What is a Fraternity/Sorority?
A fraternity or sorority is a brotherhood or sisterhood formed around common goals and aspirations. These men and women make a commitment to each other for life. The members that form a fraternity or sorority share their efforts, friendship, and knowledge. Together they learn, grow, and make the fraternity or sorority, commonly called a Greek organization, stronger. Their common experience builds ties that last a lifetime.
At the University of New Mexico, Fraternity and Sorority are synonymous with involvement, leadership, and progress. Since UNM's founding in 1889, Fraternity Life has been a significant part of the student experience. With nearly a century and a half of legacy on the campus, Fraternity and Sorority Life has continued to adapt and evolve, remaining ever focused on Leading Lobos to What's Next.
Aren't Fraternities and Sororities called "Greek Life"?
Yes, you have probably heard the identifier of Greek Life in the past. When these organizations were started, many chose to select Greek Letters as an identifier. These letters usually have a significant and deeper meaning to initiated members. As the Fraternity and Sorority communities around the world have grown, not every organization is identified by Greek Letters so we use Fraternity & Sorority Life to better represent all organizations.
The Origin of Fraternity Life in the United States
The first fraternal organization, Phi Beta Kappa, was founded in 1776 when students realized a need to discuss current events outside the classroom. These secret societies have since taken on a broader role to develop the moral, leadership, and social skills of their members. Each individual fraternity and sorority possesses a set of principles that guide the actions of its members. If you are interested in learning more, read this post from Greek Yearbook.
What is the difference between Fraternity and Sorority?
The word fraternity comes from the Latin word "frater" meaning brother. The word fraternity is often used to described not only organizations comprised of men, but also women. Originally, both groups were called fraternities because that was the only word that existed during the 1800s to describe the type of organization they were. This may be due to the fact that most of these organizations were originally started by men. In 1882, the Gamma Phi Beta women at Syracuse University began to call themselves a sorority. This was by the suggestion of their advisor who was a Professor of Latin and thought the word suited them better. The word sorority comes from the Latin word "soror" meaning sister. However by this point, many women's organizations had already been officially and legally incorporated and could not change their name. Today, many of the older "sororities" are referred to by that name, but may have the word fraternity in their official title.