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Custom Sorority Jewelry Greek Letter Necklaces Belly Rings Bracelets Charms Dog Tags Earrings Cell Phone Charms and Two Finger Sorority Pride Rings

Sorority from the Latin words frater and soror, meaning brother and sister respectively are social organizations for undergraduate students at North American colleges and universities. There are also analogous, but less common, organizations for secondary students. Typically, fraternities are initiatory organizations, membership is considered active during the undergraduate years only, and the fraternity may be organized to provide academic mutual assistance, residential and dining facilities, and a comprehensive social calendar.

The term fraternities, often colloquially shortened to frats, generally refers to all-male or mixed-sex organizations. The female-only equivalent is usually called a sorority, a word first coined in 1874 at Gamma Phi Beta at Syracuse University; before this, societies for either sex were called fraternities. Some women's organizations continue to prefer to be called women's fraternities.

At times, the term social fraternity is used to refer to four-year, undergraduate, and frequently residential, fraternities as distinct from other kinds of university societies that may have Greek-letter names, such as recognition or honorary societies, departmental or professional societies, ethnic or religious societies, or any other type of organization. Social fraternity is used because these organizations are primarily for social and no other purposes.

The names of North American fraternities and sororities generally consist of two or three Greek letters, often the initials of a Greek motto. For this reason, fraternities and sororities are known collectively as a Greek Community or Greek Society and its members as Greeks. The use of Greek letters started with the first such organization, Phi Beta Kappa. There are exceptions including Acacia, FarmHouse, and Triangle, and the eating clubs and secret societies at some Ivy League colleges, such as Skull and Bones at Yale.

The most recognizable form of fraternity is the social fraternity, which present themselves as societies to help their members better themselves in a social setting.

A variety of fraternities are distinguished from social fraternities by their function. They can be specifically organized for service to the community, or for professional advancement, or for scholastic achievement.

A second group of fraternities were established for different religious or ethnic groups. Some of the social fraternities are expressly Christian, Alpha Chi Rho and Lambda Chi Alpha. There are also Jewish fraternities, for example, Zeta Beta Tau, Alpha Epsilon Pi, and Sigma Alpha Mu; these were established, in part, in response to restrictive clauses that used to exist in many social fraternities laws barring Jewish membership, these clauses were removed in the mid-20th century. There has been much controversy surrounding these kinds of restrictions, and oppose the intent to create supportive communities for distinct groups on the one hand and the intent to create non-discriminatory communities on the other.

There are also fraternities with a cultural or multicultural emphasis. Phi Iota Alpha was the first Latino fraternity, founded in 1931, and there are now 23 Latino fraternities in the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations.

There is a distinct set of Black fraternities and sororities for students of African descent. The institutions are largely identical and have virtually all the parallel structures and relations. Black students are not specifically barred from the non-Black fraternities, and there is black membership, especially in the Northeast and West. One chapter of Psi Upsilon at the University of Pennsylvania has been entirely Black for some years.

There are also fraternities designed for particular class years and are usually categorized separately from other types of fraternities. While these were once quite common in older institutions in the Northeast, the only surviving underclass society, for Sophomores, is Theta Nu Epsilon. Many senior class societies also survive, and they are often simply referred to as Secret Societies.

Philanthropy is usually made a part of any fraternity's or sorority's program and supported by all active members. Typically, a chapter will either engage in fund-raising activities or the members volunteer for programs. These either benefit the academic community or the public at large. There can also be long-term relationships between a particular fraternity or sorority and one of the large national disease-specific foundations.

The early societies were very competitive, for members, for academic honors, and for any other benefit or gain. Some of this competition was seen as divisive on college campuses. Today there is still competition, but that competition is intended to be within limits, and for nobler purposes, such as charitable fundraising. Fraternities also often compete in various sporting events. There is also a greater emphasis on interfraternity cooperation. The single greatest effort along these lines was the creation of the National Interfraternity Conference a century ago, which was intended to minimize conflicts, destructive competition, and encourage student members to see members of other frarternities and sororities as people share common interests.

