General FAQ

What is a sorority?
What is Panhellenic?
What is recruitment?
Does being in a sorority take up a lot of time?
Aren’t sororities expensive?
Do sororities at Penn State have houses?
How do I join?

What is a sorority?
A sorority is a group of undergraduate women bound together by common goals, values, and friendships. Together, women in a sorority commit to scholastic, philanthropic, and social development and participate in numerous event, service projects, and activities like other clubs at Penn State. Though Penn State has 22 sororities, they all share common founding principles (learn more about our chapters here) and can have lifelong impacts on their members, lasting far beyond graduation.

What is Panhellenic?
The Panhellenic Council (sometimes abbreviated “Panhellenic” or “PHC”) is the governing body for Penn State’s 21 inter/national sorority chapters. For more information, see “About Us“.

What is recruitment?
Recruitment (formerly known as “rush”) is the membership intake process for sororities. Formal recruitment is an event held each fall when all of the Panhellenic sororities come together to meet potential new members in a structured fashion. You must be registered to participate in formal recruitment. For associate chapters, the process is a little different, they will be participating in Open Houses and then will carry on an informal recruitment process independent from the Panhellenic sororities. If you are interested in rushing an associate chapter refer to this page. For mroe information on fall recruitment refer to our Formal recruitment page.

Does being in a sorority take up a lot of time?
While each sorority’s membership requirements differ, a general range for commitment is anywhere from 2 to 8 hours a week. Whether it be helping with 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 with.

It is important to note that during the initial New Member process more time will be required. At the same time, each chapter understands the importance of scholarship and respects each New Member’s need to study. Time management is important during this stage!

Aren’t sororities expensive?
Many clubs and organizations at Penn State have yearly or semesterly dues to help pay for their events and activities for their members. Sororities are no different, with dues being used to pay for the upkeep of the chapter’s suite, community service events, scholarships, intramurals, and many of the social events offered. Annual membership dues vary per chapter, but an estimated range is anywhere from $350 to $600 each semester. During formal recruitment, chapters will disclose their financial expectations to potential new members before extending an invitation to join.

Do sororities at Penn State have houses?
No. Each sorority lives on its own floor in the new dorms in South. Sororities have large suites on their respective floors (with the exception of associate chapters who share suites). Sorority members use their suite for meetings, recruitment events, sisterhood events, studying, and hanging out. Every chapter has different housing requirements, so be sure to ask about housing during recruitment. There are no additional fees imposed by Penn State Housing for living on a sorority floor.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no “brothel law” prohibiting sororities to own houses in Pennsylvania. In fact, prior to the 1950s, some chapters lived in the small cottages throughout campus that are still standing today.  Although living in a house might be fun, the suite system allows chapters to keep dues low and more affordable for everyone. Ask any sorority woman at Penn State and she’ll probably tell you that living on her sorority floor was one of her most memorable experiences!

How do I join?
Every fall, the Panhellenic Council hosts Formal Recruitment, a period when all of our chapters (with the exception of the three associate chapters) come together to meet potential new members and extend invitations to join. In order to participate in Formal Recruitment, you must register. After Formal Recruitment in the fall, and during the entire spring semester, some chapters participate in “informal recruitment”. This process is much more relaxed and not structured by Panhellenic; rather, it is coordinated by each individual chapter. For more information about informal recruitment, contact the Vice President for Membership.

If you’re interested in joining one of our chapters, be sure to check out our FAQ for Potential New Members!