Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

A Parent's Guide to Fraternity & Sorority Life at Lycoming College

Many parents are concerned about their son or daughter's transition from high school to college. One enriching experience that can facilitate a smooth transition is membership in a fraternity or sorority. Fraternities and sororities provide students with a personalized college experience by offering a scholastic support system, hands-on leadership experiences, opportunities to serve the community, and close, supportive friendships.

The first social fraternity was founded in 1825 on the Union College campus in Schenectady, New York. Fraternal organizations grew out of literary societies whose purposes were to develop book collections, provide a forum to discuss literature, and fill the social and emotional vacuum created by the separation from the family and home community. Because all learning in higher education was conducted in the "educated man's language," Greek, fraternities and sororities adopted Greek letters to represent their organizations. Today, fraternities and sororities continue to base much of their vocabulary on Greek words, and are commonly referred to as "Greeks."


Consistent with their founding purpose, the fraternities and sororities of Lycoming College foster and promote academic achievement.

The governing bodies at Lycoming require individuals to have a minimum cumulative GPA to "rush" or seek membership. Each fraternity and sorority promotes academic success through electing a scholarship chair who provides such resources as study sessions, study skills seminars, and tutoring. The College also takes an active role in reviewing grades each semester. It is not surprising that fraternity and sorority members often graduate from college with higher grade point averages than those not involved in Fraternity and Sorority life.


Fraternities and sororities provide members with vast opportunities to develop leadership skills. Members are encouraged to run for chapter and governing body offices, chair committees, and seek involvement in other campus organizations. Through such experiences, fraternity and sorority members discover and develop leadership skills, such as communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills that they will use for a lifetime.


Community service is an integral part of the fraternity and sorority experience. Fraternity and sorority members at Lycoming contribute a great deal of time and money to the campus and community. Some community projects completed by Lycoming fraternity and sorority members include building homes for Habitat for Humanity, sponsoring dance-a-thons for the Leukemia Society, collecting canned food for a local food bank, and sponsoring Halloween and Christmas parties for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. By serving the community, members realize the importance and enjoyment of volunteerism.


The fraternity and sorority system provides members with a unique social life which includes casual get-togethers, theme parties, formal dinners and dances, picnics, and Greek Week and Homecoming events. Such social activities allow members to develop interpersonal skills and self-confidence, and provide them with a sense of fellowship and belonging.

Regarding alcohol, all students are expected to uphold federal, state, and city laws and Lycoming College policies.


Recruitment occurs twice a year in September and January. In order to join, a student must have been enrolled for one semester. Also, he or she must have a minimum cumulative GPA which is determined by both the College and the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils, which are the fraternity and sorority governing bodies.

Fraternity & Sorority Glossary

  • Active - an undergraduate student who has been initiated into lifelong membership of a Greek Organization
  • Associate/New Member - A person who has gone through the recruitment process and is in the process of becoming an initiated member of the organization.
  • Badge -A symbolic pin worn by initiated members of Greek organizations.
  • Bid - A formal invitation to become a member of a Greek Letter organization.
  • Chapter -The local campus group of an Inter/national Greek Letter organization.
  • COB - Continuous Open Bidding
  • Dues - Fees paid to a Greek organization for membership, they are often paid per semester.
  • Founders - The founding members of a Greek Letter organization.
  • Fraternity - A Men's Greek organization.
  • Interfraternity Council (IFC) - the governing body of the fraternities, composed of elected officers/representatives.
  • New member period -The time from Bid Day until Initiation
  • Panhellenic Council - the governing body of the sororities, composed of elected officers/representatives.
  • Potential new member (PNM) - Someone who could potentially be a new member of a Greek organization.
  • Sorority - A Women's Greek Organization.