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Many times questions arise between parents and students alike about what the difference is between a recognized organization and an unrecognized one. The difference between recognized and unrecognized organizations is that unrecognized organizations do not have any support of oversight from the campus. There are many factors that may sway your student into joining an unrecognized organization, but we would like to clarify why it is a bad idea.

Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Gamma, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Mu, Sigma Kappa, and Zeta Phi Beta are the 7 sororities recognized by Spring Hill College.

 

Delta Chi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Sigma Chi, and Tau Kappa Epsilon are the four fraternities recognized by Spring Hill College.

 

These eleven organizations must abide by the policies outlined in the Student Organization Handbook as well as by fraternity/sorority specific policy. The new member process is monitored by the college to ensure students are safe and they are going through a valuable learning experience. These organizations are (inter)nationally recognized, which means that they are also monitored by a larger organization and have rules and restrictions with their (inter)national affiliation.

 
Although the Spring Hill College Panhellenic Council requires only that a woman be in good academic standing with the College to participate in recruitment, each sorority chapter does have a minimum grade requirement for pledging and  initiation . Therefore, it is HIGHLY recommended that all prospective members participating in formal recruitment have at or above a 2.5 cumulative GPA at the time of recruitment. 

 

Men who are interested in a recognized IFC Fraternity must have a minimum 2.5 GPA to become a member. This GPA requirement exists to promote academic achievement of recognized fraternity and sorority students.

 

The recruitment process for freshmen wanting to join recognized fraternities or sororities happens in January. After joining an organization men and women will be educated about the values of that organization and of the Spring Hill College Fraternity and Sorority Community through a new member education process that lasts about eight weeks.

 

The New-Member Process

The new-member process differs from organization to organization, but as previously stated it is monitored by the College. Each recognized fraternity and sorority new member educator and president must meet with the Director of Student Involvement to review the chapter’s new member education plans prior to any mandatory meeting of new members.

 

Many chapters play trivia games about their organizations history, do bonding activities like go to a movie or an event on campus, attend educational programs on campus about hazing, alcohol, health and safety, and become lifelong friends with their new brothers or sisters.

 

Chapters also encourage studying daily. Since scholastic achievement is important to the recognized fraternity/sorority community, each organization finds ways to promote high academic standards within their active and new membership.

 

Each Spring the Interfraternity Council and College Panhellenic Association plan a new member workshop for all new members to promote the values of the Fraternity/Sorority Community as well as the Spring Hill College Community as a whole.

 

Being A Member

After initiation come the responsibilities of being a fraternity man or sorority woman. It is a rewarding experience to be a part of recognized fraternity/sorority life, and some of the things that recognized organizations do are used by unrecognized organizations to deter interested students from joining recognized organizations.

 

A value of our organizations is community service. Fraternity men and sorority women participate in a great deal of community service, both organized by the community and individually. In total, the fraternity/sorority community alone volunteered for nearly 4,000 hours last year.

 

A common concern with being in a recognized organization is dues. Dues are money owed to governing councils, (inter)national organizations and the individual chapter/colony to pay for the chapter/colony's needs. An overview of dues payments can be found under the FAQs section of this site as well as on chapter/colony webpages. If this is a concern of yours or your student’s, chapters offer payment plans to make sure that money owed will not steer them away from the fraternity/sorority experience.

 

Chapters also have social events throughout the semester. Recognized fraternities/sororities not only do great things for the college and the community, but they have fun in their free time. Each chapter has a "risk manager" to keep social gatherings safe. Recognized fraternities and sororities also are required to register invite parties and take additional precautions to keep the men and women attending events as safe as the chapter can.

 

After Graduation

Graduating as a recognized fraternity/sorority member has many benefits. Many activities, community service events, positions held, etc. may be helpful on a resume. All of the work they do is great resume material and is often used by students to get successful jobs after graduation. As a part of an unrecognized organization, many of these things would not be as prominent on a resume. Since unrecognized chapters are not affiliated with the campus, there is no proof that they actually held a position or that it was worth crediting. Also, recognized fraternity/sorority members have a large amount of community service opportunities that unrecognized Greeks may rarely or never encounter. Being a fraternity/sorority member is also has a rewarding networking capability. Alumni of chapters can set up job interviews for graduating members and those with national chapters can network with brothers and sisters across national and international boundaries.

As stated before, the difference between recognized and unrecognized organizations is that unrecognized organizations are not associated with the campus. At one time, these organizations may have been recognized but violated the Student Code of Conduct and were disaffiliated from the campus. If your student is thinking about joining an unrecognized organization, there are many problems that may arise in his or her time at Spring Hill.

 

The New-Member Process ("Pledging")

The college is not able to monitor the process; therefore these groups can do what they want with no discretion or fear of sanctions.

 

During the recruitment period (“rush”) unrecognized organizations may have a lot to say to interested students to make them decide that it would be a great idea to join. These organizations are not always truthful about this process and this is how students are often swayed to join.

 

Being A Member

Unrecognized organizations can give a bad reputation to all Greek Lettered Organizations both on campus and in the Mobile community. They often perpetuate the negative stereotypes that exist for fraternities and sororities.

 

After Graduation

Graduating as an unrecognized Greek lacks many benefits. As previously stated, any work done with an unrecognized organization is not verifiable by the campus and therefore does not help the student with their resume. Also, since some of these organizations only associate with themselves, they do not have much ability to network. They cannot refer a "sister of their sorority" or "brother of their fraternity" to employers because they may not be real organizations.

The fraternities and sororities at Spring Hill College have long been a vital part of our college community, fostering fellowship, leadership and community service.  The college has long supported and encouraged Greek organizations and all student organizations in their efforts to improve both the Spring Hill College and local Mobile communities.  This legacy should be preserved and nurtured by the best those organizations and individuals have to offer through active, authorized and officially recognized groups, organizations and clubs.

That said, the governing bodies of Greek Life, including the Inter-Fraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association, and the Office of Student Affairs have some serious concerns regarding students belonging to unrecognized student organizations, including unrecognized Greek organizations.  While student organizations and their advisors have a great deal of freedom to run their organizations, the Office of Student Affairs and the Dean of Students have the obligation to oversee and manage the overall process, to support our student organizations, and to ensure organizations and activities are supportive of the college's Mission as well as it’s policies.  Membership in such organizations must be a safe and productive learning experience. 

Student Participation in Unrecognized Organizations

As our Student Handbook states, “It is the policy of Spring Hill College that all student organizations be recognized and registered through the Center for Student Involvement.”   This policy exists because the administrators of the College are charged to facilitate, mentor and manage the operation of student organizations on our campus.  Any suggested new student organization must first obtain the approval of the Dean of Students and once approved, register annually with the Office of Student Involvement. 

The College reserves the right to determine if a student organization is adhering to the Mission Statement and following college policies regarding these groups.  These procedures are accepted practice at most colleges and universities across the country.   Our Student Handbook states that it is a violation of college policy to operate as an unregistered or unauthorized organization, one where we have reasonable belief that individual students are operating as a student organization but have not obtained the required approval.   In the event of inappropriate behavior within an unauthorized group or organization, and thus no official organization to hold accountable, the college then must hold its individual student members accountable.  The College will also hold accountable, through legal action if necessary, outside entities that purport to be in partnership with Spring Hill College when in fact they are not.  The College must legally safeguard our students and the integrity of our process against those that would attempt to circumvent it.