spotlight Community’s Commitment to Diversity Empowers Fraternity/Sorority Members to Reflect, Engage and Act. “We envision a sorority and fraternity community that recognizes that all individuals and ideas have value.“
individuals, and develop skills for interrupting inappropriate or marginalizing actions. Participants returned to campus with a plan for creating a more inclusive and understanding community through the relationships they established at the retreat.
So begins the Diversity Commitment Standard for the fraternity/sorority community at The Ohio State University. This vision creates the framework for what has become Finally, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life partners a culture-shifting initiative which was recognized with with the institution’s Intergroup Dialogue Program to engage the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Diversity members of fraternities and sororities in Initiative Award (AFA Award). Ohio State’s ongoing intensive peer-to-peer discussions. four-tiered diversity education features The Intergroup Dialogue Program offers standards of excellence, chapter diversity The largest impact of the chapters an opportunity to engage in three programs, the Intergroup Dialogue Program, program has been the layers of diversity education: Ally, Advocate the Vice President of Student Life Diversity increased knowledge of and Activist, which are three layers of Retreat, and the Great Operations Officer introduction, engagement and action. skills and competencies for Transition Conference. Through these Chapters are recognized for their participation our community. Students efforts, the institution has been able to infuse in the program. The program encourages diversity education into all facets of its work have been at the foreground chapters to understand social action and their with fraternities and sororities. of advancing and increasing responsibility as a fraternal organization.
our standards as it relates On the chapter level, the institution supports Diversity education is infused into the to diversity education. programming to fulfill the Diversity operations of chapters through the diversity Commitment Standard. Each chapter is track at the Great Operations Officer expected to fulfill this requirement by hosting Transition Conference. This is a one-day educational programs and participating in programs on leadership opportunity for student leaders starting chapter campus. For example, these programs have included titles leadership positions. The goal of the diversity track during the such as “Eight Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say” and conference is to help new chapter leaders understand their role “Queer Civil Rights and the Oval Office.” The community in advancing diversity initiatives within their organizations. is able to leverage relationships with the institution’s multicultural center as well as the Fraternity and Sorority By focusing on the value of individuals and their perspectives Life Office to facilitate these educational discussions. While Ohio State is creating a safe environment for members of mostly passive programming, the standard ensures members fraternities and sororities to explore their own identity while are exposed to diverse thoughts and perspectives. learning from the experience of others. Programming through this initiative expands to the community level through the Vice President of Student Life’s Diversity Retreat. This two-day retreat utilizes a framework and facilitators from the National Coalition Building Institute to create a safe space for an honest discourse around identity and understanding. Through this retreat, chapter members are able to discuss perceptions and myths about identity groups, affirm pride in their identity, learn about the impact of oppression and discrimination on identity groups and
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The program’s nominator described real, tanglible results: “The Sorority and Fraternity Life community has continued its commitment to diversity by enhancing several initiatives which provide an opportunity for students to reflect, engage and act. Through [the] Standards of Excellence process, chapters have been charged to re-think diversity education and the fraternal experience. The increased involvement from community members has been another impact of the initiative. Community members have been more engaged in diversity offerings on campus; attendance during Multicultural Center events has highly increased and students have reported having an active role in the development of initiatives for the campus to promote diversity and inclusion.”