Most fraternities were originally organized on one campus. A one campus fraternity would be called a local. A local can authorize chapters of the same name at other campuses. After the first authorized chapter, a local would be considered a national, even if with only two chapters. Given the development over the past 180 years, North America now has several large nationals with hundreds of chapters, and the likelihood of any one local now growing to such a scale is small. A local can join one of the pre-existing nationals, and that would be the most typical growth pattern. Two or more nationals can also merge, and some of the larger nationals were created by merger. Several nationals are international, usually only implying chapters in Canada.

The central business office of the organization also commonly referred to as the national. The national may place certain requirements on individual chapters to standardize rituals and policies regarding membership, housing, finances, or behavior. These policies are generally codified in a constitution and bylaws. Fraternities may once have been governed by the original chapter, but virtually all have adopted some version of governance with executive officers who report to a board of trustees, and 'legislative' body consisting of periodic conventions of delegates from all the chapters.

Most fraternities and sororities today maintain traditions which are generally symbolic in nature and closely guarded secrets, calling it their Ritual. They include an initiation ceremony, but may also include passwords, songs, handshakes, and the form of meeting, amongst other things. Meetings of the active members are generally secret and not to be discussed without the formal approval of the chapter as a whole.

For organizations with Greek letters composing their name, these letters are the initials of a motto such as Delta Upsilon, a set of virtues such as Alpha Kappa Lambda, or the history of its organization such as Phi Tau.

Fraternities and sororities often have a number of distinctive emblems, such as colours, flags, flowers, in addition to a badge or pin, crest, and/or seal. An open motto indicating that the organization has a secret motto as well is used to express the unique ideals of a fraternity or sorority.

Fraternities and sororities have created heraldic coats of arms, or 'crests', in order to represent the familial aspect of brotherhood and sisterhood.

Graphic representation of these are found in yearbooks and chapter publications from 1890 to 1925. Engravings were made of coats of arms and tipped into the yearbooks. Sizes range from a square inch to a full page layout. Many of these engravings were signed, creating a period art form. Fraternal crest engravings were typically made by cutting lines in metal or wood for the purpose of printing reproduction. Most of the late 1800s engravings were steelplate cuts. In the early 1900s, it became more common to use photo-engraving, or photogravure to print the coats of arms. Today, these are often torn from old yearbooks and sold, and there is a thriving internet market for them. Destroying the old books for this purpose presents ethical problems.

According to the preface in the Sixth Edition 1918 of The Sorority Handbook by Ida Shaw Martin, the primary fraternal jewelers of the late 19th/early 20th centuries were D. L. Auld Co. of Columbus, L. G. Balfour Co. of Attleboro, Mass., Burr, Patterson and Co. of Detroit, Upmeyer Company of Milwaukee, A. H. Fetting Co. of Baltimore, Hoover and Smith Co. of Philadelpha, O. C. Lanphear of Galesburg, Ill., Miller Jewelry Co. of Cincinnati, J. F. Newman of New York, Edward Roehm of Detroit, and Wright, Kay and Co. of Detroit. Currently the most widely used jewelers are Herff Jones, Jostens, and Balfour. Jewelers' initials and stampings are typically found on the back of pins along with the member name and/or chapter information. The history of fraternal jewelers is important when determining age of non-dated jewelry pieces.

Since fraternity and sorority pins are used as the primary symbols for societies, licensing and marketing needs have developed in the use of these trademarks. As a result, many organizations have had to put a legal team in place either at on staff or on retainer as consultants.One of the largest Greek licensing firms is Affinity Marketing Consultants, Inc. As of April 2008, they represent 25 of the largest women's nationals and 34 of the men's.

Apparel, shirts, pants, bags, jewelry, key chains is often worn by members with their Greek letters on them. These shirts and other articles may later be used for a Pass Down Ceremony between seniors and fellow members. Seniors may choose to pass down some or all of the clothing they own that is associated with the sorority. Some of the shirts are ten or more years old and in some chapters, girls will compete for them. In those chapters, generally members feel it is an honor to have older artifacts. At some institutions, it is considered inappropriate to wear apparel with the society's name when the member is consuming alcohol. It is considered disrespectful to have their letters on when drinking, regardless of their age.

