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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a fraternity/sorority?
A fraternity/sorority is a group of men or women bound together by brotherhood or sisterhood and common goals and aspirations. Though there are many different fraternities and sororities, they all share common founding principles. The ideals of lifelong friendship, academic excellence, service and charity toward others, and social development and interaction are what fraternity and sorority members strive to live by every day. Greek organizations enhance students’ educational experience by emphasizing intellectual, interpersonal, and social development. All fraternities and sororities at RMU are chapters (franchises) of a national or international (corporate) organization with a headquarters (business office). Each organization has agreed to advance and act by their stated core values while promoting those of RMU.
What are the fraternities and sororities at RMU?
Robert Morris University currently has 14 Greek-letter social organizations on campus. Each chapter is also governed by one of the three (3) Greek councils; the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and the Panhellenic Council (PC). For more information about these chapters, please visit the chapter links on our site or contact the Office of Student Life.
How much does it cost?
There are costs associated with membership in a fraternity or sorority chapter but these costs are reasonable considering the benefits. The fees will typically be higher during the semester you join but are often one-time initiation fees that cover costs associated with the membership badge, national application fees, and other related costs. The majority of fraternity and sorority dues cover obligations as a member of the inter/national organization such as operations costs, chapter support services, liability insurance for chapter events, and programs/events. NPHC chapters typically have a one-time fee. Most chapters have payment plans or allow members to fundraise to cover membership costs.
How will being in a fraternity or sorority affect my grades?
Fraternities and sororities at RMU practice the RMU core value of Academic Excellence. Each chapter has a minimum GPA for membership and programs to support strong scholarship. The average GPA of an RMU fraternity/sorority member is 3.26, which is above the typical RMU student. Members who fall below academic standards typically require remediation and remove members unable or unwilling to perform at the chapter’s academic standard. Freshmen who joined fraternities and sororities at RMU in fall 2015 earned an average GPA of 3.17.
How much of a time commitment should I expect?
The actual amount of time required varies from chapter to chapter, and is a good question to ask during recruitment. Participating in any organization or worthwhile activity always requires investing your time. Research has shown that students who are involved in college are more likely to graduate and tend to report more satisfaction with their college experience. Greek life can help you learn to balance academics, work, social commitments, and involvement within your chapter and other organizations. Expectations for membership vary from chapter to chapter, but research reports the more a student is involved in his/her chapter the more that student experiences positive personal development.
How do I join?
To join a Panhellenic Council (PC) varies each semester. In the fall, all PC sororities hold Formal Sorority Recruitment, which is held over four consecutive days. Interested students must register and fully participate in each day to be eligible to receive an invitation. In the spring, there is not a formal recruitment period however sororities may recruit members through continuous open bidding (COB). During COB, chapters eligible to take new members hold recruitment events open to all interested women and extend invitations to join as they wish.
To join an Interfraternity Council (IFC) fraternity you should speak with a member of the specific fraternity you wish to join. IFC fraternities recruit new members at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters through events or casual interaction. For more information about the requirements for each chapter, please contact a chapter representative or the Office of Student Life.
National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) fraternities and sororities recruit new members through a process known as "membership intake." Each chapter takes in new members independently so be sure to look for posters, flyers, or speak to a member for more information.
If I go through recruitment, do I have to join?
You are not obligated to join any of the chapters. Recruitment is a great opportunity for you to check out fraternity and sorority life at Robert Morris University. You will also have the opportunity to meet other students with similar interests. Greek Life may not be for everyone, but we encourage you to take a look.
When is the best time to join?
Robert Morris University believes students should be involved in all aspects of their education starting with their first day on campus. Consequently, RMU does not restrict a student’s ability to join any student organization in their first semester. Students interested in seeking membership in a fraternity or sorority should speak with a member of that organization to learn when invitations for membership will next be extended.
Are there fraternity and sorority houses at Robert Morris University?
