Information for Family Members

Joining a fraternity or sorority can be a great way for your student to get more involved at NIU. These chapters are made up of men (fraternities) and women (sororities) who have similar interests and values. The groups, or chapters, are named with Greek letters, which is why you might hear them referred to as "Greek life."

Members of fraternities and sororities enjoy many benefits, including:

  • Meaningful relationships: friendships and support to ease the adjustment to college life.
  • Academic support: resources, study groups and more to help reach academic goals.
  • Community service: opportunities to plan and participate in service projects and fundraisers.
  • Alumni involvement: access to mentoring and a strong professional network.
  • Skill development: opportunities to build leadership, time management and other skills.

With all these advantages, it's no wonder members tend to graduate nationally at a higher rate — and with better grades — than nonmembers.

If you have any questions, please contact us. We look forward to working with you to give your student the best possible college experience.

Housing

Some chapters at NIU have houses where members live and hold meetings. Sometimes members are required to live in the house for a certain number of years. Members of chapters without houses often live together (on or off campus) and hold meetings and events at various campus locations.

Houses are not owned or managed by NIU.

Cost

The cost of joining a fraternity or sorority varies. Chapters that have houses where members live are more expensive than chapters without houses.

The first semester after joining is the most expensive because of one-time new member fees. After the first semester, fees are less expensive. Chapters will tell you about their costs during the recruitment/intake process.

Safety and Wellness

You may have heard that all fraternities and sororities focus on partying and that joining one can lead to hazing, body image issues or other problems. At NIU, we address these issues with policies and education:

  • Chapter members must follow the NIU Student Code of Conduct and social event policies.
  • Members receive training from NIU on diversity, equity and inclusion; off-campus events; and other topics.
  • Members may receive additional training from their organization on subjects like alcohol and drugs, Title IX and bystander intervention.
  • Each chapter has at least one alumni advisor and one faculty/staff advisor to provide guidance.

If you think your student may be participating in inappropriate activities in a fraternity or sorority, contact us at 815-753-6511 or the NIU Department of Police and Public Safety at 815-753-1212. Your call will be handled in a discreet manner. You can confidentially file an incident report on our website.

Hazing

Hazing refers to acts or activities by an organization that could harm its future or current members. It's illegal in Illinois, and has no place in the NIU community. We ask anyone who sees or suspects it to report hazing to Student Conduct.

How to Help Your Student

Joining a fraternity or sorority is a big commitment. Here's how you can help your student decide whether to join a chapter:

  • Learn: Visit the website of the chapter your student wants to join and ask them questions throughout the recruitment/intake process.
  • Encourage them to attend campus events: By getting involved, they'll have a better chance of being selected for membership.
  • Talk about costs: Decide who will pay for what and set limits.
  • Keep an open mind<: If you were a fraternity or sorority member, consider that your chapter may not be the right one for your student.
  • Let them decide: Fraternity and Sorority Life is different on every campus, so it’s important to let your student choose. Groups vary from school to school.

Questions to Ask Your Student

  • What characteristics is the group looking for in members and what do they expect from them?
  • What is the time commitment? How will you balance studies with group activities?
  • What leadership and/or volunteer opportunities will you have?
  • What is the cost of being a member? Is this different for new members?
  • Is the organization officially recognized by the university? If not, why?

Organizations Not Recognized by NIU

  • Omega Delta Fraternity (also known as “OD”)
  • Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity (also known as “Pike”)
  • Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity (also known as “SAM” or “Sammies”)

Learn more about recognized and unrecognized groups.

Contact Us

Fraternity and Sorority Life
Holmes Student Center
Organization and Student Involvement Suite

815-753-6511
fsl@niu.edu

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