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Cultural Greeks INSIDE


VOL. 3 / ISSUE 011 / SUMMER 2010

More useful than Chemistry. Easier than Algebra. Now with 60% fewer blackboards! LeaderLink Early Fall Schedule Wednesday, September 8th, 6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT

Building Better Members: Enhancing the New Member Experience Presented by Dan Wrona and Chandra Daffer, RISE Partnerships There’s a lot riding on you right now. The chapter just recruited a young, energetic group of new members and everyone is looking to you for leadership in how to educate and prepare them for initiation. As the new member educator, you play a critical role in the success of your chapter. How you handle it will lay the groundwork for a generation of future leaders. That’s a lot of pressure, but with a few simple lessons, you can create a powerful new member experience that will meet the challenge. Join us for this resource-filled webinar to get tips on coaching new members, learn about interesting and effective activities, and gather the tools to design your program. Tuesday, September 28th, 8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT

The AFLV Awards & Assessment Process Presented by Ryan Hilperts, Director of AFLV Awards & Assessment Join us for this FREE webinar and learn the ins and outs of the AFLV Awards and Assessment process. Learn how this program can help guide and transform the work of your councils. This webinar will provide an overview of the process and give you the tools to complete a successful awards and assessment application. Content will be relevant for both new and returning applicants! Thursday, October 14th, 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT

The AFLV Awards & Assessment Process Presented by Ryan Hilperts, Director of AFLV Awards & Assessment Join us for this FREE webinar and learn the ins and outs of the AFLV Awards and Assessment process. Learn how this program can help guide and transform the work of your councils. This webinar will provide an overview of the process and give you the tools to complete a successful awards and assessment application. Content will be relevant for both new and returning applicants! Tuesday, October 26th, 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT

Greeks Go Green: Sustainability in Fraternity and Sorority Housing Presented by Teniell Trolian, Kent State University and Whitney Swesey, University of Akron/RISE Partnerships This webinar will discuss ways to make fraternity and sorority housing more ecofriendly and sustainable, through home improvement options, energy saving strategies, environmentally-safe cleaning products, and recycling. This webinar will also address ways in which we are negatively impacting the environment and ways to address those negative impacts.

the inside starts here

FEATURES 006 / stepping, strolling & party hopping // kelly jo karnes & angela king 010 / stop apologizing! // carolyn whittier, ph.d. 014 / there’s no place like home // robert page 036 / taking action: kent state university

COLUMNS 002 // letter from the executive director 002 // letter from the editor 016 // facilitation 411 018 // ask the experts 024 // from the road 027 // the wall 028 // busted! 032 // one more thing

Connections is the official publication of the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values. The views expressed by contributors, authors and advertisers are not necessarily those of the Association. AFLV encourages the submission of content to: Lea Hanson Director of Publications connections@aflv.org Submit advertising queries to: Mark Koepsell Executive Director mark@aflv.org 970/372.1174 888/855.8670 info@aflv.org

Connections is published four times each year. Submission Deadlines: Fall 2010: Mental Health, August 30 Winter 2011: Social Media, December 1 Send address corrections to: Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values 420 South Howes Bldg B; Suite 200 Fort Collins, CO 80524 970/372.1174 888/855.8670 info@aflv.org

Layout & Design Steve Whitby / Warehouse 242 swhitby@mac.com Editorial Board Andrea Battaglia / Drury University Ryan Hilperts / AFLV Andrew Hohn / University of Illinois, Urbana-Chapaign Carol Preston / Wittenberg University Teniell Trolian / Kent State University Viancca Williams / University of South Florida

