Fraternity and Sorority

Percy

Spaceman
OK, just wondering about the world of fraternity and sorority..erm...stuff. We don't have this in the UK.

Just wondering how it works - in particular, a load of questions...

1) Who decided that these houses would be made up of 3 Greek letters?

2) From what I can see/hear, it looks like every combination of 3 Greek letters has been used to represent a Frat/Sorority house?

3) ....which means that we can't have a 'new' one now? - because all letters are used up?

4) Does some organisation keep a list of every house or something?
 

Ptarmigan

Spaceman
I have been to many frat parties while in college. They had those themed parties, late nights, Casuals, Christmas formals and Round Up every April. I have met many fine and hot girls. :D Also, I met Jenna Bush at a Christmas formal. I never was in any fraternity, but I had many friends in both fraternities and sororites, mostly from high school. So I had connections. I will do my best to explain.

1.) The Greek letters were long established. They were first established in the 19th and 20th century. The houses are the local chapter of the national fraternity and sorority. They are more local national chapter then one single fraternity and sororities. Usually, those non-national ones are frowned upon.

2.) Those Greek letters stand for something. They usually have three letters, but sometimes two letters and even four letters.

3.) There are not really that many national fraternities and sororities. When I was in college, there were like at least 30 fraternities and sororites and they were local chapters.

4.) The national fraternity and sorority keep a complete list of houses on every college campuses.

Hopefully this helps.
 

Ptarmigan

Spaceman
psych said:
Met Jenna Bush eh? So I take it you attended the University of Texas?
Yes I did go to UT with Jenna Bush. I know Jenna Bush well. She is like a friend to me. I guess I am the first Wing Commander fan to have met the Bush daughters. :D
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Percy said:
OK, just wondering about the world of fraternity and sorority..erm...stuff. We don't have this in the UK.

Just wondering how it works - in particular, a load of questions...

1) Who decided that these houses would be made up of 3 Greek letters?
Houses are made of 2 or 3 letter combos, at UNH we have Sigma Nu, Sigma Beta, both fraternities, and Chi Omega, Kappa Delta, and Alpha Phi which are soroties...No one decided to limit houses to this many letters, the letters have meanings which are known only to members which gives them significance.

2) From what I can see/hear, it looks like every combination of 3 Greek letters has been used to represent a Frat/Sorority house?
Far from it. Yes, there are hundreds of different greek organizations, but it is far from the total amount of combos with the greek alphabet.

3) ....which means that we can't have a 'new' one now? - because all letters are used up?
As I said previously, there are still hundreds of combos left.

Greek organizations are social, community and secret organizations that require a process of "pledging" to gain membership. "Pledging" usually lasts 9 to 11 weeks. During that time a "pledge" learns about the house, it's history, and it's secret rituals and privileges. They were founded as organizations of faith many times, however greek organizations are not limited to simply social focus, there are a large amount of "honor" organizations that are greek organizations whereby one attains entry by academic achievement.

4) Does some organisation keep a list of every house or something?[/QUOTE]
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Ptarmigan said:
I have been to many frat parties while in college. They had those themed parties, late nights, Casuals, Christmas formals and Round Up every April. I have met many fine and hot girls. :D Also, I met Jenna Bush at a Christmas formal. I never was in any fraternity, but I had many friends in both fraternities and sororites, mostly from high school. So I had connections. I will do my best to explain.

1.) The Greek letters were long established. They were first established in the 19th and 20th century. The houses are the local chapter of the national fraternity and sorority. They are more local national chapter then one single fraternity and sororities. Usually, those non-national ones are frowned upon.
Not entirely true, many are far older and are movement of other organizations from europe. The split between national and local fraternties is not as great as you suggest. UNH has 3 non-national houses, all of which are recognized by the university.

2.) Those Greek letters stand for something. They usually have three letters, but sometimes two letters and even four letters.
Exactly. The letters have symbology known only to members.

3.) There are not really that many national fraternities and sororities. When I was in college, there were like at least 30 fraternities and sororites and they were local chapters.
You may want to check again. There are hundreds of national greek organizations, most greek organizations are national and not local. It is very expensive to maintain a local chapter.

4.) The national fraternity and sorority keep a complete list of houses on every college campuses.
Each organizations website will list all chapters. My organization, Phi Kappa Theta lists all it's chapters at phikaps.org, we have more than 50 chapters across the US.
 

Percy

Spaceman
Ptarmigan said:
I have met many fine and hot girls. :D Also, I met Jenna Bush at a Christmas formal.
LOL - is that 'fine and hot girls' including....or 'fine and hot girls' in addition to.... :p

Anyway, nice one on the info. Its good to know, just getting more clued up about what its about, that's all.
I never realised that some fraternities/sororities were national! - always thought it was just local - which was why if person A said "I'm Phi Alpha Pi" and person B said "Hey, me too!" then I thought that meant they were alumni.

