The stereotypical idea of a frat boy is a shaggy-haired drunken buffoon in a pink Polo shirt. To be sure, there are plenty of fraternity men who embody this stereotype. But the ideal fraternity man, according to most fraternities' stated goals, is a gentleman -- a leader in the community who excels in his academic studies and earns the respect of his brothers. Fraternity members are often campus leaders, involved in student government, honor societies and other organizations.
Some fraternities have houses and some do not. A fraternity house can either be a filthy party den or a place that someone actually might want to live in.
More and more fraternities are declaring themselves dry houses, which means that no alcohol can be served or consumed in the house -- not even for parties. Some fraternities have chosen to do so because of insurance liability, while others do so in order to avoid raucous behavior that might result in property damage. Sororities are usually dry houses.
Social networking is an important part of fraternity life. Fraternities often have themed socials with sororities, as well as semi-formal and formal dances. They throw parties and other events where fraternity men can meet women. Philanthropy events tend to be social as well.
Most fraternities also hold brotherhood events throughout the year -- times when all the brothers have a retreat and bond with each another. They may take a camping trip or go rafting, for example.
Another perk of being a fraternity member is the chance to network. Fraternity connections can be very beneficial in the business world. Forbes magazine even put out a list of the best fraternities for future CEOs.
Many alumni stay active and involved with their fraternity chapters, returning for football games, initiation and rush events. Some continue to donate money for house repairs and other fraternity needs.
For more information on fraternities and related topics, check out the links on the next page.