Member / Fraternity Communications Association

AFLV // 001

The world of fraternity and sorority is changing rapidly. It sometimes feels ironic that organizations built so strongly on tradition and history provide the same urgency and momentum as so many other areas of our lives. One area that seems to evolve more quickly than I or anybody else can keep up with is the world of culturally focused fraternal organizations. This exciting and celebrated momentum also comes with a certain amount of challenge. Chapters and new organizations are popping up all over, faster than we can keep a centralized data base of who and where. The same lack of organizational history provides both excitement and pause. There are more questions about council placement, shared mission, and organizational flow than there are answers. On many campuses organizations get forced into council categories that don’t really fit just to provide a place to put them. Many advisors aren’t equipped to advise adequately, and too many others let cultural difference stand in the way of effectiveness - rather out of fear of the unknown or lack of education and understanding. There are so many days when I get excited about the work our Association is doing to enhance and support the Cultural Greek movement. From the National Black and Cultural Greek Leadership Conferences to the focused support and resource development, there is much to celebrate. However, there is so much more to do and the work we are doing is barely scratching the surface. I call upon each of you reading this magazine to give yourself a good self assessment to see if the work you are doing is enough. I am often saddened to hear campus advisors dismiss the culturally focused organizations as something that Multicultural Affairs, Black Student Services, or other “culturally focused” offices work with. I am disturbed to hear stories of good advising gone awry because a race card is thrown and the advisor acts differently than she/he would with an NIC or NPC organization out of fear (and dare I say ignorance) of working with culturally focused organizations. So let us celebrate this movement! NPHC organizations have been around for over 100 years and provide a rich sense of history and tradition. Many (but not all) Latino/a, Asian, Native-American, and Multi-Cultural organizations are young and don’t fit the cookie cutter policies that were created for NIC and NPC and even NPHC organizations. Not all of these chapters fit neatly into an umbrella council (both on campus and inter/nationally). The tapestry of our quilt is ever changing. The individual squares and colors within provide great beauty. Individually they stand alone and provide much to celebrate and honor. However, it is that finished quilt that I truly enjoy – the richness of it all coming together, honoring the individuality and marveling in the community of it all presented in one beautiful product we refer to as the modern day fraternal movement.

Although Connections is written with our primary audience (the undergraduate fraternity/sorority leader) in mind, this particular issue reads well for both our advisor and undergraduate readers. When planning for the issue and considering the most important topics for articles, it was difficult to get away with NOT addressing the needs of our professional constituents. We wanted to move beyond conversations that revolved around “how to get councils and chapters to cosponsor events” and really get into the meat of a few bigger picture ideas that relate to multi/cultural fraternities and sororities. Certainly, undergraduate council and chapter leaders will benefit from reading these articles, too, and we hope that exposure to this bigger picture thinking will spark some action and advocacy among this group. Too often working with issues of diversity and advocacy make us feel uncomfortable; we get tied up trying to remember the right term to use, worrying about what others will think of us, and second guessing our own commitment and qualifications. But, these situations ought to be opportunities for growth rather than moments of embarrassment. It is my hope that this issue of Connections will provide both students and advisors with some tools for learning and change… and resources to turn those awkward moments into opportunities for creativity and excellence.

Executive Director Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values Editor Connections Magazine 002 // connections // 2010 • summer

Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Executive Director






Robert Page

University of Kansas & National Black Greek Leadership Conference • rpage@ku.edu When we think about the who’s who when it comes to knowing the issues about NPHC organizations, Robert Page is one of the people at the top of the list. Page brings up a conversation topic that many of us haven’t even thought of asking on our campuses: where should NPHC fraternities and sororities reside when it comes to organizational structure and advising? Many of you probably haven’t even considered the idea of this structure working different than how you’ve currently got it all set up – but after reading this article, you will. Page gives a history of this turf war and makes compelling recommendations for current and future practice. Anyone who is a member of an NPHC organization, NPHC governing council, campus multicultural council, or advises or works with these groups in any fashion should take a look at this article.

Kelly Jo Karnes

University of Iowa • Kellyjo-karnes@uiowa.edu

Angela King

Middle Tennessee State University • anking@mtsu.edu We love how these two women worked together to provide a smart and insightful approach to what some view to be a highly controversial topic. King and Karnes teamed up to write this article that provides one perspective of the provocative topic of stepping and strolling and who is allowed to do it. This article thoughtfully asks a number of questions that will get your council and chapter leaders talking - and maybe yelling. For good or bad, an important dialogue to have… and this article will provide you with a foundation to bring that conversation.

Carolyn Whittier, Ph.D.

