When I mention that I’m involved in a fraternity, everyone quickly corrects me (“I think you mean sorority…”) and jumps to conclusions that I’m either a “tri delt” or a “kappa,” yet neither of these terms describes me. I’m not even in a sorority! I’m in a fraternity. Yes, you read that right. I’m a female in a fraternity. When you think of fraternities, you picture a group of guys, living in a seemingly beautiful but actually poorly furnished house with sticky floors. You imagine charity events for national philanthropies and you think of words like “rush” and “pledging,” which you always seem to mix up. Well my brotherhood, Phi Sigma Pi, an honors fraternity, is surprisingly not so far off.
First let me define the term “non-social.” It’s crucial to understand that there are four different types of fraternities: social, professional, honors, and community service. The term “non-social” includes the last three kinds. My brotherhood is an honors fraternity, but professional and community service fraternities are very similar.
How social is a non-social fraternity?
Pretty darn social! Phi Sigma Pi (PSP) is an honors fraternity, rather than a social one, but that does not mean it is any less social. As one would expect, there are plenty of people to meet. Study hours, charity events, and just hangouts are great ways to bond. The only thing we’re missing is the “porch-culture” of Greek Row (and don’t worry, we make up for it).
What kinds of people join a non-social fraternity?
All kinds! Just like social fraternities and sororities, non-social fraternities attract people who are looking for a tight-knit group of friends and networking opportunities. Phi Sigma Pi has a GPA requirement of 3.0 and selects candidates through a brief application and a rigorous series of interviews (which will give you premature wrinkles from all of the smiling). The application process varies for different organizations regardless of the type of fraternity. Each group is allowed to mandate a certain GPA and may be looking for a certain type of individual.
So you’re in an honors frat… it must be pretty geeky, right?
Debatable. There’s a thirst for knowledge amongst my brothers that I really respect. For example, my chapter hosted a religious panel, where three religious leaders of the community joined to discuss the differences and similarities between their faiths. This wasn’t some boring school assembly. People were genuinely interested and had insightful and challenging questions to ask. I’m proud to be part of an organization that would not only host this type of event, but truly appreciate it. These “scholarship” events (think: academic events) are what separate an honors fraternity from other groups. So maybe you think that’s geeky and I couldn’t necessarily deny that, but it’s pretty amazing to be surrounded by people who know organic chemistry just as well as they know how to have a good time. Remember: work hard, party hard, prospies.
When it comes down to it, all fraternities have a lot in common. They all possess dozens of “the best bigs ever” (shout-out to my big, the best big ever, Azsa!). You get to go to a formal, where you dress to the nines to make up for all of those bed-head mornings in chapter. Broke college students suddenly become big spenders, buying spray paint and sparkles for their paddles. And lastly, you don’t need to prick your finger to be able to call your friends your family.