How to Join Frequently Asked Questions
Syracuse University operates under a "deferred recruitment" system, which means students are not eligible to join a fraternity or sorority until their second semester freshman year. Additionally, transfer students must wait until their second Syracuse University or SUNY ESF semester to join. Regardless of the time at which a student wishes to join before a candidate can go through recruitment/intake, they must meet the following membership eligibility requirements:
- Be a regularly enrolled, full-time undergraduate student in good standing with Syracuse University or SUNY ESF;
- Have earned at least 12 SU or SUNY ESF credit hours; transfer students are not eligible to join a fraternity or sorority until their second semester at Syracuse University or SUNY ESF;
- A 2.5 or better cumulative GPA;
- Be in good standing with Community Standards (not on probation, suspension, or have an open, unresolved conduct case); and
- Participate, either in-person or virtually, in the following three workshops offered by the Wellness Leadership Institute:
- Alcohol Safety 101
- STOP Bias
- Hazing Prevention
In addition to the University's requirements for membership, each council may have its own requirements that affect associated chapters. Some Greek organizations have their own chapter-specific requirements as well.
Transfer students are not eligible for recruitment/intake until a full semester is completed at Syracuse University with at least 12 SU or ESF credits and a GPA earned. Transfer credits earned at another university DO NOT apply towards eligibility.
To join a fraternity or sorority, you must go through a recruitment or membership intake process. There is a different process for joining organizations, depending on the governing council. Chapters conduct recruitment and intake events, and informational sessions at different times throughout the fall and spring semesters. These activities are meant to provide prospective members an opportunity to learn more about their respective chapters and its members.
Recruitment is the mutual selection process by which the prospective member (you) and the fraternities or sororities determine the best fit for membership. It is a mutual process where you have the opportunity to decide which chapter would be a good fit for you and where each chapter determines who they would like to invite to be a member. During this period, interested students have the opportunity to visit organizations and see what each has to offer. Recruitment is the new member orientation and induction program used by the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the Panhellenic Council (PHC). NOTE: ALL students interested in either IFC or Panhellenic recruitment MUST register in advance AND pay a non-refundable/non-transferable registration fee in order to participate in the recruitment process. Payment and registration details can be found on the registration site.
The best place to find information on when registration is open for IFC and PHC recruitment will be on our How To Join Page.
Intake is the process where members are selected to become new members of an organization. This process is organized by each chapter individually, but includes selection of candidates, education about the organization, and ends with initiation and full membership in the organization. Membership intake is the new member orientation and initiation program used by the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC), National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO), National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and Professional Fraternity Council (PFC). To find out more about who is conducting intake please go to our How To Join Page.
Recruitment and intake processes differ by organization, depending on the council under which the Greek organization falls. Every fraternity and sorority at Syracuse University reports to one of six governing councils: the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council (PHC) regulate their recruitment; the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC), National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO), National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and Professional Fraternity Council (PFC) fraternities and sororities have national or regional officers who set the timing and regulations around their recruitment or intake.
All of the fraternities and sororities at Syracuse University are chapters of national organizations. Each chapter falls under one of six governing councils:
- Interfraternity Council (“IFC”) - IFC is the local governing body for historically white male fraternities who have chapter facilities near campus;
- Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) – MGC is the governing body for multicultural and Asian interest, fraternities and sororities with a focus on specific ethnicities and/or cultures.
- National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) - NALFO is the governing body for our historically LatinX fraternities and sororities.
- National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) - NPHC is the campus coordinating body of historically Black/African-American fraternities and sororities;
- Panhellenic Council (PHC) - PHC is the local governing body for historically white sororities who are members of the National Panhellenic Conference. Every PHC sorority has a chapter facility near campus.
- Professional Fraternity Council (PFC) – The Professional Fraternity Council consists of 9 chapters that promote common interests of community, scholarship, professionalism, and service.
Browse our site to learn more about the different governing councils and chapters.
Students may only hold membership in a PFC fraternity and membership in one of our other five fraternity/sorority councils. The reasoning is because PFC chapters are tied to major or specific community service while the other five councils are more focused on social activities and some services. The only PFC organization you cannot hold dual membership in is Alpha Omega Epsilon Sorority.