Virginia Commonwealth University • whittierce@vcu.edu Dr. Whittier puts it right out there for the white people in the room. For too long have we focused on energy on the color of an advisor’s skin than on their actual skills and abilities to advise cultural and multicultural councils and chapters. Whittier expresses the importance of immersion, education, and understanding and says that these factors are just as important – and can be more important – than whether or not the advisor is a member of a multi/cultural fraternity or sorority. Whittier also introduces us to White Identity Development and explains that understanding one’s own racial identity is a journey we all must engage in no matter the color of our skin, our racial and ethnic background, or fraternal affiliation.

AFLV // 003


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when the rest of the world seems plastic & creepy, AFLV has a dose of real questions that make sense.

the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values are you ready to ask good questions?

AFLV 2011 Events & Programs

International Service Immersion / El Salvador, January 2011 AFLV Central & NBGLC / St. Louis, MO February 10-13, 2011 AFLV West & NCGLC / Costa Mesa, CA April 7-10, 2011 The Gathering / Mohican Lodge, Ohio June 5-8, 2011 National House Director Conference / Providence, RI June 2011

Stepping, Strolling & by Kelly Jo Karnes & Angela King

Are we out of line with our values?

006 // connections // 2010 • summer

Party Hopping Many of us have read the various blogs, Facebook messages, and newspaper articles expressing some discontent within Black Greekdom toward the February 20 announcement that a historically white sorority was the winner of the Sprite Step Off National Competition in Atlanta, Georgia.

AFLV // 007

The challenge came in the finals when Zeta Tau Alpha beat three National PanHellenic Council sororities and won the $100,000 first place prize. While many black Greeks have given the ZTAs their due, the fallout over the question of whom really owns stepping has emerged.

I n Febr uar y 2010, the National Black Greek Leadership Conference/Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values Conference played host to its 2nd Annual Stroll Competition. Students from Iowa to North Carolina participated in the competition. The competition’s purposes were to provide a history of stepping and strolling, showcase its significance to culturally based groups, and unify the various IFC, NPHC, PHC and MGC councils on college campuses through strolling. Again, some in attendance at this event were outraged that anyone other than an NPHC member was allowed to step or stroll. These instances have led us to have long conversations about the bigger question: as a community, are we out of line with the values of our organizations? The last time we checked, NPHC organizations were founded upon the values of brotherhood/ sisterhood, leadership, academic excellence and service to others. Nowhere have we been able to find stepping, strolling and party hopping as a value and inherent purpose/founding principle of any NPHC or culturally based fraternity or sorority. So again, we ask: have we lost touch with these values as we have the stepping conversations? Do NPHC organizations have a trademark on the art of stepping? Not so much. Despite this lack of official ownership, however, is it appropriate for those outside of NPHC organizations to stroll and step? Why exactly do we get so bent out of shape when our fraternal counterparts choose to step in a step show or stroll in a stroll off ? What is the real concern? Is it because they have not earned the privilege to step? Do NPHC organizations view it as disrespectful, as opposed to a form of flattery, or is it just plain uncomfortable to see white folks stepping? There is no perfect answer to these questions but we need an opportunity to reflect and think about the core issue.

008 // connections // 2010 • summer

Like most traditions in the fraternity and sorority community, stepping and strolling have evolved far beyond what many of us could have ever imagined. In the early days, a step show was, just that, a step show. The focus was the actual stepping, cadence, and synchronization. Now, flashy lights, professional costumes, props, skits, dancing, and singing all seem to be major aspects of today’s step shows. In fact, many spare no cost to put on a great step show. We pour both financial resources and countless hours practicing and coordinating this endeavor (and in many cases it proves to be a significant money maker for organizations). Often, there is debate about whether a team won because they stepped well or because the audience was well-entertained.

