Each fall, over 1,000 University of Michigan students join one of the university’s 69 social sororities and fraternities. If your student is considering joining, the university’s Office of Greek Life can help you understand the recruitment process and learn more about the organizations at U-M.
Chapters within Greek Life at UM self-govern under one of four student-run governing bodies, each with its own recruitment process.
The Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association, which include many fraternities and sororities, respectively, hold formal recruitment, or “rush,” processes in September. Students who want to participate must register. The recruitment process is less formal and goes on throughout the year within the Multicultural Greek Council—which includes men’s and women’s organizations that focus on multiculturalism or on specific ethnicities or cultures—and National Pan-Hellenic Council, U-M’s umbrella organization for historically African-American Greek organizations.
When recruitment concludes, students may receive “bids” to join particular chapters. If they accept their bids, they undergo a six to eight week new member period before being “initiated” into official membership.
U-M’s fraternal organizations are all founded on similar values of leadership, character, scholarship and citizenship. The Office of Greek Life encourages you to ask your student about individual chapter(s) he or she is considering. “On our website, we offer a list of questions to ask your son or daughter, such as the chapter’s GPA, the cost of membership, and the privileges extended to members,” Office of Greek Life Director Mary Beth Seiler says. “We also publish information on each recognized fraternity and sorority, including its standing with the university, contact information for its president and its local and national website.”
As a parent, you may be understandably concerned about media reports of alcohol and hazing in Greek communities across the country. The university and the student-run Greek councils share concern about this national problem (which often starts in high school) take a strong anti-hazing stance, and provide educational programming on issues of health and wellness. Students have established an Anti-Hazing Task Force and hazing hotline for reporting incidents. Office of Greek Life staff are also available to help.
“A recent survey shows that most U-M students involved in Greek Life report a positive impact on their college experience, Seiler says. Most of U-M’s sorority and fraternity chapters have excellent academic records (typically at or above the campus average), and students involved in Greek Life frequently hold leadership positions in other campus organizations.”
“Opportunities to work as a team, build lifelong friendships, gain access to career networks, and take part in community service and philanthropy, enhance the college experience,” Seiler says. “And of course, students have a lot of fun, too. If your student is interested in Greek Life, talk to him or her, and let us know how we can help you.”