizations[edit | edit source]
Interfraternity organizations seek to provide members services such as public relations, leadership training, and methods of interfraternity discussions.
- Association of College Honor Societies — association of 65 honor societies.
- Concilio Interfraternitario Puertorriqueño de la Florida (CIPFI) — umbrella council for the Florida chapters of 5 Puerto Rican Greek Letter Fraternities
- Fraternity Leadership Association — association of fraternities who largely resigned from membership in the North-American Interfraternity Conference.
- National APIA Panhellenic Association (NAPA) — association of 10 Asian interest fraternities and sororities.
- National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) — association of 23 Latino fraternities and sororities.
- National Multicultural Greek Council (NMGC) — association of 13 national and local multicultural Greek fraternities and sororities; local organizations found on a single campus are usually known as "Multicultural Councils" or "Unified Greek Councils."
- National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) — association of 9 historically African-American fraternities and sororities; local organizations found on a single campus are usually known as "Pan-Hellenic Councils."
- National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) — association of 26 international social women's fraternities and sororities; local organizations found on a single campus are usually known as "Panhellenic Councils."
- North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) — association of 68 men's social fraternities; local organizations found on a single campus are usually known as "Interfraternity Councils."
- Professional Fraternity Association (PFA) — association of 36 professional fraternities and sororities
- United Council of Christian Fraternities & Sororities - a council for organizations based on Christianity
There are also organizations for specific members and membership roles in fraternities and sororities:
- Association of Fraternity Advisors — organization intended to support and assist advisors of fraternities and sororities.
- Fraternity Communications Association — organization for communications professionals of fraternities and sororities.
- Fraternity Executives Association — organization for executives of fraternities and sororities.
Fraternities and Sororities in Popular Culture[edit | edit source]
The 1978 comedy movie "National Lampoon's Animal House" portrayed members of a fictitious fraternity at a fictitious college.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Collegiate secret societies in North America
- Fraternal and service organizations
- History of North American college fraternities and sororities
- History of the North American fraternity and sorority system
- Lambda 10 Project
- List of fictional fraternities and sororities
- List of high school fraternities and sororities
- List of social fraternities and sororities
References[edit | edit source]
- Fraternal History. About Us. Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc.. URL accessed on 30 May 2009.
- includeonly>Katherine, Rosman. "O Brother (and Sister), Where Art Thy Pins?", The New York Times, 11 August 2002, p. Section 9 Column 2 Style Desk. Retrieved on 30 May 2009.
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Notes[edit | edit source]
- Cobb, L. Martin, Michael McRee (2007). Why We Should Close More Chapters. Perspectives Spring 2007: 4–8.
- Hollmann, Barbara B. (2002). Hazing: Hidden Campus Crime. New Directions for Student Services 2002 (99): 11–24.
- Jones, Ricky L. (2004). Black haze: violence, sacrifice, and manhood in Black Greek-letter fraternities, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
- Kimbrough, Walter M. (2003). Black Greek 101, London: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.
- Leitch, Alexander (1978). "Greek-letter fraternities" A Princeton companion, Princeton University Press.
- (2008) Black Greek-letter organizations in the twenty-first century, Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky.
- Martin, Ida Shaw (1912). The sorority handbook, 6, Menasha, WI: Georgia Banta.
- Sanua, Marianne R. (2003). Going Greek: Jewish college fraternities in the United States, 1895-1945, Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.
- Shonrock, Michael D. (1998). Standards and Expectations for Greek Letter Organizations. New Directions for Student Services 1998 (81): 79–85.
- Torbenson, Craig L. (2005). "The origin and evolution of college fraternities and sororities" African American fraternities and sororities: The legacy and the vision, Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky.
- Turk, Diana B. (2004). Bound by a mighty vow: Sisterhood and women’s fraternities, 1870-1920, New York: New York University Press.
- (1998) Greek Letter Organizations: Communities of Learners?. New Directions for Student Services 1998 (81): 7–17.
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