For The Parents
If you are visiting this page, it is likely because your son is either rushing or has begun pledging our fine Fraternity. If you were in a college fraternity or sorority, you may already know and understand much of what will be discussed here. But whether you are already somewhat familiar with Greek life or whether it is all just "Greek” to you, or whether your perceptions are based largely on the mass media, it's important to understand the values of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and how these will impact your son in the near future. I hope the information on this page will address some of your concerns and questions and give you some grist for your next discussion with your son about this important decision.
Benefits of Being a Kappa Sigma
First off, I am pleased that your son is considering or has decided to join the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Founded in 1869, our purpose is to inspire young men to be lifelong better men, always striving to do more and better things. Our Brothers In Action program is a character and competence based program designed to teach fraternal values applicable to academic, chapter, and career goals through experiential learning and chapter-supported programming. BIA provides a blueprint for chapters to follow as they provide personal development programming for members. Chapters provide education about chapter operations, workshops and activities that develop essential career skills, and brotherhood activities focusing on deepening the bonds between our members. We use this program to help your son achieve all of the statements in our creed:
“The Star and Crescent shall not be worn by every man, but only by him who is worthy to wear it. He must be a gentleman, a man of honor and courage, a man of zeal, yet humble, an intelligent man, a man of truth, one who tempers action with wisdom and, above all else, one who walks in the light of God.”
A Membership for Life
Your son is taking the beginning steps toward joining over 200,000 living members of our Fraternity, from 327 Chapters around the continent. Your son’s membership does not end with graduation from their institution. We have alumni groups across the country that raise money, do community service, and provide support for their local chapters. In this way, we live up to the words “Not for a day, or an hour, or a college term only, but for life.”
Academic Success and Kappa Sigma
One of the four pillars of our Fraternity, scholarship is the primary responsibility your son has in college. After all, the only way to join a Fraternity is to be a college student. If the Fraternity your son is considering does not view his education as important, they will also not be concerned when he is no longer in school or a part of their Fraternity. Success starts here for many Greek Life students. In the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, we require certain GPA minimums to maintain an active status and enjoy the many benefits of Fraternity. After all, if you do not have time to study and go to class, you do not have time to go and hang out with your Brothers. In this way, we lovingly hold one another accountable to their education, and to their goals for life. I could attempt to throw statistics at you as to academic success and its relationship to Greek Life, but the topic has been covered many times. A great article is available HERE from USA Today.
Alcohol and Drug Policies
All it takes in the 21st century to find a story about alcohol and drugs in a Fraternity house is a simple Google search. I promise you, they are there, because I see them. Oftentimes, they are sent to me. They concern me, as the President of a Fraternity that dedicates itself to upholding certain standards. Although alcohol is available all over college campuses, the simple truth is that alcohol does not flow as freely from fraternity houses as it once did. All Chapters of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity are expected to uphold the risk management policies of the institution at which it is chartered. Most of these requirements include security, ID checking, alternate beverages and snacks, sober enforcement monitors and other proven measures to promote responsible entertainment and use of alcohol. It is important to note that measures like these (and others not mentioned here) are rarely, if ever, present at parties in off-campus houses, dorms, or apartments - the other common venues for campus partying. What sets Chapters of Kappa Sigma apart from the normal dormitory parties is that our members have received education on these issues, are likely to be more aware of potential problems, and generally police themselves in order to avoid trouble from the school, the law, or the National Fraternity.
Sadly, fraternities are not entirely immune to the devastating effects of controlled substances and illegal drugs that have pervaded college campuses since the late '60s. Drugs are illegal and are not to be tolerated in chapters. Chapters have been closed and members expelled over this very issue. I personally take this issue very seriously, and will not tolerate the mention or presence of drugs in or around the Fraternity house. While I can’t personally control the actions of every individual member on their own time, I do expect them to uphold and maintain the values of our organization no matter where they may be or what they may be doing. It is the mark of a strong and loving Brotherhood that we help hold each other accountable for our actions.
