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Fraternities and Sororities
Olya Bezvushko

There a great number of movies made about students life in various brotherhoods and sisterhoods, which are also called fraternities and sororities. But what does these terms imply for?

Fraternities are fraternal social organizations for undergraduate students, which are especially popular in North America. They are presented in other parts of the world as well. In Europe they are called corporations. Sometimes they are considered mutual aid societies, which provide academic and social activities. Usually, fraternities are single-sexed organizations. Some of them maintain a fraternity house. The membership is considered to be valid only during the undergraduate years.

In unofficial language you can hear the shortened form of the word fraternities – “frats” that refer to male groups or female ones that appeared before the term “sorority”. Generally, the names of fraternities consist of several Greek-letter names. For example, Phi Beta Kappa (one of the most honorable societies nowadays), Alpha Phi, Delta Gamma and so on. A couple of groups however do not use Greek letters, like Acacia, Triangle, eating clubs and secret societies.

The usual part of any fraternity’s or sorority’s programs is philanthropy. It is supported by all active members. They are involved into volunteer programs and fund-raising activities.

Not so long ago, fraternities were very competitive for members, numerous academic honors and for others benefits and gains. Very often such competitions turned to be extremely divisive on college campuses. Up-to-date competitions loose their hostility and are held within limits and mainly to the noble purpose.

Fraternities are famous for different rituals carried out since the establishment of each community. They are really symbolic in nature and very mysterious. They are called rituals. The main ritual is an initiation ceremony, beside is there are various passwords, handshakes, songs and secret meetings of active members. Moreover, every fraternity has a number of distinctive emblems, such as colors, flags, badge, seal, crest and flowers. 

The process of joining a fraternity or sorority usually begins with an “official recruitment” period, called “rush week”, during which potential members are getting acquainted with a members and organization in general. At the end of this week organizations give invitations to membership. Then the probation period starts, while which the new members have to meet all the requirements. After the initiation the person becomes a full member.

In addition, there are many talks about hazing in fraternities. It happened before, but now it is completely forbidden. There is no need to prove yourself any more. So, there is no reason to avoid fraternity membership. Obtain it and you will get a chance to make many new friends, interesting experiences and much fun.    

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