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FAU fraternities and sororities raise their GPA

Rachel Chapnick

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FAU’s Greek community has reason to celebrate. After a 10 year period of little change in their GPA, fraternities and sororities have boosted their average from a low B-to a solid B-.

While the letter grade may not have changed, FAU’s fraternities and sororities can boast an average GPA of 2.82, a 0.12 point GPA increase. This is the closest FAU Greeks have been to the student average, which is also a B-, since 2003, according to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life’s Fall 2011 Community report.

Although the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life encourages chapters to maintain high GPAs, it’s assistant director Ryan O’Rourke admits there isn’t much he or his office can do about some chapters’ less-than-stellar performance. Responsibility for meeting FAU’s minimum GPA and the national chapter’s minimum GPA ultimately falls to an individual chapter. O’Rourke and his office, however, try to encourage fraternity and sorority members to aim above the average FAU student’s GPA.

Ethan Aparicio of the Sigma Chi Colony believes the comparison to the school’s average GPA is an unfair one. “The University as a whole includes students who don’t leave the library or their room. They don’t go out for Greek. They don’t have the time,” he said.

Aparicio also pointed out a fraternity’s reported grades include pledges or prospective members. Even though some pledges do not become brothers, their GPAs are still lumped with the fraternity recruiting them.

O’Rourke explained GPAs can show a pledge’s future performance. Low GPAs cause a certain amount of suspicion. “If all new members get below a 2.0, it’s a red flag something is wrong with new member education,” he explained. “Let’s put it this way: I’ve never seen a great fraternity with a low GPA.” Normally it’s the pledges who don’t do well who drop, according to O’Rourke.

O’Rourke and his office cannot technically do anything about a chapter with a sub-par GPA. As a result, different fraternities and sororities have tried to combat low GPAs with multiple tactics. Aparicio explains his fraternity requires study hours for pledges and brothers in academic trouble.

Cinthya Castro, Amber Carlise and Amanda Talham of Theta Phi Alpha also have a policy of mandatory study hours, but they have taken it a step further and instituted BYOB, or Bring Your Own Books, sessions. Carlise claims, “We have one every week.”

While O’Rourke gave credit to fraternities and sororities for trying to raise their individual GPAs, he says his office will continue to encourage Greeks to use FAU’s resources, such as supplemental instruction sessions. “Study hours aren’t as effective,” he claims, “At the end of the day those become social hours.”

While BYOB gatherings may be social, the sisters of Theta Phi Alpha still managed to report a 0.11 increase in GPA for the semester, and a 0.22 point increase for the year. Still, although Theta Phi Alpha’s 2.66 GPA may be higher than previous semesters, the sorority’s average is less than the average sorority’s GPA of 2.88. Additionally, the community report stated “No sorority chapter has a cumulative GPA above the all-women’s [undergraduate] cumulative GPA.”

In spite of ranking below the typical FAU female (or student), sororities outscored the men’s 2.72 average. According to past community reports, sororities’ superiority in academics is normal. Aparicio responded, “Traditionally girls have higher GPAs. Guys? We’re working on it.”

Interestingly, however, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life published a five year plan that calls for the average GPA of fraternities and sororities to “meet, or exceed, the FAU undergraduate women’s GPA” by the 2013/14 school year. Currently, that GPA is a 3.0, and no chapter on campus meets or exceeds this average for overall GPA.

O’Rourke blames the fraternities failings on the stereotype he says can be traced back to Animal House. He claims some fraternities “like to perpetuate the stereotype that it’s all about the party.”

Aparicio also believes the stereotype negatively affects recruiting, claiming it is sometimes hard for his fraternity to attract students with high GPAs. He believes that often “The type of student we look for completely agrees with the stigma [of partying fraternities]. Many of them avoid us outright.”

Last semester, his fraternity was comfortably above FAU’s average male GPA. This semester, however, it dropped below the average male students. He said Sigma Chi will continue preventing brothers in poor academic standing from going to social events.

Aparicio rejects the notion that the Greek lifestyle was responsible for the members’ lower-than-usual GPAs. He says academics are a priority and claims “I have never heard a single Greek tell someone [with a low GPA] they had to do an event.” He admitted that while he has procrastinated on projects to party with his fraternity, he has managed to balance Greek life and his academics. He still admitted it might be more difficult for students with different majors, stating “Students in the sciences — physics, bio-med, nurses — they have a lot more work than I do. It might be more of an issue.”

O’Rourke thinks both fraternities and sororities need to confront the negative stereotype. “When fraternities and sororities are doing their thing, they belong on campus— when they’re not, they’re as far away as possible from the academic mission of the university. But they have the power to fight the stereotype.”

The ladies of Phi Alpha Theta seem to agree. Talham said, “We’re here to make a career for us.” Castro agreed, stating, “At the end of the day, we’re in college.”

O’Rourke echoed these sentiments, stating FAU fraternities and sororities need to realize that “At the end of the day, everyones priority is to get a degree.”

––––––––––––––What Fraternities and Sororities Actually Accomplished ––––––––––––––

FAU’s fraternities and sororities can boast an average GPA of 2.82, a 0.12 point GPA increase from the spring to fall 2011 semesters. The 0.12 point increase puts the Greek community within 0.08 points of the student body’s average GPA, which is 2.90 (also a B-).

3 Comments

3 Responses to “FAU fraternities and sororities raise their GPA”

  1. George Wilcox on February 16th, 2012 1:23 pm

    This is obviously not true, after hazing and going to all the stupid parties it decreases your score, and ruins the lives of some.

  2. Katie on February 16th, 2012 1:43 pm

    Plenty of students in the Greek community have very good GPAs. Unfortunately those who don’t do as well bring down the rest of the group. I’m finishing up my 3rd year in a sorority and I’m about to graduate with a 3.5 GPA. If anything I think being in a sorority has helped me to keep up with my school work and grades because it encourages me to get things done in a timely manner. I have two jobs, I’m on the executive board for my sorority, I’m taking 15 credits, i volunteer with other organizations, and I still manage to have fun and get my school work done. Greek life can’t be to blame for poor GPAs, lazy people can.

  3. That's strange on February 28th, 2012 2:13 am

    Alpha Epsilon Pi and Phi Delta Theta both have had above a 3.0 the past 2 semesters. Also, this George Wilcox has NO idea of what goes on the F&S Life if he’s to make factless acusations like that. Real Owls don’t haze. And stupid parties? IS raising over $50,000+ for our individual philanthropies stupid? How about our countless amount of volunteer hours? Or is our diehard support for our university and it’s athletics stupid? You don’t need to join greek life to party, but tell me who else but Greeks do all of those things that I just listed? If you want to better this community, you do it by joining F&S Life.

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