Fraternities and sororities

Fraternities and sororities

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Fraternities and sororities (from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 words and , meaning "brother" and "sister" respectively) are fraternal
Fraternity
A fraternity is a brotherhood, though the term usually connotes a distinct or formal organization. An organization referred to as a fraternity may be a:*Secret society*Chivalric order*Benefit society*Friendly society*Social club*Trade union...

 social organizations
Club
A club is an association of two or more people united by a common interest or goal. A service club, for example, exists for voluntary or charitable activities; there are clubs devoted to hobbies and sports, social activities clubs, political and religious clubs, and so forth.- History...

 for undergraduate students
Undergraduate education
Undergraduate education is an education level taken prior to gaining a first degree . Hence, in many subjects in many educational systems, undergraduate education is post-secondary education up to the level of a bachelor's degree, such as in the United States, where a university entry level is...

. In Latin, the term refers mainly to such organizations at colleges and universities in the United States, although it is also applied to analogous Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an groups also known as corporations
Corporation (university)
Corporation refers to different kinds of student organizations worldwide.Generally, universities in the various European countries have student organizations called corporations. The name is derived from the Latin corporatio meaning a body or group...

. Similar, but less common, organizations also exist for secondary school
Secondary school
Secondary school is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place...

 students. In modern usage, the term "Greek letter organization" is often synonymous, in North America, with the terms "fraternity" and "sorority".

Typically, Greek letters organizations are single-sex
Sex segregation
Sex segregation is the separation of people according to their sex.The term gender apartheid also has been applied to segregation of people by gender, implying that it is sexual discrimination...

, initiatory
Initiation
Initiation is a rite of passage ceremony marking entrance or acceptance into a group or society. It could also be a formal admission to adulthood in a community or one of its formal components...

 organizations with membership considered active during the undergraduate years only, although a notable exception to this rule are historically black
National Pan-Hellenic Council
The National Pan-Hellenic Council is a collaborative organization of nine historically African American, international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities. The nine NPHC organizations are sometimes collectively referred to as the "Divine Nine"...

, Latino
National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations
The National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations is an umbrella council for 19 Latino Greek Letter Organizations established in 1998...

, Asian, and multicultural organizations, in which active membership continues, and into which members are often initiated long after the completion of their undergraduate degrees. Greek letter organizations may sometimes be considered mutual aid societies
Benefit society
A benefit society or mutual aid society is an organization or voluntary association formed to provide mutual aid, benefit or insurance for relief from sundry difficulties...

, providing academic and social activities. Some groups also maintain a chapter house, providing residential and dining facilities for members.

Terminology



In modern usage, the term has become synonymous with the North American fraternity and sorority. The term fraternity, often colloquially
Colloquialism
A colloquialism is a word or phrase that is common in everyday, unconstrained conversation rather than in formal speech, academic writing, or paralinguistics. Dictionaries often display colloquial words and phrases with the abbreviation colloq. as an identifier...

 shortened to "frat" (though use of such term may be derogatory in some contexts), typically refers to an all-male group, while the term "sorority", created for Gamma Phi Beta
Gamma Phi Beta
Gamma Phi Beta is an international sorority that was founded on November 11, 1874, at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. The term "sorority," meaning sisterhood, was coined for Gamma Phi Beta by Dr. Frank Smalley, a professor at Syracuse University.The four founders are Helen M. Dodge,...

 by Dr. Frank Smalley, typically refers to an all-female group.
Some women's groups define themselves as fraternities for women or women's fraternities, such as Alpha Phi
Alpha Phi
Alpha Phi International Women's Fraternity was founded at Syracuse University on September 18, 1872. Alpha Phi currently has 152 active chapters and over 200,000 initiated members. Its celebrated Founders' Day is October 10. It was the third Greek-letter organization founded for women. In Alpha...

 and Phi Mu
Phi Mu
Phi Mu is the second oldest female fraternal organization established in the United States. It was founded at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The organization was founded as the Philomathean Society on January 4, 1852, and was announced publicly on March 4 of the same year...

. Additionally, some groups that define themselves as "fraternities" may be mixed-sex, such as Alpha Phi Omega
Alpha Phi Omega
Alpha Phi Omega is the largest collegiate fraternity in the United States, with chapters at over 350 campuses, an active membership of approximately 17,000 students, and over 350,000 alumni members...

, Phi Sigma Pi
Phi Sigma Pi
Phi Sigma Pi is a national coeducational honor fraternity based in the United States. The fraternity is a 501 not-for-profit organization incorporated in the state of Pennsylvania, with the purpose of fostering the ideals of scholarship, leadership and fellowship...

, Alpha Delta Phi Society, Kappa Kappa Psi
Kappa Kappa Psi
Kappa Kappa Psi is a fraternity for college and university band members. It was founded on November 27, 1919 at Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College in Stillwater, Oklahoma. William Scroggs, now regarded as the "Founder," together with "Mr. Kappa Kappa Psi" A...

 or Mu Phi Epsilon
Mu Phi Epsilon
Mu Phi Epsilon is a co-ed international professional music fraternity and honor society. It boasts over 75,000 members in 128 collegiate chapters and 74 alumni chapters in the US and abroad.-History:...

; the same is true of groups that define themselves as "sororities", such as Tau Beta Sigma
Tau Beta Sigma
Tau Beta Sigma is a co-educational national honorary band sorority dedicated to serving college and university bands. The Sorority, headquartered at the historic Stillwater Station in Stillwater, Oklahoma, numbers over 3,500 active members in 145 active chapters, and over 40,000 alumni...

. Due to the ambiguous nature of the terms "fraternity" and "sorority" with respect to gender, and due to the inaccuracy and potentially sexist nature of the use "fraternity" to describe aforementioned organizations, it has become commonplace to use the synonym "Greek letter organization", since the vast majority of fraternities and sororities identify themselves using Greek letters. A recent example of this is the usage of the terms "(historically) Black Greek letter organizations" (BGLOs) and "Latino Greek letter organizations" (LGOs) within the literature. However, since most of those organizations that do not identify themselves using Greek letters are structured similarly to and share other several common characteristics with those that do identify themselves using Greek letters, all of these organizations are still considered to be "Greek letter organizations". All this said, the public at large and most members of fraternities and sororities still use the traditional terms ("fraternity" and "sorority"), to refer to all-male and all-female groups, respectively. Coeducational service fraternities and academic honors organizations (despite sharing a common history, as well as a common naming scheme, with modern fraternities and sororities) tend to be referred to more specifically. "Greek letter organization" tends to be used in "formal" contexts, but rarely in popular discourse.

The term social fraternity is used to differentiate four-year, undergraduate, and frequently residential groups from other organizations, many of which also have Greek-letter names, such as honor societies
Honor society
In the United States, an honor society is a rank organization that recognizes excellence among peers. Numerous societies recognize various fields and circumstances. The Order of the Arrow, for example, is the national honor society of the Boy Scouts of America...

, academic societies, or service fraternities and sororities
Service fraternities and sororities
Service fraternity may refer to any fraternal public service organization, such as the Kiwanis or Rotary International. In Canada and the United States, the term fraternal organization is more common as "fraternity" in everyday usage refers to fraternal student societies.In the context of the North...

.

Beginnings


The Phi Beta Kappa Society
Phi Beta Kappa Society
The Phi Beta Kappa Society is an academic honor society. Its mission is to "celebrate and advocate excellence in the liberal arts and sciences"; and induct "the most outstanding students of arts and sciences at America’s leading colleges and universities." Founded at The College of William and...

, founded on 5 December 1776, at the College of William and Mary
College of William and Mary
The College of William & Mary in Virginia is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States...

 in Williamsburg
Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg is an independent city located on the Virginia Peninsula in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia, USA. As of the 2010 Census, the city had an estimated population of 14,068. It is bordered by James City County and York County, and is an independent city...

, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, is generally recognized as the first Greek-letter student society in North America. It was founded by John Heath, who had failed at admission to the two existing Latin-letter fraternities at the College, the F.H.C. Society (nicknamed as backronym
Backronym
A backronym or bacronym is a phrase constructed purposely, such that an acronym can be formed to a specific desired word. Backronyms may be invented with serious or humorous intent, or may be a type of false or folk etymology....

 the "Flat Hat Club
Flat Hat Club
The Flat Hat Club is the popular name of a society founded after 1916 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and revived there in 1972. The organization was named after the F.H.C. Society, which had been founded at the College on November 11, 1750, and was itself known...

") and the P.D.A. Society (nicknamed "Please Don't Ask"). The main developments associated with Phi Beta Kappa are the use of Greek-letter initials as a society name and the establishment of branches or "chapters" at different campuses, following the pattern set by Masonic lodges.
The Greek letters come from the motto (, "Philosophy is the helmsman of life"), now officially translated as "Philosophy is the guide of life". Greek was chosen as the language for the motto due generally to classical education at the time, and specifically because Heath "was the best Greek scholar in college." One official historian of the society, William T. Hastings, and some others believe that the society was originally known by the Latin name Societas Philosophiae (Philosophical Society), and that the name Phi Beta Kappa became the society name over time. This use of Greek letters was briefly preceded by the use of Latin letters, notably the F.H.C. Society drawing its name from its secret motto, presumed to be "Fraternitas, Humanitas, et Cognitio," or "Fraternitas Humanitas Cognitioque." (These are two renderings of "brotherhood, humaneness, and knowledge.")

However, Phi Beta Kappa was very different from a typical college fraternity of today, in that the membership was generally restricted to upperclassmen, if not seniors
Senior (education)
Senior is a term used in the United States to describe a student in the 4th year of study .-High school:...

; and men initiated as students remained active in the society after becoming members of the faculty of the host university. The annual Phi Beta Kappa exercises at Yale were public literary exercises, with as many or more faculty members of the society than undergraduate.

As Phi Beta Kappa developed, it became an influential association of faculty and select students on several college campuses, with membership becoming more of an honor and less of social selection. Many came to see the increasing influence of the society as undemocratic and contrary to the free flow of intellectual ideas in American academia. As a curious side effect of anti-masonic controversy
Anti-Masonry
Anti-Masonry is defined as "avowed opposition to Freemasonry". However, there is no homogeneous anti-Masonic movement...

 in the early Republic, the secrets of Phi Beta Kappa were published in the appendix to a book in 1831. After that time, Phi Beta Kappa ceased to be a social fraternity in any real sense and is now only an honorary society, though prominent and respected.

Chi Phi
Chi Phi
The Chi Phi ' Fraternity is an American College Social Fraternity that was established as the result of the merger of three separate organizations that were each known as Chi Phi. The oldest active organization that took part in the union was originally founded in 1824 at Princeton...

 was established at Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 in Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton is a community located in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. It is best known as the location of Princeton University, which has been sited in the community since 1756...

 on 24 December 1824 on the principles of Truth, Honor, and Personal Integrity. However, shortly after the founding the Chi Phi Society (which included both faculty and student members) became inactive. Some 30 years later the name and traditions of the group were unearthed and adopted by a second organization founded at Princeton in 1854, but not as a direct outgrowth of the original organization. This was acknowledged formally by Chi Phi's national president A. Holley Rudd, at the public ceremonies in 1924 celebrating the Centennial of the original group. Two other organizations of the same name merged with it to create the modern Chi Phi Fraternity in 1874. It is also possible that other college organizations with Greek letter names may have existed prior to 1825 without having a direct influence on the future history of the fraternity system.