Membership pins are not worn at all times. Some organizations limit pin-wearing to times of professional or business dress, also known as モPin Attire.ヤ The pins are kept forever, they are not expected to return them or hand them down.

Unique among most campus organizations, members of social fraternities and sororities often live together in a large house or distinct part of the university dormitories. This can help emphasize the bonds of brotherhood or sisterhood and provide a place of meeting for the members of the organization as well as alumni. For reasons of cost, liability, and stability, housing is usually owned or overseen by an alumni corporation or the national headquarters of the fraternity or sorority. As a result, some houses have visitor restrictions, and some national organizations restrict or prohibit alcohol on the premises.

At some colleges where chapters do not have residential houses for the general membership, they may still have chapter houses where meals are served for their membership and guests.

The process of joining a fraternity or sorority commonly begins with a formal recruitment period, often called rush week, usually consists of events and activities designed for members and potential members to learn about each other and the organization. At the end of the formal recruitment period, organizations give bids, or invitations to membership. Most organizations have a period of pledgeship before extending full membership. Some organizations have changed the name of pledgeship due to negative connotations to the process, or have given up the process in favor of other joining requirements. Upon completion of the pledge ship and all its requirements, the active members will invite the pledges to be initiated and become full members. Initiation often includes secret ceremonies and rituals.

Requirements may be imposed on those wishing to pledge either by the school or the organization itself, often including a minimum grade point average, wearing a pledge pin, learning about the history and structure of the fraternity or sorority, and performing public service. When a school places an age or tenure requirement on joining, this is called deferred recruitment, as joining is deferred for a semester or year. The pledge ship period also serves as a probationary period in the fraternity or sorority membership process where both the organization and the pledge decide they are compatible and will have a fulfilling experience.

Because of the association of fraternities with hazing, some schools banned fraternities as early as the mid-1800s. Hazing began to be officially banned at the national and international levels of fraternities and sororities, is against many colleges' Greek Codes, and is illegal in most U.S. states. The North-American Interfraternity Conference also requires anti-hazing education for members, as do many Greek organizations and universities. Hazing can result in the revocation of the local chapter's charter, and expulsion of members from the national organization or university.

In Hank Nuwerメs モWrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing, and Binge Drinking,ヤ a list is provided of the different techniques and activates are considered hazingラモburning, sexual favors, drugs, kidnapping, branding, bribesヤラon American college campuses.These inhumane acts towards incoming members have been an issue focused on in Greek Letter Societies. On the University of Nevada, Reno campus, Alpha Tau Omega was accused and proven guilty of hazing early in the spring semester of 2008 because some pledges were branded on the buttocks and sought medical treatment for unspecified problems it caused. [12] Omega Psi Phi still does engage in branding members with an omega, and Michael Jordan, Jesse Jackson, Bill Cosby, and Shaquille O'Neal have omegas.

Because of popular movies and television shows that portray Greek organizations hazing their new members, many people have a negative look on fraternities and sororities; the stereotypes are reinforced by the occasional news report. Some college students and their parents are opposed to Greeks because of these ideas.

The North American fraternities and sororities are present almost exclusively in the United States and Canada, with a minority of organizations having chapters elsewhere, such as the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia, there have also been temporary accomodations. There was a brief chapter of Chi Phi at Edinburgh, Scotland during the Civil War to accomodate Southern students studying abroad. And another for American servicemen who were still college students during WWII, but there has been no real exportation of the system to Europe. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, a historically black sorority founded in Washington, DC, USA, was the very first greek-lettered organization ever to establish a chapter in Africa 1948. Today, Zeta Phi Beta has chapters in the USA, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean.

In Puerto Rico there are a number of social fraternities and sororities a few having chapters in the United States such as Phi Sigma Alpha, Puerto Rico does have many chapters of Professional, Honorary, and service Fraternities and Sororities from the United States.

he Phi Beta Kappa Society, founded on December 5, 1776 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, is generally recognized to be the first Greek-letter student society in North America. It was founded by several students who had decided that the general literary society on campus, P.D.A., was no longer a serious institution. The main developments associated with Phi Beta Kappa is the use of Greek-letter initials as a society name, and having branches or chapters of a society at different campuses following a pattern set by Masonic lodges.

