By Amanda Getchel
After acknowledging recent violent incidences at parties and a problem communicating with each other, Ball State University fraternity and sorority members have created a plan to improve their relationships and image within the Greek system and the university.
The five-year strategic plan was shown Sunday after 21 people spent 370 days planning for Greek life's future.
The university has just developed its own strategic plan and one objective is to continue the revitalization of Greek life on campus, President Jo Ann Gora told about 80 Greek members, alumni and administrative officials in her opening remarks at the unveiling. "This is an incredibly important part of the plan because Greek members make up a small percentage of the number of students on campus," she said, "but the members are an enormous percentage of those who are involved in other campus organizations."
Kay Bales, vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, said during the last two years a lot of time was spent discussing the fraternities and sororities on Ball State's campus.
In Fall 2005, an external consultant was hired to assess the Greek community. Bales said more than 120 people looked at hundreds of documents and talked to people on campus who were both involved and not involved in Greek life.
The research and time spent resulted in a 37-page report that suggested creating a strategic plan committee."The plan provides a blueprint for a more vibrant and successful Greek community," Bales said. "We're all responsible for the future of the community and in my time at Ball State I've never found a university president or Greek administrators than the ones here who are more committed to creating a community that is beyond what we've dared to dream in the past."
Kelly Shrock, a Sigma Kappa sorority alumna, said when she was at Ball State in the 1980s, many women joined sororities, but today more students are financing their education and do not have as much time to be involved in organizations like fraternities and sororities.
She said the plan would be valuable and work to strengthen the experience and value of belonging to such organizations.
LaKisha Johnson, president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, said she thought the Greek strategic plan was well planned out, extensive and could be accomplished if everyone in the community worked together.
She said even though she is a senior, she would encourage her members to participate in the implementation teams because the teams are necessary to make the plan work.
The implementation teams focus on issues of the plan to make sure each step gets finished.Johnson said she thought most of the goals were reasonable, but some areas, such as recruitment, might not be feasible for the NPHC.
Her council does not have open recruitment like the Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council, and therefore cannot follow the same plans at the other councils, she said.
Director of Student Life Lynda Wiley said each April the plan will be evaluated to see what needs to be changed or updated and what needs to be done during the following year.
In four years, Student Life representatives and Greek community members will look at what has been accomplished in the strategic plan and what needs to be done still. Then they can begin to create the next strategic plan, she said.
"Some may see this unveiling as the finish line, but we see this as the beginning," she said.
The Ball State University Fraternity and Sorority Community Strategic Plan 2007-2012 includes eight defined goals and areas to work on.
- They are:
- Academic Achievement - Goal 1:
The Greek community will support the Ball State University mission by establishing academic standards for all Greek councils to ensure that all chapters will maintain a grade point average above the all-men's or all-women's average.
- Alumni and Advisors - Goal 2:
The Greek community will engage alumni to ensure active participation and consistent chapter advisement and support.
- Chapter Achievement - Goal 3:
The Office of Student Life, in conjunction with student leaders and alumni, will outline organizational expectations and responsibilities for all fraternities and sororities resulting in increased chapter and member accountability.
- Chapter Housing - Goal 4:
The Office of Student Life, in conjunction with Housing and Residence Life and alumni house corporation boards, will provide fraternity and sorority members with living and meeting space that is safe, attractive and conducive to learning.
- Leadership and Membership Development - Goal 5:
The Office of Student Life, in conjunction with the governing councils, will address the need for both individual and chapter leadership development in fraternities and sororities.
- Recruitment and Expansion - Goal 6: The Ball State fraternity and sorority community will create an intentional and targeted recruitment program that focuses on the values of the community. By 2016, the total membership of the Greek community will be 2,060.
- Risk Reduction and Education - Goal 7:
The Ball State University greek community will support a social experience that is fun, safe and responsibly managed.
- Values, Vision and Relationships - Goal 8:
The fraternity and sorority governing councils will engage in an intentional planning and goal setting process to establish a clear direction for each chapter, council and the Greek community as a whole.