Having a child begin university can be worrisome from a parents' perspective as well. Hearing about your daughter being interested in sorority recruitment can be scary due to the many misconceptions and stereotypes that surround Greek life. We encourage you to learn more, and to consider that more than 1.3 million women have joined Panhellenic sororities across North America since 1851!
What are Sororities?
Greek-letter social organizations are commonly referred to as fraternities for male groups, and sororities for female groups. Since the founding of the first sorority in 1851, these organizations have thrived and multiplied, while making a positive and tremendous impact on the service and social structure of higher education systems throughout Canada and the United States. Sororities are organizations formed around a base set of values that their organization and its events, rituals, and standards are structured around. Sororities aim to foster social, philanthropic, service, academic, leadership, and personal development along its members.
Is Housing Available?
There are different types of sorority "housing" on different campuses across the country. At Carleton University, we do not have houses where all sorority members live.
As students of Carleton, many of us live in residence or off-campus in rented apartments or houses, and some of us also live at home with our families! Often times, sisters will choose to live together, but it is not mandatory to live with members of your sorority if you do not wish to.
What is my Role as A Parent?
By reading through this section of the website, you have already begun to learn more about sororities! During recruitment, your daughter will make important decisions about which sorority to join; and as a parent your support and encouragement is crucial. Ask questions about what the different sororities can offer your daughter, and guide her into making the best decision for her.
What Will My Daughter Get Out of a Sorority?
The benefits of membership are numerous! Joining a sorority helps students to feel acclimated to campus, and provides them with a structured atmosphere in which they can concentrate on scholarship, leadership, and service. For many members, their sorority becomes a "home away from home". Each year, members contribute hundreds of volunteer hours to community service projects at Carleton and in the Ottawa area. Sorority women often cite alumnae support as one of the unique benefits of membership. Alumnae provide networking opportunities to help with job searching after graduation. Many alumnae are also actively involved as advisors. With all these opportunities available to them, it is no wonder that sorority members tend to graduate at a higher rate than those not involved. Sororities provide an opportunity for an active and rewarding university experience focused on personal betterment while developing lifelong friendships. While each chapter is filled with different individuals and thus offers a different experience, all sororities facilitate student engagement in campus or community life. There are opportunities for academic support, growth, philanthropic activities, social events, mentor-ship, leadership, and lifelong friendship. The experience offers a lifetime of opportunity that extends well beyond university.
Everyone is different when it comes to time management. You might talk to some of the sorority women on your campus to find out the time commitment required at each chapter. Many sorority women are able to manage sorority responsibilities, jobs or internships, academics, and involvement in other campus organizations. Each sorority has different events that are considered mandatory. In general, each organization requires a commitment every Sunday night for chapter meetings, and a few other days through each semester for special events. In your first term as a member, you will also participate in your sororities new membership program. This membership program differs between each organization. Throughout the 6 week program, you will learn all about your sororities history, structure and the responsibilities and privileges of membership. Your participation in Greek life should not detract from your responsibilities; in fact, the majority of members manage to hold down jobs and focus on their studies while still having an active presence in their chapters.
What are the Alcohol & Anti-Hazing Policies for Panhellenic Sororities?
In accordance with the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) Alcohol Initiative, most events held on sorority property are alcohol-free. Our members also benefit from alcohol and drug abuse awareness seminars, and educational programs on date rape, assault, and safety. Neither the National Panhellenic Conference nor any of the 26 member groups of the NPC condone hazing in any form. Each of the 26 member groups have banned hazing in all of their chapters and have policies in place stating so. The NPC is a proud sponsor of HazingPrevention.org and National Hazing Prevention Week. If you have any concerns about hazing, you should speak with the fraternity and sorority life office on your campus. Hazing can be reported anonymously at 1-888-NOT-HAZE (1-888-668-4293). Hazing, or any activity that subjects members to harassment, ridicule, intimidation, physical exhaustion, or mental distress is entirely contrary to the purposes of the sorority community and the University, and is not permitted or tolerated whatsoever. Sorority members are educated on the danger of such practices on an ongoing basis.
What are the Costs of Sorority Membership?
Being in a sorority is like all other membership organization, and does require a payment of dues. This money is used to fund the operations, social events, and programming for the chapter. It also allows the international organization to continue to provide resources and support for the chapter. The costs of sorority membership vary from campus to campus and may be affected by the type of housing provided.
Learn more about the financial obligations of our sororities here.
How Can My Daughter Join A Sorority?
Your daughter can join a sorority by participating in fall formal recruitment. Recruitment is made up of three events. You will have the opportunity to meet many new people including sorority women and other potential new members like you. On the first day of recruitment you will be assigned to a group made up of other potential new members and a Recruitment Guide (Rho Gammas). As a group you will get the chance to meet all three sororities on our campus. This will be a time for you to meet with members of each sorority, and get a chance to talk with them and learn about what makes each sorority unique. It is also a chance for the sororities to get to know you. A process of mutual selection is used, where potential new members accept and decline invitations to recruitment events until membership offers are extended by the chapters. Recruitment is meant to be informative and exciting. All you need to do is relax, and be yourself!
What if my Daughter Discovers that the Sorority she Joined is the Wrong One for Her?
Once you've accepted a bid to a sorority, the new member process is designed to make sure you are ready to make a life-long commitment to an organization. This period normally lasts 6-8 weeks but depends on your organization. If you would like to participate in recruitment again, you can do so at the time of the next primary recruitment period. Once you have accepted a bid from an NPC organization, you must wait until the next primary recruitment period to be eligible to receive another bid from an NPC organization.
If you truly think that the sorority to which you received a bid is the wrong group for you, you should make that decision before you are initiated. Once you are initiated into an NPC organization, you are ineligible for membership in any other NPC organization for the rest of your life. Going through initiation is a way to show that you are ready for a life-long commitment to your group.