We would like to offer you the answers to some of the questions you might have concerning the fraternity community at Valparaiso University. Fraternities at any university offer your son a “home away from home,” providing friendship, scholastic support, leadership experience, involvement, and opportunities for the future. At Valpo, the fraternity community is strongly united and growing in numbers. On campus, the students affiliated with fraternities are viewed as a great asset, and many of the members are active campus leaders. Valparaiso University currently has 9 inter/national fraternities. All organizations have unique qualities, well suited to each of its members. Your son will have no trouble choosing an organization to join.
If you have any questions concerning fraternity membership, please access the Universities Parents Guide to Fraternities or do not hesitate to contact Dr. Carolyn Whittier, Assistant Dean of Students for Fraternity and Sorority Life, Leadership, and Volunteer Programs by phone at 219.464.5411. As your son prepares to attend college, he will have many opportunities to become involved in campus life. Becoming a part of a fraternity is one of them!
What will my son get out of Fraternity and Sorority life that they would not get out of any other college organization?
Coming to college is one of the major life changes that your son will go through. Joining a fraternity will help make the transition easier. The fraternity experience is multifaceted and offers numerous opportunities to your student. Developing life-long friendships with the members in their chapter helps make the campus smaller. For many members, these chapters become a home away from home. In addition to the brotherhood, every chapter is dedicated to enhancing leadership, scholarship, philanthropy/service, and financial responsibility through various programs and opportunities. It will be up to your son to determine the level of involvement they want to have in the organization and what kind of experience it will be for them.
How will joining a chapter now benefit my son after college?
The lifelong friendships your son will make through their chapter can last into post-college years. Fraternities have national networks for their members to use for securing jobs and advancing their careers. Membership in a chapter is a life-long experience that the member and the fraternity enjoy together. Joining now is really an investment in your son’s future as they will reap the benefits now and for a lifetime. Wherever a member ends up after college, chances are he will be able to find other members of his fraternity.
Will my son’s academics be compromised if they join a fraternity chapter?
Students often find managing their time difficult when moving from the highly structured high school environment to the freedom of college life. Fraternity membership assists in that transition by offering scholarship programs that may include study partners, mandatory study hours, and time management workshops. Your son can also access the network of chapter members who already know how to use campus resources like the library, study skills center, computer labs, and academic advisors. Nothing, however, can take the place of a disciplined and academically-focused student to ensure success in college. Thanks, in part, to the chapter’s academic goals and these programs, the average GPA among fraternity members has been consistently higher than the All-University Student’s GPA. We encourage you to take this information into consideration when helping your student decide which fraternity they may want to join.
What is a Philanthropy or Service Project?
Fraternity members take it as part of their mission to support their national philanthropies (non-for- profit causes). Throughout the year, each chapter spends time fundraising and volunteering to help their particular philanthropy. The time spent together on philanthropic and service events is one of the many times that fraternity members have the opportunity to bond while making a difference in a community member’s life.
How much time does a chapter take up?
The time commitment varies from chapter to chapter but the first semester is the most time intensive as the new member goes through the chapter’s Foundation of Membership Education Program. The time spent in this program will give your student the opportunity to develop their leadership and time management skills, learn about the history of the Fraternity, 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 the initiation into the chapter, expectations will vary. Each chapter has weekly chapter meetings and other mandatory events (philanthropic, service, initiation) throughout the year, but they are planned well in advance. The more your son puts into the chapter the more he will get out of being a member!
What does it cost to be a member?
The fraternity experience is an investment in your student’s future. The leadership skills, the academic assistance, and friendships will benefit your child beyond their college days. The perception that fraternities are only an option for “rich” students is widespread and false. Fraternal organizations are quite affordable and fees go to services that will positively impact your son. Many students work to supplement funding for their dues. Member’s
dues directly support the betterment of the chapter and the national organization. To assist members, chapters may offer various scholarships and grants. We encourage your son to ask questions related to finances during the recruitment process. We also encourage you to be hands-on with this decision if you have any questions
about the obligations regarding finances.
Here are the fees associated with membership in Sigma Pi:
New-Member Fee: $75 (one-time only)
Initiation Fee: $350 (one-time only)
Local Dues: This fee is determined by each individual chapter. Currently it is $500 per semester.
Room and Board: These fees will be determined by the local chapter’s house corporation, Beta Tau House Corp. The goal of the alumni is to maintain rent at approximately 50% of living in one of the on-campus dorms.
Are fraternities primarily social in nature?
There is a social aspect to the fraternal community but these “social” events include education programs/workshops, community service events, intramural sports, Parent’s Day, Homecoming Parade and dinner exchanges in addition to parties and socials. Today’s fraternal communities across the nation have adopted a stringent approach to socializing thereby creating a safer, more beneficial environment for members.
Is there an alcohol policy?
Each chapter has an alcohol policy in which there are yearly educational programs that the chapter is required to present to its members. Sigma Pi adheres University guidelines in regards to the use of alcohol as well as employing a stringent ban on hard alcohol in our fraternity's Alcohol Policy.
What about hazing?
Sigma Pi prohibits all forms of hazing. A holistic definition of hazing can also be found in every University’s Code of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students. The Fraternity investigates all allegations.
What is my role as a parent?
Take the time to find out more about the chapter your son is joining. Ask questions about what the organizations will offer your child and allow them to make the best decision for themselves. Once your child chooses to join a chapter, there will be opportunities for Mom’s and Dad’s weekend activities, as well as football games, or a number of other activities. As you look into the fraternity community with your son consider the following information compiled by national studies:
Fraternity affiliation can positively influence retention through graduation.
Fraternity affiliation directly impacts campus involvement and overall student satisfaction with college.
Fraternity affiliation can positively influence involvement in civic organizations after college.
Some statistics compiled by the North-American Interfraternity Conference show that fraternity men make up:
48% of all US Presidents
42% of US Senators
30% of US Congressmen
40% of all US Supreme Court Justices
30% of Fortune 500 Executives