Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Illinois Greeks Challenged to return to Founding Values

Illinois Greek Initiative to evaluate IFC fraternities
By Jill Lowthian

In an effort to return University fraternities to their founding values of friendship, leadership, scholarship, service and social advancement the Interfraternity Council, or IFC, has implemented a new standards program called the Illinois Greek Initiative.

"The goal is to eradicate the problems of the negative stereotypes that fraternities have and to give chapter presidents something to strive for," said Steve Steinberg, IFC vice president of standards and junior in ACES.

The 15-page plan of action will go into effect for all IFC fraternities this semester. Under the initiative, the 46 fraternities will each be evaluated on a percentage basis.

Within the 11 sections of the initiative are 39 different standards, each with a given point value. The fraternities must comply with the standard and provide proper verification in order to receive the points.

"They're basically all the different items a fraternity needs to be successful," Steinberg said. "You get all the points or no points."

Items under the category of risk management are worth the most points. For example, a chapter must host one event concerning alcohol abuse per semester. To receive full points, there must be 80 percent membership attendance.

At the end of the calendar year, the fraternity chapters will be classified as exceptional, satisfactory, or unsatisfactory based on their earned points. Those chapters in the exceptional tier, meaning that they have scored an 85 percent or higher, will receive recognition from the IFC.

"We will publish something about them on our Web site and something in a pamphlet that we give out to all incoming freshmen for recruitment," Steinberg said.

Chapters with a score below 60 percent are deemed unsatisfactory and must meet with the IFC Judicial Board until their scores increase. The IFC Judicial Board will assess the chapter's weaknesses and discuss ways that they can be improved.

Ashley Dye, assistant dean of students for Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and the primary advisor to the IFC, said although the initiative may be a difficult task for some fraternities, others may not be affected by it.

"Some chapters are doing every single thing in the standards program already, on their own," Dye said. "Just now, they have to let the IFC know about the stuff that they're doing."

Nik Abel, chapter president of Delta Upsilon fraternity, said a similar standards program already exists in their international fraternity. However, Abel said he still thinks his and other fraternities will benefit from the initiative.

"I think that (fraternities act as) a self-governing body, and that we should all need to prove that we're a functioning chapter," Abel said. "I think (the initiative) will be successful."
Steinberg has received mixed reactions about the initiative from chapter presidents, with some saying it will just be extra paperwork.

"Mostly, though, people think that it's a good thing and new presidents will have something to follow," Steinberg said.

Steinberg said he does not know of any Greek councils on other campuses that follow as extensive of a program as the Illinois Greek Initiative, but said he hopes that the IFC will set an example.

"We have hopes that other Greek communities at different schools with follow," Steinberg said.
The complete Illinois Greek Initiative can be found on the IFC Web site, illiniifc.com.
(C) 2008 Daily Illini