A couple more questions then that have cropped up now...

1) Does that mean that there is a kind of structure to the way the letters are used? - in that, if I say "Alpha Chi ....." then that would definitely be a fraternity? - or can a fraternity and sorority start with the same letters?

2) Houses and chapters - does that mean then that...Alpha Chi Sigma and Alpha Chi Beta are somehow related to each other? - is "Alpha Chi...." the 'house'?
I'm thinking that 'Alpha Chi Sigma' at Uni of Minnisota and 'Alpha Chi Sigma' at Uni of Ohio would be 2 chapters of the same frat/sorority?

3) Isn't there a shorter way to refer to sororities? - people use frat, I don't think they use 'sors' do they? :confused:


Sorry guys, just wondering, that's all.
Also, all the names I'm using are made up as I haven't a clue if they really exist or not - sorry if they really do and I've used the name when I shouldn't have done.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Percy said:
LOL - is that 'fine and hot girls' including....or 'fine and hot girls' in addition to.... :p

Anyway, nice one on the info. Its good to know, just getting more clued up about what its about, that's all.
I never realised that some fraternities/sororities were national! - always thought it was just local - which was why if person A said "I'm Phi Alpha Pi" and person B said "Hey, me too!" then I thought that meant they were alumni.

A couple more questions then that have cropped up now...

1) Does that mean that there is a kind of structure to the way the letters are used? - in that, if I say "Alpha Chi ....." then that would definitely be a fraternity? - or can a fraternity and sorority start with the same letters?
Not exactly. The letters were chosen long ago with a meaning in mind. There isn't a true structure to how new houses chooses their letters. You can have a Alpha Phi Chi and a Alpha Phi Kappa and they can be either or.

2) Houses and chapters - does that mean then that...Alpha Chi Sigma and Alpha Chi Beta are somehow related to each other? - is "Alpha Chi...." the 'house'?
I'm thinking that 'Alpha Chi Sigma' at Uni of Minnisota and 'Alpha Chi Sigma' at Uni of Ohio would be 2 chapters of the same frat/sorority?
No. Only houses sharing the exact same letters are related. For example, my house is the New Hampshire Epsilon Chapter of Phi Kappa Theta, this is because some states and even some schools have multiple chapters of the same house. The entire name is the house, not just the first two or even first one, the letters are a complete name. Yes, those two chapters would be part of the same national organization.

[quotes]3) Isn't there a shorter way to refer to sororities? - people use frat, I don't think they use 'sors' do they? :confused: [/quote]

Not really. Most of the time shorter versions of their names are used. For example Alpha Chi Omega can be shorted to A-Chi-O (pronuncation).


Sorry guys, just wondering, that's all.
Also, all the names I'm using are made up as I haven't a clue if they really exist or not - sorry if they really do and I've used the name when I shouldn't have done.
In all honest I have no clue. There are some many organizations that some are probably real, but in the context of this thread using them is really not a big deal.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
criticalmass said:
Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraternities_and_sororities

...and write the next conspiracy novel.

BTW: Bill & Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Theodore Rooseveldt and Michael Crichton were all members of the same fraternity (among a lot of others, I guess).
Pretty good summary of the system although with a few errors, but to be expected.

On a side note, the movie Old School is based upon the experiences of Court Candall while a brother at Phi Kappa Theta NH Epsilon, my house. He was in the Beta pledge class (the second to go through the chapter when it was reestablished in 1982 after having dissolved during the 1970s because of the new left and anti-war movements.

If you are interested in what "pledging" entails, the B movie "Going Greek" is pretty close to what happens in most places although in that they over do scenes for gross out and laugh potential.
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
The interweb has taught me sororities are where lesbian love starts.
 

Grimloc

Rear Admiral
I believe honorary/service frats/sororities where mentioned somewhere up there, so I'll expound on the one I'm in. Kappa Kappa Psi is the national honorary service fraternity for college bandmembers. There are several differences between KKPsi and social frats, but similarities include a membership education period, Greek infrastructure (letters, etc), and so on. Our focus is, as the description up there suggests, is serving college bands; moving equipment, setting up stage sets for concerts, etc. Our focus is service, with a little bit of the social aspect thrown in for good measure. For anyone wondering, I'm Vice President at the Epsilon chapter at Mississippi State University.

We've got a few big names in our ranks; Bill Clinton, Earth Wind & Fire, Ray Charles, Lionel Richie, Count Basie, the list goes on.
 
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