Parents and Families

Being a member of the fraternity and sorority community has helped many students adapt to the scholastic and social challenges posed by life at a large university. Students in fraternities and sororities build connections with members of their organization and overall fraternity and sorority community, and are involved in many other facets of campus.

If this is the first student in your family to join a fraternity/sorority or first child to go to college and join a fraternity/sorority we are here to be a resource to you and your students through this unique experience.

Once students have chosen their fraternity or sorority, a period of new member education begins. This usually lasts six to eight weeks and is a time for students to further contemplate their choices. Hopefully, their experience will be positive, and their Initiation will begin lifelong membership. If, however, students feel membership has not met their expectations, they may choose not to be initiated.

If you have a concern about activities that are taking place in your students organization, please contact a staff member in Fraternity & Sorority Life. The University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Center for Leadership and Involvement, and Fraternity and Sorority Life take hazing very seriously. To speak to a staff member in Fraternity and Sorority Life, call (608) 263-0365, we would be happy to talk with you.

Fraternity & Sorority Life SOAR Presentation

Academics (Scholarship)

Academics are important in Fraternity and Sorority Life, and are consistently promoted by chapters from recruitment to graduation. The resources that Greek members can provide include scholarship awards, study sessions and tutoring assistance. Many chapters and inter/national Greek organizations recognize and reward their members’ scholastic excellence. Additionally, according to retention data, members of Greek organizations are more likely to complete their college degree than their non-Greek counterparts.

Leadership & Campus Involvement

Membership in a Greek organization is one of the best ways to become involved at the University of Wisconsin. Many of the leaders and officers of fraternity/sorority chapters are involved in numerous other organizations on campus. Fraternity and sorority members take an active leadership role in the UW – Madison community. Not only can members participate in leadership opportunities within their chapter and respective council, but also in many other campus-wide activities. Research has shown that involved college students are more likely to graduate and report greater satisfaction with their overall college experience. At UW – Madison, we believe in self-governance and shared governance. This is often the first time that members are responsible for their own activities and living within their means. This provides an excellent opportunity to experience leadership and the responsibility of membership.

Community Service & Philanthropic Participation

Greeks take pride in giving their time to local and national philanthropies and completing numerous community service projects in the local Madison community. Service and philanthropy provide chapter members with the opportunity to support many causes. Members work together on projects not only to serve the community but also to foster personal growth and greater unity among the Fraternity and Sorority community.

Brotherhood/Sisterhood

One of the most mentioned aspects of Fraternity and Sorority Life is the friendship that exists between members of a n organization: undergraduate and alumni/ae. Fraternity and Sorority Life promotes the development of close ties between members through living, studying, working, competing and having fun together. These lifetime relationships go beyond ordinary friendships to become like that of a family. Going Greek gives your student the opportunity to meet people and make special friendships that will last a lifetime.

Connections

While academic achievement is the primary reason to attend UW – Madison, there is a time for social interaction. UW – Madison’s fraternity and sorority community always provides fun activities for its members. Social and recreational activities give you the opportunity to meet a variety of people and to strengthen the bonds of friendship at the same time. Participation in traditional events, such as Homecoming, Greek Week and philanthropic events, demonstrates Greek unity and spirit. While the majority of the formal events in a Chapter do not involve alcohol  there are some that do and your expectations of your student should be discussed. We ask that you have honest conversations around the use and consumption of alcohol.

Be Observant

Check in with your student and learn more about their experience with their new chapter.  If things are going well, you should notice your student continue to feel more adjusted to college life, connected with their peers, and finding the support they need from the people around them.  Unfortunately, there are students that don’t have this same experience.  Notice changes in your student – behaviors, attitudes, etc. – and provide support and reach out to help.  Our staff is available to talk with you or your student about their experience and connect them with campus resources.

Learn More & Ask Questions

Here are a few suggestions to help ease your student’s fraternity/sorority experience:

  • Be happy and supportive of your student’s choice of fraternity/sorority.
  • Encourage them to attend programs sponsored by their new chapter and the Fraternity and Sorority Office..
  • Know the name and contact information for the chapter president, new member educator and chapter advisor.
  • Ask for details about the financial aspect of membership.  If you are providing financial assistance, you have the right to know.  Many one time fees are paid during the first semester of membership, so expect the first few months to be the most expensive.
  • Stay in touch with phone calls, emails & text messages.
  • Encourage your student to be a part of the University community and to take advantage of its many resources.

Some fraternities and sororities at UW – Madison live together in a chapter facility.  These facilities are owned and operated independently from the institution.  The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life does provide guidance that aligns with on-campus housing, however, each facility is led by a group of volunteers, alumni, or the national organization, not the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life. Should you have any questions or concerns related to a facility, please contact the house corporation board. If you do not have their contact information, the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life can help you in connecting with someone. This document is part of the guiding questions provided to chapter house corporations as they finalize plans for the fall 2020 term related to COVID – 19 health and safety. 

A $30 FSL Community Contribution Fee will be applied to undergraduates participating in Fraternity & Sorority Life each semester beginning with the Fall 2020 term. This funding supplements the funding provided by campus to employ the FSL Staff, cover operational expenses, and provide programming and education opportunities for fraternity and sorority members.  This new model significantly increases the existing staffing levels and elevates Fraternity & Sorority Life to be a campus department, falling within the Leadership & Engagement theme area of Student Affairs.  There is a thoughtful waiver process, and students experiencing financial difficulty are encouraged to submit a waiver request.  Waivers are due twice a year (July 1 and November 1) for the following semester.  Once a waiver application is approved, that student will continue to receive the waiver.  Students may apply for the waiver at any time.