Going “Greek”: About US College Fraternities and Sororities
Walk around Florida International University and you’ll hear students mentioning “Greek life,” fraternities or sororities. Here’s what it all means, so you can better understand this popular aspect of student life at many US universities.
What is Greek life?
Greek life is the term used to reference fraternities (typically for men) and sororities (typically for women) at FIU and other universities. These social organization names come from Latin – frater means brother and soror means sister. Fraternities and sororities are common at US universities, and are often play a big part in socializing on campus.
Despite the Latin roots of the words fraternity and sorority, they’re often referred to as “Greek” because each organization’s name is based on letters from the Greek alphabet. For instance, alpha (A), delta (Δ) or sigma (Σ).
What are fraternities and sororities like?
Typically, Greek organizations focus on social activities and bonding with other students with a similar mindset. Still, each fraternity or sorority has its own personality, goals and common themes among members. For instance, some are based on cultural background or academic interests.
Most local Greek chapters are part of a larger network across the country. Think of it like having an immediate family (your parents and siblings) and then an extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins). As an example, the members of FIU’s Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter have a close bond together, but also have a natural kinship with Alpha Epsilon Pi members at other schools across the country.
Why do students join a fraternity or sorority?
Fraternities and sororities are one way for students to meet new people, form friendships and go to fun events. That sense of community can be especially compelling for international students who often don’t know anyone in the entire country, let alone at FIU.
Participation in Greek life can also be helpful for making connections at school and beyond. After graduation, many members find that networking with other past and present members can help with job searching.
What is Greek life like at FIU?
There are 35 fraternities and sororities on campus.
Fraternities and sororities at FIU belong to one of four governing councils, which help organize social events and activities. The four governing councils are:
Leads organizations for Asian, Latin or multicultural students.
- Number of fraternities: 5 chapters
- Number of sororities: 4 chapters
Interfraternity Council (IFC)
Leads a variety of general interest fraternities.
- Number of fraternities: 12
Leads organizations that are historically African-American.
- Number of fraternities: 4 chapters
- Number of sororities: 3 chapters
Panhellenic Association (PHA)
Leads a variety of general interest sororities.
- Number of sororities: 7 chapters
How do I learn more about joining?
Recruitment or new member intake varies by specific Greek life organizations. Typically, you can attend informational events either during the summer or school year, or reach out to individual organizations on their website.
If you’re interested in Greek life, research multiple organizations that appeal to you. If one option doesn’t seem best for you, move on to other choices.