Wednesday, December 24, 2008

How Does Your Campus Rate?

Roadblocks to Effective Greek Systems
from our friends at GREEK MOVEMENT

How’s your Greek system doing?
I recently went to the University library and started to browse through some dusty books on fraternities and sororities. One book, “Fraternities and Sororities on the Contemporary College Campus,” outlined four roadblocks to effective Greek systems. I’ll summarize them for you – and add some extra commentary.

1) Lack of an Adequate Institutional Infrastructure.
Back in the day, many of the top University officials on campus – the men and women who ran the campus – were Greek alumni. This created a close-knit relationship between the University and the Greek system. Many of these University officials mentored the Greek leaders on campus and served as Greek advisors.

The Greek advisor role over the years has been pushed down the totem pole. Now, on many campuses, you’ll find that the Greek Advisor position is an entry-level type of position with weak pay. Some Greek advisors now aren’t even Greek!

2) Conflict and Competition
Greek award banquets provide good competition, but sometimes at a cost. When the goal becomes building up the chapter resume, it is sometimes hard to work with other chapters on things such as community service, raising money, and so on.

Sadly, when Greek chapters finally do come together – it is usually for an exciting, highly competitive intramural game. Greeks have gotten used to the idea that when they see Greeks from another chapter, they have to put their game face on.

3) Problem Resolution
Ask a Greek Advisor - at times, it feels like most of their energy is spent on resolving conflicts and solving problems rather than creating positive educational activities. With big problems such as alcoholism, drugs, hazing, and rape to deal with – they are often perceived as a parent or principal rather than an encouraging mentor or coach.

4) Failure to Appreciate the Benefits of Greek Life
Because of stereotypes, most academic leaders, parents, and new freshman don’t see the benefits of going Greek. Therefore, much energy must be given during formal recruitment to undo the negative perceptions.

On national level, we can partner together to influence our society through media (blogs, YouTube, TV, etc.) and other creative means to undo the perceptions.

Most importantly, Greek advisors, student leaders, and alumni volunteers must do the hard work of giving their time and energy to seeing lives changed on a local level. We have to be honest that many of the stereotypes are true on our campuses.

If we work hard to bring about reform and change on the local level first, it will only be a matter of time before the stereotypes disappear on a national level.
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