Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) begin the new school year in a few short weeks and many students will have questions about sororities and fraternities on campus at a black college — like, are black sororities and fraternities high classed gangs, which sorority or fraternity suits you best and the length of your commitment. But here are some facts you’ll need to know before you join a Black Greek letter organization.

1. Blacks were not welcomed in other established Greek letter sororities and fraternities.

So, Black Greek letter organizations were created to provide access to its members to sisterhood and brotherhood while attending college. There are nine Black Greek letter organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

2. The length of your commitment is a lifetime

When you join a black sorority or fraternity, your commitment is forever. You don’t have to wear your letters every day, but you are expected to honor and uphold the principles which these founding members of Black Greek letter organizations set.

3. Many of the “Divine Nine” members were founded during the early 20th century and many were established at black colleges.

The benefits are identical for all of them, but each one is unique and has its own identity and history.

Alpha Phi Alpha is the oldest black fraternity in the country and was founded at Cornell University in 1906.

Alpha Kappa Alpha is the oldest black sorority in the country and was founded at Howard University in 1908.

Kappa Alpha Psi was originally chartered and incorporated as Kappa Alpha Nu in 1911 at Indiana University. Later the name was changed to Kappa Alpha Psi in 1915.

Omega Psi Phi is the unofficial brother organization of Delta Sigma Theta and was founded in 1911 at Howard University.

Delta Sigma Theta is the largest black sorority in the world and was founded at Howard University in 1913.

Phi Beta Sigma is the first Black Greek letter organization to set-up alumni chapters for its members and was founded at Howard University in 1914.

Zeta Phi Beta is the official sister organization of Phi Beta Sigma and was founded at Howard University in 1920.

Sigma Gamma Rho was founded in 1922 at Butler University by seven school teachers.

Iota Phi Theta is the youngest NPHC member and the fifth largest black social service fraternity in the country. Iota was founded in 1963 on the campus of Morgan State College now known as Morgan State University.

4. You will be looked up to as a “role model.”

This is important. Members of black sororities and fraternities are role models on campus who uphold high ethical and, or moral values: Don’t forget it.

5. What you get out of it

Joining a black sorority or fraternity on campus at an HBCU, you will also experience a bond with your sisters and brothers that no other organization can offer. You become part of something larger than yourself, you will become part of a rich history of traditions and activities. Just make sure to join for all the right reasons.

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