Opinions vary across states, regions, coasts, predominately white institutions, and historically black institution as to what makes a good step show. Some might say that the added effects are a necessary part of the show while purists would argue that it is the actual art form that makes the show. Everyone seems to have a different position when it comes to stepping. If we value the art form so much, then why not go back to the basics? Not likely. Stepping has taken on a whole new meaning and continues to be ever-changing. With the evolution of today’s step show, it is inevitable that the glitter and glam of it all might catch the attention of the world. While much of the controversy regarding who has the right to step seems to begin at the collegiate level, countless number of people are learning to step and perform for the masses that are not members of NPHC organizations. It is no secret that many NPHC organizations sponsor junior high and high school organizations with step teams such as the Archonettes, Kappa League, Sigma Beta, Omega Prep, Sons of the Sphinx, Del-teens, and Ivy Pearls. All of these groups were created and mentored by NPHC organizations. Additionally, many high schools have step teams, some of which are known statewide. And, what about Step Afrika!? Step Afrika! is composed of both Greek and non-Greek members, and was founded by a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. This group serves as an educational resource to promote an understanding of and appreciation for stepping to people worldwide. Do we ask Step Afrika! to stop educating the masses about the art of stepping? Do we ask junior high and high school students to disband their step teams because their healthy curiosity and desire to learn is disrespectful and they have not yet earned the right to step? For many of these organizations, stepping serves as an outlet for many African-American and other youth throughout the country. It allows many of them an opportunity to do something productive

and partake in a much needed form of exercise. Is it so horrible that young men and women seek to emulate the rich legacy of NPHC organizations? For some of these young men and women, it might be the first time they picture themselves on a college campus. Is that not the purpose of our organizations? Here is the million dollar question: is stepping a signature activity of NPHC organizations? Certainly! Is it the most important? Absolutely not! Academic achievement, service to the community, exemplary leadership, being true to the ideal of brotherhood and sisterhood, and living your ritual are the most significant aspects of any fraternal experience. The opportunity to showcase over one hundred years of rich legacy and tradition through the step show experience is simply a BONUS to the foundations of the fraternal experience. Stepping is not the purpose of NPHC organizations, nor is it the reason that the legacy continues. If we truly believe that stepping in the foundation of NPHC organizations, then we are in serious trouble. Before anyone is able to claim ownership, we think that it is important to know and understand the history of the tradition of stepping and strolling. Long before the establishment of the current chapters of NPHC, the evolution of the movement known today as stepping was said to have originated from Africa with the “gumboot dance.” The gumboot dance is an African dance, started in the late 1800s, that is performed by dancers wearing Wellington (Welly) boots – a rubber-like boot. The boots may be embellished with bells, so that they ring as the dancers stamp on the ground. This sound would be a code or a different calling to say something to another person a few distances away; it was basically used as their language in the mining grounds. The earliest written reference to public dancing by new members that may be considered stepping is traced to a 1925 article in the Howard University student newspaper, The Hilltop. This article

described the fraternity members’ actions: “demurely and aesthetically danced about the campus as if in time to the fairy Pipes of Pan?” The phrase “the fairy Pipes of Pan” suggests that perhaps these fraternity men were performing to music or a beat that only they could hear; as in stepping, there is often no accompanying music (Kimbrough, 2003). In the 1950s and 60s, fraternities started singing and dancing to mimic the styles of R & B groups like The Temptations and The Four Tops. This rhythmical styling has contributed in part as to what we know as “stepping” today. It is also said that the military has had a huge influence on the evolution of stepping. Soldiers who were fraternity members came back to the United States after serving in World War II and incorporated elements of drill routines, such as military marching and line formation, into their step routines. Today, stepping is performed by elementary, middle and high schools, as well as by churches and cheerleaders. Stepping can now be seen in movies like School Daze (1988), Road Trip (2000), Drumline (2002), Stomp the Yard (2007), How She Move (2008), and in television shows including A Different World and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. We fully agree that stepping and strolling has great significance within the cultural traditions of Black Greekdom. Our concern remains as to why members have become so consumed with the idea that other groups do not have the right to step or stroll. We have focused too much time and energy on conversations about who should or should not be stepping and strolling, that we have lost sight of our true values and founding principles.