Hazing is defined by the Kappa Sigma Fraternity as “any action, behavior or situation created by any Kappa Sigma chapter or by any member – pledge, active, or alumnus – as part of the operations of any chapter voluntarily or involuntarily involving any member(s) or potential member(s) to produce or result in mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule as a prerequisite to or as a requirement for membership or initiation in the Fraternity, or which is otherwise prohibited by federal, state, provincial, local or host institution policies, rules, regulations, statutes or ordinances.”
Hazing is a clear and direct violation of the values and standards of conduct of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Your son will not be hazed in any form whatsoever, and he will only be requested to engage in activities that support our open goal of creating better men.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a fraternity or a sorority? Fraternity and sorority organizations at UA Little Rock are considered private, independent, and self-governing entities that freely associate and determine their own membership. Parents should not expect the University to resolve issues or intervene in any decision related to their student’s membership, membership status, continued membership, and/or any judicial action a national or international headquarters may take related to the organization. A fraternity or sorority is a group of men or women bound together by brotherhood or sisterhood, common goals, and aspirations. The members that form a fraternity or sorority share their efforts, friendship, and knowledge. Together these members learn, grow and make the fraternity and sorority stronger. Their common experience builds ties that last a lifetime. This forms a brotherhood or sisterhood amongst members which helps to develop strong and creative leadership leading to success. Though there are many different fraternities and sororities here at UA Little Rock, they all share common founding principles that are of interest to any UALR student. Fraternities and sororities enhance your educational experience by emphasizing intellectual, interpersonal, and social development. The ideals of lifelong friendship, sound education, campus and community service, and social interaction are what fraternity and sorority members strive to live by every day.
2. What are the benefits of joining a fraternity or sorority? A student experiences numerous benefits from joining a fraternity or a sorority such as developing supportive friends, engaging in a wide variety of leadership opportunities, participating in organized philanthropic and community service projects, networking for enhanced career opportunities, and becoming part of a national network. This only begins the description of how being a member of a fraternity or a sorority will positively affect your son’s or daughter’s life; and membership is for life!
3. Will joining a fraternity or sorority affect my student’s academic success? The act of joining should not have any effect on a student’s GPA. Making good grades in college is responsibility of the student. Your student’s academic performance will be affected by their ability to manage their time well in addition to the amount of support they receive from the chapter they join. This is something they should ask about before they join a particular fraternity or sorority. Educational sessions on time management, resume writing, study skills, and more are offered and encouraged. In the Theta-Eta Chapter, we require any new members to commit to a specified number of hours in the library studying their coursework.
4. There are several Fraternities and Sororities at UA Little Rock. How do I tell the difference between all of them? One of the ways to assist with this understanding is to visit the web pages for the fraternity and sorority governing councils. There are three (3) governing councils: a. Interfraternity Council (IFC), b. National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. (NPHC), c. College Panhellenic Council (CPC). Kappa Sigma is a member of the IFC, along with Pi Kappa Alpha and Delta Chi. Each council determines rules for the Chapters, and handles violations of campus rules and regulations.
5. Do all fraternities and sororities have chapter houses? No. In the IFC, only Pi Kappa Alpha and Kappa Sigma have houses. The Pike house is located off campus in a residential area, and only Kappa Sigma has a house that is physically on the UA Little Rock Campus. An alumni corporation or an independent landlord owns some of the chapter houses. Neither “house” is a live-in style, and they are only used for Chapter business.
6. Does your student have to live in the fraternity or sorority chapter house? No UA Little Rock Chapter has a live-in style house. All students live in dormitories or reside off-campus.
7. Are fraternities and sororities just like those on TV and in the movies? Absolutely not!! Shows such as the ABC Family series “GREEK” do not give accurate depictions of UALR fraternity and sorority Life. Many of the portrayals on television and in media thrive on fraternity and sorority stereotypes that are not typical. Every fraternity and sorority is different and unique. The images portrayed in the movies and on TV do not reflect those attitudes at UALR.
