Unraveling the Cornell Greek Life

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Group of students walking in the school.

Unraveling the Cornell Greek Life

What are the Greek organizations at Cornell?

What are Cornell’s Greek organizations? Cornell University is home to a diverse array of Greek organizations. The Greek system at Cornell is divided into three councils: the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Panhellenic Council (Panhel), and the Multicultural Greek and Fraternal Council (MGFC).

The IFC is the governing body for 31 fraternity chapters including:

  • Acacia
  • Alpha Delta Phi
  • Alpha Epsilon Pi
  • Alpha Gamma Rho
  • Alpha Sigma Phi
  • Beta Theta Pi
  • Chi Phi
  • Chi Psi
  • Delta Chi
  • Delta Phi
  • Delta Kappa Epsilon
  • Delta Tau Delta
  • Delta Upsilon
  • Kappa Delta Rho
  • Kappa Sigma
  • Lambda Chi Alpha
  • Phi Delta Theta
  • Phi Gamma Delta
  • Phi Kappa Tau
  • Phi Sigma Kappa
  • Pi Kappa Alpha
  • Pi Kappa Phi
  • Sigma Alpha Epsilon, “SAE”
  • Sigma Chi
  • Sigma Alpha Mu
  • Sigma Nu
  • Sigma Phi
  • Sigma Pi
  • Theta Delta Chi
  • Zeta Beta Tau
  • Zeta Psi

Meanwhile, Panhel oversees 12 National Panhellenic Conference sororities including:

  • Alpha Chi Omega
  • Alpha Epsilon Phi
  • Alpha Phi
  • Alpha Xi Delta
  • Delta Delta Delta
  • Delta Gamma
  • Kappa Alpha Theta
  • Kappa Delta
  • Kappa Kappa Gamma
  • Phi Sigma Sigma
  • Pi Beta Phi
  • Sigma Delta Tau

The MGFC, on the other hand, is a collective of culturally-based fraternities and sororities including:

  • alpha Kappa Delta Phi International Sorority, Inc.
  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.
  • Lambda Phi Epsilon International Fraternity, Inc.
  • Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc.
  • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
  • Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Inc.
  • Sigma Gamma Rho, Inc.
  • Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Senoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc.
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Each organization has its unique traditions, philanthropic causes, and brotherhood or sisterhood culture. Whether you’re looking for a group that focuses on academic excellence, community service, or cultural heritage, you’re likely to find a Greek organization that aligns with your values and interests.

What role does Greek life play in Cornell’s overall student life?

What part does Greek life have in the overall student experience at Cornell? Greek life at Cornell University is more than just a social outlet; it’s a significant part of the overall student life, influencing various aspects from academics to community service, leadership, and personal development. Here’s a more detailed look at how Greek life shapes the Cornell student experience.

Community Building

Greek organizations at Cornell play a crucial role in fostering a sense of community among students. With over 60 fraternities and sororities, Cornell Greek Life offers a close-knit community within the larger university setting. These organizations provide a support system for their members, helping them navigate the challenges of college life. They host social events, holiday celebrations, and alumni gatherings, creating a sense of camaraderie and belonging among members.

Students walking in the school campus.

Academic Support

Greek life at Cornell is not all about social events; it also plays a significant role in supporting academic success. Many Greek organizations emphasize academic excellence and provide resources to help their members thrive academically. This can include study groups, tutoring sessions, and academic workshops. Some organizations even recognize and reward academic achievement, encouraging members to strive for academic excellence.

Leadership Development

Greek organizations offer numerous opportunities for leadership development. Members can take on various roles within their organization, from serving as chapter president to leading committees or organizing events. These experiences allow students to develop and hone leadership skills that will be invaluable in their future careers. Moreover, Cornell Greek life often encourages involvement in other campus activities, further broadening leadership opportunities.

Students smiling at the camera together.

Philanthropy and Community Service

Cornell Greek Life is deeply committed to philanthropy and community service. Each Greek organization typically supports specific charitable causes, and members participate in a variety of fundraising events and service projects throughout the year. This commitment to giving back not only benefits the wider community but also instills a sense of social responsibility among members.

Cultural and Personal Development

Greek life can also contribute to cultural and personal development. The Multicultural Greek Letter Council (MGLC), for instance, is home to culturally-based fraternities and sororities that celebrate diversity and promote cultural awareness. Joining a Greek organization can also foster personal growth, as members navigate the challenges and rewards of living in a communal setting, learn to balance social and academic commitments, and form lifelong friendships.

Networking Opportunities

Cornell Greek life can also provide valuable networking opportunities. The connections made through Greek life often extend beyond college, with alumni offering mentorship, internships, and potential job opportunities. The Greek community at Cornell is part of a larger, nationwide network, providing members with connections across the country and in various industries.

Four students smiling at the camera while standing next to a college building.

In general, Greek life plays a multifaceted role in Cornell’s overall student life. It offers a unique blend of social engagement, academic support, leadership development, community service, and networking opportunities. It’s a vibrant part of the Cornell experience, contributing to the university’s dynamic campus life and helping students grow both personally and professionally.

How does the rush process for Greek life at Cornell work?

How does Cornell’s rush process for Greek life work? The rush process, also known as recruitment, is the formal period where students interested in Greek life can explore different fraternities and sororities, meet current members, and decide if they want to join a Greek organization. At Cornell University, the rush process varies between the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Panhellenic Council (Panhel), and the Multicultural Greek and Fraternal Council (MGFC). Here’s a more detailed look at how it works.