Membership in a social fraternity and sorority is a lifetime commitment upon initiation into a chapter. If an organization loses its active status, you will NOT be able to join another chapter. Additionally, if you transfer to another institution, you will need to inquire into affiliating with your chapter at that institution.
If my relative/family member is a member of a fraternity/sorority, will I get an invitation to join?
As a general rule, a legacy is a student who has a family member that already joined a particular fraternity or sorority (family members may include a child, sibling, or grandchild or more distant family members such as cousins, nieces/nephews, and step-family members).
Having a legacy relationship to an organization in no way guarantees an invitation to membership. Therefore, someone who qualifies as a legacy is not required to join any particular organization, nor is that organization required to offer the legacy an invitation to join. All potential new members are considered individually because the fit between the chapter members and the potential member is the most important factor in determining whether an organization will invite someone to join.
Once you accept an invitation to join a fraternity or sorority, you enter the new member process. New member programs vary across organizations, but consist of a defined period of time typically ranging between 0 days and 6 weeks. During this time, new members meet active members in the fraternity/sorority, learn about the history and values of the chapter and community, and participate in events and activities. The new member process is also a time to discover resources available through scholarship, programming, leadership development, and interpersonal relationships. Students still have time to study or participate in other organizations and activities.
Most groups also host weekly new member class meetings and special programs designed to help with the educational experiences mentioned above. Some organizations will pair new members with a “Big”, whose role is to provide guidance and mentorship throughout their Greek college experience. After completing the new member process, new members are initiated into the organization. If you have questions about specific New Member Processes, please refer to that specific chapter’s New Member Educator or equivalent.
A new member presentation is the public presentation of a chapter’s newest members. Usually, this is done as a public performance format to present their new members to campus, friends, and their families. It is a celebration of the new members, the fraternity or sorority, and the chapter’s history. It also highlights the individual personality of each line. NPHC, MGC, NALFO are organizations that present their new members this way.
What happens if I drop out of the recruitment/intake process, don’t receive an invitation to join the chapter I wanted, or I don't receive any invitations at all?
Know that the system of fraternity/sorority recruitment at Syracuse University is competitive and not everyone who wants to be Greek will receive an invitation to the chapter of their choice or receive an invitation at all.
Although it may be difficult to deal with at first, you will get through it. It’s normal to feel disappointed and upset, but don’t let your disappointment ruin or define the rest of your semester. Move forward from recruitment with an open mind and consider the following other options:
1) Join other clubs: There are plenty of opportunities to meet friends on campus; Greek life is not your only option to consider. To find a club to join, start by looking on Cuse Activities to see which clubs are offered at SU. Co-curricular activities are perfect for making friends and doing something that you truly enjoy.
2) Don't take it personally: It’s easy to take things personally when you are not chosen or if your friends receive invitations and you didn’t receive one? For the sake of your well-being and happiness, don’t let it get the best of you. We recommend that you keep busy, avoid social media, and keep your mind off of recruitment by spending time with roommates, meeting new people in the dorm, focusing on school, and/or joining a club or two. It takes some time, but in no time you will move away from the recruitment experience.
3) Consider giving recruitment another try: whether you did not receive a bid at the end of your first recruitment experience or if you chose to remove yourself from the process before bids were extended, you are NOT the only student in this situation. Trying recruitment a second time around can be less stressful because you already know what to expect.
The time commitment varies from chapter to chapter, but the first semester is the most time intensive as new members go through the chapter's New Member Education process. The time spent in this process will give students the opportunity to develop their leadership and time management skills, learn about the history of their organization, develop friendships with their new member class, as well as the rest of the chapter, and allow them to become involved with other organizations.
After initiation into the chapter, expectations will vary. Each chapter has weekly chapter meetings and other mandatory events (philanthropic, service, initiation, etc.) throughout the year both for the chapter, which are planned well in advance. The more you put into the chapter and the community the more you will get out of being a member.
By joining Greek Life, members gain access to a diverse amount of leadership opportunities both in their own chapters and the community as a whole. Each fraternity and sorority chapter is entirely student-run through their own executive boards, chair positions, and respective committees. Moreover, the 6 councils (IFC, PHC, NPHC, NALFO, MGC, and PFC) offer further opportunities that augment growth through working with University personnel.