Since 1852, Greek-letter fraternities have been an active part of University life. Sororities arrived at the University in 1927. Fraternities and sororities provide opportunities for leadership, self-development, friendship, and service to the greater community. Philanthropy and community service play a large role in the fraternity and sorority community.
About 30 percent of the UVA student body is a part of the fraternity/sorority community. Four umbrella organizations govern and support all active fraternity and sorority chapters at the University:
- Inter-Fraternity Council
- Inter-Sorority Council
- Multicultural Greek Council
- National Pan-Hellenic Council
Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL)
Fraternity and Sorority Life, based in the Office of the Dean of Students, serves as the University’s liaison to the fraternity and sorority community. FSL helps students build organizations that promote the principles of scholarship, leadership, service, and honor. The relationship between the undergraduate chapters and the University is defined through the Fraternal Organization Agreement (FOA).
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Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC)
The Inter-Fraternity Council is the governing board for 32 social fraternities and approximately 1,900 men at the University. Twelve members are elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the IFC. In addition to developing and enforcing all policies related to fraternity life, the IFC serves as an intermediary between fraternity members, fraternities, and the University community.
Inter-Fraternity Recruitment (Rush)
Fraternity recruitment is the formal period when prospective fraternity men can join a fraternity. Formal recruitment takes place in January during the spring semester and is open to all men at the University. Additionally, there is a brief informal recruitment period in late September for upperclassmen and transfer students.
Spring Recruitment lasts two weeks, with activities emphasizing various aspects of brotherhood. All recruitment events are required to conclude before midnight, and alcohol is prohibited. A man’s decision to participate in recruitment in no way binds him to join a fraternity. Every event and each phase of recruitment is a voluntary commitment. Recruitment is a chance for a young man to meet a large number of his peers and potentially join a group of friends who eventually will become his brothers.
While costs vary from chapter to chapter, the average dues are generally between $800 and $1,000 per semester. It is important to remember that membership also allows access to housing and meal plans, which are usually much less expensive than those offered by the University or private businesses. The breakdown of dues varies greatly from chapter to chapter. At least $100 goes to insurance from the Inter/National Fraternity. A large portion of dues is a “parlor fee,” which is similar to rent for the common areas of a fraternity house. The Inter/National Fraternity also requires a one-time initiation fee. A portion of the dues also goes toward social events. Many national fraternities offer financial assistance to their members through scholarships and loans.
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Inter-Sorority Council (ISC)
The Inter-Sorority Council is the organization that presides over the 16 inter/national sororities at the University, represents them to the administration and community, and takes on issues pertinent to University life. The goal of the Inter-Sorority Council is to promote women, leadership, and service in the fraternity and sorority community and in the University community. Sororities require their members to maintain high academic standards, and each chapter has a required minimum grade point average. Each sorority has sisters with a wide array of academic experiences and majors. Sororities also provide leadership opportunities, both within the chapter itself and within the Inter-Sorority Council’s executive committee and governing board. At least once an academic year, each chapter sponsors a service project or philanthropy program to benefit its national philanthropy.
University women participate in Recruitment to become a member of an ISC sorority. The Formal Recruitment process begins in January. It is composed of four rounds: Round Robins, Philanthropy, House Tours, and Preferentials. The different rounds of Recruitment give potential new members opportunities to meet sisters of the individual chapters and to become familiar with the various chapter personalities. Recruitment lasts for approximately seven days, and during this period, potential new members and chapters will narrow their choices.
Additionally, informal recruitment occurs in the fall semester; second- and third-year students and transfer students are eligible to participate in informal recruitment.
Like fraternities, costs of sororities vary. The new member semester is usually the most expensive, due to new member initiation fees. Meal and housing requirements also vary for each chapter.
On average, membership dues range from $800 to $1,500 per semester. Specific information on membership costs is provided to all women during the sorority recruitment process.
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Multicultural Greek Council (MGC)
The Multicultural Greek Council promotes service events, leadership, and and scholarship. Member organizations stress their commitment to the University and Charlottesville communities. Information sessions about the fraternities and sororities are held throughout the year. Additionally, individual organizations sponsor and co-sponsor educational programs regarding all facets of college life. The MGC currently consists of Latino, Asian, LGBT, and multicultural interest fraternities and sororities. Member organizations of the MGC do not discriminate on the basis of race or any other identity. Membership is open to all University students who recognize diversity as a priority.
National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)
The National Pan-Hellenic Council is the umbrella organization for the historically Black Greek letter organizations (BGLOs). The mission of the National Pan-Hellenic Council is to promote the ideals and standards upon which their respective organizations were founded.
Member organizations carry out this mission through joint action and events, such as community service projects, forums, and step-shows within the University and Charlottesville community.
BGLOs focus on community service as a primary principle. They do not have houses on Grounds, but maintain their sense of unity by relying on their founding principles and bonds they develop. Member organizations of the National Pan-Hellenic Council do not discriminate on the basis of race or any other identity. Black students are not limited to sororities and fraternities under the National Pan-Hellenic Council, just as non-black students are not limited to rushing only ISC/IFC organizations.
Membership is available to all University students with the minimum GPA requirements (varies by organization) who view service and betterment of the community as priorities.
Historically Black Greek letter organizations are very diverse and include members from a wide variety of racial, social, political, and economic backgrounds. Dues vary by organization. Details are discussed at the information sessions.
Joining an MGC or NPHC Fraternity or Sorority
NPHC and MGC groups do not participate in a formal recruitment process. Each member organization individually holds informational sessions where interested women and men are introduced to the organization and its members. The Membership Intake Process takes place during both fall and spring semesters, depending on the organization. Interested students should attend various events, such as service projects, forums, and programs, to learn more about individual organizations.