fraternity and sorority

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fraternity and sorority,

in American colleges, a student society formed for social purposes, into which members are initiated by invitation and occasionally by a period of trial known as hazing. Fraternities are usually named by two or three Greek letters and are also known as Greek-letter societies; women's Greek-letter societies are commonly called sororities. The oldest Greek-letter society is Phi Beta Kappa, founded (1776) at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Va. It soon became a scholarship honor society. After 1830 the literary societies that existed in many colleges were slowly supplanted by fraternities modeled on the three established (1825–27) at Union College. After 1870 many professional and honorary fraternities were established to give recognition to scholarship in various fields. Most fraternities and sororities, however, serve mainly as social clubs. The typical Greek-letter society owns or rents a house that is used as a residence hall for members and as a center for social activities. Some Greek-letter societies have only one local organization or chapter; others are nationally organized with chapters in several institutions. The Interfraternity Conference (1909) and the National Panhellenic Congress (1929) were established to consult on the common interests of American fraternities and sororities. Because many fraternities only admit new members on the basis of a unanimous vote, many of the organizations have been able to maintain discriminatory entrance policies. For this reason, and because of incidents of violent or abusive hazing, fraternities are forbidden on some campuses and their activities severely curtailed on many others.


See W. R. Baird, Manual of American College Fraternities (rev. ed. 1949); W. A. Scott, Values and Organizations: A Study of Fraternities and Sororities (1965).

References in periodicals archive ?
While many fraternities and sororities are still backwaters of misogyny, racism, and religious fundamentalism, many others are quite humanistic.
20) Presently Black fraternities and sororities claim approximately 800,000 members including both current and alumni members.
Johnson, a Hampton and Harvard graduate, wrote a controversial opinion piece for the Grio titled "Do black fraternities and sororities still matter?
and Parks, an independent scholar, have collected research articles and essays that discuss such topics as religious diversity in Greek organizations, heterosexual models of brotherhood and the contributions of Asians, African- Americans, Native Americans and Latinos to fraternities and sororities.
The Northridge East Neighborhood Council wants California State University, Northridge, to take responsibility for its fraternities and sororities, particularly by creating a Greek Row, and to take the burden off families and elderly residents living near the Greek houses that dot Halsted Street, Zelzah Avenue and other suburban streets.
Of special interest to this reader, for whom membership in Kappa Alpha Psi was a source of meeting and making friends for life, was Andre McKenzie's chapter on the origins and evolution of "the Divine Nine," the nine black fraternities and sororities that "were to be the means of leading the Negro youth out of the slough of despond and raising him to a plane of intellectual and moral security.
That survey indicates that by not providing a nurturing, accepting, and inclusive environment for gays and lesbians, fraternities and sororities are losing out on potentially strong members and powerful leaders.
After only a few legal wounds, schools sought methods to put the responsibility for drinking or drug use on the backs of students and fraternities and sororities.
About one-fifth of his current clientele is black, but Linnear expects that to climb as he markets to fraternities and sororities and other organizations looking for alternative social venues.
Residents of fraternities and sororities were as likely as non-members to engage in unprotected sex, and three times as many fraternity residents as nonmember male student reported being pushed, hit or assaulted in the previous year by someone who was intoxicated.
Indeed, "Bucknell students have affiliated with fraternities and sororities in larger numbers than at other institutions of comparable size .
Single-sex social organizations, such as fraternities and sororities, may also affect late adolescents' attitudes and actions.
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