Union College
Union College
Union College is a private, non-denominational liberal arts college located in Schenectady, New York, United States. Founded in 1795, it was the first institution of higher learning chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. In the 19th century, it became the "Mother of Fraternities", as...

 in Schenectady
Schenectady, New York
Schenectady is a city in Schenectady County, New York, United States, of which it is the county seat. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 66,135...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 became the "mother" of the existing college fraternity movement with the establishment of The Kappa Alpha Society
Kappa Alpha Society
The Kappa Alpha Society , founded in 1825, was the progenitor of the modern fraternity system in North America. It was the first of the fraternities which would eventually become known as the Union Triad...

 on 26 November 1825, an outgrowth of an organization called the Philosophers that was founded a year earlier as a literary society. Kappa Alpha possessed most of the distinctive elements of a modern fraternity, and was clearly the model that inspired the development of other societies according to Baird's Manual, the definitive reference work on fraternities. (The Kappa Alpha Society is distinct from the southern Kappa Alpha Order.) Kappa Alpha's founders adopted many of Phi Beta Kappa's practices, but made their organization an exclusively student group, adopted a much more elaborate ritual and doubled as a literary society. Its example encouraged the formation of two competitors on campus; the Sigma Phi Society
Sigma Phi
The Sigma Phi Society was founded on 4 March 1827, on the campus of Union College as a part of the Union Triad in Schenectady, New York.It is the second oldest Greek fraternal organization in the United States, and the oldest in continuous existence...

 formed in March 1827, followed by Delta Phi
Delta Phi
Delta Phi is a fraternity founded in 1827 at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Founded as part of the Union Triad, along with the Kappa Alpha Society and Sigma Phi Society, Delta Phi was the third and last member of the Triad...

 in November. These three are generally called the Union Triad.

The fraternity system becomes "national"


Sigma Phi
Sigma Phi
The Sigma Phi Society was founded on 4 March 1827, on the campus of Union College as a part of the Union Triad in Schenectady, New York.It is the second oldest Greek fraternal organization in the United States, and the oldest in continuous existence...

 was the first fraternity to expand "nationally" when it opened a second chapter at Hamilton College in 1831. That and an effort by The Kappa Alpha Society
Kappa Alpha Society
The Kappa Alpha Society , founded in 1825, was the progenitor of the modern fraternity system in North America. It was the first of the fraternities which would eventually become known as the Union Triad...

 to enter Hamilton led to the formation of Alpha Delta Phi
Alpha Delta Phi
Alpha Delta Phi is a Greek-letter social college fraternity and the fourth-oldest continuous Greek-letter fraternity in the United States and Canada. Alpha Delta Phi was founded on October 29, 1832 by Samuel Eells at Hamilton College and includes former U.S. Presidents, Chief Justices of the U.S....

 in 1832. Delta Upsilon
Delta Upsilon
Delta Upsilon is the sixth oldest international, all-male, college Greek-letter organization, and is the oldest non-secret fraternity in North America...

, the first non-secret (originally anti-secret), fraternity was founded at Williams College in Massachusetts in 1834, following the establishment of chapters of Kappa Alpha and Sigma Phi in 1833 and 1834, respectively. Beta Theta Pi
Beta Theta Pi
Beta Theta Pi , often just called Beta, is a social collegiate fraternity that was founded in 1839 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, USA, where it is part of the Miami Triad which includes Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Chi. It has over 138 active chapters and colonies in the United States and Canada...

 was founded at Miami University
Miami University
Miami University is a coeducational public research university located in Oxford, Ohio, United States. Founded in 1809, it is the 10th oldest public university in the United States and the second oldest university in Ohio, founded four years after Ohio University. In its 2012 edition, U.S...

 in Oxford
Oxford, Ohio
Oxford is a city in northwestern Butler County, Ohio, United States, in the southwestern portion of the state. It lies in Oxford Township, originally called the College Township. The population was 21,943 at the 2000 census. This college town was founded as a home for Miami University. Oxford...

, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 in August, 1839 in response to the chartering of the new chapter of Alpha Delta Phi
Alpha Delta Phi
Alpha Delta Phi is a Greek-letter social college fraternity and the fourth-oldest continuous Greek-letter fraternity in the United States and Canada. Alpha Delta Phi was founded on October 29, 1832 by Samuel Eells at Hamilton College and includes former U.S. Presidents, Chief Justices of the U.S....

. Kappa Kappa Kappa
Kappa Kappa Kappa
Kappa Kappa Kappa is a local men's fraternity at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. The fraternity founded in 1842 is the second-oldest fraternity at Dartmouth College and the oldest local fraternity in the nation...

, the nation's oldest local fraternity was founded in 1842 at Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College is a private, Ivy League university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. The institution comprises a liberal arts college, Dartmouth Medical School, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business, as well as 19 graduate programs in the arts and sciences...

. Alpha Sigma Phi
Alpha Sigma Phi
Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity is a social fraternity with 71 active chapters and 9 colonies. Founded at Yale in 1845, it is the 10th oldest fraternity in the United States....

 was founded in December 1845 at Yale followed by Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta , also known as Phi Delt, is an international fraternity founded at Miami University in 1848 and headquartered in Oxford, Ohio. Phi Delta Theta, Beta Theta Pi, and Sigma Chi form the Miami Triad. The fraternity has about 169 active chapters and colonies in over 43 U.S...

 (1848) and Sigma Chi
Sigma Chi
Sigma Chi is the largest and one of the oldest college Greek-letter secret and social fraternities in North America with 244 active chapters and more than . Sigma Chi was founded on June 28, 1855 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio when members split from Delta Kappa Epsilon...

 (1855) at Miami University. Along with Beta Theta Pi
Beta Theta Pi
Beta Theta Pi , often just called Beta, is a social collegiate fraternity that was founded in 1839 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, USA, where it is part of the Miami Triad which includes Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Chi. It has over 138 active chapters and colonies in the United States and Canada...

, these three fraternities have been called the Miami Triad. Also, around that time the Jefferson Duo was formed at Jefferson college in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, consisting of Phi Gamma Delta
Phi Gamma Delta
The international fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta is a collegiate social fraternity with 120 chapters and 18 colonies across the United States and Canada. It was founded at Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, in 1848, and its headquarters are located in Lexington, Kentucky, USA...

 (1848) and Phi Kappa Psi
Phi Kappa Psi
Phi Kappa Psi is an American collegiate social fraternity founded at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania on February 19, 1852. There are over a hundred chapters and colonies at accredited four year colleges and universities throughout the United States. More than 112,000 men have been...

 (1852). Although this is a duo, it is recorded along with the other triads formed at the time. Union College
Union College
Union College is a private, non-denominational liberal arts college located in Schenectady, New York, United States. Founded in 1795, it was the first institution of higher learning chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. In the 19th century, it became the "Mother of Fraternities", as...

 continued its role as the "Mother of Fraternities
Mother of Fraternities
The Mother of Fraternities is a term commonly used to refer to two colleges: Union College and Miami University.Union College was the site in which three fraternities in the United States, Kappa Alpha Society, Sigma Phi, and Delta Phi, known collectively as the Union Triad, were founded between...

" with the founding of Psi Upsilon
Psi Upsilon
Psi Upsilon is the fifth oldest college fraternity in the United States, founded at Union College in 1833. It has chapters at colleges and universities throughout North America. For most of its history, Psi Upsilon, like most social fraternities, limited its membership to men only...

 (1833), Chi Psi
Chi Psi
Chi Psi Fraternity is a fraternity and secret society consisting of 29 active chapters at American colleges and universities. It was founded on Thursday May 20, 1841, by 10 students at Union College with the idea of emphasizing the fraternal and social principles of a brotherhood...

 (1841) and Theta Delta Chi
Theta Delta Chi
Theta Delta Chi is a social fraternity that was founded in 1847 at Union College. While nicknames differ from institution to institution, the most common nicknames for the fraternity are Theta Delt, Thete, TDX, and TDC. Theta Delta Chi brothers refer to their local organization as Charges rather...

 (1847). With this second "triad", Union College
Union College
Union College is a private, non-denominational liberal arts college located in Schenectady, New York, United States. Founded in 1795, it was the first institution of higher learning chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. In the 19th century, it became the "Mother of Fraternities", as...

 can lay claim to the foundation of nearly half of the thirteen oldest fraternities in the country.

The Mystical 7
Mystical Seven (Wesleyan)
The Mystical Seven is a society founded in 1837 at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut that currently is in existence as two separate groups. Publicly, members are called Mystics.-Early history:...

 was founded at Wesleyan University
Wesleyan University
Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts college founded in 1831 and located in Middletown, Connecticut. According to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Wesleyan is the only Baccalaureate College in the nation that emphasizes undergraduate instruction in the arts and...

 in 1837, and established the first chapters in the South, at Emory
Emory University
Emory University is a private research university in metropolitan Atlanta, located in the Druid Hills section of unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, United States. The university was founded as Emory College in 1836 in Oxford, Georgia by a small group of Methodists and was named in honor of...

 in 1841, and elsewhere. Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Sigma Alpha Epsilon is a North American Greek-letter social college fraternity founded at the University of Alabama on March 9, 1856. Of all existing national social fraternities today, Sigma Alpha Epsilon is the only one founded in the Antebellum South...

 was founded at the University of Alabama
University of Alabama
The University of Alabama is a public coeducational university located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States....

 in 1856, and it is the only fraternity founded in the Antebellum South that still operates., Then in 1862, Adelphic Alpha Pi was founded at Olivet College (Michigan), and it remains the oldest house on campus. Adelphic Alpha Pi is the Brother Society to Sigma Beta.

Growth was then mainly stunted by the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. Theta Xi
Theta Xi
Theta Xi was founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York on 29 April 1864. Theta Xi Fraternity was originally founded as an engineering fraternity, the first professional fraternity...

, founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Stephen Van Rensselaer established the Rensselaer School on November 5, 1824 with a letter to the Rev. Dr. Samuel Blatchford, in which van Rensselaer asked Blatchford to serve as the first president. Within the letter he set down several orders of business. He appointed Amos Eaton as the school's...

 in Troy
Troy, New York
Troy is a city in the US State of New York and the seat of Rensselaer County. Troy is located on the western edge of Rensselaer County and on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. Troy has close ties to the nearby cities of Albany and Schenectady, forming a region popularly called the Capital...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 on 29 April 1864, is the only fraternity to be established during the War. However, following the War, the system as a whole underwent strong growth in the late 19th century and early 20th century, both in the number of organizations founded and chapters of existing organizations established. This was aided, in part, by the reopening of schools and the return of veterans as students. Alpha Tau Omega
Alpha Tau Omega
Alpha Tau Omega is a secret American leadership and social fraternity.The Fraternity has more than 250 active and inactive chapters, more than 200,000 initiates, and over 7,000 active undergraduate members. The 200,000th member was initiated in early 2009...

 was the first Fraternity founded after the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, and it also was the first Fraternity to be founded as a national organization, not local or regional.

Alpha Phi Alpha
Alpha Phi Alpha
Alpha Phi Alpha is the first Inter-Collegiate Black Greek Letter fraternity. It was founded on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Its founders are known as the "Seven Jewels". Alpha Phi Alpha developed a model that was used by the many Black Greek Letter Organizations ...

, Phi Iota Alpha
Phi Iota Alpha
Phi Iota Alpha , established December 26, 1931, is the oldest Latino fraternity still in existence, and works to motivate people, develop leaders, and create innovative ways to unite the Latino community. The organization has roots that stem back to the late 19th century to the first Latino...

, Rho Psi
Rho Psi
The Rho Psi Society is an honorary Greek letter fraternity. Although founded as a student society, it is no longer active at the collegiate level...

, Phi Sigma Nu
Phi Sigma Nu
ΦΣΝ - Native American fraternity founded on February 13, 1996 at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. It currently has six chapters.Mission Statement:...

, and Zeta Beta Tau
Zeta Beta Tau
Zeta Beta Tau was founded in 1898 as the nation's first Jewish fraternity, although it is no longer sectarian. Today the merged Zeta Beta Tau Brotherhood is one of the largest, numbering over 140,000 initiated Brothers, and over 90 chapter locations.-Founding:The Zeta Beta Tau fraternity was...

 were founded as the first fraternities for African-American, Latino-American, Asian-American, Native American, and Jewish students, respectively.

Greek letters


The names of North American fraternities and sororities generally consist of two or three Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 letters, often the initials of a Greek motto, which may be secret. For example: Phi Beta Kappa (Society), from phi (φ) + beta (β) + kappa (κ), initials of the society's Greek motto, "φιλοσοφια βιου κυβερνητης" (philosophia biou kybernētēs), meaning "philosophy is the guide of life". The main thought behind the use of Greek letters is that the fraternities and sororities have a Hellenic way of thinking
Hellenism
Hellenism may refer to:*Hellenic studies*Hellenistic civilization*Hellenistic period, in Greek antiquity*Hellenistic Greece*Hellenization, the spread of Greek culture over foreign peoples*Hellenistic philosophy in the Hellenistic period and late antiquity...

.

