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For Parents

About Greek Life at Vanderbilt

Your student has embarked upon a great adventure by choosing to attend Vanderbilt University. Your student has many opportunities ahead of them while at VU. By joining a fraternity or sorority, your student is joining hundreds of other new members in their search for a sense of community at the university. Students can feel overwhelmed once they are in a new environment. VU allows students to take the first semester of their freshman year to adjust to our campus life before making the decision to “Go Greek”.

Parents Often Ask. . .

Sororities and fraternities have a history on campus dating back to the school’s founding. These organizations are rooted in founding principles that foster academic achievement, student involvement, community service, and life-long friendships. Greek organizations are groups of men and women who come together to form a personal network of individuals with similar ideas, interests, and a mutual pursuit of a well-rounded college education.

Advantages include:

  • A support group to help make the adjustment to college easier.
  • Scholastic resources to help student achieve their academic goals.
  • Leadership skills acquired through hands-on experience.
  • Encouragement to get involved and maximize their potential on campus.
  • Opportunities for active participation in community service projects.

Sororities and fraternities serve as a great resource for students academically, through study hours and tutoring programs. Most chapters require a high grade point average for initial membership into the organization. The minimum cumulaitve GPA required to participate in joining any fraternity or sorority in our community is 2.50.  You can find specific information about the chapter’s academic performance here.

Because the Greek community at Vanderbilt contributes to the social activity on campus, it has taken great strides toward creating a responsible and safe environment for its members. All fraternities and sororities have strict policies regulating the consumption of alcohol for underage members and guests. Organizations work closely with the Greek Life staff to conduct safe social activities. All Greek organizations are held accountable to the Vanderbilt Alcohol Policy and Tennessee State Laws.

Like many opportunity for involvement in college, there is a financial commitment associated with a joining a fraternity or sorority. The costs go toward the inter/national fees, chapter operating expenses, and social functions without which organizations can't function. Financial obligations differ among individual chapters, but generally new members can expect to pay higher dues their first semester than in subsequent ones.

Additional costs throughout the semester will go toward chapter meals, pictures, gifts, tee shirts, etc. There are payment plans available for students via their individual chapters, as well as opportunities to apply for chapter and council-based scholarships. While your student is participating in the recruitment/intake process, make sure that your student asks about the financial obligations of membership. 

You can find more detailed financial information below:

*Please note that not all chapters and councils have scholarships available to members. Also, there are no guarantees that should a student receive assistance that such assistance would be continual.

Vanderbilt University does not condone hazing behaviors and has an anti-hazing policy that is consistent with Tennessee state law. Hazing includes any activity that subjects members to harassment, ridicule, intimidation, physical exhaustion, abuse, or mental distress. Hazing is contrary to the purposes of the Greek community and the University. Hazing is not tolerated. If you sense your student may be participating in inappropriate activities as a result of membership in a fraternity or sorority, it is important that you talk to your student about your concerns.  You can contact the Office of Greek Life to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have.  You can also report any concerning behaviors via the online reporting system, available here.

Individual chapters elect officers to manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by alumni who act as advisors. Each chapter is also responsible to their inter/national organization, which offers support, advice, and direction through paid professional staff and regional volunteers. At VU, four Greek Advisors are on staff and serve as the primary contacts for the Greek community.

Vanderbilt is a deferred joining campus, which means that first year students cannot accept invitations for membership from Greek organizations until at least their second semester at VU. To be eligible to join any ogranization in our community, prospective members must have a cumulative 2.50 GPA, 12 earned credit hours, not be on disciplinary probation from the university, and have attended a consent education session. The joining process is different for each governing council.  

  • IFC Recruitment consists of an information fair, open houses, and informal gatherings throughout the fall semester, and concludes with a formal process in January. IFC chapters extend invitations for membership as part of the formal process. 
  • IGC and NPHC Membership Intake occurs at various times throughout the academic year depending on the individual organization policies.  The governing councils sponsor events each fall where students seeking membership are able to learn about the organizations.  The Office of Greek Life hosts Intake Seminars that a student must complete prior to joining.The individual organizations also hold interest meetings to further explain their heritage and commitments of joining. Attendance at these meetings is the best way to express your interest in joining. Informational flyers and notices for membership intake are posted at the Office of Greek Life, around campus, and on social media (when allowed).
  • Panhellenic Recruitment consists of interest meetings, informal meeting opportunities, registration, a mock round of recruitment, and concludes with the formal process in January.  

Specific opportunities also exist for upperclassmen and transfer students each fall semester. Each Council page will provide more information about those joining processes.

  • Encourage your student to attend as many campus events as possible during the fall semester. Being involved is the best way to meet active Greek members and learn about their chapters. Involvement in other student organizations is looked favorably upon during the membership selection process.
  • Keep an open mind. Greek life is not for everyone. Just because you may have been a fraternity or sorority member doesn't mean that it is the right choice for your student.
  • Fraternities and sororities are different on every campus. Groups that may have been strong on the campus where you attended school may not have the same reputation at Vanderbilt. Let your student choose the group that they the most comfortable joining.
  • Talk to your student beforehand about the financial obligation. Determine who will pay for what and where the limits are.
  • Students need support throughout the process of recruitment/intake and new member education. Be supportive and learn as much as you can about Greek life by asking questions of your student as they meet members in fraternities and sororities.
  • Know that the system of fraternity/sorority recruitment at Vanderbilt is competitive. Not everyone who wants to be Greek will receive a bid.
  • Do not become too involved in the sorority and fraternity recruitment/intake process. This is your student's decision. There will be plenty of activities and events for you to attend or even help plan once your student joins one of our organizations!
  • Too often, parents do not allow their students to "fight their own battles." It helps the student mature and gain some assertiveness when allowed to call various offices if they have questions or concerns about their decision to go Greek.
  • Keep the Office of Greek Life contact information on hand if you have any questions or concerns about Greek Life on Vanderbilt's campus.