Westminster College supports five national sororities and four national fraternities that value life-time membership, academic excellence, leadership, strong friendships, and most importantly philanthropic service. Women and men who participate in Greek Life learn networking, leadership, and life skills which set them apart in their career paths. All of our sororities are consistently award winners through their national organizations. Our Greek men and women have consistently earned GPA’s of 3.0 or better over the years.
Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council are governing bodies which serve the Greek community by promoting educational events, encouraging service events, and managing recruitment efforts. Westminster College partners with the National Panhellenic Council and relies on this national resource to ensure our community is engaged in best practices.
Sorority women and fraternity men at Westminster take special pride in their philanthropic work. Together, the Westminster Greek community raises more than $12,000 a year for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and host more than 20 events and fundraisers for their individual philanthropies.
Sending your student to college can be a challenging and stressful time in a parent’s life. While at Westminster College, your student will encounter many opportunities to become involved outside of the classroom. It is important that you, the parent, be educated about the enriching experience that they will find by being involved in a fraternity or sorority here.
Fraternities and sororities are rooted in founding principles that foster academic achievement, student involvement, community service, and life-long friendships. Advantages include:
Furthermore, National studies conducted annually consistently indicate that students who choose to join Greek-letter organizations experience many positive benefits, including the following:
Historically, Greek-letter organizations were founded on the principles of academic success and camaraderie. Today is no different. Members realize that academic achievement is the main priority of Westminster students. Greek-letter organizations continue to strive for academic excellence and promote scholarship by providing academic resources for their members including tutoring, academic advisors, study groups, scholarships, and awards. Chapter members know the importance of helping new students to adjust to college academics.
To become a member a student must have a minimum GPA of 2.5. That GPA must be maintained in order to remain a member in good standing. Usually, each individual chapter has an elected official who is responsible for keeping track of members and their academic performance. Furthermore, many fraternities and sororities have educational programs such as tutoring and study sessions which can assist the entire chapter in excelling academically. Since obtaining a degree is the main reason for attending college, make sure your student realizes that they must keep up their grades if they want to participate in a Greek organization.
Individual chapters elect officers to manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by college alumni as well as members of the Westminster faculty, administration, or staff who volunteer as advisors. Each chapter is also responsible to report with their national organization, which offers support, advice, and direction through paid professional staff and regional volunteers. At Westminster College, the Vice President for Student Affairs and a faculty adviser serve as the primary contacts and advisors for the fraternity community. The Associate Dean of Student Affairs serves as the primary contact for sorority life. These three individuals also serve as advisors for the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Collegiate Panhellenic Council. These governance councils are comprised of the executive leadership of each fraternity and sorority, respectively, represented at the College. IFC and Panhellenic Council promotes educational, service, and extracurricular events; manages recruitment efforts; and establishes policies and procedures to create greater understanding, cohesion and continuity among the four national fraternities and five national sororities at the College.
Last, because the fraternity houses are not owned by the College and are situated alongside the residents of the Borough of New Wilmington, all brothers are expected to be good citizens in the community. They are held to the same standards as their neighbors and are subject to the laws and regulations established by the Borough and State of Pennsylvania. Fraternities are well aware of the Borough’s Disorderly House Ordinance. This particular set of regulations establishes very clear lines of expectations and the resultant sanctions if and when a fraternity is in violation of the ordinance.
Sorority housing: Our sororities do not own or operate sorority houses. However, the College offers a theme community in Ferguson Hall in which each chapter has a suite, chapter room, and space to store ritual and chapter supplies. The room assignment process in Ferguson is self-governed, meaning the women from each chapter determine who lives on the suite, and is facilitated in collaboration with Residence Life.
Fraternity houses: The four national fraternity houses are located off campus and are not owned by the College. The fraternity houses are owned and operated by what are typically known as Fraternity House Corporations. Corporation members are oftentimes Westminster alumni brothers of the respective fraternities. Simply put, they are the houses’ landlords and, as such, are responsible for the care and upkeep of the house, life safety, residential policies and procedures, room and board fees, membership education, and chapter oversight at the local level. Although the house corporations are ultimately responsible for issues of life safety, the College’s Public Safety Department assists the house corporations by offering its services to conduct life safety inspections, as well as provide fee-for-service security “walk-throughs” during College-authorized parties hosted at fraternity houses. Additionally, all fraternity members are required to attend a life safety workshop hosted by the College at the beginning of each academic year. Fraternities’ Risk Managers must attend a fire extinguisher use workshop shortly thereafter. The chapters’ national organizations provide ongoing life safety support as well.
It is also recommended that you visit the prospective fraternity house to get a better feel for his living accommodations should he decide to live there. Currently, a student must be at least a Junior at the College in order to reside in a fraternity house. A second-year student may live in a fraternity house only if he is elected to a College-approved position on the fraternity’s Executive Board.
Each chapter has its own set of rules and regulations, including an internal judicial body that governs the respective chapter’s disciplinary process. In addition, the Greek Judicial Board (GJB) of the College is impaneled to adjudicate violations by a fraternity member or chapter of the College’s Student Code of Conduct and/or Westminster College Regulations Governing Fraternities. The GJB is comprised of five (5) members: three (3) faculty members, the President of the Panhellenic (sorority) Council, and the President of the Interfraternity Council. The GJB determines sanctions for fraternities and sororities that have been found responsible for violating the above regulations. Ultimately, each chapter’s national organization has the authority to hold its fraternities and brothers accountable for violations of national organization policies and practices.
