Information for Parents
As a parent, you obviously want your son or daughter to get the best education they can. Certainly the education they receive in the classroom is the primary reason for coming to Wittenberg University. But at Wittenberg education also occurs beyond the classroom walls... it includes the whole college experience. This guide is designed to help answer questions a parent might have.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the advantages of becoming a member of a fraternal organization?
Who is actually in charge?
How does someone become a member?
How much does it cost?
Who do I talk to about my student's billing statement for fraternity/sorority charges?
What are living conditions like in fraternity/sorority houses?
What about alcohol?
What about hazing?
What is my role as a parent?
Becoming a member of a fraternal organization will provide your child with skills and experiences that will help prepare them for not only a career, but for life. These advantages include:
- Leadership skills: learned through offices in the chapter, through governing Greek councils, and educational programs offered on campus and by the (inter) national organizations.
- Academic success: provided through planned study sessions, partnering with older members of the chapter, guest speakers at meetings, collaboration with faculty.
- Educational programming: each chapter hosts a number of guest lectures on topics ranging from alcohol awareness and personal safety, to study skills and financial management.
- Enduring friendships and alumni contacts: Being in a fraternity/sorority does not stop at graduation. When someone joins, they are a lifelong member. As such, they develop contacts and acquaintances that can help them when looking for a job or when they need advice. With over 130 years of history on our campus Wittenberg fraternity/sorority alumni/ae are there to help.
- Developing a sense of civic responsibility: In the past year, Wittenberg’s fraternity/sorority members have worked over 9,000 volunteer hours and donated over $19,000 for local and national organizations. From tutoring children, to assisting the Springfield Food Bank, to supporting a Girl Scout Troop, or being a Big Brother our members are giving back to the community. Greek members use this experience to become active members of their churches, schools and local governments later in life.
- It's fun!: The most immediate benefit for your son or daughter is the activities and social events sponsored by each chapter. Whether it is a chapter event, or a Greek Week event, your son or daughter will be around a group of students who know how to enjoy themselves responsibly.
Students elect their own officers from their membership. These officers deal with the day-to-day operations of the organization. Each member learns cooperation and planning skills. Alumni act as advisors to the officers and general chapter members. The houses of each organization are owned by a "House Corporation" that manages monies, collects rent and pays bills. Most chapters also have a dedicated faculty or administration member that serves as an on-campus advisor, primarily assisting members with academic engagement, time management, and providing access to various resources.
Each group is governed by a national/international organization, which establishes chapter regulations and offers advice and direction through professional staff that visit the chapter at least once a year. Additionally, the University employs a Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life who works directly with the coordinating fraternity/sorority councils, as well as the individual chapters.
During the spring semester, the coordinating fraternity/sorority councils, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) for the men, and the Panhellenic Council ("Panhel") for the women, sponsor what's called "formal recruitment." It is a series of planned events that provide interested students the opportunity to visit each chapter and meet the members. The NPHC or historically African-American chapters conduct membership intake on an individual chapter basis. It should be noted that registration or participation in Wittenberg Fraternity and Sorority Recruitment is NOT an offer nor a guarantee of membership. Membership selection is at the sole discretion of each chapter and its members and is not influenced or controlled by the Wittenberg IFC, Wittenberg Panhellenic, nor Wittenberg Office of Student Involvement.
Once recruitment is over, and the chapter has offered an invitation to membership which the student accepts, they become a "new member." Each chapter has different rules, guidelines and terms for this period that lasts 6 to 8 weeks. The student will spend time learning about the history of the fraternity or sorority, rules, history and traditions. Once the new member period is over, they will be inducted into full membership (be sure to have your son or daughter ask about each chapter's requirements).
You may have heard the cliche about fraternity/sorority members "buying their friends." Nothing is farther from the truth. Like any national organization, there are bills to pay and costs of membership. When your son or daughter becomes a new member, there is usually a fee paid to the national/international organization. There also are semester dues and fees. When it is time to become a full member, there is usually a one-time fee to be paid to the inter/national organization that covers the cost of their badge, certificate and certain other items. Dues and other fees may also go toward upkeep of the house and also to keep the inter/national organization running. Without them, the chapters could not function.