Fraternities and sororities are referred to by the encompassing term "Greek letter organization" and described by the adjective "Greek", as seen in phrases such as "Greek community", "Greek system", "Greek life", or members as "Greeks". An individual fraternity or sorority is often called a "Greek house" or simply "house," terms that may be misleading, since it could be taken to refer to a chapter's physical property, whereas many fraternities and sororities do not have a chapter house. "Chapter" and "organization" are used in these contexts, with the latter referring to the group as a collective entity, and the former referring to a specific division of such entity, though not all fraternities and sororities have multiple chapters.

The use of Greek letters started with Phi Beta Kappa
Phi Beta Kappa Society
The Phi Beta Kappa Society is an academic honor society. Its mission is to "celebrate and advocate excellence in the liberal arts and sciences"; and induct "the most outstanding students of arts and sciences at America’s leading colleges and universities." Founded at The College of William and...

 (then a social fraternity and today an honor society) at the College of William & Mary – see History: Beginnings, below. Several groups, however, do not use Greek letters. Examples include Acacia
Acacia Fraternity
Acacia Fraternity is a Greek social fraternity originally based out of Masonic tradition. At its founding in 1904, membership was originally restricted to those who had taken the Masonic obligations, and the organization was built on those ideals and principles. Within one year, four other Masonic...

, FarmHouse, and Triangle
Triangle Fraternity
Triangle Fraternity is a social fraternity, limiting its recruitment of members to male students majoring in engineering, architecture, and the physical, mathematical, biological, and computer sciences...

, as well as final club
Final club
A final club is an undergraduate social club at Harvard College.- Origins :The historical basis for the name final clubs is that Harvard used to have a variety of clubs for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, with students of different years being in different clubs, and the "final clubs"...

s, eating club
Eating club
An eating club is a social club found in American universities. Eating clubs date to the late 19th and early 20th centuries and are intended to allow college students to enjoy meals and pleasant discourse. Some clubs are referred to as bicker clubs because of the bickering process over which...

s, secret societies at some Ivy League
Ivy League
The Ivy League is an athletic conference comprising eight private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States. The conference name is also commonly used to refer to those eight schools as a group...

 colleges, such as Skull and Bones
Skull and Bones
Skull and Bones is an undergraduate senior or secret society at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. It is a traditional peer society to Scroll and Key and Wolf's Head, as the three senior class 'landed societies' at Yale....

 at Yale
Yale College
Yale College was the official name of Yale University from 1718 to 1887. The name now refers to the undergraduate part of the university. Each undergraduate student is assigned to one of 12 residential colleges.-Residential colleges:...

 and the military affiliated fraternity the National Society of Pershing Rifles
Pershing Rifles
The Pershing Rifles is a military fraternal organization for college-level students, founded by then 2nd Lieutenant John J. Pershing in 1894 as a drill unit at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln...

.

Types of Greek letter organizations


Most Greek letter organizations are social organizations, presenting themselves as societies to help their members better themselves in a social setting.

A variety of Greek letter organizations are distinguished from social groups by their function. They can be specifically organized for service to the community, for professional advancement, or for scholastic achievement.

Certain organizations were established for specific religious or ethnic groups, while others focus on numerous qualifications. For example, Phi Sigma Pi
Phi Sigma Pi
Phi Sigma Pi is a national coeducational honor fraternity based in the United States. The fraternity is a 501 not-for-profit organization incorporated in the state of Pennsylvania, with the purpose of fostering the ideals of scholarship, leadership and fellowship...

, the only national honor fraternity, stresses both academic achievement and leadership in the community. Some social organizations are expressly Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

, such as Alpha Chi Rho
Alpha Chi Rho
Alpha Chi Rho is a men's collegiate fraternity founded on June 4, 1895 at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut by the Reverend Paul Ziegler, his son Carl Ziegler, and Carl's friends William Rouse, Herbert T. Sherriff and William A.D. Eardeley. It is a charter member of the North-American...

 (founded as Christian, presently non-exclusive). Jewish fraternities, such as Alpha Epsilon Pi
Alpha Epsilon Pi
Alpha Epsilon Pi , the Global Jewish college fraternity, has 155 active chapters in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Israel with a membership of over 9,000 undergraduates...

, Zeta Beta Tau
Zeta Beta Tau
Zeta Beta Tau was founded in 1898 as the nation's first Jewish fraternity, although it is no longer sectarian. Today the merged Zeta Beta Tau Brotherhood is one of the largest, numbering over 140,000 initiated Brothers, and over 90 chapter locations.-Founding:The Zeta Beta Tau fraternity was...

, and Sigma Alpha Mu
Sigma Alpha Mu
Sigma Alpha Mu , also known as "Sammy", is a college fraternity founded at the City College of New York in 1909. Originally only for Jewish men, Sigma Alpha Mu remained so until 1953, when members from all backgrounds were accepted. Originally headquartered in New York, Sigma Alpha Mu has...

 (historically Jewish, but has been non-sectarian since the 1950s) were established, in part, in response to restrictive clauses
Restrictive covenant
A restrictive covenant is a type of real covenant, a legal obligation imposed in a deed by the seller upon the buyer of real estate to do or not to do something. Such restrictions frequently "run with the land" and are enforceable on subsequent buyers of the property...

 that existed in many social fraternities' laws barring Jewish membership, which were removed in the mid-20th century. A controversy remains between the idea of creating supportive communities for distinct groups on the one hand and the intent to create non-discriminatory communities on the other.

There are also organizations with a cultural or multicultural emphasis. For example, Alpha Phi Alpha
Alpha Phi Alpha
Alpha Phi Alpha is the first Inter-Collegiate Black Greek Letter fraternity. It was founded on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Its founders are known as the "Seven Jewels". Alpha Phi Alpha developed a model that was used by the many Black Greek Letter Organizations ...

 and Kappa Alpha Psi
Kappa Alpha Psi
Kappa Alpha Psi is a collegiate Greek-letter fraternity with a predominantly African American membership. Since the fraternity's founding on January 5, 1911 at Indiana University Bloomington, the fraternity has never limited membership based on color, creed or national origin...

, both African American Fraternities, were established at Cornell University in 1906 and Indiana University - Bloomington in 1911, respectively, the first Chinese fraternity, established at Cornell in 1916, and Sigma Iota
Sigma Iota
Sigma Iota , Established March 12, 1912 was the first Latin American based Greek Lettered inter-collegiate fraternity in the United States.- Origins :...

, the first Hispanic fraternity, established at Louisiana State University in 1904. The latter later merged with other Hispanic fraternities and organizations around the nation to form Phi Iota Alpha
Phi Iota Alpha
Phi Iota Alpha , established December 26, 1931, is the oldest Latino fraternity still in existence, and works to motivate people, develop leaders, and create innovative ways to unite the Latino community. The organization has roots that stem back to the late 19th century to the first Latino...

, the oldest Latino fraternity in existence, in 1931. The Phi Sigma Alpha
Phi Sigma Alpha
Phi Sigma Alpha Fraternity commonly known as La Sigma, is a Puerto Rican fraternity established originally as the Sigma Delta Alpha Fraternity on October 22, 1928 at the University of Puerto Rico by 12 students and a professor...

 fraternity in Puerto Rico can also trace its roots back to Sigma Iota. There are now 20 Latino fraternities in the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations
National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations
The National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations is an umbrella council for 19 Latino Greek Letter Organizations established in 1998...

. A distinct set of black
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

 fraternities and sororities also exists, although black students are not barred from non-black organizations and there are black members of non-black organizations. Non African-American students are also not barred from predominately African American fraternities and sororities.

Organizations designed for particular class years do exist, but are usually categorized separately from other types of Greek letter organizations. While these were once common in older institutions in the Northeast, the only surviving underclass society is Theta Nu Epsilon
Theta Nu Epsilon
Founded at Wesleyan University in 1870 as a chapter of Skull and Bones, Theta Nu Epsilon is a sophomore class society that accepts members regardless of their fraternity status.-Early history:...

, which is specifically for sophomores. Many senior class societies also survive, and they are often simply referred to as Secret Societies.

Philanthropy



Many Greek letter organizations make Philanthropy an integral part of their objectives to reach beyond their own group to support others. It would not be possible to list all charitable organizations and activities done on their behalf. This is an abbreviated list showing source of support, organization supported, and last known monetary contribution from a fund raiser.

Kappa Delta
Kappa Delta
Kappa Delta was the first sorority founded at the State Female Normal School , in Farmville, Virginia. It is one of the "Farmville Four" sororities founded at the university...

: - Girl Scouts of the USA; Prevent Child Abuse America; Richmond VA Children's Hospital; American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; Kappa Delta Foundation.
Pi Kappa Phi
Pi Kappa Phi
Pi Kappa Phi is an American social fraternity. It was founded by Andrew Alexander Kroeg, Jr., Lawrence Harry Mixson, and Simon Fogarty, Jr. on December 10, 1904 at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina...

: Push America
Push America
Push America is a 501 non-profit organization, founded in 1977 through Pi Kappa Phi as a way for undergraduate fraternity brothers to experience leadership development through service of people with disabilities...

 for the disabled. Phi Sigma Alpha
Phi Sigma Alpha
Phi Sigma Alpha Fraternity commonly known as La Sigma, is a Puerto Rican fraternity established originally as the Sigma Delta Alpha Fraternity on October 22, 1928 at the University of Puerto Rico by 12 students and a professor...

: Sigma Foundation. Delta Delta Delta
Delta Delta Delta
Delta Delta Delta , also known as Tri Delta, is an international sorority founded on November 27, 1888, the eve of Thanksgiving Day. With over 200,000 initiates, Tri Delta is one of the world's largest NPC sororities.-History:...

: St. Jude Children's Hospital $9.1mm. Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi is a fraternity founded on May 15, 1851 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The Executive office for this sorority is located on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. Alpha Delta Pi is one of the two "Macon Magnolias," a term used to celebrate the bonds it shares with Phi Mu...

: Ronald McDonald House Charities
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Ronald McDonald House Charities is an independent 501c3 organization whose mission is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children across the world...

. Alpha Omicron Pi
Alpha Omicron Pi
Alpha Omicron Pi is an international women's fraternity promoting friendship for a lifetime, inspiring academic excellence and lifelong learning, and developing leadership skills through service to the Fraternity and community. ΑΟΠ was founded on January 2, 1897 at Barnard College on the campus...

: Arthritis
Arthritis
Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints....

 Research, Gamma Phi Beta
Gamma Phi Beta
Gamma Phi Beta is an international sorority that was founded on November 11, 1874, at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. The term "sorority," meaning sisterhood, was coined for Gamma Phi Beta by Dr. Frank Smalley, a professor at Syracuse University.The four founders are Helen M. Dodge,...

: Campfire USA. Alpha Sigma Phi
Alpha Sigma Phi
Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity is a social fraternity with 71 active chapters and 9 colonies. Founded at Yale in 1845, it is the 10th oldest fraternity in the United States....

: Lance Armstrong Foundation
Lance Armstrong Foundation
The Lance Armstrong Foundation is a United States 501 nonprofit organization that provides support for people affected by cancer, founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong. The LAF states that its mission is 'to inspire and empower' cancer sufferers and their families...

. Chi Omega
Chi Omega
Chi Omega is a women's fraternity and the largest member of the National Panhellenic Conference. Chi Omega has 174 active collegiate chapters and over 230 alumnae chapters. Chi Omega's national headquarters is located in Memphis, Tennessee....

: Make-A-Wish Foundation
Make-A-Wish Foundation
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a 501 non-profit organization founded in the United States that grants wishes to children who have life-threatening medical conditions. The charity now operates in forty-seven countries around the world through thirty-six affiliate offices.The president & CEO of this...

. Delta Chi Lambda: FreeRice.com. Zeta Tau Alpha
Zeta Tau Alpha
Zeta Tau Alpha is a women's fraternity, founded October 15, 1898 at the State Female Normal School in Farmville, Virginia. The Executive office is located in Indianapolis, Indiana...

: Breast Cancer Education and Awareness. Sigma Sigma Sigma
Sigma Sigma Sigma
Sigma Sigma Sigma , also known as Tri Sigma, is a national American women’s sorority with membership of more than 100,000 members. Sigma Sigma Sigma is a member of the National Panhellenic Conference and hosts chapters on more than 110 college campuses and 89 alumnae chapters in communities all...

