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Frequently Asked Questions About Greek Life

General FAQ                 

Fraternity  FAQ                

Sorority FAQ

What are the benefits of joining a Greek organization?

How will joining a Greek organization affect housing options?

What percentage of the student population joins a Greek organization?

What are the requirements for joining a fraternity?

What are the financial obligations associated with joining a fraternity?

What is informal Fraternity Recruitment like?

What is formal Fraternity Recruitment like?

What is new member education (commonly known as pledgeship)?

What is a PNM?

What are the requirements for joining a sorority?

What are the financial obligations associated with joining a sorority?

How does one register for recruitment?

Does one need to submit recommendation letters?

Does having legacy status make a difference during the recruitment process?

What is a Rho Gamma?

What does it mean to fill out an Intentional Single Preference?

What is a Snap Bid?

What is a COB? How often are COBs given?

What is Total?

What are the options for a PNM that declines a bid?

Can a PNM rush again if she is released from the recruitment process?

Can PNMs attend theme parties during fall term?

What happens if a PNM break a recruitment rule?

What is ‘no contact period'?

What does the term "balled" mean?

What are the benefits of joining a Greek organization?
The camaraderie and brother/sisterhood built between members of a Greek organization extend well beyond graduation at the end of your Washington & Lee experience. National fraternities and sororities frequently host events for alumni and constitute a rich network of support for recent graduates. In addition, membership in a Greek organization allows access to meal plans, house facilities such as showers and laundry machines, as well as entry into many social events and date functions. Joining a Greek organization is also a way to get involved with community service as evidenced by the many supported philanthropies.

How will joining a Greek organization affect housing options?
Fraternity and sorority houses are included in on-campus housing options.
Many sophomores that accept a bid will typically fulfill their two-year on-campus living requirement by choosing to live in their respective chapter house.

*Please note that each chapter has their own selection process, as there are often more interested new members than there are available beds in the house.

What percentage of the student population joins a Greek organization?
The majority of our first-year students will participate in formal fraternity or sorority recruitment; however, open bids and delayed participation remain viable options as long as a student maintains the minimum 2.3 GPA.
Approximately 77% of students are members of Greek organizations (80% of women; 74% of men).

Fraternity FAQ

What are the requirements for joining a fraternity?
-Students of all academic years, including transfers, are eligible once they have completed one full term;
-A minimum GPA of 2.3;
-May not have been, or currently be, an initiated member to any other national fraternity.

What are the financial obligations associated with joining a fraternity?
Each fraternity has their own fees associated with membership, housing, and dining. Please reference our financial obligations spreadsheet for details by chapter.

What is Informal Fraternity Recruitment like?
During the fall semester fraternities will get to know prospective brothers through a number of informal events. Fraternities may invite first-year, or other unaffiliated men to social events, meals, etc. The first term is truly for the first-year men can come to better understand Greek life and the formal recruitment process. The Interfraternity Council will also hold an information session for those that are interested in learning more about Greek life at Washington & Lee.

Fraternity Formal Recruitment
The first week back from winter break is known as "Formal Rush Week". Much like the interviewing process, selection works both ways. Both the fraternity and the prospective brother (rushee) will determine compatibility. Using an electronic system, rushees will preference their top 6 chapter choices and the fraternities will enter potential bid lists. The system automatically creates schedules for all of the rushees, offering them the opportunity to attend up to four formal recruitment dinners.

Tuesday and Wednesday are the evenings in which these dinners take place. Dinner and dessert time periods on each day allow prospective brothers to visit a total of 4 chapters. While the electronic preference polling provides a schedule, these assignments are non-binding. The following day, bids are distributed.

The last day of recruitment is Bid Day, when bids are distributed to rushees as a formal invitation to join a chapter. Rushees may receive more than one invitation; however, they are only able to join one chapter and are required to sign their New Member Card within 24 hours.

What is new member education (commonly known as pledgeship)?
Most of the Greek organizations maintain a new member education (NME) program for the incoming brothers. The purpose of a NME program is to assimilate initiates into bonds of brotherhood, develop leadership traits, and enhance group problem-solving abilities, all while imparting the traditions, customs, and history of the organization.

NME plans are developed by chapter leadership, specifically the New Member Educators (commonly known as pledge educators) and the chapter president. NME plans are then submitted to and approved by the student-run Interfraternity Council (IFC). Should anyone have concern that a NME plan is being broken and/or the new members are being taken advantage of they should file a report by emailing our hazing outline: hazing@wlu.edu

Sorority FAQ

What is a PNM?
Potential New Member. Anyone eligible for chapter membership.

What are the requirements for joining a sorority?
-Students of all academic years, including transfers, are eligible once they have completed one full term;
-A minimum GPA of 2.3;
-May not have been, or currently be, an initiated member to any other national sorority.

*Please note that individual chapters may set GPA requirements higher than a 2.3 in order for a bid to be extended.

