Guide to Greek Life
Congratulations and welcome to Vanderbilt University! As you start this new and exciting chapter of your life, we hope you consider becoming a part of Vanderbilt Greek Life throughout your time here at Vanderbilt. Our Greek community has the potential to foster personal growth, develop leadership, provide support in times of need, challenge you to grow, and more. Such a diverse array of experiences can be quite a wonderful part of enriching your time at Vanderbilt while also preparing you for your future endeavors!
Although each organization is unique in its history, values, rituals, and members, all of our organizations hold the common bond of unity across our councils. As such, it is important you consider all of the various councils and organizations that make up our community since our growth and impact relies upon the contributions of each and every organization’s members. We encourage potential members to research each of our organizations to learn about the best things each and every organization can provide!
Your values, what you want out of the Greek experience, and the legacy you want to leave in the community are all things you should consider as you flip through these pages. We intend for this information, and the many events our councils/organizations hold, to help you discover realistic and honest expectations with yourself about the high expectations and responsibilities that come with being a life-long member in a fraternity or sorority. We believe that the Greek community has shaped who we are as individuals and are excited to share this aspect of our incredible Vanderbilt experience with you. We hope that this publication will help you learn more about our Greek community and answer some of your questions, but don’t hesitate to reach out!
Go ‘Dores, and Go Greek!
Community of Care
Taking care of your brothers, sisters, and guests is an important aspect of your membership and something that you should always be mindful of as a member. You will be held accountable for your actions and should hold others accountable as well.
Being a Greek is a significant time commitment. As a member, you will be expected to attend weekly meetings, community service projects, sisterhood/brotherhood events, complete Greek Member Experience, and attend other chapter events. Being a lifelong commitment, engagement with the organization might change how it looks over time but ultimately a potential new member should consider what expectations they have for being in an organization and if they are prepared to spend a large portion of their time with the organization.
Sororities/Fraternities are values-based organizations, and there is also an expectation that you will uphold those values. You must understand that from the day you accept your bid or cross over into your organization until long after graduation, you are always wearing your letters.
Vanderbilt Student First
While being in a sorority/fraternity will be only one of your commitments at Vanderbilt, make it a priority. Your Greek experience will be what you make of it—the more you put in to it, the more you will get out of it! But always remember that you are a Vanderbilt student first and your chapter commitments should not get in the way of your academic success.
Greek Member Experience
The Greek Member Experience (GME) consists of a set of 12 minimum expectations for member engagement in programs and activities in six tracks: Campus Involvement, Community Impact, Diversity & Inclusion, Faculty Engagement, Healthy Behaviors and Personal Development.
Being a member of a fraternity or sorority comes with high expectations of engagement and personal development that are showcased in this program. Students attend events and programs throughout the year to meet these expectations. You will be expected to meet these minimum expectations each year, including your first year of membership. You will earn credit for events and activities that you participate in throughout the entire year, even prior to your membership in a Greek organization. Participation in campus engagement opportunities included in GME is a great way to meet Greek members and to show how you intend to contribute to a Greek organization as a member. Head here to learn more: https://www.vanderbilt.edu/greek_life/the-greek-member-experience/
Anti-Hazing and Bystander Intervention
We believe that hazing does not have a place within our community and need your help in ensuring that we are successful in providing a safe and healthy experience for our members. Our students participate in nationally recognized trainings to be empowered to report hazing and intervene to support members through emotional distress, address issues of anxiety, depression, suicide, alcohol/other drug use, and more. Through these experiences, our students are given the tools they need to confront their peers in order to combat issues like hazing, and sexual assault. To report hazing, you can call the hazing hotline at 615-343-STOP (7867) or use the reporting link on our website. Please go to https://www.vanderbilt.edu/greek_life/resources/anti-hazing-resources/ to learn how to recognize hazing, the University and State of Tennessee’s Hazing policy, and more.
Since 1973, Vanderbilt has had a deferred joining system. Under this system, students have the entire fall semester to adjust to college academics and living in a residence hall. There is also the opportunity to observe the fraternity and sorority community. The advantage to deferred joining is that students can make a more informed decision about whether to join a fraternity and which organizations suit them best. Each group has its own character, but all have similar programs and activities. They all encourage academic achievement, community service, social activities, leadership development, and belonging.
Sisterhood and Brotherhood
Sisterhood/Brotherhood offers a sense of belonging, the feeling of great friends respecting you for your individuality, and the feeling of knowing that you can count on your sisters/brothers in the good times as well as in the bad. Your chapter is a home away from home, presenting members with venues to socialize in, networks of support for older members, and countless opportunities to make new friends.
Each fraternity and sorority is founded on a set of ideals and values, which serve as a set of standards and expectations for its members. All of our chapters are a part of larger national or international organizations that believe in holding themselves to these high expectations. As such, our members are expected to excel academically, socially, and professionally, living up to these ideals. It’s important when considering joining that you know and expect to be held to a higher standard than your peers that might not be in a Greek organization.
Greeks are leaders both within their organizations and across campus. Chapter officers coordinate meetings, service projects, and social events. Currently, Greeks are well represented in leadership positions within Vanderbilt Student Government, VUcept, Vanderbuddies, Multicultural Leadership Council, Alternative Spring Break, Dance Marathon, and many other organizations on campus.