RMU does not have fraternity/sorority houses and there are not chapter houses off campus in Moon Township or Coraopolis. Specifically, Moon Township zoning requires that fraternity and sorority houses receive conditional use approval and adhere to specific code requirements. Most chapters have a chapter suite in Washington Hall housing up to ten members. Some chapters expect members to live in the chapter suite at least one year during their membership.
Contrary to popular belief, it is a myth that a "brothel law" exists prohibiting sorority houses. Before Title IX and the modernization of the college experience, most institutions prohibited unmarried women from living off campus. Moon Township also caps rental properties at 4 persons per unit but has strict housing code for fraternity and sorority houses. Additionally, many of our fraternity and sorority chapters are too young to have generations of alumni to support chapter houses, which by IRS code are not tax deductible.
Aren't fraternities and sororities all about alcohol and partying?
Alcohol and substance abuse is not tolerated. Most organizations have mandatory educational sessions on the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse and precautions are taken at all events to ensure a safe environment. The decision of whether or not to consume alcohol is made by any student – being in a fraternity or sorority has no bearing on that decision. True, the strong social experience of fraternity/sorority membership is one of the major reasons that students get involved in fraternities and sororities. However, there is much more to being social as a college student than "partying". Fraternities and sororities have some of the most active students on campus. Every organization devotes countless hours to community service and raises money for their national philanthropies as well as encourages involvement in a wide variety of campus organizations. They also have frequent organized brotherhood/sisterhood events for their members. Alcohol is prohibited in RMU fraternity and sorority suites in Washington Hall and the university Alcohol Policy strictly prohibits drinking games, kegs, and even consuming alcohol in the presence of a student who is not of legal drinking age. Violations of Pennsylvania law related to alcohol can be anonymously reported here.
What about hazing?
Physical and mental hazing is prohibited by the University, the national headquarters of each chapter, and by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Fortunately, RMU fraternity and sorority members recognize that hazing has no place in their organizations and is contradictory to the values of their chapters. Hazing of any type or severity is not tolerated at Robert Morris University. Beginning fall 2016, every member of each fraternity and sorority must reaffirm their commitment to the university's policy on hazing and the Pennsylvania hazing law every semester. Hazing or any other inappropriate activity by a fraternity or sorority can be anonymously reported here.
Can I still be involved in other RMU organizations if I join a fraternity or sorority?
Yes! All of the fraternities and sororities strongly encourage their members to be active in other organizations on campus because they know how important involvement is for both the individual member and the campus community. Fraternity and sorority members are some of the most active leaders on campus, participating in many of the various organizations and activities here at Robert Morris University. RMU Greeks are varsity athletes and belong to Student Government Association, Colonial Ambassadors, Patriot Scholars (honors program), Resident Assistants, First Year Success Program mentors, and more. 87% of fraternity and sorority members are also members of at least one other student club, organization, or athletic team at RMU.
Who is supervising my student and the fraternities and sororities?
Each fraternity and sorority is required to have a university full-time employee serve as a faculty/staff advisor. The role of this individual varies with each group. Each chapter has a different framework for alumni mentoring and oversight where some chapters may have a local alumnus who works with that chapter or a committee/team of alumni with various roles related to chapter operations. On the university level, fraternities and sororities are under the guidance of the Office of Student Life. Fraternities under the Interfraternity Council and sororities under the Panhellenic Council fall under the responsibilities of Scott Irlbacher, Director of Special Programs and Student Community Standards. Fraternities and sororities which are part of the National Pan-Hellenic Conference (NPHC/Divine Nine) are the responsibility of Victoria Snyder, Director of Multicultural Student Services.
Where can I get more information about fraternity and sorority life at RMU?
You can learn more about fraternities and sororities at RMU, the different chapters, and councils by looking around the Greek Life webpage. You can also contact Scott Irlbacher, by calling the Office of Student Life at 412-397-4352 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.