: Robbie Page Memorial]]. Theta Phi Alpha
Theta Phi Alpha
Theta Phi Alpha women's fraternity was founded at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor on August 30, 1912. Theta Phi Alpha is one of 26 national sororities recognized in the National Panhellenic Conference...

: Homeless shelters, underprivileged children. Phi Sigma Sigma
Phi Sigma Sigma
Phi Sigma Sigma , colloquially known as "Phi Sig," was the first collegiate nonsectarian fraternity, welcoming women of all faiths and backgrounds...

: National Kidney Foundation
National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation, Inc. is a major voluntary health organization in the United States, headquartered in New York City...

.Phi Mu
Phi Mu
Phi Mu is the second oldest female fraternal organization established in the United States. It was founded at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The organization was founded as the Philomathean Society on January 4, 1852, and was announced publicly on March 4 of the same year...

: Children's Miracle Network
Children's Miracle Network
The Children's Miracle Network Hospitals is an international non-profit organization that raises funds for children's hospitals, medical research and community awareness of children's health issues. The organization, founded in 1982 by the Osmond family and John Schneider, is headquartered in...

, Phi Iota Alpha
Phi Iota Alpha
Phi Iota Alpha , established December 26, 1931, is the oldest Latino fraternity still in existence, and works to motivate people, develop leaders, and create innovative ways to unite the Latino community. The organization has roots that stem back to the late 19th century to the first Latino...

: UNICEF. Kappa Alpha Theta - CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).

Note worthy fundraisers. 2010 Derby Days at Rutgers University: Children's Miracle Network
Children's Miracle Network
The Children's Miracle Network Hospitals is an international non-profit organization that raises funds for children's hospitals, medical research and community awareness of children's health issues. The organization, founded in 1982 by the Osmond family and John Schneider, is headquartered in...

; $95k. February 2011 Pennsylvania State University's Dance Marathon; Pediatric cancer; $9.5mm (2010 $7.8mm)

Competition and cooperation


Early fraternal societies were very competitive for members, for academic honors, and for any other benefit or gain. Some of this competition was seen as divisive on college campuses. Today there is still competition, but that competition is intended to be within limits, and for nobler purposes, such as charitable fundraising. Often, organizations compete in various sporting events. There is also a greater emphasis on interfraternity cooperation. The single greatest effort along these lines was the creation of the National Interfraternity Council
North-American Interfraternity Conference
The North-American Interfraternity Conference , is an association of collegiate men's fraternities that was formally organized in 1910, although it began on November 27, 1909. The power of the organization rests in a House of Delegates where each member fraternity is represented by a single delegate...

, now the North American Interfraternity Conference, a century ago, which was intended to minimize conflicts, destructive competition, and encourage student members to recognize members of other fraternities and sororities as people who share common interests. The National Pan-Hellenic Council has similar goals to unite members of all predominant BGLOs; (historically) Black Greek letter organizations.

Structure and organization


Most Greek letter organizations were originally organized on one campus. An organization that has only one established chapter is a "local." A local can authorize chapters of the same name at other campuses. After the first authorized chapter, a local is considered a "national," even if it only has two chapters. Over the past 180 years, North America has accrued several large national organizations with hundreds of chapters. Two or more nationals can also merge, and some of the larger nationals were created this way. Several national fraternities are international, which usually means they have chapters in Canada.

A local organization can petition one of the existing national organizations and be absorbed into their organization dropping all ties to the former local organization. Recently this has become the preferred method for expansion within national organizations because the members have already formed a bond and presence on campus but are changing their name, ritual, and structure.

The central business offices of the organizations are also commonly referred to as "Nationals". Nationals may place certain requirements on individual chapters to standardize rituals and policies regarding membership, housing, finances, or behavior. These policies are generally codified in a constitution and bylaws. Greek letter organizations may once have been governed by the original chapter, but virtually all have adopted some version of governance with executive officers who report to a board of trustees, and 'legislative' body consisting of periodic conventions of delegates from all the chapters.

Rituals and symbols


Most Greek letter organizations maintain tradition
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

s, sometimes accompanied by secret ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

s, which are generally symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

ic in nature. They include an initiation ceremony, and may also include password
Password
A password is a secret word or string of characters that is used for authentication, to prove identity or gain access to a resource . The password should be kept secret from those not allowed access....

s, song
Song
In music, a song is a composition for voice or voices, performed by singing.A song may be accompanied by musical instruments, or it may be unaccompanied, as in the case of a cappella songs...

s, and handshake
Handshake
A handshake is a short ritual in which two people grasp one of each other's like hands, in most cases accompanied by a brief up and down movement of the grasped hands.-History:...

s. For example, writer Julian Hawthorne
Julian Hawthorne
Julian Hawthorne was an American writer and journalist, the son of novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne and Sophia Peabody. He wrote numerous poems, novels, short stories, mystery/detective fiction, essays, travel books, biographies and histories...

, the son of Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer.Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in the city of Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel Hathorne and the former Elizabeth Clarke Manning. His ancestors include John Hathorne, a judge during the Salem Witch Trials...

, wrote (in his posthumously published Memoirs) of an ironic coincidence surrounding his fraternal initiation:
I was initiated into a college secret society—a couple of hours of grotesque and good-humored rodomontade
Rodomontade
Rodomontade \rod-uh-muhn-TADE; roh-duh-muhn-TAHD\ is a mass noun meaning boastful talk or behavior. The term is a reference to Rodomonte, a character in Italian Renaissance epic poems Orlando innamorato and its sequel Orlando furioso....

 and horseplay, in which I cooperated as in a kind of pleasant nightmare, confident, even when branded with a red-hot iron or doused head-over heels in boiling oil, that it would come out all right. The neophyte is effectively blindfolded during the proceedings, and at last, still sightless, I was led down flights of steps into a silent crypt, and helped into a coffin, where I was to stay until the Resurrection...Thus it was that just as my father passed from this earth, I was lying in a coffin during my initiation into Delta Kappa Epsilon
Delta Kappa Epsilon
Delta Kappa Epsilon is a fraternity founded at Yale College in 1844 by 15 men of the sophomore class who had not been invited to join the two existing societies...

.


Meetings of active members are generally kept private and not discussed without formal approval of the chapter as a whole.

For organizations with Greek letters composing their name, these letters are the initials of a motto (such as Delta Upsilon
Delta Upsilon
Delta Upsilon is the sixth oldest international, all-male, college Greek-letter organization, and is the oldest non-secret fraternity in North America...

), a set of virtues (such as Alpha Kappa Lambda
Alpha Kappa Lambda
Alpha Kappa Lambda is an American collegiate social fraternity for men founded at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1914...

), or the history of its organization (such as Phi Tau
Phi Tau
Phi Tau is a coeducational fraternity at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. Founded in 1905 as the Tau Chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa, the organization separated from the national fraternity in 1956 over a dispute regarding the segregationist and antisemitic membership policies of the...

).

Greek letter organizations often have a number of distinctive emblems, such as colors, flags, flowers, in addition to a badge (or pin), coat of arms, and/or seal. An open motto (indicating that the organization has a "secret motto" as well) is used to express the unique ideals of a fraternity or sorority.

Pins or badges



Pins have become increasingly popular to collect, even by individuals that never were members. Groups such as the Fraternity Pin Collector Society have collected thousands of pins worth tens of thousands of dollars in individual collections while organizations such as Kappa Kappa Gamma
Kappa Kappa Gamma
Kappa Kappa Gamma is a collegiate women's fraternity, founded at Monmouth College, in Monmouth, Illinois, USA. Although the groundwork of the organization was developed as early as 1869, the 1876 Convention voted that October 13, 1870 should be recognized at the official Founders Day, because no...

's "Keepers of the Key" work to reunite lost or stolen badges with their original owners.

According to , the primary fraternal jewelers of the late 19th century and early 20th century were D. L. Auld Co. of Columbus, L. G. Balfour Co. of Attleboro, Mass., Burr, Patterson and Co. of Detroit, Upmeyer Company of Milwaukee, A. H. Fetting Co. of Baltimore, Hoover and Smith Co. of Philadelphia, O. C. Lanphear of Galesburg, Ill., Miller Jewelry Co. of Cincinnati, J. F. Newman of New York, Edward Roehm of Detroit, and Wright, Kay and Co. of Detroit. Currently the most widely used jewelers are Herff Jones
Herff Jones
Herff Jones Company manufactures and sells educational recognition and achievement products and motivational materials, and has been in continuous operation for 90 years. Herff Jones maintains production facilities across the United States as well as in Canada....

, Jostens
Jostens
Jostens is an American company providing yearbooks and class rings for various high schools and colleges as well as championship rings for sports, including the Super Bowl rings....

, and Balfour. Jewelers' initials and stampings are typically found on the back of pins along with the member name and/or chapter information. The history of fraternal jewelers is important when determining age of non-dated jewelry pieces.

Since fraternity and sorority pins are used as the primary symbols for societies, licensing and marketing concerns have developed. As a result, many of the larger organizations have had to put a legal team on retainer as consultants.

Coat of arms


Fraternities and Sororities have coat of arms that represent the familial aspect of brotherhood and sisterhood. The greatest representation of fraternal coat of arms is found in yearbooks and chapter publications from 1890 to 1925. Engraving
Engraving
Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing...

s were made of coat of arms and tipped into the yearbooks, often later removed and framed. Sizes range from a square inch to a full page layout. Many of these engravings were signed, creating a period art form.

Fraternal coat of arms engravings were typically made by cutting lines in metal or wood for the purpose of printing reproduction. The earliest known engravings printed on paper in this fashion date back to the 16th century. Much of the engravings done in the 19th century were metal engravings where the image was carved into a piece of steel or iron. In the early 20th century, it became more common to use photo-engraving, or photogravure
Photogravure
Photogravure is an intaglio printmaking or photo-mechanical process whereby a copper plate is coated with a light-sensitive gelatin tissue which had been exposed to a film positive, and then etched, resulting in a high quality intaglio print that can reproduce the detail and continuous tones of a...

 to print the coat of arms.

Objects


Apparel such as shirts, pants, bags, canteens, jewelry and key chains are often worn by members with their Greek letters on them. These shirts and other articles may later be used for a pass-down ceremony between seniors and fellow members. Seniors may choose to pass down some or all of the clothing they own that is associated with the sorority. Some of the shirts are ten or more years old and in some chapters, girls will compete for them. In those chapters, generally members feel it is an honor to have older artifacts. At some institutions, it is considered inappropriate and may be prohibited to wear apparel with the society's name when the member is consuming alcohol. It is considered disrespectful to have their letters on when drinking, regardless of their age. Also, it is generally taboo for non-members to wear any apparel with a group's letters.

Membership pins are not worn at all times. Some organizations limit pin-wearing to times of professional or business dress, also known as "Pin Attire". The pins are kept until the member dies, when they are returned to the Fraternity.

Chapter houses



Unique among most campus organizations, members of social Greek letter organizations often live together in a large house or distinct part of the university dormitories. This can help emphasize the "bonds of brotherhood or sisterhood" and provide a place of meeting for the members of the organization as well as alumni. For reasons of cost, liability, and stability, housing is usually owned or overseen by an alumni corporation or the organization's national headquarters. As a result, some houses have visitor restrictions, and some national organizations restrict or prohibit alcohol on the premises.
At some colleges where chapters do not have residential houses for the general membership, they may still have chapter houses where meals are served for their membership and guests.

Joining



The process of joining a Greek letter organization varies from organization to organization. Organizations governed by the National Panhellenic Conference
National Panhellenic Conference
The National Panhellenic Conference , founded in 1902, is an umbrella organization for 26 national women's sororities.Each member group is autonomous as a social, Greek-letter society of college women and alumnae...

 or the North-American Interfraternity Conference
North-American Interfraternity Conference
The North-American Interfraternity Conference , is an association of collegiate men's fraternities that was formally organized in 1910, although it began on November 27, 1909. The power of the organization rests in a House of Delegates where each member fraternity is represented by a single delegate...

 commonly begin their process with a formal recruitment period, often called "rush week," or formal recruitment, which usually consists of events and activities designed for members and potential members to learn about each other and the organization. At the end of the formal recruitment period, organizations give "bids", or invitations to membership. Most organizations have a period of "pledgeship" before extending full membership. Some organizations have changed the name of pledgeship due to negative connotations to the process (such as calling pledges "Zobes" or "new members"), or have given up the process in favor of other joining requirements. Upon completion of the pledgeship and all its requirements, the active members will invite the pledges to be initiated and become full members. Initiation often includes secret ceremonies and rituals. Organizations governed by the National Pan-Hellenic Council
National Pan-Hellenic Council
The National Pan-Hellenic Council is a collaborative organization of nine historically African American, international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities. The nine NPHC organizations are sometimes collectively referred to as the "Divine Nine"...

