Greek Life

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Parent Information for Fraternity & Sorority Life

As a parent, you are undoubtedly concerned about your child's college experience and the choices he or she will make. For your student, making the transition from high school or a community college to Washburn may seem like an imposing challenge. Our experience with new students tells us one or more of the following questions will be on his or her mind:

  • Will I fit in and make new friends?
  • Will I succeed academically?
  • Will I be able to get involved in campus organizations and better my leadership skills?
  • Will I find other people interested in the same things that I am?
  • How can I best prepare for my career?
  • Will I feel like a part of the campus community or just another number?
Fraternities and sororities exist as a proven support network for your child as he or she embarks on this new period in life. Over 400,000 students across the country are currently members of the Greek system (we use the term "Greek" to refer to both fraternities and sororities).

This guide is designed to answer some of the questions you may have about membership. If you still have any questions after reviewing this guide, please do not hesitate to contact us at 785.670.1723 or e-mail getalife@washburn.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I want my student to succeed academically. Will his or her membership hinder those efforts?

A: The Greek community at Washburn strives for academic excellence and improved scholastic achievement. Our fraternities and sororities consistently perform better academically than the average student at Washburn!

Each chapter has chosen a grade point average requirement which each member must maintain to be in good standing. Chapters also offer academic assistance for its members, providing study hall areas and peer tutoring.

Every chapter understands that its members are students first and provide recognition to those who excel and improve their academic standing. We have also implemented Gamma Sigma Alpha, a national honor society for those fraternity and sorority members who have earned a 3.5 GPA or better.

Q: Will my student have an opportunity to become a leader on campus?

A: The fraternities and sororities support and promote involvement within and outside of the Greek community. Leadership is a value held in high regard by each chapter. Involvement in the Greek community fosters the development of strong leadership skills.

Student Activities & Greek Life also provides an opportunity for leadership development through IMPACT, UIFI, AFLV, and Gamma Chi Lambda, a leadership seminar. Leadership skills are an important part of your student’s education, which will lead to future success after your college experience.

Q: Are fraternities and sororities like the ones shown in the movie "Animal House?"


A: No, Washburn’s fraternities and sororities are values-based organizations dedicated to the development of character and lifelong friendships.

The image of Greek life is often defined by individuals without complete information. The movie "Animal House" was intended to be a parody of a fraternity gone wrong. Unfortunately, some fraternity chapters in the 1970s and 1980s used that movie as a model for their activities and behavior. At Washburn, those days are long over. Greek organizations pride themselves on social responsibility. Washburn University fraternity men and sorority women are held to strict standards of acceptable behavior. Actions that have a negative impact on the Washburn community are not accepted in the Greek community. An internal governance structure ensures that Greeks hold themselves to the highest standard.

Q: Should alcohol be a concern if my student joins a Greek organization?

A: All fraternities and sororities have strict polices regulating the consumption of alcohol at social functions. All chapters are expected to uphold state, county and city laws, as well as Washburn's policy regarding the consumption of alcohol.

The majority of our chapters at Washburn do not allow the possession of alcohol in their living environments. Every chapter conducts alcohol management programming to educate and instill standards and expectations for their members.

Alcohol abuse is unhealthy and inconsistent with fraternity and sorority ideals. Fortunately, Washburn's fraternities and sororities sponsor and participate in many alcohol-free social activities throughout the year. Examples include recruitment events, barbecues, dinner exchanges, bowling nights and lip sync contests.

These risk management guidelines are set by each chapter's local and/or national board and must adhere to Washburn's student organization policy. Therefore, we highly encourage your child to ask this very question to each chapter he or she visits.

Q: What will it cost for my student to go Greek?

A: The financial obligations that accompany membership are different from chapter to chapter. Each organization is self-supporting, functioning from dues paid by its members. The first year of membership is generally higher due to a one-time initiation fee into the fraternity or sorority.

In succeeding years the average dues and fees range from $150 to $600 per month. The large range in cost is due to chapters with and without facilities. The dues and fees cover items such as room, board, operating expenses (e.g., gas, electricity, water, cable, cleaning supplies, etc.), socials, insurance, composites, leadership programs, alumni functions and new member recruitment. If you become a member of a fraternity or sorority without a chapter house, room and board will be an extra expense that is not included in the membership dues.

Fraternity and sorority houses offer a "home away from home." Living within a chapter house furthers student growth and development, and provides much of the comfort and support of a family environment. The costs of room and board in fraternity and sorority houses are competitive with university rates. Each chapter will be able to provide your student with specific financial information during Recruitment or whenever they happen to visit.

Q: What about the "pledging" process and hazing?

A: When your student joins a chapter, he or she will participate in a period of orientation where they learn about the history and values of the organization and the university, as well as attend weekly business meetings (also referred to as "chapter meetings").

Hazing is opposed by all fraternities and sororities on the Washburn campus and will not be tolerated! Your child should never be asked to do anything he or she does not want to do.

If you believe your child is being hazed, please contact the Student Activities & Greek Life Office at 785.670.1723  

  • Jessica Neumann – Director of Student Activities & Greek Life
  • Gary Handy - Assistant Director of Student Activities & Greek Life
  • Angela Valdivia – Office Assistant of Student Activities & Greek Life

For more information on hazing, please visit StopHazing.org.

Q: What if I still have more questions about Washburn Greek Life?

A: Contact Us

Student Activities and Greek Life
Lower Level, Memorial Union
Phone: 785.670.1723
E-mail: getalife@washburn.edu
Office Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (after 5 p.m. by appointment)

We are always happy to visit with you and your family about Greek life at Washburn. Thank you for your consideration, and let us know if we can help in any way!