8. Fraternity and sorority members are very cliquish, aren't they? This could not be further from the truth. Our fraternity and sorority students represent a large variety of ethnic, economic, and social backgrounds. Students of all majors and interests are affiliated with a fraternity or sorority. One of the greatest aspects of Greek Life is that each chapter offers something different to each member. Also, many members of the UALR fraternities and sororities are involved in various other organizations in addition to their specific chapter! As stated previously, fraternity men and sorority women are involved in numerous organizations outside of Greek Life. Other Organizations our current members are involved in: Student Government Association, University Budget Allocation Committees, University Judicial Appeals Committee, eSports, Student Ambassadors, the National Society for Leadership and Success, Ethics Bowl, and the list could easily go on. The former President of the Theta Eta Chapter is now the President of the Interfraternity Council (IFC), as well.
9. Don't fraternities and sororities take up a lot of time? Participating in any worthwhile activity always requires an investment of one's time. Research has shown that involved college students are more likely to graduate, and they report greater satisfaction with their college experience. Through the fraternity and sorority experience, you will learn how to balance academics, work, campus involvement, and social commitments. While each fraternity and sorority membership requirements differ, a general range for commitment is anywhere from 2 to 8 hours a week. Whether it be a community service project, planning an event, or regular weekly meetings, members have learned to manage their time wisely with other commitments such as schoolwork, a job, friends outside of their chapter, as well as other organizations that they are involved. It is important to note that during the initial New Member Education process, more time will be required. During this time, it will be very important for your student to manage their time effectively. At the same time, each chapter understands the importance of scholarship and respects each New Member’s need to study. Like we said above, time management is important during this stage!
10. Membership in fraternities and sororities is expensive, right? Membership in fraternities and sororities is not for everyone. It is important that your student understands that membership involves semester dues. Annual membership dues vary per semester. An estimated range is anywhere from $400 to $600 each semester. These fees are used to pay chapter insurance fees, national or international dues and fees, community service events, scholarships, intramural participation, and many of the social events offered. As some say – “Fraternity and sorority life is the best deal at college.”
Kappa Sigma Dues:
One time, $45 induction fee, due on Bid Day (September 22, 2017)
2 Months of Pledgeship Dues- 2 Months @ $70 per month
One time, $150 Initiation Fee, due on or by Initiation Day (Mid-November, 2017)
Brotherhood Dues- $450 per semester, due up-front or $90 monthly, during school years.
11. If your student is new to UALR, should s/he wait until they know their way around classes and campus before they join? UALR is a fairly expansive campus, with many students living in the 4 dorms and many more residing off campus, at apartments or the UALR Village. What better way than to start making the campus smaller than to meet people through joining a Fraternity? The sooner your son gets to know more people, the chances are the more comfortable he will feel on campus. By joining a fraternity during the first year, your son will find adjusting to life in Little Rock and at the University a lot easier. While joining as a sophomore and junior is highly encouraged as well, many of the men and women who waited a year until joining a fraternity or sorority wish that they had joined sooner!
12. How does my student pursue membership in an IFC Fraternity? The best thing to do is to start by contacting someone! The President of Kappa Sigma, Chris Stephens, is always happy to speak to your son about all of the Fraternities on campus. He encourages visiting all of the Chapters to find which one is best and most closely aligns with your personal values and which one has members that you genuinely enjoy being around! He can be reached at 501-412-7154.
13. What is Recruitment (Rush)? This is the time when fraternities and sororities seek and recruit their new members. The recruitment events are at different times for men and for women and are usually at the beginning of the fall semester. The overwhelming majority of our students participate in recruitment during the fall semester.
14. If a student participates in Rush/Recruitment, do they have to join? NO. Recruitment is a time to see what fraternity or sorority life can offer your student. We invite your student to explore the various opportunities available to you as a UALR fraternity man! Participating in the Recruitment process and its functions does not commit a student to joining in any way!
15. What is Bid Day? Bid Day is when men pick up their invitations to join a fraternity for Interfraternity Council chapters. This is an extremely exciting time as it is the first time that your New Member class will come together.
I sincerely hope that the above information has given you a better understanding of the lifelong organization that your son is considering. It is a hefty decision, one that should not be taken lightly or made quickly. I would highly encourage you to speak to him at length about his expectations and aspirations regarding Fraternity life to see whether you feel it will be a benefit to him. You know him better than anyone, and your advice will be invaluable to him as he begins the steps toward Brotherhood as a member of Kappa Sigma.