What are the financial obligations associated with joining a sorority?
Each sorority has their own fees associated with membership, housing, and dining. Please reference our financial obligations spreadsheet for details by chapter.

How does one register for recruitment?
There is a $35.00 fee to participate in formal recruitment and you can register online.

Does one need to submit recommendation letters?
Recommendation letters are not required at Washington & Lee; however, if there is an alumnae of a sorority that wishes to write a statement on behalf of a Potential New Member they are welcome to do so. These letters are another way for the individual chapters to get to know the PNMs but they are not weighted heavily in the formal recruitment process. Please note that the alumnae does not have to be an alumnae of a W&L chapter. Since W&L has deferred formal recruitment, recommendations can be submitted until the end of fall term.

Letters can be addressed as noted below:
Sorority Chapter Name
Attn: Recruitment Chair
204 West Washington Street
Lexington, VA 24450

Does having legacy status make a difference during the recruitment process?
Women of legacy status are typically given extra consideration but we do not have a standard that says a legacy is required to be kept in the process until a certain point. That being said, each organization may define a legacy differently and/or give legacy status a different degree of attention. Most sororities give legacy status to women with mothers (stepmothers), grandmothers, and sisters in the organization.

*Please note that it is the responsibility of the PNM to record their legacy status when registering for recruitment; otherwise, a chapter may not be made aware.

What is a Rho Gamma?
A Rho Gamma is a recruitment counselor. Rho Gammas are a group of Greek women that disaffiliate from their chapters and are trained to aid PNMs in the recruitment process (formal or informal). Rho Gammas lead PNMs to Meet the Greek events and the sorority houses during formal recruitment.

During formal recruitment week our Rho Gammas follow a no contact policy with their sororities. The reason for no contact during this week is so that the Rho Gammas are available to distribute PNMs' schedules during the week, and provide an appropriate amount of emotional support.

What does it mean to fill out an Intentional Single Preference?
This is when a PNM only ranks one chapter of her choice on the last night of recruitment. By not choosing to rank any other chapter on their list she is agreeing to accept a bid from that chapter should she receive one.
- If a PNM does not receive a bid after she has completed an intentional single preference, she is still eligible for a Snap Bid and/or the COB process but she
is no longer eligible to be a quota addition.
- If a PNM declines a bid after she completed an intentional single preference, she is no longer eligible to accept a COB.

What is a Snap Bid?
Snap bidding is an option for chapters that do not fill their quotas during bid-matching. During this process, chapters are permitted to offer bids to PNMs whose preferences were not matched. This process takes place before bids are distributed. 

Anyone that participated in the first round of formal recruitment (and did not intentionally single preference) is eligible.

What is a COB? How often are COBs given?
COB stands for a continuous open bid. It is an opportunity for those chapters that have not reached quota during recruitment to add to quota and/or total.

This process happens both, immediately following recruitment and the distribution of bids and as a separate process each time the campus resets total. Anyone is eligible to receive a COB, unless:
- she turns down a bid or
- begins new-member period and does not go through initiation.
Should this be the case she would need to wait a full calendar year to be eligible for membership, allowing her to participate in the next formal recruitment.

COBs are not a common practice at W&L so one should not rely on this avenue for membership.

What is Total?
Total is a number that gets set twice a year, typically at the average chapter size. Panhellenic votes to okay the number and then chapters under total are encouraged to participate in extending COBs.

What are the options for a PNM that declines a bid?
A PNM who declines a bid has to wait a full calendar year to go through formal recruitment; however, she does remain eligible for a COB.

Can a PNM rush again if she is released from the recruitment process?
If a PNM is released, she is able to rush again. She is also eligible for a snap bid or a COB (see Snap Bid and COB).

Can PNMs attend theme parties during fall term?
PNMs can attend theme parties once they are open to all Washington & Lee students-- the time is designated by the fraternity. Typically parties become open at 10:00 pm, but there is no set standard. As for attire, PNMs can dress to theme should they decide to attend.

What happens if a PNM break a recruitment rule?
It is more so the responsibility of the Greek women to follow recruitment rules. PNMs should try their best to understand and follow any guidelines.

What is ‘no contact period'?
No contact starts at 5 pm the Friday before the end of Fall Term finals and ends after formal recruitment. This is the period of time that affiliated women cannot discuss sorority life with PNMs and no more rush dates are permitted. Exceptions to the rule:
- Academic conversations through the end of finals week.
- Traveling home for break-- only general conversation is permitted.
- Siblings can maintain a normal relationship.
- Attendance at W&L sponsored events over breaks (i.e., holiday parties, alumni
socials, etc.).

What does the term "balled" mean?
This term is most commonly used as a way of saying that a chapter has decided a PNM is not welcome in their sorority and they do not plan to extend invitations and/or a bid to her. While students may hear that this term used, it is unacceptable language, and does not occur as there is no formal process that allows this.