Friday, September 18, 2009

UC Berkeley Greeks Plan for Next Decade

Committees Plan 10-Year Process to Revamp Greek System
By Glen Chen ,Contributing Writer

With their 140th anniversary approaching next year, members of the UC Berkeley Greek community are working to reinvigorate the fraternity and sorority experience on campus with a "road map" for the next 10 years.

A coordinating committee composed of students, Berkeley community members and Greek alumni is working to finalize plans for the UC Berkeley Fraternity and Sorority Life Strategic Planning Process.

The plan would guide the campus Greek community through a 10-year process aimed at addressing all aspects of fraternity and sorority life, according to Grahaeme Hesp, campus director of fraternity and sorority life.

The committee aims to implement its recommendations by Dec. 1 this year.

"The plan will be the guiding document over the next 10 years," Hesp said. "It will determine the core purposes and values of the Greek community, especially in light of the budget situation."

According to Strategic Plan Chair Del Tacconi, seven core areas of improvement in the community-values, leadership, safety, support, governance, growth and measures of success-were identified by the committee last March.

Each area was subsequently assigned its own committee comprised of members who would concentrate on the subject and suggest improvements.

Jeff Woods, values committee chair and a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, said that the coordinating committee will meet at the end of October to write the first draft of the final plan.

A town hall meeting will follow on Nov. 19, providing members of the Berkeley community the opportunity to voice their concerns and learn more about the changes.

The committees have already located numerous areas of possible improvement for the campus Greek system, including raising standards of academics, safety and philanthropy, committee members said.

The values committee has considered a set of minimum standards for all fraternities and sororities on campus in the form of a mandatory minimum grade point average and the completion of service hours, Woods said.

The leadership committee, meanwhile, hopes to implement a comprehensive leadership development program that would address new members, leaders and chapter presidents, according to the coordinating committee Web site.

Anne Hohenberger, safety committee co-chair and a Delta Gamma sorority alumnae, stressed the importance of improving peer monitoring and education to address alcohol and substance abuse.

"Being in groups when going out together cuts down on risky situations," she said. "And we want to have as much education as possible but not to the point where people feel patronized."

Plans in the governance committee include ensuring a quality recruitment experience by developing a formalized recruitment system with a registration process and a single bid day.

Gordon Wong, co-chair of the growth committee and a chapter adviser for Pi Alpha Phi, emphasizedthe importance of expanding the Greek community while maintaining its reputation for philanthropy.

"A lot has to do with the public persona of the Greek system," he said. "(We need a) better understanding of the Greek system other than the stereotypical parties."