Greek life is the fraternity and sorority community on campus. The terms "fraternity" and "sorority" describe groups of men and women who join together to offer fellowship, academic support, leadership training, participation in campus activities, service to the community and University, and preparation for future careers. They are referred to as Greek chapters because they are named according to the ancient Greek alphabet. Greek life is at hundreds of colleges and universities across the United States and Canada.
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC. The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega. The Greek alphabet was derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, from which it differs by being the first alphabet that provides a full representation of one written symbol per sound both for vowels as well as consonants. The Greek alphabet in turn is the ancestor of numerous other European and Middle Eastern scripts that follow the same structural principle, among them Cyrillic and Latin.
The first general fraternity there are records of was organized in 1750 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Known as the "Flat Hat Club", the members met occasionally in an upper room of the Raleigh Tavern. Thomas Jefferson, author of the US Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States, was a student member of this club. The first Greek-letter society came into being because a student had been refused admission into a William and Mary organization known as PDA. The PDA club was supposedly a literary society but had long lost those purposes. The rejected man was a superior Greek scholar. With four friends, he organized a society of his own, using Greek letters to name it: Phi Beta Kappa. The first meeting of Phi Beta Kappa took place on December 5, 1776.
The word fraternity comes from the...