Recruitment is a time of mutual selection between students and chapters. Not only do the recognized organizations select new members, but the potential new members select the chapter with which they wish to be affiliated. Recruitment for fraternities and sororities at Rensselaer is at all times alcohol-free (dry). Students who choose to participate in recruitment activities are under no obligation to join the Greek community. At the end of recruitment, the chapters extend formal written invitations (bids). If a student chooses to accept the bid, then he/she is affiliated with that chapter.
Once a student decides to accept a bid from a Greek chapter, he or she is oriented to the chapter through meetings, philanthropic work, social events, and study sessions. Programs should be structured so they do not interfere with academic responsibilities. New member education should be informative and fun; therefore, physical and mental hazing is not tolerated. Rensselaer, national Greek organizations, and New York State prohibit hazing.
Benefits of joining a fraternity or sorority
All Greek organizations are working examples of a democracy in action. This is often the first time that members are responsible for managing their own activities and living within their means, so joining a fraternity or sorority provides an excellent opportunity to experience leadership and the responsibility of membership. In addition, the chapters are more than clubs; they are corporations, often with large budgets managed by the members.
One of the most mentioned aspects of fraternity and sorority life is the friendship that exists between members of a chapter, among both its undergraduates and alumni/ae. Fraternity and sorority life promotes the development of close ties between members through living, studying, working, competing, and having fun together. These lifetime relationships go beyond ordinary friendship to become like that of a family.
Greek letter organizations are self-sufficient, with each chapter collecting dues and membership fees to support their own activities and programs. For chapters with houses, charges include room, board, and fees which may vary depending on whether the member lives in or out of the chapter house. While students should ask about a chapter's fees while going through recruitment, Greek living is generally comparable to non-Greek on-campus living costs, and in many cases is less expensive.
The social aspects of Greek-letter organizations help to make college more than just a school. Greeks often organize various social activities including picnics and barbecues, faculty dinners, formals, parties, and trips to local attractions. All chapters have risk management procedures for social events which help to provide a safe environment for members and guests during chapter functions.
Chapter housing facilities vary greatly in size and amenities. Some groups live in Rensselaer residence halls or renovated apartments; others in houses owned and operated by the chapters themselves. Actual living arrangements vary from chapter to chapter as to how many members reside in the house and share bedrooms. Chapters with their own houses commonly run their own meal plans, either with a paid cook or members preparing meals themselves. All chapters that provide housing facilities for students are inspected twice a year to ensure compliance with fire and building codes.
Academics are important in Greek Life and are stressed by chapters from rush to graduation. The resources that Greeks often provide include scholarship awards, study sessions, files of materials, and tutoring assistance. Many chapters and national Greek organizations recognize and reward members for their scholastic excellence. According to Institute retention data, members of Greek organizations are more likely to complete their Rensselaer degree than their non-Greek counterparts.
Philanthropy is part of Rensselaer's fraternity and sorority community. Each semester, the Greeks at Rensselaer raise thousands of dollars and donate hundreds of hours to worthy causes. For example, chapters donate blood, raise money for various charitable causes, serve as Big Brothers and Sisters to Troy children, and help Neighborhood Associations clean and beautify their streets.
Greek alumni/ae play a major role in advising chapters. Each chapter has at least one adviser, but often many more, and housing corporation members to help with day-to-day operations. They meet regularly as members of the Alumni Inter-Greek Council, which provides networking and resources for efficient chapter management.