FAQ: For Parents
Having a child begin university can be worrisome from a parents' perspective. Hearing about your child 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!
Q: What are sororities?
Greek-letter social organizations are commonly referred to as fraternities for majority-male groups, and sororities for majority-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. To learn more about our organizations on an international level, please visit npcwomen.org
Q: Is there housing available?
There are different types of sorority "housing" on campuses across the country and in the U.S. At Carleton University, we do not have houses where all sorority members live.
Most Carleton students 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.
Q: 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 child will make important decisions about which sorority to join; and as a parent your support and encouragement is crucial.
Ask your child questions about what the different sororities can offer them, and guide them into making their decision.
Q: What will my child get out of a sorority?
The benefits of being in a Panhellenic sorority 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 members 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 unaffiliated students.
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, mentorship, leadership, and lifelong friendship. The experience offers a lifetime of opportunity that extends well beyond university.
Q: Is there a time commitment?
Everyone is different when it comes to time management. Your child might talk to some of the sorority members on your campus to find out the time commitment required at each chapter.
Many sorority members 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 child's first term as a member, they will also participate in your sorority’s new membership program. This membership program differs between each organization. Throughout the 6-8 week program, your child will learn all about the sorority’s history, structure and the responsibilities and privileges of membership.
Your child's 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.
Q: What are the alcohol and 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 sexual 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. 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.
Q: What are the costs of membership?
Being in a sorority is like all other membership organizations, 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.
2022 fees will be available soon.
Q: How can my child join a Panhellenic sorority?
Your child can join a Panhellenic sorority by participating in fall formal recruitment. Recruitment is made up of three events. Your child will have the opportunity to meet many new people including sorority members and other potential new members like you.
On the first day of recruitment they will be assigned to a group made up of other potential new members and a Recruitment Counsellor (informally known as a Rho Gamma). As a group, they will get the chance to meet the two sororities on our campus. This will be a time for them 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 your child. 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 your child needs to do is relax, and be themself!
Q: What if my child discovers being in a sorority is not for them?
Once your child has accepted a bid to a sorority, the new member process is designed to make sure they are ready to make a life-long commitment to an organization. This period normally lasts 6-8 weeks but depends on the organization.
If your child would like to participate in recruitment again, they can do so at the time of the next primary recruitment period. Once they have accepted a bid from an NPC organization, they must wait until the next primary recruitment period to be eligible to receive another bid from an NPC organization.
If your child truly think that the sorority to which they received a bid is the wrong group for them, they must make that decision before they 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.