Some Frequently Asked Questions and Some Answers
- How do I choose the right fraternity for me?
During rush, the fraternities you visit should be informing you of the benefits
of that particular group. All fraternities participate in intramurals; all
fraternities have mixers with sororities; all fraternities promote brotherhood
in their own ways. As you attend the various rush parties, it is important that
you ask questions which concern you: costs, activities, scholarship, etc. If a
fraternity talks more about its competitors than itself, be aggressive and ask
about that group. Little progress is made in condemning another organization.
Perhaps most important, make your decision on your own. Even
though your best friend or the group you attended rush parties with has
decided on a particular fraternity, you do not have to. Your friends should
always be your friends. The choice of fraternity is completely yours. It is a
decision you have made for a lifetime. Remember, you are not joining a name
or a house, you are joining a group of men.
- How much are dues?
The amount of dues at any particular chapter is determined by the
chapter. There are fixed, one-time costs established by Sigma Chi (as well as
for all fraternities) for pledge fees and initiation fees; there are also
member dues paid to the international fraternity each semester. All other
moneys collected by individual chapters are used to cover the costs of
operating the chapter house and its expenses, costs involved in rush, and other
costs deemed necessary by the chapter. Costs vary because of location, economy,
size of chapter, and several other factors. If there are any questions about
how the money is spent, it is best to contact the chapter's treasurer
(Quaestor) or president (Consul) for explanations.
- Who controls the fraternities on campus?
On most college campuses the Interfraternity Council (IFC), which is made up of
members from the various national fraternities on that campus, is the overseer
of fraternities. Some IFC's have more authority than others, depending on the
status of the IFC and the regulations of the university. In many instances, the
IFC is responsible for setting the rules for rush, has control over activities
in which fraternities participate, and incorporates a judicial system for the
fraternities. Most IFC's are directly responsible to the college student life
office and/or administration. At larger universities there is a person whose
job it is to oversee the Greek-letter organizations. Sigma Chi requires its
chapters to be active members of IFC and to work closely with university
administrations. Sigma Chi recognizes that without the university the
fraternity would not exist on that campus.
- How does a man receive an invitation to pledge Sigma Chi?
Fraternities meet during the rush period to discuss rushees who have attended
their parties, much the same as rushees sit with other rushees and discuss the
fraternities they have visited. The Jordan Standard (see inside back cover) is
used as a basis for "bidding" men to Sigma Chi. It is important for the
prospective pledge to meet members of the various fraternities during rush, so
that he can make a mature decision about pledging when the time comes. (See
also The Pledge Experience)
- What about scholarship?
Recognizing that earning grades is an individual endeavor, Sigma
Chi will not allow the initiation of any pledge who is not in good standing
with the university. Chapters are encouraged to assist pledges by having
supervised study halls and tutoring facilities. Since chapters are composed of
men with many different majors, whose interests are diverse, the pledge has an
advantage because many of the members have already completed courses the
pledge is taking and can offer advice on content and testing, and, perhaps most
important, ideas for quality studying. In conjunction, the Faculty Advisor is
available to counsel with members and pledges regarding classes, teachers,
study habits, degree plans, course requirements, and ideas on grade
Each year Sigma Chi recognizes those chapters whose scholarship programs have
been effective by awarding the Legion of Honor Award to these chapters.
Many chapters have scholarship awards for their pledges and members to
encourage better scholarship.
Over three hundred campuses throughout the country have chapters of Order of
Omega, an honorary organization for all members of Greek-letter societies.
Consideration for membership includes leadership, scholarship, activities, and
character. Only 3% of the total number of Greeks on a particular campus can
become members of Order of Omega during any academic year.
- What is the normal size of a chapter?
There has been constant growth in fraternities in the past few years. The sizes
of chapters vary from one college to another. In smaller schools a chapter may
have 25 to 30 members while at large universities the membership may be close
to 150. At Sam Houston, fraternities' memberships range from around 15 to 85.
- What makes initiation into Sigma Chi so significant?
Initiation into Sigma Chi occurs soon after pledges' grades have been verified.
Initiation is the secret ceremony by which a man becomes part of Sigma Chi.
During this ceremony he learns the deeper meanings of the fraternity and the
reasons why they exist. Each Sigma Chi initiation is the same, and because of
this, the ceremony becomes the binding force which interlocks each member to
the whole body. The secrecy involved with the initiation process teaches the
individual respect and trust. There are no offensive or negative practices
involved in Sigma Chi's initiation. If inhumane or harmful practices took place
during initiation, the fraternity would no longer exist, because educated men
just do not tolerate those actions.
- What do fraternities add to a university campus?
Fraternities on any campus help to give that university an international
flavor. For example, the fact that there are 228 chapters of Sigma Chi at
colleges and universities in the United States and Canada provides a link with
those colleges, no matter the size or location, and also links the members of
the many chapters together. It certainly is a comfortable feeling for any Sigma
Chi to visit another university where Sigma Chi has a chapter and to have an
immediate place to go for information or hospitality. After graduation, any
Sigma Chi can become part of an alumni group in over 120 locations throughout
- How much time does a fraternity take?
Taking part in any activity is purely the decision of the individual. Some are
able to participate more than others for a multitude of reasons. Many members
hold offices within the fraternity and this, of course, takes time. Being an
officer is an excellent opportunity to learn skills one could never learn in
the classroom and is beneficial for later life. Having responsibility, working
on projects both on the campus and in the community, teaching others social
skills, competing in sports, exercising one's right to vote and taking part in
an organization---these are all time-consuming activities. Thousands upon
thousands of men and women on college campuses do these things every semester,
and it is safe to say there are substantial benefits from this involvement. The
time fraternity men and women spend participating in constructive activities
for their campuses, communities, and chapters is equivalent to the time spent
by other students who sit around wasting time doing nothing.
- What about hazing?
We all have read in newspapers about chapters of fraternities which have been
found hazing. Many states currently have laws which outlaw practices considered
hazing; many of these practices are spelled out specifically. All fraternities
have policies against hazing; Sigma Chi's is stated in the pledge manual,
The Norman Shield. Although these policies and laws exist for all
fraternities, a handful of fraternity chapters still have offensive traditions
which lead to activities considered hazing. Each time one is reported in the
newspaper, it affects all fraternities, including Sigma Chi, whether
Sigma Chi is on that campus or not.
It is only human to assume that because something happens in some fraternity
in the East that the same is going on in chapters in the West. Because there
are many people who were unable
to attend college or did not have the fraternity experience while in college,
or because there were no fraternities on their campuses when they were in
school, some people tend to stereotype all fraternities and all fraternity men.
It is important to remember that if the offensive practices that are
reported in the media take place everywhere, there would be no such thing as a
college fraternity today. Whether a man pledges a fraternity or not, he
should not be influenced by others who speak from a lack of information about
fraternities. If fraternities continually incorporated offensive practices,
they would not have survived over 200 years. Look over the list of
Significant Sigs. Would these men
have tolerated what some people think happens in fraternities?
"What has impressed me most through the years is that I have never met a
Sigma Chi whom I didn't think was a special person. And I am proud to be a
---Lodwrick M. Cook, Chief Executive Officer, Atlantic
Richfield Co., (ARCO), the 18th largest U.S. industrial corporation.
If you have any questions, please ask via
The Pledge Experience
The Active Member Experience
The Alumnus Experience