Before going into details and discussing which fraternities are the best, let’s first form a clear conception about what a fraternity actually is. Fraternities, sororities or Greek Letter Organizations (Collectively referred to as “Greek life”) are basically social organizations at colleges and universities. Generally, these organizations allow single-sex membership. For example, fraternities are only meant for men while sororities are formed by its female counterpart i.e. women. In modern usage, “Greek Letter Organization” has become almost synonymous with the terms “fraternity” and “sorority”. Here, our main focus of discussion will remain exclusively on fraternities. Fraternities are most popular in USA and Philippines with little numbers existing in France, Canada, and a few other countries.
Generally, membership in a fraternity is obtained as an undergraduate student but this brotherhood usually continues for life. Some of the organizations can accept graduate students as well as undergraduate students as per their constitutional provisions. Individual fraternities vary in organization and purpose, but most of them share five common elements. They are as follows-
- They maintain secrecy.
- They select new members on the basis of a two-part vetting and probationary process which is known as “rushing” and “pledging”.
- They allow single-sex membership. Fraternities are usually exclusive to men.
- Fraternities own a residential property where undergraduate members live.
- Each fraternity usually has a set of complex identification symbols that may include Greek letters, ciphers, armorial achievements, badges, grips, hand signs, passwords, flowers, and colours.
Why join a fraternity?
By now, we have a got an idea about fraternities but why do students join fraternities after all? What are their functions? Basically, fraternities engage in various philanthropic activities. They host parties, they provide “finishing” training for new members such as instruction on etiquette, dress, and manners and create networking opportunities for their newly graduated members. We’ll discuss these functions of fraternities and more in details, below-
SOCIAL CONNECTION AND NETWORKING:-
The formal foundation of a strong social network, that too while being in a college, is certainly a core and often-noted advantage of being in a fraternity. After joining a college or university, many students find themselves lonely and isolated and they have a tough time making friends. Joining a fraternity, at that moment, becomes either a proactive way to avoid social isolation or simply a way for a socially-inclined person to immediately build a bond with fraternity brothers. Having something in common with a group of people holding the same values and principles makes it easy to connect for a person. Connections go even further to other individuals on campus in other Greek chapters.
One of the most important aspects of being a member of a fraternity is creating a bond with brothers i.e. the other members of the fraternity. The connections made with the chapter members that quickly become a family is something that cannot be explained until one actually experiences it.
A benefit of Greek life is academic support and improved performance. Though media often portrays the party atmosphere of fraternities, most of the fraternities hold group study sessions and provide internal tutoring for members. The UMKC website indicates that 71% of fraternity and sorority members graduate, compared to just half of those who are not part of any fraternity or sorority. The blend of social belonging and academic support systems undoubtedly contribute to this success.
GROWING THROUGH LEADERSHIP:-
As a veteran member of a fraternity, one gets the opportunity to run for an officer position, such as President. Being a part of a fraternity offers a great leadership development opportunity. Fraternity members also commonly become more active school leaders and involved citizens in the community. A study done by a University of Missouri revealed that Greek life members tend to be more active in the college community than the non-members.
Joining a fraternity also provides opportunities for finding a career after college. Long-running fraternities usually have a strong connection to their alumni. In fact, many alumni serve as advisers to houses. This can be useful by reaching out to them for potential internships and job opportunities. The skills one gains in any position in a chapter are applicable to his future career. Time management, event planning, conflict resolution, and budgeting are some of the greater attributes that come in handy even after leaving the chapter.
Also, fraternities often have community pages on social networking sites, which provide access to thousands of professional alumni. Alumni are great networking resources if one finds one in his field or a company he has an interest in working for. Geographically-located networking events are held by some houses for members and alumni. Greek life members also engage in community service and other on-campus activities which help in creating a good resume.
SENSE OF BEING A PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER THAN YOURSELF:-
Fraternities have a sense of history and culture. They have a solid foundation of the tradition that can be traced back through many centuries. It can be an honour learning what struggles a chapter had to go through to reach the point they are at now. Chapters hold themselves to the highest standards and are something special that not everyone gets a chance to be a part of.
MEET MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX:-
Apart from all other “serious” reasons, there is also a reason that encourages men to join the fraternities and that is by joining fraternities they can meet people of the opposite sex. The fraternities arrange many events and parties where the members of fraternities can meet many like-minded women and have a chat with them. This also one of the most motivating factors behind guys joining fraternities!
After a thorough discussion regarding why people at all join fraternities, we are ready to list the most famous fraternities in the world and what makes them so great! After doing great research, a list of the most famous fraternities has been created and they are given below-
MOST FAMOUS FRATERNITIES IN THE WORLD:-
Sigma Chi (SigChi/Sigs):
Sigma Chi was founded on June 28, 1855, at Miami University in Ohio. Sigma Chi belongs to the Miami Triad. Sigma Chi has approximately 240+ chapters with over 300,000-lifetime members. In December 2012, Sigma Chi designated the Huntsman Cancer Foundation as its sole preferred philanthropic partner. On June 13, 2005, Sigma Chi was the first Greek-letter society to be honoured by the United States Congress for the fraternity’s 150th anniversary.
Kappa Sigma (Kappa Sig/ K-Sig):
Kappa Sigma was founded on December 10, 1869, at the University of Virginia. Kappa Sigma has one of the largest international headquarters in the fraternal world, which is located in Monticello, Virginia. Kappa Sigma has approximately 300+ chapters nationwide with over 18,000 collegiate members. Their national philanthropy is a greater cause of military heroes.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE):
Sigma Alpha Epsilon was founded on March 9, 1856, at the University of Alabama. This is the only fraternity that was founded in the Antebellum South and it is one of the few Greek organizations that has chosen to eliminate the pledging process. Sigma Alpha Epsilon has approximately 300+ chapters nationwide with over 325,000-lifetime members. Sigma Alpha Epsilon does not have national philanthropy, but it still participates in multiple causes.
Tau Kappa Epsilon (TEKE/TKE):
Tau Kappa Epsilon was founded on January 10, 1899, at Illinois Wesleyan University. Tau Kappa Epsilon was one of the first fraternities to abolish hell week back in 1928. It has approximately 270+ chapters nationwide, with over 268,000-lifetime members. TKE’s are extremely philanthropic and have joined forces with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Boy Scouts of America. Former U.S President Ronald Reagan was a TKE at Eureka College.
Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp/SPE):
Sigma Phi Epsilon was founded on November 1, 1901, at Richmond College. SigEp is one of the very few national organizations that has chosen to abolish the pledging process. Sigma Phi Epsilon has approximately 340 chapters nationwide, with over 315,000-lifetime members. Their national philanthropy is Big Brothers Big Sisters. SigEp claims to have over 200 fraternity houses nationwide, which would make that as the most fraternity houses out of any organization nationally.
Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike):
Pi Kappa Alpha was founded on March 1, 1868, at the University of Virginia. Originally founded as a whites-only southern fraternity, Pike removed any restrictions related to race in 1964. Pi Kappa Alpha has approximately 220 chapters nationwide, with over 250,000-lifetime members. Pi Kappa Alpha does not have national philanthropy, but it still widely participates in multiple causes. Pike has their fair share of famous athlete alumni, such as retired Florida State head football coach Bobby Bowden and retired NBA champion Horus Grant.
So, in this article, we discussed everything about fraternities- from the very basic concept of fraternities and why people should join them in making a list of the most famous fraternities of the world. Hopefully, people can take hints from the list to make up their mind about being a member of a fraternity of their preference!