Fraternities and sororities

Social organizations at colleges and universities / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Fraternities and sororities are social organizations at North American colleges and universities. Generally, membership in a fraternity or sorority is obtained as an undergraduate student, but continues thereafter for life. Some accept graduate students as well.[1][2] Individual fraternities and sororities vary in organization and purpose, but most share five common elements:

  1. Secrecy
  2. Single-sex membership
  3. Selection of new members on the basis of a two-part vetting and probationary process known as rushing and pledging
  4. Ownership and occupancy of a residential property where undergraduate members live
  5. A set of complex identification symbols that may include Greek letters, armorial achievements, ciphers, badges, grips, hand signs, passwords, flowers, and colors

Fraternities and sororities engage in philanthropic activities, host parties, provide "finishing" training for new members such as instruction on etiquette, dress and manners, and create networking opportunities for their newly graduated members.

Fraternities and sororities can be tax-exempt 501(c)(7) organizations in the United States.

Fraternities and sororities have been criticized for practicing elitism and favoritism, discriminating against non-white students and other marginalized groups, conducting dangerous hazing rituals, and facilitating alcohol abuse. Many colleges and universities have sought to reform or eliminate them due to these concerns, but these efforts have typically been met with intense controversy.[3][4][5][6]