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Instruction and Student Life
Student Activities and Organizations - West Lafayette Campus

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By getting involved in student organizations, students learn how to collaborate, communicate, lead, and practice sound financial skills. Many alumni cite their experiences with student organizations as having been critical to their career advancement. Job recruiters frequently seek student leaders for interviews because their companies recognize the value of participating in and leading organized group activities.

Fraternities and Sororities, founded at Purdue in 1875

Purdue boasts one of the nation's largest fraternity and sorority communities, with approximately 4,962 student members holding membership in one of 49 men's fraternities or 31 women's fraternities and sororities. About 16% of Purdue's undergraduates are members of a fraternity or sorority. Since the founding of the Sigma Chi Fraternity in 1875, fraternities and sororities have maintained a steady and influential presence on Purdue's campus. Most growth in chapters and membership occurred between 1905 and 1960. Several of Purdue's most distinguished graduates are members of fraternities and sororities.

"Fraternity and Sorority Life" is one of many campus leadership involvement opportunities at Purdue that help students make a large university seem smaller. Most fraternities and sororities offer housing and meal service for their members. Men's and women's fraternities provide friendship, intramural athletic competition, social activities, community service, and academic support for their members. Students develop a strong sense of belonging to their organization and loyalty to Purdue University through Fraternity and Sorority Life. Membership is lifelong, and alumni activities are numerous at the national and local level.

Cooperative housing, founded at Purdue in 1933

Purdue's cooperative housing system includes five houses for men and seven for women. All 12 houses operate on the principles of cooperative living with all residents working together to manage each house for the benefit of each other.

The houses in the cooperative system accommodate between 12 to 65 members. Cooperatives frequently have the highest average GPA on campus, above fraternities, sororities, and residence halls.

Social functions such as formals, barn dances, trade dinners, and theme parties allow students to interact with other members of cooperative houses, fraternities, sororities, and other campus organizations. All cooperative houses participate in at least one philanthropy per year that helps benefit charitable organizations.

2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Number of Student
635 617 647 660 699 747 769 815  844  878 

Men and Women Affiliated1 with Fraternities, Sororities, and Cooperative Houses

2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Men in Fraternities 2,782 2,936 2,872 2,988 3,028 2,977 2,837  2,706 3,085 2,924
Women in Sororities 2,048 2,109 2,107 1,979 1,945 1,925 1,939 1,872  2,048  2,038 
Men in Cooperatives 145 136 135 152 150 134 151 123  162  177 
Women in Cooperatives 188 183 173 180 177 168 173 183  188  181 
Total 5,163 5,364 5,287 5,299 5,300 5,204 5,100 4,884 5,485 5,320

1Figures reflect affiliation (not residency) during spring semester.

Source: Office of the Dean of Students