Fraternities and Sororities: “In DePauw’s DNA” offering “Life-Long Engagement”


How We Live

One of the many ways to live on the DePauw campus is through the strong and richly historic fraternity and sorority system. “Greeks” – as they are often called, because of historic adoption of Greek symbols – have been on the DePauw campus for more than a century and a half. In fact, about a half dozen groups were here for more than fifty (50) years before the university built its first dormitory!

Our campus has long been recognized as having one of America’s more robust systems. A few years ago, DePauw commissioned an assessment report which found, among other things, that (on average) Greeks had higher grades, greater retention and contributed proportionately greater to their alma mater.

While not all chapters have housing, about one third of the undergraduates live in Greek houses and about two-thirds of the student population are members of a fraternity (men) or sorority (women). First year students do not live in Greek houses and many upperclassmen either choose another one of DePauw’s great choices or are unable to live in the houses because of popular demand.

How Fraternities and Sororities Are Organized

Each recognized group* is a “chapter” of a larger national or even international organization. These – traditionally North American – “general fraternities” have full time, paid staff operations, headquarters buildings, educational foundations and volunteer national and regional alumni. National and local scholarships are offered by all.

Each undergraduate who chooses to affiliate, joins both the local chapter and national/international organization. Being part of a larger group – beyond the local, collegiate experience – means that there are opportunities for life-long engagement far beyond this brief campus interlude. Several chapters have proven or emerging alumni mentoring and career service programs imbedded in their process.

Locally, the large chapter houses you see are privately owned by not-for-profit corporations. Men and women live in comfortable rooms and have private dining and entertaining areas. Some houses have common sleeping dorms and others have single or double sleeping rooms. Chapter house capacity ranges from about 50 to 80 members.

Each chapter has active, volunteer alumni Trustees who manage the bricks and mortar as well as Advisors who focus on programs and operations. While not all chapters operate the same, most with houses have paid staff to act as cooks, maintenance workers and live-in Directors. Greek facilities are held to the same residential standards as dormitories at DePauw. All have sprinkler systems and each facility undergoes multiple inspections by local and university officials. Cooperation occurs within an alumni-focused Greek Life Advisory Council as well as within undergraduate councils.

Founding tenets are reinforced in weekly chapter and officer meetings. Leadership training is made available locally, regionally and nationally. Academies and conventions take place each summer involving both alumni and undergraduates.

Our Greek chapters are inclusive and diverse. Most campus athletes, scholars and student leaders have and do affiliate. Room and board costs fall from below to par with campus costs. While there are some additional costs associated with membership, our chapters rosters have long been filled with members representing each demographic at Old Gold.

We urge students new to DePauw to look into this historic and strong choice.