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What is being involved in a fraternity or sorority all about?
It’s usually the most extreme cases of Greek life that you see on TV or read about in the newspaper. What the media doesn’t tell you about are the lifelong benefits that can be gained by participating in a group with a focus on academic achievement and charitable giving. The instant community of friends helps students become more involved in everything the university has to offer, from social functions to academic pursuits. After graduation, a deep alumni community is always ready to offering mentoring and professional connections. Eventually, your student can become one of those mentors offering leadership to the next generation.

What are the benefits of joining a fraternity or sorority?
Fraternities and sororities stem from a dedication to academic achievement, community service and lifelong friendships. Other advantages include:
  • Scholastic resources and accountability;
  • Opportunities for hands-on leadership development;
  • Chances to benefit the community through service and philanthropic endeavors; and,
  • Built-in support group to help them make the most of their campus experience.
Studies also show that members of Greek-letter organizations have higher graduation rates and tend to be more financially successful than other students. After graduating they also are more likely to be involved in charitable and volunteer organizations.

What about academics? Won’t Greek life get in the way?
Academic success has always been at the core of Greek-letter organizations, and it’s no different for the fraternities and sororities on the UCO campus. Established members know the importance of making a good start, and they hold themselves and the new members accountable as they become part of the campus community. Each organization is different, but they all maintain GPA standards for initiation and continued membership. They also provide structured study periods, tutoring, academic advisers, scholarships and awards.

What about the social lives of members in fraternities and sororities?
The Greek community is deeply involved in the campus environment and the leaders of these houses have worked together with the UCO administration to create a safe and responsible environment for its members. Each member organization has policies about underage drinking by members and guests, and they’re all held accountable to the Student Code of Conduct as well as state and local laws.

What’s the financial obligation?
There is a financial commitment associated with Greek life, usually going towards covering chapter operating expenses, social functions and fees associated with the inter/national chapter. Each chapter’s obligations are different, but generally, new members should expect higher dues in the first semester than in subsequent ones.

Is hazing part of the Greek experience at UCO?
Hazing is not tolerated and expressly prohibited in the University of Central Oklahoma Code Of Student Conduct (III. Student Expectations and Responsibilities, H. Prohibited Conduct, #7). If you feel that you or your student’s membership has put them in an inappropriate situation, please contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Concerns will be handled quickly and discreetly.

UCO has a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing, and it conforms to Oklahoma’s anti-hazing legislation. According to Oklahoma Statues (§21-1190), hazing is defined as: “…an activity which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental health or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with any organization operating subject to the sanction of the public or private school or of any institution of higher education in this state;”  

“Endanger the physical health" shall include but not be limited to any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, alcoholic beverage as defined in Section 506 of Title 37 of the Oklahoma Statutes, low-point beer as defined in Section 163.2 of Title 37 of the Oklahoma Statutes, drug, controlled dangerous substance, or other substance, or any other forced physical activity which could adversely affect the physical health or safety of the individual. 

"Endanger the mental health" shall include any activity, except those activities authorized by law, which would subject the individual to extreme mental stress, such as prolonged sleep deprivation, forced prolonged exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which could result in extreme embarrassment, or any other forced activity which could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual.

Who’s actually in charge of the fraternities and sororities?
Each chapter elects officers to handle the day-to-day operations of that chapter with alumni acting as advisers. Each chapter is accountable to their Inter/national body, and these parent organizations also offer support, advice, and guidance through full-time, paid staff and volunteers. UCO has two full-time staff to serve as contacts for the Greek community.
What is Rush/Recruitment/Intake?
Greek chapters on the UCO campus practice either recruitment or intake, which is commonly known as “rush,” At UCO, there are both formal and informal forms of recruitment. The formal process, usually in the fall semester for IFC and Panhellenic groups, allows students to explore the full range of student organizations and activities. The Membership Intake process to join an NPHC or other chapter happens many times throughout the year, depending on the organization. Students are encouraged to do plenty of research into each group before they contact an organization.
What is pledging?
Pledging is a period of orientation for new members in a Greek organization. During the pledge period, new members participate in leadership retreats, service projects, team-building activities, and meetings to learn more about the history of their organization. These pledge periods are designed to create a sense of responsibility and commitment in new members while helping them cope with their transition to college life. As with all fraternity and sorority policies, hazing is strictly forbidden at this time or at any other.

What is a philanthropy or service project?
Throughout the year, Greek members take on part of their mission to support their national philanthropies by spending time fundraising and volunteering for certain nonprofit causes. These projects also give fraternity brothers and sorority sisters a chance to bond while making a difference in someone’s life.  

What are the benefits of being in the Greek system after college?
The benefits of Greek life extend well past the college experience. Beyond making lifelong friends, each Greek organization has national networks and alumni chapters almost anywhere a student might end up. These relationships can be invaluable when it comes time to find internships or jobs. It also creates a support structure for them across the nation and even the globe.

What can parents or family members do?
Be supportive and involve yourself in the learning process. Most organizations will provide written statements about policies, finances and activities. As your child takes on membership in a chapter, take advantage of Mom’s and Dad’s weekend activities as well as UCO’s Parent and Family Weekend. It’s a great way to spend time with your student while getting a first-hand view of how they’re taking advantage of the UCO experience.