 (NPHC), the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations
National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations
The National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations is an umbrella council for 19 Latino Greek Letter Organizations established in 1998...

 (NALFO), or the National Multicultural Greek Council
National Multicultural Greek Council
The National Multicultural Greek Council is an umbrella council for ten Multicultural Greek Letter Organizations established in 1998. The purpose of NMGC is to provide a forum that allows for the free exchange of ideas, programs, and services between its constituent fraternities and sororities;...

 (NMGC) have very different recruitment processes. Oftentimes the fraternities and sororities associated with these councils do not participate in a typical recruitment process nor do they host a rush week. Instead interested students must formally express their interest to a member, or more oftentimes than not, members of the particular organization they are interested in.

Requirements may be imposed on those wishing to pledge either by the school or the organization itself, often including a minimum grade point average, wearing a pledge pin, learning about the history and structure of the organization, and performing public service. When a school places an age or tenure requirement on joining, this is called "deferred recruitment", as joining is deferred for a semester or year. The pledgeship period also serves as a probationary period in which both the organization and the pledge decide if they are compatible and will have a fulfilling experience.

Academic achievement


A 1996 study examined the cognitive effects of Greek affiliation during the first year of college. Statistical controls were made for individual pre-college ability and academic motivation as well as gender, ethnicity, age, credit hours taken, work responsibilities, and other factors. Data showed that men who were members of fraternities had significantly lower end-of-first-year reading comprehension, mathematics, critical thinking, and composite achievement than their peers who were not affiliated with a Greek organization. Sorority membership also had a negative effect on cognitive development. However, only the effects for reading comprehension and composite achievement were significant and the magnitude of the negative influence tended to be smaller for women than for men.

A follow-up study in 2006 by the same researchers and using similar sampling techniques and controls showed that negative effects of fraternity/sorority affiliation were much less pronounced during the second and third year of college than during the first year of college. On objective, standardized measures of cognitive skills, the effects of Greek affiliation continued to be negative for both men and women, but they were substantially smaller in magnitude and only one could be considered statistically significant (a negative effect for fraternity membership on end-of-third-year reading comprehension). The study also included self-reported measures of students’ cognitive growth. For men, fraternity membership continued to exert small negative effects in the second and third years of college, but only one was statistically significant. For women the impacts of sorority membership on self-reported gains were just the opposite. In both the second and third years of college, sorority membership exerted small positive effects on all self-reported gains measures, several of which reached statistical significance.

George D. Kuh, Ernest T. Pascarella, and Henry Wechsler used research from the National Study of Student Learning (NSSL) and concluded that “fraternities are indifferent to academic values and seem to short-change the education of many members.”

A 2006 study which was published in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology found that fraternity and sorority members suffered from 1 to 10 percent lower cumulative GPAs than non-Greek students. This negative effect was most pronounced for small fraternities and weakest for sororities.
Other research from 1997, reveals the positive effects of joining student organizations and specifically Greek letter organizations. A study in the Journal of College Student Development surveyed college men, both Greek and non-Greek, from freshman year to senior year and tested their scores on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. The study shows that Greek men have significantly higher self-esteem then their non-Greek counterparts.

Other research, however, paints a more positive picture of the effects of Greek affiliation. Greek affiliation leads to significantly higher levels of general education gains, volunteerism, civic responsibility, willingness to donate to charitable or religious causes, and participation in student organizations (Hayek, Carini, O’Day, & Kuh, 2002; Whipple & Sullivan, 1998). Greek members have a higher tendency to persist through their senior year and graduate (Nelson, Halperin, Wasserman, Smith, & Graham, 2006). Furthermore, Greek members experience greater gains in interpersonal skills than unaffiliated peers (Hunt & Rentz, 1994; Pike, 2000).

Hazing issues



Hazing
Hazing
Hazing is a term used to describe various ritual and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group....

 is the harassment
Harassment
Harassment covers a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behaviour intended to disturb or upset, and it is characteristically repetitive. In the legal sense, it is intentional behaviour which is found threatening or disturbing...

 of new members as a rite of passage, by giving them meaningless, difficult, dangerous or humiliating tasks to perform, exposing them to ridicule, or playing practical jokes on them. It is a crime in 44 states, and most educational institutions have their own definitions of, and prohibitions against, hazing, many required by state statutes.

Due to the nature of hazing and the secretive nature of Greek letter organizations, hazing is largely underreported. Most, if not all, hazing activities take place during pledge (or "interest") activities.

Recently following a increase in the number of hazing
Hazing
Hazing is a term used to describe various ritual and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group....

 deaths, and issues of harassment
Harassment
Harassment covers a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behaviour intended to disturb or upset, and it is characteristically repetitive. In the legal sense, it is intentional behaviour which is found threatening or disturbing...

 activities the secretive silence was broken by two former members of BGLO; Minister Jerrod Smith who is a former member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, and Brother Clifton Lucas, who is a former member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. In their book of The True Alpha And Omega (Unmasking Spiritual Wickedness In Fraternities and Sororities)(Third Edition), they expose the secret activities which include hostile hazing activities, and even sexual requirements in some instances. Smith and Lucas also compare the Greek Systems of the Black Greek Letter Organizations with the other collegiate Greek organizations as well.

Exclusionary nature


Some colleges and universities have banned Greek letter organizations with the justification that they are, by their very structure, set up to be elitist and exclusionary. The most famous, and oldest ban was at Princeton
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 , though Princeton has now had fraternities since the 1980s. Fraternities have been banned in recent times from Williams College
Williams College
Williams College is a private liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States. It was established in 1793 with funds from the estate of Ephraim Williams. Originally a men's college, Williams became co-educational in 1970. Fraternities were also phased out during this...

, Middlebury College
Middlebury College
Middlebury College is a private liberal arts college located in Middlebury, Vermont, USA. Founded in 1800, it is one of the oldest liberal arts colleges in the United States. Drawing 2,400 undergraduates from all 50 United States and over 70 countries, Middlebury offers 44 majors in the arts,...

, and Amherst College
Amherst College
Amherst College is a private liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts, United States. Amherst is an exclusively undergraduate four-year institution and enrolled 1,744 students in the fall of 2009...

.
Stanford University banned sororities in 1944, but not fraternities. They were restored in 1977 under Title IX. The University of Victoria
University of Victoria
The University of Victoria, often referred to as UVic, is the second oldest public research university in British Columbia, Canada. It is a research intensive university located in Saanich and Oak Bay, about northeast of downtown Victoria. The University's annual enrollment is about 20,000 students...

 administration enforces strict non-recognition of fraternities citing their exclusionary nature. While preferable, fraternities do not require recognition by a university.

Alcohol and other drug abuse


According to the U.S. Department of Education, fraternity and sorority members drink more often and in far greater quantities than their non-fraternity and non-sorority peers, and are therefore more likely to suffer the effects of alcohol abuse, such as poor academic performance, missing classes, fights, vandalism, injuries, and sexual assault, than the general college population.
Citing a 2004 study and Monitoring the Future
Monitoring the Future
The Monitoring the Future study, also known as the National High School Senior Survey, is a long-term epidemiological study that surveys trends in legal and illicit drug use among American adolescents and adults as well as personal levels of perceived risk and disapproval for each drug...

 data, the U.S. Department of Education also states that Greek-letter organization members abuse prescription stimulants more than other students do and that membership in a Greek-letter organization increases the likelihood of marijuana use.
Alcohol abuse and drug use in fraternities and sororities is related to both socialization
Socialization
Socialization is a term used by sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, political scientists and educationalists to refer to the process of inheriting and disseminating norms, customs and ideologies...

 and self-selection
Self-selection
In statistics, self-selection bias arises in any situation in which individuals select themselves into a group, causing a biased sample with nonprobability sampling...

.

North American Greek letter organizations in other regions


North American Greek letter organizations (NAGLO) are present almost exclusively in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the English speaking universities of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, with a minority of organizations having chapters elsewhere, such as the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, and some in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 there have also been temporary accommodations. The Arizona State University
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area of the State of Arizona...

 currently has the largest Greek letter organization system in the world with 69 fraternities and 36 sororities. Sigma Gamma Rho
Sigma Gamma Rho
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was founded on the campus of Butler University on November 12, 1922, by seven school teachers in Indianapolis, Indiana...

 Sorority, a prominent historically African-American Sorority, currently has chapters in the Virgin Islands and Bermuda. There was a brief chapter of Chi Phi
Chi Phi
The Chi Phi ' Fraternity is an American College Social Fraternity that was established as the result of the merger of three separate organizations that were each known as Chi Phi. The oldest active organization that took part in the union was originally founded in 1824 at Princeton...

 at Edinburgh, Scotland during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 to accommodate Southern students studying abroad, and another for American servicemen who were still college students during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, but there has been no real export of the system to Europe. Zeta Phi Beta
Zeta Phi Beta
Zeta Phi Beta is an international, historically black Greek-lettered sorority and a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.Zeta Phi Beta is organized into 800+ chapters, in eight intercontinental regions including the USA, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean...

 Sorority, Incorporated, a historically black sorority founded in Washington, DC, USA, was the very first Greek-lettered organization ever to establish a chapter in Africa (1948), along with its constitutionally bonded brother organization, Phi Beta Sigma
Phi Beta Sigma
Phi Beta Sigma is a predominantly African-American fraternity which was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C. on January 9, 1914, by three young African-American male students. The founders A. Langston Taylor, Leonard F. Morse, and Charles I...

, Fraternity, Inc. Today, both the Sigmas and Zetas have chapters in the USA, Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean. Likewise, Zeta Psi
Zeta Psi
The Zeta Psi Fraternity of North America was founded June 1, 1847 as a social college fraternity. The organization now comprises about fifty active chapters and twenty-five inactive chapters, encompassing roughly fifty thousand brothers, and is a founding member of the North-American...

 and Sigma Alpha Mu
Sigma Alpha Mu
Sigma Alpha Mu , also known as "Sammy", is a college fraternity founded at the City College of New York in 1909. Originally only for Jewish men, Sigma Alpha Mu remained so until 1953, when members from all backgrounds were accepted. Originally headquartered in New York, Sigma Alpha Mu has...

 have chapters in Canada. Zeta Psi
Zeta Psi
The Zeta Psi Fraternity of North America was founded June 1, 1847 as a social college fraternity. The organization now comprises about fifty active chapters and twenty-five inactive chapters, encompassing roughly fifty thousand brothers, and is a founding member of the North-American...

 also has one in England. Tau Kappa Epsilon
Tau Kappa Epsilon
Tau Kappa Epsilon is a college fraternity founded on January 10, 1899 at Illinois Wesleyan University with chapters in the United States, and Canada, and affiliation with a German fraternity system known as the Corps of the Weinheimer Senioren Convent...

 has chapters in Canada. Sigma Thêta Pi
Sigma Thêta Pi
Sigma Thêta Pi , is an international student fraternity based in Quebec and France, which was founded in 2003.-History:In 2003, four students decided to create a fraternity in the French educational system which doesn't possess any....

 is present in Canada and France. In the National Panhellenic Conference, notable Canadian expansion efforts include Alpha Gamma Delta
Alpha Gamma Delta
Alpha Gamma Delta is an international women's fraternity, who are mainly sluts, founded in 1904 at Syracuse University. The Fraternity promotes academic excellence, philanthropic giving, ongoing leadership and personal development, and a spirit of loving sisterhood. Also known as "Alpha Gam" and...

 and Alpha Phi
Alpha Phi
Alpha Phi International Women's Fraternity was founded at Syracuse University on September 18, 1872. Alpha Phi currently has 152 active chapters and over 200,000 initiated members. Its celebrated Founders' Day is October 10. It was the third Greek-letter organization founded for women. In Alpha...