If your student lives in a sorority or fraternity house, there are room and board fees which are comparable to and most often less than residence hall or off-campus housing costs. These costs vary for each chapter but the total cost is comparable to, if not less than, what room, board, entertainment costs are for non-Greek students. Encourage your son or daughter to ask about the specific costs when they go through recruitment and to share financial obligations with you each semester. Every chapter uses a different dues structure and some also use third-party agencies for billing; be sure you ask your student about the mechanics of dues and billing upon joining.
Wittenberg University provides a third party billing service for Greek organizations that request it. This third party relationship requires the University to refer any student/family disputes related to charges billed by the University on behalf of the Greek chapter to the designated contact person that the chapter assigns. This person is often the organization's House Corporation treasurer or president (usually an alumnus/alumna of the organization) or the chapter treasurer. While the University staff will do our best to answer questions regarding student billing statements for fraternity/sorority charges, the best contact will usually be the House Corporation. Your student should have the name and contact information for members of the House Corporation; if this information is not available, please call (937) 327-7820.
Fraternity/Sorority houses are homes. Each house has a living room, or common area, multiple bathrooms, kitchen and dining room. Most have computer facilities, wireless networks or phone lines in each room where students can connect to the Internet, and cable T.V. access. The majority of our housed chapters have a live-in adult house director who oversees daily operations of the house and safety of the residents. But the comforts of home are not what make fraternity and sorority houses homes--it is the brothers/sisters that flourish in an environment that promotes learning and friendship. Most chapters offer opportunities for family members to visit the houses multiple times a year.
The days of open parties at fraternity/sorority social functions are long gone. Today's fraternities and sororities promote responsible use of alcohol. Our fraternity/sorority community has been on the cutting-edge of the alcohol issue. Each chapter holds regular seminars on responsible alcohol use. Our fraternity/sorority councils support Wittenberg's Programming with Alcohol Policy, which all chapters adhere to and national fraternities and sororities support. Many chapters have more stringent policies than Wittenberg's alcohol policy and those chapters are expected to follow whichever is more stringent.
Undoubtedly, you've heard about hazing in the media. Wittenberg University and every national/international fraternity and sorority on campus has strict policies against it. Our fraternity and sorority members respect each other and hazing is not tolerated at Wittenberg.
If you ever feel you son or daughter may have been hazed (or harassed), please call 937-327-7820 or click here for more information on how to report hazing.
As a parent, you can be supportive of your son's or daughter's efforts to join a chapter. Learn as much as you can about the fraternities and sororities at Wittenberg. Many groups provide websites and written statements concerning activities, finances and policies. Allow your son or daughter to make their own choice (especially if you are a member of a fraternity or sorority). Participate in chapter sponsored events for alumni and parents. Come to Family Weekend and/or homecoming, if possible. If there are ever questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact the Director of Fraternity & Sorority Life (937-327-7820). We hope your support will continue throughout your son's or daughter's years at Wittenberg.
Greek Life Definitions:
Provides basic definitions for words you may hear or may have heard regarding Greek Life
Information on Greek Housing Regulations:
Information for Advisors
All fraternities and sororities (and all student organizations) are required to have a faculty or staff advisor and it is strongly encouraged that each chapter have a chapter advisor, typically an alumnus/alumna of the organization. The correlation between successful chapters and strong advisory support is high; the most successful organizations tend to have a group or board of engaged advisors supporting various areas of the organization's operation.
The Office of Student Involvement encourages advisors to take advantage of resources that the fraternity/sorority (inter)national organization can provide and to utilize this office as a resource as well. Several of the resources an advisor needs are provided on this website and the Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life is happy to provide assistance in any way possible.
More information coming soon!
For parents and family members of fraternity/sorority members, the role of the chapter's advisors should not be confused with the role of the chapter's House Corporation (if the chapter is housed or seeking housing). It is not uncommon for advisors and house corporation officers to be the same person, but oftentimes there is confusion between the two entities. The House Corporation is responsible for coordinating all operations related to the chapter's house (or in the case of unhoused chapters, assisting the members seek out housing options). This typically includes move-in and move-out, fire and safety inspections, hiring and supervision of the house director, cook or other staff, and renovation projects.