However, Phi Beta Kappa was very different than a typical college fraternity of today in that the membership was generally restricted to upperclassmen, if not seniors, and faculty, made members earlier in their careers played an active role. The annual Phi Beta Kappa exercises at Yale were public literary exercises, with as many or more faculty members of the society than undergraduate.

As Phi Beta Kappa developed, it came to be a very influential association of faculty and select students across several colleges, with membership becoming more of an honor and less of a functioning society. The increasing influence of the society came to seem undemocratic and contrary to the free flow of intellectual ideas in American academia, and under great pressure, the undergraduate members at Harvard revealed the secrets of Phi Beta Kappa in 1831.

The first organization recognizable as a modern college fraternity is the Kappa Alpha Society, established at Union College in Schenectady, New York on November 26, 1825. Kappa Alpha's founders adopted many of Phi Beta Kappa's practices, but made their organization an exclusively student organization, and adopted a much more elaborate initiation. Its example encouraged the formation of two competitors on campus; the Sigma Phi Society formed in March 1827, followed by Delta Phi in November. These three have been called the Union Triad.

The Mystical 7 was founded at Wesleyan University in 1837, and established the first chapters in the South, at Emory in 1841, and elsewhere. Sigma Alpha Epsilon was founded at the University of Alabama in 1856, and it is the only fraternity founded in the Antebellum South that still operates. At present, Sigma Phi Epsilon, which was founded in 1901, currently has more than 14,000 undergraduates members at 260 chapters, and is the largest college fraternity in North America.{fact}

Growth was then mainly stunted by the Civil War. Theta Xi, founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York on 29 April 1864, is the only fraternity to be established during the War. However, following the War, the system as a whole underwent exponential growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both in the number of organizations founded and chapters of existing organizations established. This was aided, in part, by the reopening of schools and the return of veterans as students.

Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Iota Alpha, Phi Sigma Nu, and Sigma Alpha Mu were founded as the first fraternities for African-American, Latino-American, Native American, and Jewish students, respectively.

The first society for women, the Adelphean Society now Alpha Delta Pi was established in 1851 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The Philomathean Society later named Phi Mu was founded at Wesleyan College a year later in 1852. The Adelphean Society and the Philomathean Society did not take on their modern Greek names Alpha Delta Pi and Phi Mu, respectively until 1904 when they expanded beyond the Wesleyan campus.

On April 28, 1867, I.C. Sorosis later known by its original Greek motto Pi Beta Phi was founded at Monmouth College, in Monmouth, Illinois. It is the first sorority founded on the model of the men's fraternity. A year later it established a second chapter at Iowa Wesleyan College.

In the mid-1800s women were beginning to be admitted to previously all-male universities, and there were many women who felt that it was in their best interest to band together. The first collegiate women formed women's fraternities in an effort to counteract the widespread opposition to their presence.

Kappa Alpha Theta founded on January 27, 1870 at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and Kappa Kappa Gamma founded at Monmouth College, Illinois October 1870 as the second. The term sorority had not yet been coined by Syracuse University professor Frank Smalley, so the earliest organizations were founded as women's fraternities or fraternities for women. The first organization to adopt the word sorority was Gamma Phi Beta, established in 1874 at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. Alpha Phi was established in 1872, and along with Alpha Gamma Delta, the three sororities make up the Syracuse triad.

In 1913, at Hunter College, New York, New York, a group of women created Phi Sigma Sigma, the first non-denominational sorority allowing any woman, regardless of race, religion, or economic background to be a member.

A number of sororities have been founded at the graduate school level. In 1917, at New York University School of Law five female law students founded Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority. Currently active collegiate membership is only open to undergraduates.

Alpha Kappa Alpha, Lambda Theta Alpha, Alpha Pi Omega were founded as the first sororities by and for African-American, Latina-American, and Native American members respectively.

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