Fraternity & Sorority Life
What are Greek Societies?
Greek Societies, more commonly referred to as fraternities and sororities, are student social groups within the college community. 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 Greek Societies Do?
Private societies are well known for creating social options on campus that benefit the whole community. Social events include annual all-campus parties (such as 70’s Party, Farm Party, Wet Hot), concerts, and charity fundraisers.
All societies engage in community service, both through their societies and through the Greek Philanthropy Union. 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 ten fraternities and one of our seven sorority are nationally affiliated, meaning that joining a national society provides connections to members across the country. And although the other six of our sororities are local chapters, they too have strong alumni connects.
Greeks provide opportunities for creating communities of close friends in a fun and active social life.
How to Join
Rush is the first step in the process of joining a society, in which you are able attend events hosted by the various societies to see which one is right for you. Formal rush events are dry and are great settings to meet society members. You are able to attend as many rush events as you want, so don’t be afraid to drop by and introduce yourself. Rush begins the first day of the spring semester.
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.
Pledging 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 pledging vary by society, but pledging may not begin until the third Thursday of the fall semester, and it must be limited to five weeks. In addition, all pledging 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 circumstance. According to your Student Handbook, hazing is defined as any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of another person for the purpose of membership, advancement or continued good standing in any organization recognized by the College.
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 hazing policy, please consult the Student Handbook.