Frequently Asked Questions About Theta Tau

Q: What is Theta Tau?
A: Theta Tau is a National, Professional, Co-Ed, Engineering Fraternity
Theta Tau - The Greek Letters Q and T
National - We have chapters at ABET accredited schools all over the United States.
Professional - Although we do hold social events, our focus is professional development. First, we try to make you a better Engineer. Then we have a party.
Co-Ed - Theta Tau has allowed female membership since the 1970's.
Engineering - Theta Tau membership is limited only to those currently in an accredited engineering program, leading to an engineering degree.
Fraternity - As was mentioned earlier it is called a fraternity but it does admit women. Theta Tau is a fraternity as opposed to an engineering society because membership is for life.
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Q: Is Theta Tau an honor society?
A: NO.
Although we strongly encourage academic achievement, the minimum required GPA for being initiated into Theta Tau is 2.0.
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Q: How do I join?
A: Like other fraternal organizations, membership in Theta Tau will come only after you have proven that you will be a valuable member of the organization.
There are three steps to joining: rush, pledging, and initiation.
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Q: What is "rushing"?
A: Rushing is an open invitation for eligible students to start the process of becoming a member of Theta Tau.
Rush is usually held during the first few weeks of Winter and/or Spring Quarter. During this time you will see signs posted saying "Rush Theta Tau." Theta Tau holds Rush events where we give out pizza, BBQ, play cards, watch movies, and do other assorted activities. During this time you first meet the members of Theta Tau, and they get to meet you. The purpose is to let the brothers of Theta Tau know you are interested in joining. You also learn about the fraternity and the upcoming pledge cycle, so you can make an informed decision about joining.
During the two rush weeks, students are encouraged come to as many rush events as possible and introduce themselves to the members and ask any questions they may have about Theta Tau. "Rushees" who come to more than one event should recieve at least one phone call from an active member of Theta Tau to discuss any questions, issues or concerns that the student has about the fraternity or becoming a member. At the end of the rush period, the members of Theta Tau vote on who is allowed to take the next step towards becoming a member of Theta Tau. Upon a positive vote to have a student "pledge" Theta Tau, the student will be contacted and ASKED if he would like to pledge Theta Tau.
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Q: What is "pledging"?
A: "Pledging" Theta Tau is a continuing promise by the student to become an active member of Theta Tau. A "pledge" is a person who has made this promise and his promise has been accepted by all the members of Theta Tau.
After the rush cycle ends, Theta Tau members have a meeting, and give out bids to those people who they feel will make valuable members of the organization. If you receive a bid, be proud in knowing it was by unanimous decision. The brothers have placed faith in you. Although there is still much you must do before becoming a member. First, you must choose to accept the bid. All people accepting a bid will receive a pledge pin, which identifies you as a Theta Tau Pledge. At the end of the pledging cycle you take a national and local pledge test. These exams are to test what you have learned about the fraternity.
The pledge period lasts for about 8 weeks. During the Pledge cycle you learn some history about the fraternity, important Theta Tau facts, and you bond with your fellow Pledge brothers and soon to be Theta Tau brothers. As a pledge class you learn teamwork, professional development, and what it means to be a member of Theta Tau. Throughout the pledge period, different requirements are asked of the pledges.
At any point in the pledge period, any student may be removed from pledging at any time by either the student himself or Theta Tau with no obligations to either party thereafter. At the end of the pledge period, if the existing students have met all the requirements as asked of them, an anonymous vote is taken by the active members before any pledge is given the choice to accept membership into Theta Tau. Each student is voted on individually and must acquire a unanimous vote in favor of his membership.
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Q: Who is eligible to join Theta Tau?
A: Almost any Techie
Mostly, the prime qualification is to being judged of good character. We do have a few particular qualifications that must be met at the time of initiation (not the start of pledging). A member must meet the following qualifications:
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Q: I'm a Computer Information Systems major, can I join?
A: Sorry, no.
Because there is a Computer Science major offered through Tech, CIS majors are just out of luck. Switch into Tech. (At some other schools, CIS/CS is only offered through their college of arts and sciences, not through the engineering school. Some chapters at these schools consider CIS/CS majors eligible because CS is often considered an engineering field, even though their school did not deem it such.)
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Q: I want to join Theta Tau but I am afraid of rejection. What if I don't get a bid?
A: Believe it or not, we rarely have a problem with that.