During the spring semester of a student’s first-year (or fall semester if a returning student), if he is interested in Greek life he will be involved in a series of fraternity activities and recruitment programs. During this period, your and other interested students will participate in programs and meetings to learn about the fraternity’s history, role in college life, and expectations of its members/brothers.
At the conclusion of new member recruitment, a particular chapter may offer a “bid” (an invitation to join the chapter) to a student. The student (Pledge) will then have the opportunity to accept the bid and become a “new member” of that chapter. This typically occurs during Pledge Pick-Up Day in February of each year. This is a special day that brings brothers and new members together in all-fraternity activities including juried breakfasts and dinners that count towards earning Greek Week awards in the spring; an afternoon of group bowling and fraternity photos; and member signing of the IFC’s Anti-Hazing Pledge, to name but a few. Following Pledge Pick-Up Day, new member education activities are developed to bring the new members closer to each other and the members of the chapter. Chapter history, rituals, values, secrets of the brotherhood, and philanthropic activities are all part of the educational process. New members can expect to participate in meetings, study sessions, campus programs, community service projects, and other chapter activities. ALL FRATERNITY POLICIES FORBID HAZING, and are committed to a membership education period that instills a sense of responsibility and commitment in the new members.
Sorority recruitment at Westminster College is a fully structured program in compliance with recruitment policies defined by the National Panhellenic Council (NPC). Formal recruitment occurs the first week of classes each spring semester, includes 3 nights of recruitment events (think networking and interviewing), and concludes with a Bid Day. The selection process is a mutual selection process which considers the preferences of each potential new member and the interest of each chapter. The emphasis is to find a good match home for every woman who wants to be Greek and to provide parity and equity among the chapters on a college campus. When approached with an open mind, the sorority recruitment process can be a valuable and rich experience.
The new member period is defined differently by the national organization of each chapter but they all include similar content: learning the history, rituals, values, and philanthropy of their chapter. New members can expect to participate in meetings, sisterhood events, and chapter programming. A cherished tradition of the new member period is the reveal of big sisters (commonly called moms), a mentor and close friend assigned to assist every new member in their transition period. Sorority and NPC policy does not permit HAZING or alcohol in recruitment events or during the new member period. At Westminster College, the new member period is defined as a time when women know the warmest of welcomes, build lifelong, meaningful relationships, and receive lots of gifts.
Westminster College has a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing. This is in accordance with Pennsylvania Law [P.S.] § 5352. State law defines hazing as:
Any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or which willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, any organization operating under the sanction of or recognized as an organization by an institution of higher education. The term shall include, but not be limited to, any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or other substance, or any other forced physical activity which could adversely affect the physical health and safety of the individual, and shall include any activity which would subject the individual to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which could result in extreme embarrassment, or any other forced activity which could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual, or any willful destruction or removal of public or private property. For purposes of this definition, any activity as described in this definition upon which the initiation or admission into or affiliation with or continued membership in an organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be presumed to be "forced" activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.
Our students know that if a report of hazing is received by the College, their national headquarters will be notified immediately. The College will also promptly take any and all necessary actions, in collaboration with the chapter’s national organization, to address the allegation(s).
If you sense your student may be participating in inappropriate activities such as hazing as a result of membership in or pledging a fraternity, you should contact the Student Affairs Office. Calls will be handled in an immediate and discreet manner.
On average, your student should expect to contribute two to four hours per week for meetings and mandatory activities. If your student has the time, he can also choose to participate in optional activities, such as holding an office, attending social events, helping out with various projects, etc. Some organizations require more time than others. Advise your student to ask questions regarding time commitments during recruitment.
Your student will have financial responsibilities when it comes to joining a fraternity or sorority. There is typically a one-time new member/initiation fee as well as semester membership dues. Depending on which chapter your student wishes to join will determine the amount of dues they will have to pay each semester. This would also include room and board fees for fraternity men living at the house. If your student is really interested in becoming a member of Greek life, you need to sit down with them and work out a college budget to determine whether or not joining a fraternity/sorority is affordable.
Be supportive, and learn as much as you can by asking your student questions before they join. Many groups will provide written statements concerning activities, finances, and policies; your student should be encouraged to obtain and read this information. In addition, allow your student to make their own choice (especially if you yourself were Greek). Your support should not end after the recruitment period but continue throughout your student’s years in school. Once your student joins a chapter, take advantage of the fraternities’ activities and the College’s Family Weekend in the fall. These are great opportunities for you to see your student interacting with their chapter members, and one more way for you to spend time with your student.
Assistance with Greek Life on campus can be found on campus at the Student Affairs Office in the McKelvey Campus Center or by calling the office at (724) 946-7110. There are many additional sources of information found online. The National Panhellenic Association (NPC), www.npcwomen.org offers information on sorority life at the national level. There is in-depth information here for potential new members as well as parents.
The national organizations for each of our chapters also host their own websites.
Alpha Sigma Phi www.alphasigmaphi.org
Phi Kappa Tau www.phikappatau.org
Sigma Phi Epsilon www.sigep.org
Theta Chi www.thetachi.org
Alpha Gamma Delta www.alphagammadelta.org
Kappa Delta www.kappadelta.org
Phi Mu www.phimu.org
Sigma Kappa www.sigmakappa.org
Zeta Tau Alpha www.zetataualpha.org