Terminology & FAQs

Terminology

Below are commonly used terms in the field of sorority and fraternity life:

  • Bid – a formal invitation to join a fraternity or sorority.
  • Crossing – refers to the time in culturally based organizations where an associate (non-member) is initiated into the organization as a member; the term refers to the symbolic “crossing of the burning sands."
  • Initiation – formal inducting of a non-member into full membership of a fraternity or sorority; the process usually involve performing the organization’s initiation ritual.
  • Intake – the membership recruitment process for culturally based fraternities and sororities.
  • Local (organization) – a fraternity or sorority that is not affiliated with a national or international fraternity/sorority organization; these organizations are usually the only chapter of their fraternity or sorority in existence.
  • New Member/Associate – an individual who has received an invitation for membership into a fraternity or sorority but has not been formally initiated into the organization; in the past, these individuals may have been referred to as “pledges.”
  • New Member Education – the educational process where individuals who have received an invitation for membership but have not been formally initiated into the organization learn about the history and other aspects of the fraternity/sorority; this process usually occurs before someone is formally initiated and was once referred to as “pledging.”
  • Recruitment – the process where fraternities and sororities meet prospective members; events or informational meetings are usually held for prospective members to learn about the fraternity/sorority and meet its members.
  • Ritual – usually a secret ceremony or aspect of a fraternity/sorority organization.
  • Stepping/Strolling – a series of rhythmic body movements performed to the tune of a song, chant, or stomp created by members of the organization; these movements are known for being a complex, done with precision, and performed in sync with other members.

FAQs About Sorority & Fraternity Life

How do I get involved in a fraternity or sorority?

You should receive information throughout the school year regarding both fraternity and sorority recruitment. After researching the choices that are available, have your student stop into the Greek Life Office in the Malone Student Center, room 120. Staff members and students will be more than happy to assist your student with additional information.

What is being involved in a fraternity or sorority all about?

Knowing what you have seen on television and read in the local newspaper, the reality is that those are extreme cases of fraternity and sorority life. What the media will not tell you as a parent is that there are many life-long benefits to membership in fraternities and sororities. At Loyola Marymount University, membership in a fraternity or sorority offers a small community of friends away from home. Additionally, national research has shown that involvement in fraternities and sororities increases students' chances of graduating from college. As a lifelong member of a fraternity or sorority, students are offered the opportunity to develop as leaders, serve the local community, and focus on academics, as well as their careers, by connecting with local alumni members of their organizations.

What advice should I give someone wanting to join a fraternity or sorority?

Since joining a fraternity or sorority is a lifelong commitment, and there is an expense associated with membership, it should be a joint decision between the student and parent. Consider sitting down and researching all of the organizations that are available at LMU. Spend some time researching each organization by visiting their national website, or by searching websites such as those listed below. These sites will provide great insight into what the fraternity or sorority experience is truly like. Utilizing both local chapter and national websites is a great, convenient way to gather information. Feel free to contact students who are currently involved and their parents and ask them about their experience. In most cases, both students and parents will speak candidly about their fraternity or sorority involvement. The most important thing to do, however, is to ask questions, making sure that the choice is made only after careful consideration.

I'm considering joining a fraternity or sorority that is not listed as one of LMU's registered fraternities or sororities, what should I do?

LMU requires each of its social fraternities and sororities to be affiliated with a larger, nationally-based organization. We want to make you aware that some groups that do not meet our criteria for registration have appeared on our campus over the last few years. You may be approached by one or more of these groups throughout the year and encouraged to join them. Because there is no affiliation with the University or a national organization, students who join these groups do not receive the institutional support afforded our registered student groups. If you suspect that you or someone you know may become or is involved with one of these groups, we advise you to talk with them about the potential negative consequences of joining these organizations.

What is my role as a parent? What questions should I ask before my student joins a fraternity or sorority?

Take the time to find out more about the fraternity and sorority community at Loyola Marymount University. As a parent, you should be involved in helping your student make the most appropriate and informed decision. Ask the following questions to your son or daughter as they look for their organization:

  • What is expected of a student in your fraternity or sorority?
  • What type of a member is your chapter looking for?
  • What leadership opportunities will my student have as both a new member and an active member?
  • What specific social opportunities will my student have by being a member of your organization?
  • What community service and philanthropy opportunities will my student participate in?
  • What does your chapter do to make sure that my student’s grades stay a priority?
  • What are the annual or semester dues for your organization?
  • What values does your organization promote?
  • Is your organization officially recognized by LMU? If not, why?

