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Definitions of Fraternal Organizations
The following terms are often used to describe certain fraternal organizations:
Fraternity: A group of college-aged adults who form a private club at college. Members typically live together in a large house and are expected to pay their share of dues while staying at the house. New members, called pledges, can try joining a fraternity during Rush, a time where potential members get a chance to meet fraternity members and vice versa. They are overseen by the Pan Hellenic Council, which governs fraternities and sororities.
Secret Societies: Similar to a fraternity, secret societies also exist on college campuses, though they exist outside of college as well. However, they are not governed by the Pan Hellenic Council, nor do they participate in Rush. These are invite-only societies, which is why many people describe them as secret. However, there is little about them that is actually secret. One of the most famous is the Skull and Bones Society at Harvard.
Masons: Traditionally called the Freemasons, this global fraternal network originated in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries and is one of the oldest brotherhood organizations in the world. They are sometimes called a secret society and there are many conspiracy theories surrounding Freemasons. However, many Masonic members gather together to help out around their community and provide charity opportunities.
Hazing: A traditional form of a trial whereby a pledge can gain acceptance into a fraternal organization. Oftentimes, hazing is limited to pulling certain pranks, but it can quickly get out of hand. Hazing is no longer allowed for fraternities on college campuses due to a number of accidents, some of which resulted in death
Fraternal organizations are societies for men that give them a brotherhood and bond with each other. There are many types of fraternal organizations and societies. Some of the most popular ones are Greek frats with letters that are present on college campuses. These societies have Greek letters that they use to identify themselves as members. Some people think about secret societies when they think of a fraternity organization. They suspect that the secret societies are based on obscure religions and governmental groups that operate on the fringe of legitimate practices. While some of these brotherhoods might actually exist, it is much more common to find a commercial, Greek, religious, social, and governmental fraternity that operates in the open without many true secrets, although keeping some rites secret improves a brotherhood that is different from a familial bond. If you are interested in joining a fraternal society, then you can find many of them listed in your area's online directory. Some of the associations and orders have national offices, but others are just local groups. When you call a society's office, you should ask them who can join. Some of them are exclusive for those who attended certain schools, are policemen, or involved in another organization or profession. If you qualify to join the group, then you should ask them what benefits you get from your membership. You should also ask them how much they charge to join and maintain your membership to help you decide if the benefits outweigh the costs for your purposes.