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In the Greek world there are basically two styles of new member programs. The most common is the pledgeship system. The lesser known of the two goes by several names. Some organizations that have adopted the system called it simply their new member program. Whatever their designation, it all sprang from a decision made by Lambda Chi Alpha in August of 1972.
One of the greatest accomplishments our fraternity has ever made was the switch to this system of membership, called association. Our fraternity originally did what all others had done; we used the pledge system. It became impossible to function as a Fraternity with Christian principles and at the same time tell certain members of our organization that they were not equal to initiated brothers. It was also a direct violation of one of our highest open mottoes, Vir Quisque Vir, translated, "Every Man, a Man". One of the founding principles of our fraternity can be observed on our Coat of Arms. You will notice that a crown is placed on the helmet. According to the laws of heraldry, and one supposes against common sense, we have purposefully placed a king's crown on the helmet of a squire, the lowest of ranks. This creates a sort of paradox. How can a royal symbol, the crown, be so closely associated with a person in such a lowly station in life. The phrase we use to express this relationship is "Honor Without Rank." We believe that no matter what station you hold in life (e.g. Associate or Brother) you still have honor, to yourself, and to the Fraternity into which you are welcomed.

What are the differances?
Pledge System Association System
The pledge class is highly organized into a rigid structure. The associate members are integrated into the entire chapter.
Pledges do not have a voice or vote in chapter meetings. They meet almost exclusively as a pledge class. Associates come to all chapter meetings and have a vote as soon as they join. The only exception is that associates may not vote on matters of Initiation Ritual (for obvious reasons).
Discipline of pledges is generally done as a group, and is frequently based on different standards (higher) than are required or applied to initiated members. Discipline within Lambda Chi Alpha takes place on a person to person basis and all disciplinary decisions are made by a seperate Executive Committee that often has Associates as members.
House cleaning duties are done mostly, if not solely, by pledges. Every member is required to participate in all house cleaning/repairing functions.
There is a sharp distinction in status between brothers and pledges. Associates and Brothers have the same rights and privileges. All can vote, hold office, wear letters/Coat of Arms.
Pledges typically undergo various degrees of harassment, mental and/or physical hazing. Associates never have to do anything they do not wish to do. Hazing is in violation of our International Fraternity laws punishable by expulsion or charter revokation.
Pledges have to "earn" their brotherhood. Associates have brotherhood.

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