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Going Greek at Clemson comes with a price

More than 1000 Clemson women went through recruitment last week in hopes of becoming part of one of the many university-affiliated sororities. If admitted, they will join the roughly 25 percent of male and female Clemson students who belong to Greek organizations on campus.
Along with all of the social events such as formals, mixers, functions, service projects and retreats hosted by each chapter, come a string of bills.
The exact amount charged by each sorority and fraternity varies. The Clemson Panhellenic (CPC), which oversees 13 sororities on-campus, provides a list of fees for all of its associated sororities on its website.
The accumulation of these fees can begin as early as Rush Week. According to the CPC’s website, applicants must pay a “recruitment registration fee [that will] cost between $175 and $200” depending on when they sign up for rush.
In addition, each sorority tells its potential new members (PNMs) about its specific dues during the third round of recruitment. The first set of dues are the highest because they include initiation, badge and various initial one time fees. CPC reports that the current “Average New Member Dues are $752.46 and Average Returning Member Dues are $469.46.”
Yet, there are many additional add-on costs that aren’t included in these numbers. Many sorority members find themselves spending additional money on t-shirts (which usually sell for $15-25) and big/little gifts. While members are not required to purchase these items, many choose to do so.
In addition, members can incur additional fees and fines for various infractions, which can include missing too many weekly chapter meetings, not paying dues on time or failing to attend any sort of mandatory event. Depending on the severity of the offence, these fines generally range between $50 to $150.
Men who are members of fraternities affiliated with the Interfraternity Council (IFC) are in an almost identical situation when it comes to dues.
One fraternity member, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “full dues [for my fraternity] are around $850 per semester and new member dues are about $350.” He said that while there are no scholarships available for their members, there are “discounts for those that live in the chapter house along with a discount for seniors in their final semester at Clemson.”
Additionally, all Greek life members must now pay a yearly $55 “fraternity and sorority life fee.”
Gary Wiser, the director of Clemson’s Fraternity and Sorority Life, said that the yearly fee “was started during the 2016-2017 academic year to provide the fraternity and sorority community with the resources needed to properly support a community our size.”
The money helps pay for “staffing the office and programming for our councils and chapters” and for supporting programs aimed at “leadership development, risk management [and] better officer training” Wiser said.
Several of the Greek life councils also have scholarships and payment plans available to help members with costs. Last school year, the CPC offered the opportunity for one member from each chapter to be refunded her dues for that semester. Several chapters also offer payment plans, allowing members to pay for their dues through partial payments versus all up-front.
Despite the costs of partaking in Greek life, many members agree that it is worth it due to the friendships and opportunities it can build.
“In joining a sorority, I’ve become a part of a giant Clemson Panhellenic network that extends nationally in ways I know I’ve yet to fully appreciate, but that I know will benefit me later in life,” said sophomore Catherine Kelley, a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority.

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