Fraternities and sororities are student organizations whose primary purpose is the personal development of their members, as distinguished from honorary, professional, departmental and service fraternities.
Unlike most other student organizations, membership in a social fraternity or sorority is normally a lifetime affiliation, and, generally, students are not permitted to be initiated into more than one fraternity or sorority.
Fraternities and sororities promote intimate relationship bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, and members typically refer to fellow members as "brothers" or "sisters". Traditionally, most fraternities and sororities are designated by Greek letters; hence, the organizations and their members are often referred to as "Greek organizations", "The Greek community", or simply "Greeks".
Fraternities and sororities typically have rituals and creeds that promote the ideals such as friendship, loyalty, academic achievement and intellectual development, service to the community and the alma mater, honor and integrity, leadership and personal responsibility.
Many fraternities and sororities have an indoctrination and orientation period prior to initiation, and pre-initiated members are commonly referred to as pledges, associates or associate members, candidates, intakes or new members.
Some fraternities and sororities are culturally and/or community based. Fraternities and sororities may select members according to subjective criteria consistent with the University's nondiscrimination policies. Fraternities and sororities are entitled to single-gender membership, provided they qualify under the provision of Section 86.14 of the regulations promulgated under the Title XI of the U.S. Education Act of 1972, which require that the organizations be exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.
Some fraternities and sororities operate a chapter house on Elon's campus. These homes are owned and operated by the University through Greek Life in conjunction with Residence Life. House Managers are hired by Greek Life from each organization to manage these facilities under the supervision of the Assistant Director of Greek Life. Every three years, chapters are reviewed for their eligibility to retain their house or obtain a new house, if not already housed.
Fraternities and sororities contribute over annually to various local and national philanthropies, including ELONTHON, the Elon University Dance Marathon benefiting Duke Children's Hospital. Members also contribute hours of hands-on community services each year.
Academically, those affiliated with fraternities and sororities at Elon perform above the university grade point average. These students also make up large percentages of the honor societies and leadership positions in student organizations on campus.