, which have seven and six Canadian chapters respectively. In 2009, Alpha Epsilon Pi
Alpha Epsilon Pi
Alpha Epsilon Pi , the Global Jewish college fraternity, has 155 active chapters in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Israel with a membership of over 9,000 undergraduates...

 established its Aleph chapter at the Interdisciplinary Center
Interdisciplinary Center
The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya is a private Israeli college located in Herzliya, Israel.The languages of instruction in the Interdisciplinary Center are Hebrew and English.-History:...

 in Herzliya
Herzliya
Herzliya is a city in the central coast of Israel, at the western part of the Tel Aviv District. It has a population of 87,000 residents. Named after Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, Herzliya covers an area of 26 km²...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. Delta Lambda Sorority was founded in 2009, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, and is currently the country's only active Greek letter organization.

In Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 there are a number of social fraternities and sororities, a few having chapters in the mainland United States such as Phi Sigma Alpha
Phi Sigma Alpha
Phi Sigma Alpha Fraternity commonly known as La Sigma, is a Puerto Rican fraternity established originally as the Sigma Delta Alpha Fraternity on October 22, 1928 at the University of Puerto Rico by 12 students and a professor...

. Puerto Rico does have many chapters of professional, honorary, and service fraternities and sororities from the United States such as Sigma Lambda Beta
Sigma Lambda Beta
Sigma Lambda Beta is the largest Latino-based social fraternity established on cultural understanding and wisdom. Founded on April 4, 1986 at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, the organization is committed to create and expand multicultural leadership, promote academic excellence, advance...

 International.

Sororities


The Independent Order of Odd Fellows
Independent Order of Odd Fellows
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows , also known as the Three Link Fraternity, is an altruistic and benevolent fraternal organization derived from the similar British Oddfellows service organizations which came into being during the 18th century, at a time when altruistic and charitable acts were...

, also known as the three link fraternity, was the first organization to form a woman's auxiliary when it formed the Daughters of Rebekah in 1851 but the term sorority was not yet coined during that time. However, many of the first societies for women were not modeled as fraternities, but were woman's versions of the common Latin literary societies. The Adelphean Society (now Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi is a fraternity founded on May 15, 1851 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The Executive office for this sorority is located on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. Alpha Delta Pi is one of the two "Macon Magnolias," a term used to celebrate the bonds it shares with Phi Mu...

) was established in 1851 at Wesleyan College
Wesleyan College
Wesleyan College is a private, liberal arts women's college located in Macon, Georgia, United States.-History:The school was chartered on December 23, 1836 as the Georgia Female College, and opened its doors to students on January 7, 1839. The school was renamed Wesleyan Female College in 1843...

 in Macon
Macon, Georgia
Macon is a city located in central Georgia, US. Founded at the fall line of the Ocmulgee River, it is part of the Macon metropolitan area, and the county seat of Bibb County. A small portion of the city extends into Jones County. Macon is the biggest city in central Georgia...

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

. The Philomathean Society (now Phi Mu
Phi Mu
Phi Mu is the second oldest female fraternal organization established in the United States. It was founded at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The organization was founded as the Philomathean Society on January 4, 1852, and was announced publicly on March 4 of the same year...

) was founded at Wesleyan College
Wesleyan College
Wesleyan College is a private, liberal arts women's college located in Macon, Georgia, United States.-History:The school was chartered on December 23, 1836 as the Georgia Female College, and opened its doors to students on January 7, 1839. The school was renamed Wesleyan Female College in 1843...

 a year later in 1852. The Adelphean Society and the Philomathean Society did not take on their modern Greek names (Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi is a fraternity founded on May 15, 1851 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The Executive office for this sorority is located on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. Alpha Delta Pi is one of the two "Macon Magnolias," a term used to celebrate the bonds it shares with Phi Mu...

  and Phi Mu
Phi Mu
Phi Mu is the second oldest female fraternal organization established in the United States. It was founded at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The organization was founded as the Philomathean Society on January 4, 1852, and was announced publicly on March 4 of the same year...

, respectively) until 1904 when they expanded beyond the Wesleyan campus. They are now often referred to as the Macon Magnolias. Many aspects of Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi is a fraternity founded on May 15, 1851 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The Executive office for this sorority is located on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. Alpha Delta Pi is one of the two "Macon Magnolias," a term used to celebrate the bonds it shares with Phi Mu...

 and Phi Mu
Phi Mu
Phi Mu is the second oldest female fraternal organization established in the United States. It was founded at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The organization was founded as the Philomathean Society on January 4, 1852, and was announced publicly on March 4 of the same year...

 (such as the stars and hands on their badges and the mascot of the lion) are similar due to the fact that while at Wesleyan a founder of Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi is a fraternity founded on May 15, 1851 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The Executive office for this sorority is located on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. Alpha Delta Pi is one of the two "Macon Magnolias," a term used to celebrate the bonds it shares with Phi Mu...

, Eugenia Tucker Fitzgerald, and Phi Mu's Mary Ann DuPont (Lines) were roommates.

On 28 April 1867, I.C. Sorosis (later known by its original Greek motto Pi Beta Phi
Pi Beta Phi
Pi Beta Phi is an international fraternity for women founded as I.C. Sorosis on April 28, 1867, at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. Its headquarters are located in Town and Country, Missouri, and there are 134 active chapters and over 330 alumnae organizations across the United States and...

) was founded at Monmouth College
Monmouth College
Monmouth College is a four-year coeducational private liberal arts college located in Monmouth, Illinois, United States.-History:Monmouth College was founded on April 18, 1853 by the Second Presbytery of Illinois, a frontier arm of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church...

, in Monmouth
Monmouth, Illinois
Monmouth is a city in and the county seat of Warren County in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the home of Monmouth College and contains Monmouth Park, Harmon Park, North Park, Warfield Park, West Park, South Park, Garwood Park, Buster White Park and the Citizens Lake & Campground. It is the host...

, Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

. It is the first sorority founded on the model of the men's fraternity. A year later it established a second chapter at Iowa Wesleyan College. Three years later on 13 October 1870, Kappa Kappa Gamma
Kappa Kappa Gamma
Kappa Kappa Gamma is a collegiate women's fraternity, founded at Monmouth College, in Monmouth, Illinois, USA. Although the groundwork of the organization was developed as early as 1869, the 1876 Convention voted that October 13, 1870 should be recognized at the official Founders Day, because no...

 was founded. These two fraternities were later known as the Monmouth Duo.

On 27 January 1870, Kappa Alpha Theta was formed at De Pauw University as the first Greek Lettered Fraternity known among women.

In the mid-19th century, previously all-male universities began to admit women, and many women students felt it was in their best interest to band together. The first collegiate women formed woman's fraternities in an effort to counteract the widespread opposition to their presence . Others disagree with this agonistic historical view.

Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi is a fraternity founded on May 15, 1851 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The Executive office for this sorority is located on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia. Alpha Delta Pi is one of the two "Macon Magnolias," a term used to celebrate the bonds it shares with Phi Mu...

 was the first sorority, founded in 1851 at Wesleyan College
Wesleyan College
Wesleyan College is a private, liberal arts women's college located in Macon, Georgia, United States.-History:The school was chartered on December 23, 1836 as the Georgia Female College, and opened its doors to students on January 7, 1839. The school was renamed Wesleyan Female College in 1843...

. The earliest organizations were founded as "women's fraternities" or "fraternities for women;" the term sorority was coined by professor Frank Smalley in 1874, in reference to the Greek organization, Gamma Phi Beta
Gamma Phi Beta
Gamma Phi Beta is an international sorority that was founded on November 11, 1874, at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. The term "sorority," meaning sisterhood, was coined for Gamma Phi Beta by Dr. Frank Smalley, a professor at Syracuse University.The four founders are Helen M. Dodge,...

 being established at Syracuse University. Kappa Kappa Gamma
Kappa Kappa Gamma
Kappa Kappa Gamma is a collegiate women's fraternity, founded at Monmouth College, in Monmouth, Illinois, USA. Although the groundwork of the organization was developed as early as 1869, the 1876 Convention voted that October 13, 1870 should be recognized at the official Founders Day, because no...

 (1870) and Pi Beta Phi
Pi Beta Phi
Pi Beta Phi is an international fraternity for women founded as I.C. Sorosis on April 28, 1867, at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. Its headquarters are located in Town and Country, Missouri, and there are 134 active chapters and over 330 alumnae organizations across the United States and...

 (1867), known as "The Monmouth Duo", were both founded at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. Alpha Phi
Alpha Phi
Alpha Phi International Women's Fraternity was founded at Syracuse University on September 18, 1872. Alpha Phi currently has 152 active chapters and over 200,000 initiated members. Its celebrated Founders' Day is October 10. It was the third Greek-letter organization founded for women. In Alpha...

 was established at Syracuse University first, in 1872. Along with Alpha Gamma Delta
Alpha Gamma Delta
Alpha Gamma Delta is an international women's fraternity, who are mainly sluts, founded in 1904 at Syracuse University. The Fraternity promotes academic excellence, philanthropic giving, ongoing leadership and personal development, and a spirit of loving sisterhood. Also known as "Alpha Gam" and...

, these three sororities make up the Syracuse Triad
Syracuse Triad
The Syracuse Triad is the name given to the three women's sororities founded at Syracuse University. Alpha Phi was founded first in 1872 by 10 of the original 20 women admitted into Syracuse University. Gamma Phi Beta came along two years later in 1874 and with it came the term "sorority," which...

. The first organization to adopt the word sorority was Gamma Phi Beta
Gamma Phi Beta
Gamma Phi Beta is an international sorority that was founded on November 11, 1874, at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. The term "sorority," meaning sisterhood, was coined for Gamma Phi Beta by Dr. Frank Smalley, a professor at Syracuse University.The four founders are Helen M. Dodge,...

, established on 11 November 1874 at Syracuse University
Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university located in Syracuse, New York, United States. Its roots can be traced back to Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1832, which also later founded Genesee College...

 in Syracuse, New York. In 1874, Sigma Kappa
Sigma Kappa
Sigma Kappa is a sorority founded in 1874 at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Sigma Kappa was founded by five women: Mary Caffrey Low Carver, Elizabeth Gorham Hoag, Ida Mabel Fuller Pierce, Frances Elliott Mann Hall and Louise Helen Coburn...

 was also founded in Waterville, Maine at Colby College. Also founded at DePauw University
DePauw University
DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, USA, is a private, national liberal arts college with an enrollment of approximately 2,400 students. The school has a Methodist heritage and was originally known as Indiana Asbury University. DePauw is a member of both the Great Lakes Colleges Association...

, was Alpha Chi Omega
Alpha Chi Omega
Alpha Chi Omega is a women's fraternity founded on October 15, 1885. Currently, there are 135 chapters of Alpha Chi Omega at colleges and universities across the United States and more than 200,000 lifetime members...

 in 1885. In 1893, Alpha Xi Delta
Alpha Xi Delta
Alpha Xi Delta is a women's fraternity founded on April 17, 1893 at Lombard College, Galesburg, Illinois. Alpha Xi Delta is one of the oldest women's fraternities as well as one of the ten founding fraternities of the National Panhellenic Conference...

 was founded at Lombard College in Galesburg, Illinois. Just a few years later, Chi Omega Fraternity was founded April 5, 1895 at the University of Arkansas. January 2, 1897, Alpha Omicron Pi
Alpha Omicron Pi
Alpha Omicron Pi is an international women's fraternity promoting friendship for a lifetime, inspiring academic excellence and lifelong learning, and developing leadership skills through service to the Fraternity and community. ΑΟΠ was founded on January 2, 1897 at Barnard College on the campus...

 was founded at Barnard College of Columbia University. Later in 1897 Kappa Delta
Kappa Delta
Kappa Delta was the first sorority founded at the State Female Normal School , in Farmville, Virginia. It is one of the "Farmville Four" sororities founded at the university...

 was founded in Farmville, Virginia at Longwood University. A year later, Sigma Sigma Sigma
Sigma Sigma Sigma
Sigma Sigma Sigma , also known as Tri Sigma, is a national American women’s sorority with membership of more than 100,000 members. Sigma Sigma Sigma is a member of the National Panhellenic Conference and hosts chapters on more than 110 college campuses and 89 alumnae chapters in communities all...

