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Dear Parents and Families,
Welcome and thank you for your interest in fraternities and sororities at RMU! Your student will have countless opportunities for involvement making endless memories at Robert Morris University, and we’re pleased that he or she is considering fraternity or sorority membership. Being a member of a fraternity/sorority is about making lasting friendships and enhancing your personal development by committing to the values and ideals of your organization. By joining a fraternity or sorority, your student will be joining hundreds of others on our campus in search of leadership opportunities, community involvement, and life-long friendships.
Who is in charge?
Each fraternity and sorority chapter at RMU is a local franchise of a national or international organization. This not only means your students could join the same organization while attending two different institutions, but the chapter reports to a higher authority. Just like the local fast food restaurant, your student's chapter is responsible to the inter/national headquarters on standards, policy, and traditions. While each inter/national organization does fraternity and sorority a bit different, they each have gone through an extensive process to do business on our campus. Each organization has their own standards for adult involvement as mentors, advisors, and alumni. Chapters may have as many as ten local alumni working with the chapter.
Fraternities and sororities at RMU fall under the advisement of the Office of Student Life. One professional staff member works as a liaison to the fourteen fraternities and sororities and their members, headquarters, advisors, and alumni. As with all other student organizations, RMU requires that a university employee serve as a campus advisor for additional oversight.
What will my student be doing?
Fraternities and sororities are social organizations - their goal is to give your student the highest quality experience outside the classroom. Chapters are expected to hold service, charity, social, and educational programs each semester and each chapter determines the frequency of events in each of those areas. Some chapters have specific expectations for members for individual community service hours, involvement in other clubs/organizations on campus, and GPA.
Fraternities and sororities at RMU are quite possibly the most active organizations outside of our NCAA athletic teams. Each chapter holds a weekly business meeting plus additional meetings as needed for specific populations such as projects, committees, and member education. Chapters averaged just over two additional events per month dedicated to educational programs or social events. Fraternity and sorority members at RMU averaged 20 hours of community service in 2015-2016 and collectively raised over $48,000 for charitable causes.
Will this affect my student's grades?
We are proud to report that the academic achievement of our fraternity and sorority members exceeds that of the average RMU student. Since 2011, the average GPA of a fraternity or sorority member at RMU has risen. Students average a 3.22 GPA that semester during the semester they join a fraternity or sorority - and initiated members average a GPA of 3.28 - well above the university average of 3.20. Over one-third of fraternity and sorority members have a cumulative GPA above 3.50 and graduate with honors.
Each chapter sets its own expectations and standards for member academic performance. Most chapters have detailed programs for academic support. RMU recently launched open study halls and tutoring exclusively for fraternity and sorority members.
Will this affect my student's graduation?
National and RMU-specific research shows a correlation between fraternity and sorority membership and increased retention and graduation. The number of freshmen in fraternities and sororities returning to RMU for their sophomore year regularly exceeds the overall university freshmen retention rate. Similarly, the rate that RMU fraternity and sorority members graduate continues to exceed the university's own rate.
What about drinking, parties, and hazing?
Fraternities and sororities are social organizations - their goal is to give your student the highest quality experience outside the classroom. Many students come to RMU with the expectation that drinking alcohol and parties are part of the college experience. Most safety concerns related to fraternities and sororities are centered in fraternity and sorority houses. Currently there are no fraternity or sorority chapter houses on or off campus nor are there plans to change this setup. In most cases, incidents in fraternity houses are directly related to the lack of adult supervision of what occurs in those buildings. Many fraternity and sorority houses are private dwellings located outside of a college campus owned and operated by that chapter's alumni and offer no more security or oversight than an apartment building.
All organizations are required to adhere to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania law, the policies of their inter/national organization, and Robert Morris University policy. It is illegal in Pennsylvania and against RMU policy for those under age 21 to possess or consume alcohol. Additionally, hazing is also illegal in Pennsylvania and strictly forbidden by the national organization of each fraternity and sorority at RMU. To report unethical behavior by a fraternity or sorority, click HERE.
Research Supports Fraternity & Sorority Membership
In May 2014, research released by Gallup showed that fraternity and sorority members are more likely than all other college graduates to be thriving in each of the five elements of well-being: purpose, physical, social, financial, and community.
- Fraternity and sorority members who are employed full time are more engaged in the workplace than all other college graduates.
- Fraternity and sorority members are more likely than all other college graduates to be thriving in each of the elements of well-being (purpose, social, financial, community, and physical).
- Fraternity and sorority members strongly agreed at a higher rate than non-members that their institution prepared them for life after college.
- College graduates who were not members of a national fraternity or sorority are slightly less likely to be attached to their alma maters.
In November 2014, Robert Morris University participated in the AFA/EBI Fraternity and Sorority Assessment to study satisfaction, learning outcomes, and overall effectiveness of the fraternity/sorority experience at RMU. Some highlights of our results include:
- 92% of students are meeting people who they believe will be lifelong friends;
- 93% of students have improved their commitment to community service;
- 95% of students would recommend joining an RMU fraternity or sorority to a friend; and
- 97% of students say their RMU fraternity/sorority experience has prepared them for lifetime of engagement, leadership, and well-being (the exact phrasing of RMU's five-year strategic plan).