Fraternity and Sorority Paddles

Image via Greek Gear

Image via Greek Gear

As the Director of Greek Relations for, I often receive questions requesting clarification about Greek life traditions.

One of the most popular traditions within the Greek community is the fraternity and sorority paddle.

Normally created during the pledge period, a member of the Greek organization will make a paddle for a superior member, most commonly, their big brother or sister in the organization. Oftentimes the entire pledge class will create a paddle for the pledge master or the organization as a whole.

Paddles come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, traditional or unique, but almost always are made of wood. Creative and inventive members will even carve the wooden paddles themselves. My paddles were purchased from the University of Central Florida’s bookstore and from an online boutique.

Members normally use paint to decorate their paddles, but will also sometimes use fabric, glitter or markers. Each paddle is ideally supposed to be uniquely created so it is common for paddle to be different from member to member, year to year.

The paddles normally contain the names of the member and the paddle receiver, initiation year, the organization name and symbols or colors of the organization. Companies have also created little wooden letters that can be glued or also come in sticker format for easy application onto the paddle.

I hope that helps to explain one of my favorite presents and time-honored Greek traditions. I personally recommend Greek Gear for all of your Greek products.

Do you have any other Greek life questions? Email me at or leave a comment!

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