, Zeta Tau Alpha
Zeta Tau Alpha
Zeta Tau Alpha is a women's fraternity, founded October 15, 1898 at the State Female Normal School in Farmville, Virginia. The Executive office is located in Indianapolis, Indiana...

 followed by Alpha Sigma Alpha
Alpha Sigma Alpha
Alpha Sigma Alpha is a US national sorority founded on November 15, 1901 at the Virginia State Female Normal School in Farmville, Virginia...

 were founded, also at Longwood and are called the Farmville Four. Delta Delta Delta
Delta Delta Delta
Delta Delta Delta , also known as Tri Delta, is an international sorority founded on November 27, 1888, the eve of Thanksgiving Day. With over 200,000 initiates, Tri Delta is one of the world's largest NPC sororities.-History:...

 was founded at Boston University in 1888. Like Pi Beta Phi, Tri Delta was modeled after the men's fraternity.

Alpha Kappa Alpha
Alpha Kappa Alpha
Alpha Kappa Alpha is the first Greek-lettered sorority established and incorporated by African American college women. The sorority was founded on January 15, 1908, at Howard University in Washington, D.C., by a group of nine students, led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle...

, Lambda Theta Alpha
Lambda Theta Alpha
Lambda Theta Alpha is a Latina sorority in the United States.The idea for Lambda Theta Alpha began in the late 1970s, when colleges and universities experienced an influx of Latino enrollment; the organization came into being at Kean University in 1975 with Lambda Theta Alpha's seventeen founding...

, Alpha Pi Omega
Alpha Pi Omega
Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, Inc. is the oldest historically American Indian sorority. It is also the largest Native American Greek letter organization, with 13 chapters in five states, one provisional chapter and interest groups in three additional states....

 were founded as the first sororities by and for African-American, Latina-American, and Native American members respectively. In 1913, at Hunter College
Hunter College
Hunter College, established in 1870, is a public university and one of the constituent colleges of the City University of New York, located on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Hunter grants undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degrees in more than one hundred fields of study, and is recognized...

, New York, Phi Sigma Sigma
Phi Sigma Sigma
Phi Sigma Sigma , colloquially known as "Phi Sig," was the first collegiate nonsectarian fraternity, welcoming women of all faiths and backgrounds...

 became the first non-denominational sorority, allowing any woman, regardless of race, religion, or economic background into membership.

A number of sororities have been founded at the graduate school level. In 1917, at New York University School of Law
New York University School of Law
The New York University School of Law is the law school of New York University. Established in 1835, the school offers the J.D., LL.M., and J.S.D. degrees in law, and is located in Greenwich Village, in the New York City borough of Manhattan....

 five female law students founded Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority
Delta Phi Epsilon (social)
Delta Phi Epsilon is an international sorority founded on March 17, 1917 at New York University Law School in New York City...

. Currently active collegiate membership is only open to undergraduates.

Currently, the largest non-cultural sorority is Chi Omega
Chi Omega
Chi Omega is a women's fraternity and the largest member of the National Panhellenic Conference. Chi Omega has 174 active collegiate chapters and over 230 alumnae chapters. Chi Omega's national headquarters is located in Memphis, Tennessee....

 with 17,000 collegiate members at any given time., Delta Zeta
Delta Zeta
Delta Zeta is an international college sorority founded on October 24, 1902, at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Today, Delta Zeta has 158 collegiate chapters in the United States and over 200 alumnae chapters in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada...

 is the second largest, and Alpha Phi
Alpha Phi
Alpha Phi International Women's Fraternity was founded at Syracuse University on September 18, 1872. Alpha Phi currently has 152 active chapters and over 200,000 initiated members. Its celebrated Founders' Day is October 10. It was the third Greek-letter organization founded for women. In Alpha...

 follows in third.

In North America, there are certain sororities that are considered bigger in Southern states just like certain sororities are bigger in the Northern states. Some Colleges or universities don't have sororities but could instead have groups.

High school fraternities and sororities



High school fraternities and sororities (or secondary fraternities and sororities), are social organizations for high school-aged students.

Torch and Dagger (later Omega Eta Tau) was the first such organization and was established in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1859. The movement more generally developed in the 1870s with Gamma Sigma, Alpha Zeta and Alpha Phi, all closely modeled on college fraternities in their areas. Some of these early groups were discussed in the early editions of Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities under the heading "Academic Societies." In 1913, "American Secondary School Fraternities" by J. Ward Brown, provided a detailed history of these organizations. By that time there were at least 57 national fraternities and 21 national sororities. Some like Gamma Delta Psi, Gamma Eta Kappa, Delta Sigma, Delta Sigma Nu, Lambda Sigma, Sigma Phi Upsilon and Phi Sigma Chi were spread broadly across the entire country, but most were regional in nature given the difficulty for high school students to travel. Typical of those that survive are Phi Kappa
Phi Kappa
Phi Kappa may refer to:*Phi Kappa Literary Society, a debate society founded in 1820*Phi Kappa National Fraternity, a secondary school fraternity founded in 1900...

, limited to around 50 chapters in the deep south (with five still active) and Omega Gamma Delta
Omega Gamma Delta
Omega Gamma Delta is an American fraternity. It was created June 22, 1902 by Percy & Arthur Edrop and Walter Dohm in Brooklyn, New York.- External links :* * *...

 with more than 100 chapters in the northeast (two still active) and a couple of chapters further afield. In addition there were an enormous number of local fraternities scattered around the country.

Another 15 nationals were founded after this period including several that still exist. But starting around 1910, a strong anti-fraternity movement among high school administrators took a heavy toll on such organizations in many parts of the country. A reduced level of interest by high school students themselves since 1970, has brought the number down even further.

The largest such organizations are Aleph Zadik Aleph
Aleph Zadik Aleph
The Grand Order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph is an international youth-led fraternal organization for Jewish teenagers, founded in 1924 and currently existing as the male wing of BBYO Inc., an independent non-profit organization...

 with around 250 chapters and Sigma Alpha Rho with more than 100. Both of these have the advantage of being sponsored by Jewish community groups and are more than simple fraternities. Beyond that, Gamma Eta Kappa, Delta Sigma, Phi Lambda Epsilon and Theta Phi all had more than 75 chapters over the years, with Omega Gamma Delta
Omega Gamma Delta
Omega Gamma Delta is an American fraternity. It was created June 22, 1902 by Percy & Arthur Edrop and Walter Dohm in Brooklyn, New York.- External links :* * *...

 and Phi Sigma Kappa having more than 100 each.

Several nationals also had chapters in Canada and, in recent years, a whole class of similar fraternities has emerged in the Philippines, many of them outgrowths of sponsoring college organizations.

The fraternity tradition still has pockets of interest. Beyond Aleph Zadik Aleph
Aleph Zadik Aleph
The Grand Order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph is an international youth-led fraternal organization for Jewish teenagers, founded in 1924 and currently existing as the male wing of BBYO Inc., an independent non-profit organization...

, Sigma Alpha Rho (SAR)
Sigma Alpha Rho (SAR)
Sigma Alpha Rho is the oldest, continuously run, independent Jewish high school fraternity, founded on November 18, 1917 by 11 young men in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania....

, Omega Gamma Delta
Omega Gamma Delta
Omega Gamma Delta is an American fraternity. It was created June 22, 1902 by Percy & Arthur Edrop and Walter Dohm in Brooklyn, New York.- External links :* * *...

 and Phi Kappa
Phi Kappa
Phi Kappa may refer to:*Phi Kappa Literary Society, a debate society founded in 1820*Phi Kappa National Fraternity, a secondary school fraternity founded in 1900...

, there are similar groups such as the Order of DeMolay sponsored by the Masons. Alpha Omega Theta of New York still exists, though not in high schools, ΕΣAΔΕ is in Barcelona, The Lounge operates in Saginaw, Michigan; Phi Eta Sigma and Zeta Mu Gamma are located in Puerto Rico; Sigma Nu Xi is on the mainland United States. Sigma Delta Chi is an active sorority that was established in Alabama and continues today with several different chapters throughout Alabama, Tennessee and Florida. Although these are analogous societies, they are considered wholly different and unrelated societies. The Sub Deb Club, also known as "Sigma Delta Chi" was chartered in Athens, Alabama, in 1965, as a service and social sorority for young ladies who are students at Athens High School; Sub Deb Clubs or local chapters can be found in neighboring towns such as Decatur, Hunstville, Florence, Sheffield, Russellville, and Pulaski, Tennessee. Theta Phi Delta was the second high school sorority founded in Durham, North Carolina in 1996 and was incorporated in 2004. Fox Theta Delta, is a Philippines fraternity, founded in Butuan City in 1977, and claiming a somewhat tenuous connection with an American organization in Michigan.

In popular culture


  • In the 1967 movie The Graduate
    The Graduate
    The Graduate is a 1967 American comedy-drama motion picture directed by Mike Nichols. It is based on the 1963 novel The Graduate by Charles Webb, who wrote it shortly after graduating from Williams College. The screenplay was by Buck Henry, who makes a cameo appearance as a hotel clerk, and Calder...

    , Ben (Dustin Hoffman
    Dustin Hoffman
    Dustin Lee Hoffman is an American actor with a career in film, television, and theatre since 1960. He has been known for his versatile portrayals of antiheroes and vulnerable characters....

    ) runs into the Theta Delta Chi
    Theta Delta Chi
    Theta Delta Chi is a social fraternity that was founded in 1847 at Union College. While nicknames differ from institution to institution, the most common nicknames for the fraternity are Theta Delt, Thete, TDX, and TDC. Theta Delta Chi brothers refer to their local organization as Charges rather...

     house at Berkeley while searching for Elaine and her fiance, Carl - supposedly a member living there prior to his nuptials. (The flag for the fraternity is visible over the ivy covered entry.)
  • The 1978 comedy movie National Lampoon's Animal House
    National Lampoon's Animal House
    National Lampoon's Animal House is a 1978 American comedy film directed by John Landis. The film was a direct spin-off of National Lampoon magazine...

    portrayed members of a fictitious fraternity at a fictitious college.
  • The 1984 comedy movie Revenge of the Nerds
    Revenge of the Nerds
    Revenge of the Nerds is a 1984 comedy film satirizing social life on a college campus. The film stars Robert Carradine and Anthony Edwards, with Curtis Armstrong, Ted McGinley, Julia Montgomery, Brian Tochi, Larry B. Scott, John Goodman, and Donald Gibb...

    portrayed 'rejected' fraternity members taking revenge on popular fraternities by setting up their own fraternity and the change in power from the jocks and cheerleaders to the nerds. Starred Robert Carradine
    Robert Carradine
    Robert Reed Carradine is an American actor. The youngest of the Carradine family of actors, he made his first appearances on television western series such as Bonanza and his older brother David's Kung Fu. Carradine's first film role was in the 1972 film The Cowboys opposite Roscoe Lee Browne and...

     and Anthony Edwards
    Anthony Edwards
    Anthony Charles Edwards is an American actor and director. He has appeared in various movies and television shows, including Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Top Gun, Zodiac, Revenge of the Nerds, Northern Exposure and ER.-Early life:Edwards was born in Santa Barbara, California, the son of Erika...