Service and Philanthropy
Each year our community raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for chapter and community philanthropic partners. Many Greek students volunteer their time in local programs such as the Children’s Hospital, Alternative Spring Break, Habitat for Humanity, tutoring projects, and more. All Greek members are expected to engage in at least 15 hours of community service each year, though some chapters have much higher requirements. This expectation ensures that the founding value of commitment to community remains strong and lasting. Last year alone our organizations performed over 35,000 hours of community service in the local Nashville community, nationally, and globally.
The camaraderie of the community is apparent in many ways, from joint benefits and socials to the individual friendships that exist between members of different organizations. Our Cross-Council Circle initiative brings chapters from each council together for campus events. Additionally, our Greek Inclusivity Alliance works toward a more equitable Greek community by creating safe and inclusive spaces within Greek Life. Allies and advocates from all councils are selected and trained to foster dialogue, seek education, and promote engagement to further equity and justice within Greek Life.
Membership in a Greek organization offers a variety of social opportunities. Most of our groups host social events like dinners, parties, special catered lunches, desserts at the house, movie nights, and other events for members to socialize with each other and their guests.
- 2.5 grade point average (*A higher GPA may be required in varying organizations. Ask organizations for more information.)
- Completion of at least 12 credit hours. (*Additional credit hours may be required in some organizations. Ask organizations for more information.)
- Must not be on disciplinary probation
- 5 hours of community service with a fraternity (*IFC Only)
- Must not have been initiated in another fraternity or sorority (*This does not apply to academic or professional Greek letter organizations).
- Attend an Intake Seminar (*NPHC and IGC Only)
Transfer students are eligible to participate in fall recruitment as long as they have completed 12 credit hours at their previous university and complete 3 hours of community service with a fraternity.
Remember, these are Vanderbilt University’s minimum expectations. Some organizations may have higher standards for membership.
The Interfraternity Council, commonly known as IFC, takes charge of and preserves the high standards of its 11 member fraternities on this campus. Led by an executive board of nine students, the Interfraternity Council promotes the interests of fraternities in general and insures cooperation among the different fraternities on campus.
Alpha Tau Omega
Beta Theta Pi (*Returning Fall 2020)
Delta Kappa Epsilon
Delta Tau Delta
Kappa Alpha Order
Lambda Chi Alpha
Pi Kappa Alpha
Zeta Beta Tau
Read more about the IFC Recruitment Process here.
The Intercultural Greek Council (IGC) is the governing council for Vanderbilt's culturally based fraternal organizations. The goal of the Intercultural Greek Council is to meet the unique needs of our culturally or identity-based fraternal organizations. Moreover, IGC strives to unify intercultural organizations by providing a platform for students to experience a holistic and well-rounded Greek Life experience through scholarship, service, and leadership within the Vanderbilt community.
Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc.
We are proud to have six of the Divine Nine organizations represented at Vanderbilt. NPHC is the governing council for these historically African American fraternities and sororities. It is the mission of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. to promote cooperation and harmony between member organizations and between members and other campus organizations in developing the best possible image for the Greek community. The executive board works to objectively govern the NPHC community as well as provide collaborative programming opportunities for the council and the broader campus community.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc.
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Read more about the NPHC Intake Process here.
The Vanderbilt University Panhellenic Council is the governing organization for the ten National Panhellenic Conference sororities. The Panhellenic Council, led by an nine-member executive board, is responsible for organizing activities of mutual concern and interest to all Panhellenic sororities on campus. You can contact Panhellenic Executive Board with questions about how to get involved, the recruitment counselor mentor program, recruitment questions, and more!
Alpha Chi Omega
Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Omicron Pi
Delta Delta Delta
Kappa Alpha Theta
Kappa Kappa Gamma
Pi Beta Phi
Zeta Tau Alpha
Read more about the Panhellenic Recruitment Process here.
The chart linked here includes estimates of the overall expense of being a new member or active undergraduate member of these organizations. We highly encourage you to talk with the individual fraternity or sorority about the financial obligations of membership during the recruitment/intake process. Included in the chart below is a brief listing of semester dues for new members and initiated undergraduate members, potential semester/annual financial support options from the chapter, regional, or national level, and additional expenses one might incur through expenses that at the discretion of each person. Additionally, Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils do provide some level of semester by semester financial assistance to members that apply, one would need to re-apply each semester and each application is not guaranteed.
New Member/Aspirant dues listed within this packet are estimates based off of what the Inter/National Headquarters charge in addition to the overall operating budgetary expenses of the specific chapter. Additional costs could include but not limited to: one-time membership registration or application fees, new member retreats, organization specific regalia (examples could look like membership pins, badges, line jackets, etc.), accountability fines for behavior or chapter violations, new member education materials such as manuals and booklets, and chapter house facility management fee (where applicable). Optional expenses that members might have through personal purchasing decisions would include t-shirts for specific events, “formals” or trips with members, national or regional conferences/conclaves, gifts for “Big Brother/Sister and Little Brother/Sister” experiences, and other expenses that might be considered optional and at the discretion of each person.