Interfraternity Council (IFC) Recruitment

IFC recruitment typically takes place at the beginning of each semester and is a week-long process. During this period, interested students can attend various events hosted by the different fraternities. These events can range from meet-and-greets and house tours to more informal social gatherings.

The process is designed to allow potential new members (PNMs) to learn about each fraternity’s values, traditions, and brotherhood. It’s also a chance for the fraternities to get to know the PNMs. At the end of the week, fraternities extend bids, or invitations to join, to selected PNMs.

Panhellenic Council (Panhel) Recruitment

Panhel recruitment is a bit more structured and typically takes place over a week in January. It involves several rounds where PNMs visit each of the Panhel sororities. The first round, known as Open House, allows PNMs to meet members and learn about each sorority.

Subsequent rounds are more focused and involve fewer sororities, with PNMs narrowing down their choices and sororities doing the same. These rounds can include philanthropy events, where PNMs learn about the sororities’ charitable work, and preference events, which are more formal and intimate. At the end of the process, PNMs receive a bid from a sorority that has chosen them, and they have chosen in return.

Multicultural Greek and Fraternal Council (MGFC) Recruitment

MGLC recruitment, also known as Membership Intake, is less formal and does not follow a set schedule like IFC and Panhel recruitment. Instead, MGLC organizations host interest meetings and informational sessions throughout the year. These events provide an opportunity for interested students to learn about the organization’s history, values, and membership requirements.

After these events, students who are still interested can apply for membership. The application process varies by organization but can include interviews, essays, and a period of new member education.

In all cases, the rush process is about finding a Greek organization where you feel at home. It’s important to be yourself, ask questions, and consider what you want from your Greek life experience. Remember, joining a fraternity or sorority is a commitment, so take your time to make an informed decision.

How does Cornell regulate Greek life on campus?

How does Cornell manage Greek life on campus? Cornell University takes an active role in overseeing and regulating Greek life on campus to ensure a safe, respectful, and positive environment for all students. The university’s approach to regulation is multifaceted, involving a combination of policies, oversight bodies, and educational programs.

Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life (OSFL)

The primary body responsible for overseeing Greek life at Cornell is the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life (OSFL). The OSFL works closely with the Greek councils, individual chapters, and other university departments to uphold university policies and standards. They provide resources and support to Greek organizations, facilitate leadership training, and coordinate community-wide programs.

Recognition Policy

Cornell has implemented a comprehensive recognition policy for Greek organizations. To be recognized and thus eligible for university benefits, Greek organizations must comply with certain standards and expectations related to membership recruitment, new member education, academic achievement, community service, and conduct. This policy helps ensure that Greek organizations contribute positively to the university community and the personal development of their members.

Reporting and Addressing Misconduct

The university has a system in place for reporting and addressing misconduct within Greek organizations. This includes a hazing hotline and an online reporting system. Allegations of misconduct are taken seriously and can result in disciplinary action, including loss of recognition.

Educational Programs

Cornell requires all Greek organizations to participate in educational programs on topics such as hazing prevention, responsible alcohol use, sexual violence prevention, and diversity and inclusion. These programs aim to foster a Greek community that is safe, respectful, and inclusive.

Group of students talking in a room.

Greek Review Panel

In response to concerns about Greek life, Cornell established a Greek Life Review Panel in 2019. The panel, composed of students, alumni, and university staff, was tasked with reviewing the Greek system and making recommendations for improvement. The panel’s work led to several new initiatives, including a first-year residential ban on fraternity and sorority events, a stricter approach to violations of university policies, and increased support for non-Greek social options.

What are the benefits of joining a Greek organization at Cornell?

What are the advantages of joining a Cornell Greek organization? Joining a Greek organization at Cornell University can offer a wealth of benefits that extend beyond the immediate college years. These benefits can significantly enhance your college experience and provide you with opportunities for personal growth, leadership, and lifelong connections. Let’s delve deeper into these benefits.

Sense of Community and Belonging

One of the most immediate benefits of joining a Greek organization is the sense of community it provides. Greek life offers a close-knit community within the larger university setting, providing a “home away from home” for many students. This sense of belonging can be especially valuable in helping new students transition to college life.

Academic Support

Many Greek organizations at Cornell place a strong emphasis on academic success. They often provide academic resources such as study groups, tutoring sessions, and workshops. Some organizations even have academic requirements for membership, encouraging members to maintain good grades and prioritize their studies.

Cultural and Personal Development

The Cornell Greek life can also contribute to cultural and personal development. The Multicultural Greek and Fraternal Council (MGFC), for instance, is home to culturally-based fraternities and sororities that celebrate diversity and promote cultural awareness. Joining a Greek organization can also foster personal growth, as members navigate the challenges and rewards of living in a communal setting, learn to balance social and academic commitments, and form lifelong friendships.

In general, joining a Greek organization at Cornell University can offer a wealth of benefits that can enrich your college experience and beyond. It’s an opportunity to be part of a supportive community, develop leadership skills, excel academically, give back to the community, and make lifelong connections.

Embarking on your college journey is an exciting time, filled with countless opportunities for growth, learning, and discovery. As you consider Cornell University and its vibrant Greek life, remember that this is just one facet of what could be an enriching and transformative college experience.

At AdmissionSight, we’re committed to helping you navigate your college admissions journey, providing you with the insights, guidance, and support you need to make informed decisions. Whether you’re drawn to the sense of community in Greek life, the academic rigor of Cornell’s programs, or the rich array of extracurricular activities, we’re here to help you showcase your strengths and passions in your application. Contact us! 



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