Guide to Greek Life
As you consider your involvement on campus, we are excited to share more information about Vanderbilt's fraternities and sororities. The Vanderbilt Greek community has the potential to foster personal growth, develop leadership, provide support in times of need, challenge members, and more.
Although each organization is unique in its history, values, rituals, and members, all of our organizations hold the common bond of unity across 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 meaningful impact each 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 learn more about membership in our community. 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 expectations and responsibilities that come with being a life-long member in a fraternity or sorority. We believe that the Greek community has shaped our members and are excited to share this aspect of the Vanderbilt experience with you.
We hope that this information will help you learn more about our Greek community and answer some of your questions. Please refer to our Meet the Greeks and How to Join tabs on our website for additional information.
Go ‘Dores, and Go Greek!
Since 1973, Vanderbilt has had a deferred joining system for first-year students. Under this system, first-year students are not eligible until the second semester (Spring) of their first year to join a fraternity or sorority. Eligible upperclassmen and transfer students may pursue membership in the Fall or Spring semesters.
Through deferred joining, first-year students have the entire fall semester to transition to their collegiate experience. There is also the opportunity to learn more and engage with active members in 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.
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 the 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.
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.
We highly encourage you to talk with the individual fraternity or sorority about the financial obligations of membership during the recruitment/intake process. Included on each council's How to Join page 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.
- 2.50 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
- 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 *IGC and NPHC Only
Upperclassmen and transfer students are eligible to participate in fall recruitment as long as they have completed 12 credit hours at their previous university and are not on disciplinary probation.
Remember, these are Vanderbilt University’s minimum expectations. Some organizations may have higher standards for membership.
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 or any other violation of Vanderbilt policy, you can call the Community Standards Hotline at 615-343-STOP (7867) or use the reporting link on our website. Please visit our Anti-Hazing Resources page to learn how to recognize hazing, the University and State of Tennessee’s Hazing policy, and more.
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 Epsilon Pi
- Alpha Tau Omega
- Beta Theta Pi
- Kappa Alpha Order
- Kappa Sigma
- Lambda Chi Alpha
- Phi Delta Theta
- Phi Kappa Psi (* Returning Fall 2022)
- Pi Kappa Alpha
- Sigma Alpha Epsilon (*Returning Spring 2023)
- Sigma Chi
- Sigma Nu
- 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.
- Alpha Psi Lambda National, Inc.
Currently continuing to pursue expansion efforts
Read more about IGC recruitment processes here.
A collaborative organization of nine historically African American, international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities. The nine NPHC organizations are sometimes collectively referred to as the "Divine Nine. Vanderbilt is currently home to seven of these organizations.
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
- Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc.
- Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
- Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
- Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
- Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
- Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (*Returning Fall 2022)
Read more about the NPHC Intake Process here.
An umbrella organization for 26 (inter)national women’s sororities. Each member group is autonomous as a social, Greek-letter society of college women and alumnae. We have nine of the 26 represented at Vanderbilt
- Alpha Chi Omega
- Alpha Delta Pi
- Chi Omega
- Delta Delta Delta
- Kappa Alpha Theta
- Kappa Delta
- Kappa Kappa Gamma
- Pi Beta Phi
- Zeta Tau Alpha
Read more about the Panhellenic Recruitment Process here.