Public Information Office
SLU 10880 Hammond,
LA 70402 phone:
Contact: Rene Abadie
|SOUTHEASTERN GREEK ORGANIZATIONS TO UNDERGO REVITALIZATION
HAMMOND - Fraternities and sororities
at Southeastern Louisiana University will participate in a revitalization
program intended to improve all aspects of the Greek community, the university
Key to the program is a five-year
strategic plan that addresses issues designed to increase membership, improve
leadership within the organizations, foster academic excellence and encourage
greater university and community service, said Vice President for Student
Affairs Brad O'Hara.
"Fraternities and sororities
have tremendous potential to positively shape individuals while enhancing
university life," O'Hara said. "The Southeastern Greek community is a valuable
asset to our university and area organizations. As with all organizations,
it's important to undergo evaluation and to analyze goals and performance.
We know that our Greek membership has declined over the last several years,
scholastic achievement is not at the level it should be, and we are in
need of renewed leadership. We are conducing an overall assessment of our
Greek organizations with the purpose of creating greater vision and direction."
Calling Southeastern's 16 fraternities
and sororities a "valuable resource for the local community," O'Hara said
the organizations performed more than 8,500 hours of community service
and donated approximately $16,000 to local charities last year. "In spite
of some challenges, they perform a considerable amount of public service
and charitable fund raising that we recognize and encourage," he said.
A multi-faceted program called
"Enhancing the Greek Community: A Partnership for Success" has been in
development by Southeastern's Division of Student Affairs in concert with
the fraternity and sorority councils, explained Jim McHodgkins, assistant
dean of student development.
"Our goal is to create a Greek
community that complements the university by improving student leadership
and scholarship and increasing the level of service to Southeastern and
the community," McHodgkins said.
"The sorority community recognizes
that there are several issues that we need to address as organizations,"
said Melissa Miller, president of the Panhellenic Council and a member
of Theta Phi Alpha Sorority. "We realize that our focus has to be more
on academic achievement and in developing new recruitment tactics to attract
quality members to our organizations."
Helping to launch the effort
will be nationally recognized consultant David Stollman of
Philadelphia. Co-founder and partner of CampusSpeak, Inc., an agency
that provides issues-based speakers and programs for college campuses,
Stollman will be at Southeastern on Wednesday (February 12) to meet with
university fraternity and sorority leadership and to provide a keynote
address that evening.
Stollman's message to fraternities
and sororities, McHodgkins said, is that Greek communities need to evolve
to fit into today's campus environment. Recruitment methods need to address
both issues of quantity and quality. In his presentations, Stollman
addresses issues such as risk management, hazing, and new member education
as part of an overall approach to excellence.
Kay Harrison, interim coordinator
of student organizations, noted that Greek membership at Southeastern has
declined by 31 percent, from a high of more than 750 members in fall 1999
to 518 members in fall 2002.
"Many of the issues that affect
the Greek community can be traced to recruiting," she said. "Although we
already conduct a number of educational initiatives with our fraternities
and sororities, it's apparent they need the kind of expertise and refocusing
that Mr. Stollman will impart."
Harrison said Southeastern's
program will include an accurate assessment of the strengths and weaknesses
of each individual chapter with the intent that each group will develop
a plan for proactive membership recruitment and organizational improvement.
"It's true that our Greek community
probably has not done enough in the past few years to change things," said
Desha Burton, president of the Pan-Hellenic Council and a member of the
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. "This new plan should help all Greek organizations
at Southeastern improve their chapters."
Other proposed initiatives include:
-- improving and enhancing programs
designed to promote academic excellence among the Greek communities;
-- developing a closer relationship
with international and national parent organizations of Greek communities
to share information and help maintain accountability on a chapter's progress;
-- identifying and educating alumni
of Greek chapters who are willing to take a more active role in the revitalization
of their chapters;
-- utilizing advisory teams rather
than one advisor for each chapter;
-- encouraging chapter executives to
share the leadership and educational training they receive from national
organizations with their individual members; and
-- developing a greater working relationship
with community organizations to increase service opportunities for chapters.
A key part of the strategic plan
is an assessment that evaluates each chapter's progress in academics, university
relations, community service, campus involvement and new member education.
Called the "Five Star Assessment Program," the pilot initiative involves
the six fraternities of the Interfraternity Council and establishes objective
criteria on which each chapter will be evaluated. Corresponding rewards
and incentives will implemented, ranging from a five-star ranking which
will result in increased privileges to a one-star rating triggering social
probation for one semester. If a chapter fails to improve its one-star
rating, the university will remove its recognition of the organization.
"This is one big step in the
right direction," said Sean Lagarosse, president of the Interfraternity
Council and a member of Theta Chi Fraternity. "The program will rate our
chapters on several different aspects of Greek life. The ratings will be
made public, so anyone interested in joining one of our fraternities will
know how each chapter faired."
He said the information will
also provide valuable feedback to the chapters, enabling them to make changes
necessary to become better organizations.
"Our intent is to make our Greek
organizations stronger by helping them evaluate their own organizations
and by providing them with tools that will help them grow," O'Hara said.
"We believe our chapters are motivated to improve and to evolve in a way
that helps them address the different needs of today's college student."
to News Releases