Greek GPAs show potential to beat the average student GPA

Sarah Pruzansky

Some fraternity and sorority members can regularly be found in the computer lab on the second floor of the Wimberly library. Photo by Max Jackson
Some fraternity and sorority members can regularly be found in the computer lab on the second floor of the Wimberly library. Photo by Max Jackson

Fraternities and sororities are hitting the books here at FAU.

Through study sessions at the library, programs led by a speaker, and tutoring, the Greek GPA over the course of the past 10 years has increased.

“The Fraternity & Sorority Life Office has assisted each of our chapters in developing and implementing a scholarship plan in hopes of increasing the chapter GPA and to hold individual brothers and sisters accountable for being academically successful,” David Bynes, associate director of Student Involvement and Leadership, said.

According to Bynes, the Fraternity & Sorority Life Office has also worked with its Faculty Fellow Dr. Eric Levy to hold academic sessions and time management sessions for fraternity and sorority members.

Beginning at 2.56 as the average overall GPA for Greek students in fall 2002, the average GPA reached 2.71 in fall 2012. The fall 2012 GPA information was made available to the UP on March 12, and is the most recent GPA information available. The average overall student GPA was 2.94 in fall 2002 and 2.9 in spring 2012. The average GPA statistics for undergraduate students has not been made available for fall 2012.

“We try to stress grades over anything,” Alpha Epsilon Pi President Josh Rubenstein said. Rubenstein’s chapter has increased its average GPA from 2.2 in fall 2002 to 2.85 in fall 2012. “We want [the students] to come out to events, but the most important thing is for them to do well in school. If they’re not gonna do well in school, there’s no point in them being in the fraternity because they’re not gonna stay in the fraternity because they don’t have good grades.”

According to Bynes, when a Greek student’s GPA drops too low, it is up to their specific council and chapter to decide what to do, based on the policies they have written in their constitution and bylaws.

In spring 2003, the Greeks brought their average GPA up to a 3.0 while the overall student GPA was 2.9. Although the Greek GPA after that year had dropped again below the student body GPA, they are well on their way to potentially exceeding the average student GPA once again.

“We have an academic chair, and his job is basically to go through each of the grades, the kids who don’t have the high grades, see what classes they’re in and match them up with older brothers who’ve taken their classes, help them with study guides, know how certain teachers test,” Rubenstein said. “That’s one of the benefits of being in a fraternity — you have the older members who have taken the exact same classes, and we try to instill the same study habits that they’ve developed over time.”

According to Bynes, within most Greek organizations at the university, students with high GPAs are rewarded for their efforts by their specific chapter. They can also be recognized at a higher level at the University’s Honors Convocation and by the Fraternity & Sorority Life Council.

“Each year a fraternity man and sorority woman is recognized with the Greek Academic Award at the University’s Honors Convocation,” Bynes said. “The Fraternity & Sorority Life Office also award chapters that excel academically through the Standards of Excellence review process.”

The chapters with an average GPA above a 3.0 in fall 2012 are Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Psi Lambda, and Lambda Theta Alpha.

Lambda Theta Alpha is specifically an academic sorority, so it is expected of them to do well in school.

“We hold each other accountable,” Lambda Theta Alpha President Erica Barrabi said. “We’re here for an education. You’re supposed to reflect the principles and why the organization was founded, and academics is one of them so it is an accomplishment. We do hold each other accountable. So studying and having library hours is a priority instead of going to social events. And if you don’t have the grades, then the Academic Chair and the president, we are allowed to tell somebody that they’re prohibited from attending a certain amount of social events.”

Lambda Theta Alpha had a 3.11 GPA in fall 2012.

“We’re also here for college,” Barrabi said. “It’s not about being in an organization, it’s about having an education.”

Assistant Director for Fraternity & Sorority Life Keith Hembree was unavailable to respond how his office has been contributing to the increased GPAs.