By Rana Waxman One of the first questions my freshman roommate asked was if I was interested in college Greek Life. She was “going Greek” herself and was excited to discuss it. I did think when she spoke about her Chapter that she was referring to a book. I soon learned that ‘going Greek’ did not refer to either a language, a book, or making friends from Greece. The expression means that someone is about to join a fraternity or sorority. So college Greek Life is about all the events and duties that come with being an active member. If you plan to join college Greek life to, expect to devote a lot of your time to your fraternity and sorority. From philanthropy events to socials, community service to fundraisers. There are so many activities and events members must attend and/or organize. One very important time to block out on your schedule in college is for chapter meetings of fraternity and sorority (or just “chapter” for short). What are Chapters in Sororities? In college Greek life, if you join a sorority (a.k.a. sisterhood) with a national presence (U.S. and/or Canada), it has chapters on various campuses. You can think of that sorority as the parent to all these branches, or chapters. A chapter in a fraternity is the same and reports to its governing body. Both sororities and fraternities with chapters must follow the mission statement set by its parent org. It you plan to join a local sorority, on the other hand, it does not have ties to a national affiliate organization. Rather, it associates with a specific college. As a result, it does not take part in formal recruitment or formal Greek events, which means – lower fees. How do sorority chapters work? One of the ways sorority chapters works is through weekly chapter meetings. In general, these are formal meetings held once a week that typically last about an hour. Yes, formal — meaning all members should wear business-formal clothing. In college Greek life speak this is also known as pin attire, with a little nod to the sorority’s special emblem. When in Greek life, every Greek organization uses a symbol that represents them and is on display in many different forms. The most special is in the form of a pin. It’s known as a chapter pin, and it must be worn during every formal chapter meeting. Alpha Chi Omega’s symbol is the lyre (it was founded as a musical sorority). Every initiated member has a pin in the shape of that symbol and must wear it to every formal chapter meeting or event. If you don’t wear your pin, someone will ask you to get it or to leave the meeting entirely. Word to the wise: DON’T LOSE YOUR PIN! (Also, it’s a good idea to take care of your pin, as it can be kind of expensive.) What is the difference between a new member meeting and a sorority chapter meeting? In college Greek life, as a new member, expect to go to two kinds of meetings. Each is distinct and both meet in the sorority chapter house unless there isn’t one. Then, you may meet in a classroom or other location. New member meetings explain the basic who, what, when, where, and why about the sorority. Who founded the sorority?What are the sorority’s symbols, bylaws and rules?Where (which university) was the sorority founded?When was the sorority founded? The meeting agenda could also include what leadership positions are available and about mentorship. So, less about how the chapter could improve, and more about how to function in it as a sister. Chapter meetings are when active members discuss the chapter and upcoming events. During chapter, the house leaders (known as the Executive Board, or just exec for short) focus on matters occurring in and out of the house. This may include: House chores house assigned to members for a given weekScheduled safety precautions (such as a fire inspection)When members should submit their grades for chapter house approvalOther chapters’ philanthropy eventsChanges to the chapter’s bylaws, standing rolesVotes (yes or no) to make any proposed changes or vote in sisters for leadership positions Because a lot can go on at chapter meetings, they tend to be required vs. optional. Ready for college Greek life or do you think it is too much for you to handle? Joining a sorority is a huge time commitment with all these chapter meetings. You will also want to double check the sorority culture and how it recruits new members. If unsure, you may want to see what others say about your sorority chapter by reading reviews. Be sure to check out student reviews at Unigo.com. You can even schedule a chat with a student (and admissions experts!) to get the inside scoop and all your college questions answered.