The brothers are very open and are willing to give almost everyone a chance. If you attend the rush events, and talk to at least some of the brothers, (the more, the better) you will more likely get an invitation to pledge. If you do not, don't feel rejected. Talk to the brothers and get to know them over the upcoming months. We participate in activities open to all engineering students, not just Theta Tau members. The better we get to know you, the better the chance you will receive a bid. Not all members received bids the first time they showed interest in joining. Because membership is for life, and because of the responsibilities of membership, we must make absolutely sure you would make a good member, and can handle the responsibilities which you will be presented.
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Q: Can I be a member of both Theta Tau and another fraternity or sorority?
A: Yes. (most of the time)
You can be a member of Theta Tau and any social fraternity or sorority. However, there are some other professional fraternities we don't allow our members to join, only one of which (AXE) has a chapter at Northwestern.
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Q: Do you have a house?
A: Not yet...
... but we're working on it! Why not? Well, first of all we're relatively new to Northwestern. Secondly, we are having difficulty getting housing from Northwestern because a) we're not a social fraternity and are not recognized by the same organizations, and b) we are limited by the national organization to the number of members we can have at one time, and unfortunately that number would not give us enough people available to fill up any of the small houses on campus typically used by greek organizations.
However, many of our members live on campus or in apartments with other Theta Tau members, and so there is always some place to go!
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Q: How much time does Theta Tau require from me?
A: The more time you put into Theta Tau the more you can get out of it.
As a pledge you will need to set at least an hour a week to come to your pledge meetings. It is also to your benefit to attend and help out with whatever events (whether they are professional or social) take place.
Once you are a member, you are expected to attend weekly meetings held on the day that is most suitible for majority of the members. You should try to set aside at least and hour and a half for the meeting, but they usually last around one hour.
You really do get as much out of Theta Tau as you put into it. If you don't show up for the meetings, don't go to the events, you get nothing out of it. Members who spend a lot of time with Theta Tau find that they get a lot out of it - friendship, leadership experience, connections within Northwestern and elsewhere, and more.
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Q: I seek fame and fortune - how does Theta Tau help me?
A: The question is not what the fraternity can do for you, but what you can do for your fraternity!
The chapter participates in a lot of Tech events. Our annual How to Sell Yourself in Two Minutes seminar draws over 50 people. We also run other seminars and volunteer for events like Day at NU. There's always plenty of opportunities to build a name for yourself here at NU, and if you want to help out with Professional Development or Tech Corporate Partners, you can even start to make a name for yourself out in the busniness world!
To help with the fortune part, out chapter has more than 60 Alumni in engineering and engineering related jobs. The national fraternity has thousands of alumni at all levels of jobs in the engineering profession. Many of these people are now responsible for who their company will hire, and they look for Theta Tau members.
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Q: There's gotta be a catch - how much does it cost?
A: There are the pledging fee, initiation fee, a badge fee, and semi-annual dues.
Pledging Fee - This fee goes to the National organization, as well as to help pay for Pledge events and Initiation.
Initiation Fee - Assuming you have successfully completed the pledging cycle, the Initiation Fee goes to the national organization.
Badge Fee - All members to be initiated must purchase a Theta Tau membership badge.
Semi-Annual Dues - Twice a year each Theta Tau member must pay dues. This money goes to varrious activities throughout the year. Some of the money goes to the National organization, and the rest of it goes into our chapter's funds. This money is used to pay for everything that we do during the year, especially Rush and Initiation.
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Q: No, specifically, how much does it cost?
A: Note: Prices Subject to Change Without Warning
Well, the exact cost varies. We like to keep it about the same, sometimes varying it a little. (Well, $10 from 20 members is not a big deal to each member, but that's an extra $200 for the chapter...) We also realize that not everyone is a fountain of money... (hey, we gotta pay dues too, you know!)
Pledging, Initiation, and Badge Fees -
$30 pledge fee that goes to National
$15 local pledge fee (for the anything the pledge class wants to do!)
$75 initiation fee that goes to National
$40-60   badge fee (every member is require to buy a badge, and depending on the type you want, this can vary)
Semi-Annual Dues - $150, twice a year. (That's $300 total for those of you who, like me, have problems with simple mathematics.)
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Q: How long am I expected to pay dues?
A: Until you become an alum.
Although you pay dues as a student, after graduation your financial obligation ends (although donations are welcomed) yet you are always a member. You are expected to join a local alumni association, where you will continue to be involved with Theta Tau.
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Q: I'm fighting with my friend. We can both pronounce "Theta" but how do you pronounce "Tau"?
A: Good question.
In your physics or math classes, "tau" probably rhymes with "how" or "cow". However, in our name, "tau" rhymes with "saw" or "law".
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Q: I have more questions!
A: We have more answers!
You can email Theta Tau at
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Theta Tau FAQ / Rebecca Juarez / Comments
Last modified on 2/13/99