If I want more information about an organization or the fraternity or sorority community, where should I go?

There are a couple of different resources for you as a parent. First, and foremost, please continue searching the LMU Web site. Individual chapters websites are listed under their chapter bio in the Chapters section of this site. Here are a few other websites to visit for more information:

Will my academics be compromised if I join a chapter?

Academics are a priority in the fraternity and sorority community. Click here to see the most recent grade reports. When students join, they become part of a larger group of students who value their academic goals at LMU. This group understands what the new member is facing and can provide support in many cases. Each chapter on campus has a scholarship officer who initiates programs within the chapter to encourage high academic standards. Additionally, most chapters at LMU have a faculty or staff advisor who is able to direct them to valuable academic services. On average, the GPA among fraternity men and women at Loyola Marymount University has been consistently higher than the all-campus average. To learn more about the grades for the past few semester’s at LMU, contact the Fraternity & Sorority Life office.

How will joining a fraternity or sorority at LMU benefit life after college?

The lifelong friendships that are created from membership in a fraternity or sorority can last well into post-college years. Many alumni often say that their best friends are brothers or sisters that they had while in college. Joining an organization now is really an investment in your future. Chances are wherever you end up after college, you will be able to find a network of alumni or members of your chapter in the area. Fraternities and sororities have a network of alumni throughout the world that can be of assistance in job searching, acquiring internships or acclimating to a new area of the world.

What does it cost to be a member of a fraternity or sorority?

The fraternity and sorority experience is an investment in your future. The leadership skills, academic assistance, and friendships will benefit you well beyond their college years. The perception that fraternities or sororities are only an option for “rich” students is a widespread misrepresentation. Fraternities and sororities can be quite affordable. Membership fees go toward a variety of programming that positively impact your education. Each chapter has a different financial structure, and you should ask questions about chapter finances before deciding to join. Fraternities and sororities are not permitted to have official chapter housing at LMU, and therefore, cost of membership does not require the often expensive rent for upkeep of a chapter house.

How much time does involvement in a fraternity or sorority take up?

The commitment varies from chapter to chapter but the first semester in the organization is often the most time intensive as a new member learns about their new fraternity or sorority while balancing the rest of their personal and academic calendar. The time spent during the first semester will provide a framework upon which to build leadership and time management skills, learn more about the history of their organization, develop life-long friendships and allow them to become involved with other organizations. After initiation into the chapter, involvement level will vary. Opportunities for expanded leadership, community service and philanthropy, academic programming, and social activities are a few of the time commitments that you face throughout the semester. Each week chapters have meetings that your student is expected to attend to learn more about the programs and services the chapter will provide. Beyond this meeting, the more your student puts into the organization the more they will get out of being a member.

Are fraternities and sororities primarily social in nature?

There is a social aspect to the fraternity and sorority community and these “social” events include educational programming/workshops, community service events, intramural sports, scholarship dinners, Homecoming and Greek Week in addition to parties and socials. Today’s fraternity and sorority communities across North America have adopted a stringent approach to socializing thereby creating a safer, more beneficial learning environment for members. Each chapter is expected follow their own local and national risk management policy in addition to the University’s policies and local, state and federal laws. All organizations at LMU sponsor programming on responsible social behavior.

What about hazing? Will my student be hazed?

Loyola Marymount University adheres to California state law, which defines hazing as “any method of initiation or pre-initiation into a student organization or student body or any pastime or amusement engaged in with respect to the organizations which causes, or is likely to cause, bodily danger, physical harm or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm, to any pupil or other person attending any school, community college, university or other education institution in this state.” This definition applies to all organizations at LMU, including the fraternities and sororities. All of LMU’s fraternities and sororities national offices also have regulations against hazing, and any chapter found responsible for participating in hazing will be handled according to University judicial policy. Chapters are reminded of this policy each semester, and your student will be asked to sign a statement stating they understand that hazing is against University policy. If you feel your student is being hazed, please report this to the Fraternity & Sorority Life office.

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