With an eye toward enhancing fraternity and sorority life (FSL) at Willamette, the university conducted an external review of the Greek letter community late last year. Consultants Monica Lee Miranda and Jason Bergeron met with a diverse group of students, staff, university leaders and chapter advisors/volunteers as part of the study.
Respondents identified numerous points of pride associated with fraternities and sororities, including an increased sense of belonging, a greater likelihood of retention, and opportunities for philanthropy and leadership development. Current challenges include a decrease in sorority and fraternity affiliation, the absence of a comprehensive public relations strategy and a feeling that Willamette needs to cultivate a stronger sense of tradition.
To build on the strengths and respond to the challenges noted above, the consultants presented the following recommendations:
- Create a half-time position to begin building a sustainable staffing model.
- Develop a new mission and vision for the collective FSL community.
- Implement a larger communications plan for the FSL community that includes campuswide messaging and updates to national organizations.
- Enhance cultural competency of the FSL community via diversity and inclusion training for all members.
- Build a set of expectations for fraternity chapters centered on safety training and continuing efforts to promote healthy masculinity.
- Create a “fraternity/sorority life progress card” to track key performance indicators such as academic performance, membership data retention and key survey data.
The consultants, who have extensive experience assessing and leading FSL communities, grounded the review in guidelines established by the Council for the Advancement of Standards. The council is widely regarded as the pre-eminent force for promoting standards in student affairs, development and services.
About 70 Willamette community members participated in the study, which focused on strengths, challenges and opportunities in five key areas:
- Students and their environment
- Diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism
- Organization, leadership and human resources
- Health, safety and member accountability
- Fraternity/sorority housing and space
For complete information about the findings and recommendations, read the full report.