By Andreina Ibarra
Fraternity is a word that comes from fraternitas in Latin. This term refers to the affection or friendship between siblings or between people who do not have family ties, but treat each other as if they did.
College fraternities in the United States pursue high human values and contribute to altruistic causes, even though popular culture portrays them as venues for partying and debauchery.
There are fraternities for men and women, and their members associate freely to pursue mutual benefits.
Membership in a fraternity requires first being an active undergraduate student, with some exceptions in which membership never expires for its members.
Would you like to know the top five fraternities in the United States? Keep reading, because it gets interesting!
Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta was created in 1848 at the University of Miami, and among its most famous members are actor Burt Reynolds and astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the moon.
There are more than 160,000 living alumni who collaborate with noble causes such as the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association.
On its website phideltatheta.org, the fraternity claims that it was built on three pillars: the cultivation of friendship among its members, the individual acquisition of a high degree of mental culture, and the personal attainment of a high level of morality.
Since its inception, Phi Delta Theta has initiated more than 200,000 men in forty-three states in the United States and five provinces in Canada.
Phi Kappa Psi
Phi Kappa Psi was founded in 1855 at Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, and its most well-known members include actor Zach Braff and Jerry Lang, co-founder of Yahoo!
Its members created the Phi Kappa Psi Foundation to “aid, foster, promote and contribute to the education and academic achievement” of Phi Psis and other students across the country.
As they detail on their website phikappapsi.com, the foundation is the sole charitable arm of the fraternity, which provides funding for a variety of programs and services that help college students meet their educational goals through scholarships and grants, while promoting learning, high ethical standards and constructive citizenship.
More than 179,000 men have been initiated into Phi Kappa Psi since its founding, and its official philanthropic organization is the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Sigma Chi was founded in 1855 on the campus of Miami University in Ohio, and among its most famous members are actors Brad Pitt and John Wayne.
It promotes itself as a fraternity with deep values of friendship, justice, and knowledge among its members, regardless of their life background.
Its mission is to develop leaders dedicated to strengthening character, who are committed to their university and their community. As such, they collaborate with the Children’s Miracle Network and the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Over the past 164 years, Sigma Chi has initiated more than 350,000 men who have been pioneers in space, medicine, politics, law, education and business.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon
This fraternity was founded in 1856 on the campus of the University of Alabama, and its most famous members include basketball coach Phil Jackson and actor David Spade.
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon Foundation raises and manages funds to support the fraternity’s educational initiatives, as well as the maintenance and operation of the Levere Memorial Temple.
Members of this fraternity believe in the transformative power of education and in the ability of individuals to improve the world through leadership, scholarship, service, and friendship.
Its motto is “Spirit, Strength, and Brotherhood,” and as a curious fact, Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s creed, “The True Gentleman“, must be memorized and recited by all prospective members, without exception.
Tau Kappa Epsilon
Tau Kappa Epsilon was founded in 1899 at Illinois Wesleyan University, and its most famous members include former President Ronald Reagan and former NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw.
The organization has 222 active chapters and colonies in the United States and Canada, with more than 292,000 life members.
This fraternity supports numerous philanthropic and charitable services, most notably St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, for whom they had raised $1.3 million by 2020. The goal is to raise $10 million over ten years.
Tau Kappa Epsilon contributes to the advancement of society through the personal growth of its members and their service to others.
Initiations and ceremonies are also part of fraternities
There are several rituals to decide which students enter or not into a specific fraternity. There are also cases of “legacy” students, who enter directly by virtue of having had a relative who was a member.
In all cases, usually the applicants must follow a series of very specific requirements before being able to join a fraternity and live together with other members on the university campus.
Initiations are usually private events in which pledges have to perform all kinds of activities assigned by the rest of the fraternity members.
Explore our new website here!