Q: What are fraternities?

Fraternities are student associations – often referred to as Greek-lettered organization bound together by friendship, brotherhood, and common goals, aspirations, and values. Here at UC Berkeley we also have non-Greek letter fraternities. Fraternities have been part of the higher education landscape for almost two centuries. Social fraternities should not be confused with the many academic, professional and honor societies that operate on campus through the Center for Student Leadership (http://campuslife.berkeley.edu/orgs). Both share the Greek-letter name and have some other similarities, but each serves a different function. It is possible for a student to be a member of a social fraternity and an academic, professional, or honor society.

Q: What is the Interfraternity Council (IFC)?

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) in one of the four governing councils of the fraternity and sorority community at UC Berkeley (also known as CalGreeks). The IFC is composed of over 30 values-based, culturally-interested, and faith based fraternities.

Q: What organizations are members of the Interfraternity Council?

With an ever changing community, you can click here to see the current list of IFC groups (http://www.calgreeks.com/ifc/chapter-directory/).

Q: What if I can’t find a fraternity on the CalGreeks website?

First, be sure you’ve looked at all of the council’s directories. Fraternities (all-men’s groups) can be found in three different councils: the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Multi-Cultural Greek Council (MCGC), and National Pan-Hellenic Council).

If you don’t see the group there, they are likely not recognized by the University or any of the councils.  Please see the complete list of recognized groups: http://campuslife.berkeley.edu/greek/recognized_chapters. There are a variety of reasons that groups lose their recognition from the University.

Q: I’m thinking about joining a chapter (versus a colony), is there a difference?

A colony typically refers to an organization that is new to the campus and are looking for “Founding Fathers” of their organization, which is just a term for members before the colony becomes a fully recognized chapter. One of the largest benefits to joining a colony is the opportunity for leadership positions at an earlier stage of membership. The colony is also striving to meet the requirements of their inter/national organization, start traditions, and mold its identity on campus.

Q: How do I join a fraternity?

A: There are namely two ways individual join fraternities. First, is by a process commonly referred to as recruitment or “rush”. During the official week of rush most Interfraternity Council groups hold a variety of recruitment events that are designed to showcase their chapters and give you a chance to get acquainted with their members. Similar to how you researched, visited, and chose to attend The University of California, you should also seek out an organization that best fits your values, personality and interests. This is a mutual selection process and we encourage you to keep an open mind. Explore as many chapters as possible in order to make the best decision for you. Evaluate each organization on merit and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

The second way to join is what is referred to as “continuous open bidding,” or “year round recruitment.” While many men participate in formal rush week, others choose to participate in this more informal process. Not every organizations participates in continuous open bidding so be sure to ask the chapter directly.

Q: Will there be alcohol at recruitment events?

A: Alcohol is strictly prohibited as part of any recruitment function or any activity that may be considered related to membership recruitment. Any use of alcohol during any recruitment event is a violation of its own policies of alcohol in recruitment.  Violations of this rule will be dealt with a zero tolerance policy.

Q: When is rush/recruitment?

A: The Official IFC Rush Week for Spring 2016 is Friday, January 22rd to Thursday, January 28th. Many fraternities also participate in year round recruitment or “continuous open bidding”, but that varies from chapter to chapter.

Q: Will my grades be negatively impacted if I join a fraternity?

The goal a fraternity is to support members to achieve the highest level of academic success. Being Greek is a time commitment, but one of the core values of all fraternities is academic excellence. Each chapter sets standards for academic expectations. If members do not meet their requirements, there are several resources available for students to receive assistance such as study sessions and tutoring. Some organizations even offer scholarships for high performing members. The Greek community realizes the importance of a quality education, and academic excellence should always be a priority. However, ultimately it is up to each member to prioritize between academic obligations and organizational expectations.

Q: What is hazing?

A: Hazing is defined as any action taken, whether on or off fraternity premises, which produces bodily harm or danger, mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, fright or ridicule.  Hazing is  banned by all organizations and institutions of higher education. The University of California strictly enforces this policy, and organizations that violate the policy are subject to immediate suspension of campus recognition and privileges.

Q: Why should I join a fraternity?

A: Fraternity membership offers an  variety of experiences that enrich your overall collegiate experience that can also enhance your University of California co-curricular resume. No other academic program, activity, or campus office can over you the complete package of:

  • A home-away-from-home
  • A supportive community of caring brothers
  • Life-long friendships
  • A values-based organization that emphasizes moral and ethical self-development
  • History and traditions
  • Opportunities to build leadership skills
  • Academic support and resources
  • Opportunities for volunteerism and civic engagement
  • Intramural participation
  • Being recognized for contributions and success
  • Career networking with alumni from across the world
  • Opportunities to participate at national conventions and leadership conferences
  • Opportunities to participate in a variety of social functions.

Q: What does it cost to join a fraternity?

A: The fraternal experience should be looked at as an investment in your future. Each fraternity has different dues requirements, but in most cases it costs less to live in a fraternity house and pay dues than living on campus. Membership dues are collected to provide funds for chapter activities, programs, insurance and other services that will positively impact you. In fact, less than 1 percent of an average college student’s expenses go toward fraternity membership. In the first year of membership, a few onetime initiation fees are assessed. After that, regular semester dues generally average about $200-$400, depending on the chapter. Most organizations offer a variety of payment plans and billing options and will supplement their income with fundraising projects. Additionally, national fraternity headquarters offer millions of dollars in scholarships and educational grants to deserving candidates each year.

Q: What kind of a time commitment can I expect to give to a fraternity?

Participating in a fraternity does requires a time investment. The old saying “you get out of it what you’re willing to put into it” also applies when making the decision to join a fraternity. Most of our Greek students balance academics, a part-time job, and a social life alongside chapter membership. While there are mandatory commitments that you will be made aware of in advance (i.e. weekly meetings, community service projects, new member education, etc.), a student can be as involved as they choose to be. Time requirements vary from group to group depending on the programming calendar of the chapter. According to many of the men in our community,  the members  that are most active and involved are usually the ones most satisfied with their decision to join a fraternity.

Q: Are fraternities like how they are portrayed in the media?

Fraternities were founded as values-based organizations. The mission of our chapters and Greek members across the country live these values on an everyday basis. Unfortunately, the media and entertainment showcases only one aspect of the Greek community. Aside from the social benefits, there are many other facets that make up our community which aren’t typically highlighted such as community service, leadership opportunities, and philanthropy involvement that all of our organizations are expected to participate in. At The University of California, our fraternities are also held accountable for behavior that is not consistent with the University Code of Conduct or the values of the national organization.

Q: What if I have questions or concerns regarding any of the above information?

Please direct all recruitment inquiries to IFC Vice President of Recruitment Nathan Penn at ifc.recruitment@calgreeks.com and all general inquiries to ifc.external@calgreeks.com