    .
  • The 1994 comedy movie PCU
    PCU (film)
    PCU is a 1994 comedy film. The film depicts college life at the fictional Port Chester University, and represents "an exaggerated view of contemporary college life...." The film is based on the experiences of writers Adam Leff and Zak Penn at...

     also portrays members of a student group at a fictitious college where fraternities have been prohibited.
  • The 1997 movie Scream 2
    Scream 2
    Scream 2 is a 1997 American slasher film created and written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven, starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Jamie Kennedy and Liev Schreiber, released on December 12, 1997 as the second installment in the Scream film series...

    includes fictional Greek organizations. The character Derek gives a lettered necklace
    Lavalier
    A lavalier is a type of jewelry, consisting of a pendant, sometimes with one stone, suspended from a necklace.-General jewelry:A lavalier is named for the type of pendant popularized by the Duchesse de la Vallière, a mistress of King Louis XIV of France. Within the fashion world, the name was...

     to his girlfriend, prompting an angry response from his fraternity brothers.
  • The 2001 film Legally Blonde
    Legally Blonde
    Legally Blonde is a 2001 American comedy film directed by Robert Luketic, written by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, and produced by Marc E. Platt...

    features the sorority 'Delta Nu'. Several of the characters, including Elle Woods and Brooke Wyndham, are members.
  • The 2002 film National Lampoon's Van Wilder
    National Lampoon's Van Wilder
    National Lampoon's Van Wilder is a 2002 comedy film directed by Walt Becker that stars Ryan Reynolds as the main character. The film also stars Kal Penn, Tara Reid, and Daniel Cosgrove. It features Sophia Bush's acting debut...

    features the fraternity 'Delta Iota Kappa', which Van's love rival leads.
  • The 2002 film Drumline
    Drumline (film)
    Drumline is a 2002 American film directed by Charles Stone III. The screenplay, which was inspired by The Southwest Dekalb High School Drumline , was written by Tina Gordon Chism and Shawn Schepps...

     includes the real Kappa Kappa Psi
    Kappa Kappa Psi
    Kappa Kappa Psi is a fraternity for college and university band members. It was founded on November 27, 1919 at Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College in Stillwater, Oklahoma. William Scroggs, now regarded as the "Founder," together with "Mr. Kappa Kappa Psi" A...

     fraternity and the fictional Sigma Phi Alpha sorority. Images of Tau Beta Sigma
    Tau Beta Sigma
    Tau Beta Sigma is a co-educational national honorary band sorority dedicated to serving college and university bands. The Sorority, headquartered at the historic Stillwater Station in Stillwater, Oklahoma, numbers over 3,500 active members in 145 active chapters, and over 40,000 alumni...

     appear throughout the film.
  • The 2006 film Stomp the Yard
    Stomp the Yard
    Stomp the Yard is a 2007 drama and dance film produced by Rainforest Films and released through Sony Pictures' Screen Gems division on January 12, 2007. Directed by Sylvain White, Stomp the Yard centers around DJ Williams, a college student at a fictional historically Black university who pledges...

    depicts African American Greek life centered around the tradition of stepping
    Stepping (African-American)
    Stepping or step-dancing is a form of percussive dance in which the participant's entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps...

    , made popular by Black Greek Letter Organizations.
  • The 2007 film Sydney White
    Sydney White
    Sydney White is a 2007 teen comedy film starring Amanda Bynes, Sara Paxton, and Matt Long, and based on the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.-Plot:...

    features the sorority 'Kappa Phi Nu'. Amanda Bynes
    Amanda Bynes
    Amanda Laura Bynes is an American actress, comedian, singer, and fashion designer. Bynes appeared in several successful television series, such as All That and The Amanda Show, on Nickelodeon in the mid to late 1990s and early 2000s, and in 2002, she starred in the TV series, What I Like About You...

     was one of their members.
  • The 2007–2011 ABC Family
    ABC Family
    ABC Family, stylized as abc family, is an American television network, owned by ABC Family Worldwide Inc., a subsidiary of the Disney-ABC Television Group division of The Walt Disney Company...

     television series Greek
    Greek (TV series)
    Greek is an American comedy-drama television series, which follows students of the fictional Cyprus-Rhodes University , located in Ohio, who participate in the school's Greek system...

     depicts students of the fictional Cyprus-Rhodes University (CRU) who participate in the school's Greek system.
  • The 2008 season of Degrassi: The Next Generation
    Degrassi: The Next Generation
    Degrassi: The Next Generation is a Canadian teen drama television series set in the Degrassi universe, which was created by Linda Schuyler and Kit Hood in 1979. Degrassi is the fourth fictional series in the Degrassi franchise, and follows The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, and...

    features the sorority 'Phi Gamma Phi'. Liberty was trying to apply to the sorority.
  • The 2008 film The House Bunny
    The House Bunny
    The House Bunny is a 2008 romantic comedy film directed by Fred Wolf, written by Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz, and starring Anna Faris as a former Playboy bunny who signs up to be the "house mother" of an unpopular university sorority after being conned by a rival into believing she's now...

    features the sorority 'Phi Iota Mu' competing with 'Zeta Alpha Zeta'.
  • The 2009 slasher film Sorority Row
    Sorority Row
    Sorority Row is a 2009 American slasher film, and a re-imagining of the 1983 slasher film The House on Sorority Row. It was directed by Stewart Hendler, written by Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger, and stars Briana Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis, Jamie Chung, Margo Harshman, Audrina Patridge,...

    features the sorority 'Theta Pi' in which Audrina Patridge
    Audrina Patridge
    Audrina Cathleen Patridge is an American reality television personality, actress, and model. She is known for being one of the four original primary cast members featured on the MTV reality series The Hills. She has also starred in the films Sorority Row and Into The Blue 2...

     was one of their members.
  • The 2009 movie "Sorority Wars" revolves around sorority experience in college.
  • The 2010 television series Glory Daze
    Glory Daze (TV series)
    Glory Daze is an American comedy-drama television series. The one-hour series revolves around a group of college freshmen who pledge a fraternity in 1986...

     depicts students of the fictional Hayes University who participate in the school's Greek system.
  • The 2010 film Brotherhood
    Brotherhood (2010 film)
    Brotherhood is a 2010 American thriller film directed by Will Canon and co-written by Doug Simon and Canon. The film is about a fraternity initiation that goes horribly wrong and stars Jon Foster, Trevor Morgan, Arlen Escarpeta and Lou Taylor Pucci...

    directed by Will Canon depicts hazing
    Hazing
    Hazing is a term used to describe various ritual and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group....

     which gets out of hand.

Other countries


Other countries have similar institutions; in German-speaking countries (in Switzerland also in other linguistic areas) these are significantly older, and fall under the umbrella term
Umbrella term
An umbrella term is a word that provides a superset or grouping of concepts that all fall under a single common category. Umbrella term is also called a hypernym. For example, cryptology is an umbrella term that encompasses cryptography and cryptanalysis, among other fields...

 of Studentenverbindung
Studentenverbindung
A Studentenverbindung is a student corporation in a German-speaking country somewhat comparable to fraternities in the US or Canada, but mostly older and going back to other kinds of...

, including the Burschenschaft
Burschenschaft
German Burschenschaften are a special type of Studentenverbindungen . Burschenschaften were founded in the 19th century as associations of university students inspired by liberal and nationalistic ideas.-History:-Beginnings 1815–c...

en, Landsmannschaften, Corps
German Student Corps
Corps are the oldest still-existing kind of Studentenverbindung, Germany's traditional university corporations; their roots date back to the 15th century. The oldest corps still existing today was founded in 1789...

, Turnerschaft
Turnerschaft
A Turnerschaft is a kind of Studentenverbindung, a German student corporation, similar to fraternities in the US and Canada. The Turnerschaften are a sports corps, and students practice the Mensur ....

en, Sängerschaften, Catholic Corporations (such as the German CV
Cartellverband der katholischen deutschen Studentenverbindungen
The Cartellverband der katholischen deutschen Studentenverbindungen or Cartellverband is a German umbrella organization of Catholic male student fraternities .-Foundation:...

), Wingolf
Wingolf
Wingolf is an umbrella organisation of 36 student fraternities at 34 universities in Germany, Austria and Estonia. Founded as early as 1844, it counts as one of the older types of fraternities, the oldest one being the Corps...

, Christian Corporations (such as the Schweizerischer Studentenverein
Schweizerischer Studentenverein
The Schweizerischer Studentenverein is a society of colour bearing students of both genders and at the same time a federation of student corporations which are called sections...

) and Ferialverbindungen.

In Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 there are student clubs similar to the German Studentenverbindungen, however they are not the same. The main differences being that clubs do not own a clubhouse with dorms but rather have a bar
Bar (establishment)
A bar is a business establishment that serves alcoholic drinks — beer, wine, liquor, and cocktails — for consumption on the premises.Bars provide stools or chairs that are placed at tables or counters for their patrons. Some bars have entertainment on a stage, such as a live band, comedians, go-go...

 where they regularly meet and there is no fencing. The largest clubs are based around a specific academic course or a collection of them, the others usually are based on regional origins of the students and the others are simply a group of friends or patrons of the same bar.

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, student dining club
Dining club
A dining club is a social group, usually requiring membership , which meets for dinners and discussion on a regular basis. They may also often have guest speakers...

s exist, which are similar to American eating club
Eating club
An eating club is a social club found in American universities. Eating clubs date to the late 19th and early 20th centuries and are intended to allow college students to enjoy meals and pleasant discourse. Some clubs are referred to as bicker clubs because of the bickering process over which...

s which were later eclipsed by Greek societies. Some well known one such as the Bullingdon Club
Bullingdon Club
The Bullingdon Club is a socially exclusive student dining club at Oxford University. The club has no permanent rooms and is notorious for its members' wealth and destructive binges. Membership is by invitation only, and prohibitively expensive for most, given the need to pay for the uniform,...

 in Oxford University are socially exclusive due to being prohibitively expensive. Also, several secret societies exist, the most famous one being the Cambridge Apostles
Cambridge Apostles
The Cambridge Apostles, also known as the Cambridge Conversazione Society, is an intellectual secret society at the University of Cambridge founded in 1820 by George Tomlinson, a Cambridge student who went on to become the first Bishop of Gibraltar....

, also known as the Cambridge Conversazione Society.

In Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, there are also fraternities, especially in Coimbra
Coimbra
Coimbra is a city in the municipality of Coimbra in Portugal. Although it served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better-known for its university, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the...

, the city with the oldest university in the country and one of the oldest in Europe. These houses, called "Repúblicas", are independent, protected by law, and run by students. They first appeared in 1309 when King D. Dinis first ordered to build student housing for the recently founded University of Coimbra, in 1290. The name, translating to "Republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

", represents the house spirit: every member of the house participates in the household tasks and decisions are made unanimously. There are 27 Republics in Coimbra
Coimbra
Coimbra is a city in the municipality of Coimbra in Portugal. Although it served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better-known for its university, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the...

, 3 in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 and 1 in Oporto. Republicas are also found at the Federal University of Ouro Preto in Ouro Preto, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. And at the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA) in Lavras' City, also in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

In Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 and Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, there are similar student institutions in called Nations
Nation (university)
Student nations or simply nations are regional corporations of students at a university. Once widespread across Europe in medieval times, they are now largely restricted to the ancient universities of Sweden and Finland...

. At the oldest Nordic universities, the Nations have existed since the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Nations have also existed in Central Europe in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. The universities in Uppsala
Uppsala
- Economy :Today Uppsala is well established in medical research and recognized for its leading position in biotechnology.*Abbott Medical Optics *GE Healthcare*Pfizer *Phadia, an offshoot of Pharmacia*Fresenius*Q-Med...

, Lund
Lund
-Main sights:During the 12th and 13th centuries, when the town was the seat of the archbishop, many churches and monasteries were built. At its peak, Lund had 27 churches, but most of them were demolished as result of the Reformation in 1536. Several medieval buildings remain, including Lund...

, and Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

 have the oldest Nations. Since the beginning, the Nations have been social gatherings for students that came from the same parts of the country, and they are also named after parts of Sweden and Finland. Nations have also been founded at younger universities like the ones in Umeå
Umeå
- Transport :The road infrastructure in Umeå is well-developed, with two European highways passing through the city. About 4 km from the city centre is the Umeå City Airport...

 and Linköping
Linköping
Linköping is a city in southern middle Sweden, with 104 232 inhabitants in 2010. It is the seat of Linköping Municipality with 146 736 inhabitants and the capital of Östergötland County...

. It has been mandatory for students attending the universities of Uppsala
Uppsala
- Economy :Today Uppsala is well established in medical research and recognized for its leading position in biotechnology.*Abbott Medical Optics *GE Healthcare*Pfizer *Phadia, an offshoot of Pharmacia*Fresenius*Q-Med...

 and Lund
Lund
-Main sights:During the 12th and 13th centuries, when the town was the seat of the archbishop, many churches and monasteries were built. At its peak, Lund had 27 churches, but most of them were demolished as result of the Reformation in 1536. Several medieval buildings remain, including Lund...

 to be members of nations until the autumn of 2010. After the mandatory membership was abolished by the parliament the Nations of Sweden are now contemplating founding a League of Nations to help further connections between Nations and universities.