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What are Fraternities and Sororities?

Fraternities and sororities are student social groups within the college community with a set of shared values. The first fraternity at Hamilton was chartered in 1831. Throughout the years, several other private societies were established at Hamilton, including the first sorority in 1982. Private societies have long been a popular social option for Hamiltonians of all social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds.

What Do Fraternities and Sororities Do?


Private societies have historically provided social opportunities on campus.  At times these events are private in order to facilitate bonding of the fraternity or sorority's members.  Other times, these events are open to the entire community.  

Service and Philanthropy

All societies engage in community service, both through their societies and through the Intersociety Council (ISC). Some popular events include food and clothing drives, the AIDS Walk, the Heart Walk, Habitat for Humanity, and various others. Also, through the COOP, each society partners with a local organization to foster bonds between Hamilton and the nearby communities.


Societies host events for their respective alumni so that current members and the Hamilton community can meet and network with members already in the workforce. Each of Hamilton’s six fraternities are nationally affiliated, meaning that joining a national society provides connections to members across the country. While our three sororities are local chapters, they too have strong alumni connections.  

Why Join?

Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) provides opportunities for creating communities of close friends in a fun and active social life centered around shared values and purpose.

How to Join


Recruitment is the first step in the process of joining a society, in which you are able to attend events hosted by the various societies to see which one is right for you. Formal recruitment events are dry and are great settings to meet society members. You are able to attend as many recruitment events as you want, so don’t be afraid to drop by and introduce yourself. Recruitment takes place in the spring semester.

Bid Process

Bids are the second step in process of joining. They are formal invitations given by societies to prospective members. Hamilton does not have a formal bid process—the procedures and rules vary by society. Carefully consider your bid(s). If you sign your bid, you are accepting this invitation to the next step. Each society gives you at least 24 hours to let you decide. You may only sign one bid. Bids may be distributed after spring break and are due no later than the last day of classes in the spring semester.  

New Member Education (NME)/Pledging

New members must have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA and must have fewer than 6 points in order to join a fraternity or sorority.  New Member Education (NME) is the process of becoming initiated into a society.  It is how a society shares information about its history and values. Again, the procedures and rules of NME vary by society, but NME may not begin until the third Thursday of the fall semester, and it must be limited to five weeks. In addition, all NME must be completed by the start of fall break. Hazing of any kind is not permitted. 


Finally, hazing of any kind is not permitted under any circumstances. According to your Student Handbook, hazing is defined as any non-accidental aspect of induction activities that do not appear to be group-relevant assessments, preparations or actions, or appear excessive in their application regardless of the individual’s willingness to participate. Induction activities are tasks formally or informally required to obtain or maintain membership or participatory legitimacy for members (new, prospective, existing, or alumni)

Any requirement by a member or pledge that compels another member or pledge to participate in any activity that is against College policy or New York State Law is defined as hazing. To become familiar with our full anti-hazing policy, please consult the Student Handbook.

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