Dating back to the late 18th century, fraternities and sororities stem from the Latin words frater and soror, meaning “brother” and “sister”, and are most common in the United States. Usually, fraternities and sororities are gender-based college or university organizations with fraternity referring to male membership and sorority referring to female membership. For most organizations, membership is active during the undergraduate years only.

Because their names are made up of Greek letters and serve as a reminder of their values, they are commonly referred to as Greek or Greek Life. Although there are many different fraternities and sororities, they all promote ideals such as lifelong friendship, loyalty, social development and academic excellence.

Most fraternities and sororities are very philanthropic, contributing thousands of hours and dollars to local and/or national charities. Some groups also maintain a chapter house and offer residential and dining facilities to their members.

The key is finding which organization best fits you. Here are some of the most respected and popular sororities and fraternities.  

Top Most Respected and Popular Sororities

Delta Gamma

Delta Gamma was founded in 1873 in Oxford, Miss., at the Lewis School for Girls. Its founding purpose was to help women strive for excellence. The philanthropy of Delta Gamma is Service for Sight. Their motto, “Do Good,” remains a driving force in all they do.

Zeta Tau Alpha

Zeta Tau Alpha was founded in 1898 at The State Female Normal School (now Longwood University) in Farmville, Virginia. It was established with the purpose of promoting friendship and happiness amongst its members and to build a purer womanhood in the world. Their philanthropic work benefits breast cancer awareness and their national charity benefits The Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Chi Omega

Chi Omega was founded in 1895 at the University of Arkansas with the founding purposes: friendship, personal integrity, service to others, academic excellence and intellectual pursuits, community and campus involvement and personal career development. It is currently the largest sorority in the world with over 320,000 initiates and 178 collegiate chapters. The women of Chi Omega support the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Kappa Kappa Gamma

In 1870, Kappa Kappa Gamma was founded at Monmouth College in Illinois. It is one of the oldest and largest Greek organizations and was founded on the principles of friendship, scholarship and leadership. The philanthropy of Kappa Kappa Gamma is Reading is Fundamental.

Kappa Delta

Kappa Delta was founded in 1897 at The State Female Normal School (now Longwood University) in Farmville, Virginia. The sorority was inspired by “good fellowship, friendship and sisterly love among its members; the encouragement of literature and education; the promotion of social interest; and the furtherance of charitable and benevolent purposes.” The women of Kappa delta support Girl Scouts of the USA, Prevent Child Abuse America, Children’s Hospital of Richmond, Virginia and Orthopaedic Research Awards.

Top Most Respected and Popular Fraternities.

Sigma Chi

Sigma Chi is one of the oldest and largest fraternities. It was founded in 1855 on the campus of Miami University in Ohio. Sigma Chi’s core values are “Friendship, Justice and Learning.” Their two philanthropies are the Children’s Miracle Network and the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Sigma Alpha Epsilon was founded in 1856 at the University of Alabama and is the first fraternity to be founded in the South. The SAE’s motto is “The True Gentleman.” The philanthropy of Sigma Alpha Epsilon is the Children’s Miracle Network.

Sigma Nu

Sigma Nu was founded in 1869 by three military cadets at the Virginia Military Institute to stand against the hazing that was going on at other fraternities. Sigma Nu’s mission is “to develop ethical leaders inspired by the principles of Love, Honor and Truth.” The official philanthropies are Habitat for Humanity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Character Counts!.

Sigma Phi Epsilon

Founded in 1901 at the University of Richmond, Sigma Phi Epsilon has become one of the largest fraternities in the country. It was founded on the principles of virtue, diligence and brotherly love, with a mission of “Building Balanced Men.” The philanthropies of Sigma Phi Epsilon are YouthAIDS and T.A.K.E. Defense.

Lambda Chi Alpha

Founded at Boston University in 1909, Lambda Chi Alpha was the first fraternity to eliminate pledging. The organization also takes a strong stand against hazing and is a leader in the fight against hazing, alcohol abuse and other challenges faced by today’s college students. The philanthropy of Lambda Chi Alpha is Feeding America.

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