We are fairly certain that the founders of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. or Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. did not decide that their organizations would focus on brotherhood/sisterhood, leadership, service and strolling. This form of celebration did not start as an original ritual with our founders; it has grown over time. Much like hazing, our organizations did not have this as a piece of our founding principles, yet it has managed to seep into our culture and consume some of our organizations. Has stepping and strolling become more important in our organizations than academic excellence or service to the community? If you are conflicted as to the importance of stepping and strolling within your organization versus your founding principles, please give us a call. We would be glad to help you through your conflict. Stepping and strolling are great ways to celebrate your organization. With that said, we must be willing to educate others about the significance of stepping. It is impossible to prevent the masses from enjoying the art form, therefore we must embrace the interest and teach them why stepping is important to our organizations. Then, maybe they too will respect the art form and appreciate the pride that is associated with the experience. The evolution of stepping will continue with or without you, so why not be involved in shaping the movement? Remember, in order to educate others about what it means to step, we must first educate our own members as many have no idea how the stepping movement began. It should be underscored that stepping and strolling are small aspects of the legacy that represents NPHC organizations. Remember, one cannot obtain a bachelors degree in stepping, strolling, or even your organization. Some Sorors and Fraters get caught up in Greekdom, and find that they are seventh year seniors with graduation nowhere in sight. We know these members! They attended every party and can perform a step or stroll to perfection but cannot remember the last time they attended a chapter meeting, service event, or led a committee. And yes, we all have at least one in our chapters.

Once you have graduated from college, it will be obvious that stepping and strolling are not the core of your experience. Do not be that Soror or Frater with so much pride in your organization that you roll around town with your organization’s tag on your car yet you cannot seem to find your way to a graduate chapter meeting or to the bank to pay your dues. Our organizations do not run on air and need your support! Once you graduate, get and stay involved. Attend state and regional conferences. Be sure to have the boule or conclave experience as this is where the business of our organization happens; you cannot do that if you have not maintained your financial commitment to your organization though. Membership in a fraternity or sorority is a lifelong commitment and should be taken seriously. If you meant what you said when you took your oath, you will find the fraternal experience to be one of the most fulfilling experiences you have ever had. Your impact on the community and the world will be undeniable and you will be reminded of why you chose to be a part of the fraternal movement. References Fine, E. (2003). Soulstepping: African American step shows. University of Illinois Press. Kimbrough, W. (2003). Black Greek 101: The Culture, customs and challenges of Black fraternities and sororities. Danvers, MA: Rosemont Publishing and Printing Corporation. AFLV // 009

by Carolyn E. Whittier, Ph.D.

010 // connections // 2010 • summer

The 21st century is an exciting time in the history of fraternities and sororities. The emergence of culturally-based organizations and the increasing integration of National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) chapters into the fraternity and sorority community have created an ongoing dialogue about the skills and abilities needed to advise and guide this increasingly diverse fraternity and sorority experience. Campus-based professionals are expected to advocate for a unified fraternity and sorority experience while also celebrating the differences between each of the individual organizations. Having a strong foundation in the fundamentals of student development is the essential characteristic for a campus-based professional to successfully navigate this ever changing landscape. Advising a culturally-based chapter is no different than advising a National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) or North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) organization. Every undergraduate fraternity and sorority chapter focuses on scholarship, service, personal development, and campus involvement informed by the values and ritual of the organization. Regardless of the cultural heritage or influence of the organization, the fundamentals still exist. Members are recruited and selected; officers are elected and trained; alumni/ae are involved locally, regionally or nationally; and the members are enrolled in college and balancing all of the demands on their time. Advising becomes complicated when race and ethnicity enter the conversation. Often students will challenge an advisor that does not look like them or did not have a similar undergraduate experience. What could a white woman have to offer the men in a historically African-American fraternity? What could an Asian man possibly know about NPC recruitment structures? These types of questions are often unspoken challenges to the value and validity of the advice being given by the campus based professional and can create a divide. When race and ethnicity enter into the conversation there is no avoiding it. The current generation of college students is more able to have a higher level conversation about the role of race and ethnicity in their lives than their preceding generations. “Millennials have a much more expansive understanding of issues of race, gender and sexism, sexual orientation and heterosexism, political attitudes, and social justice behaviors” (Broido, 2004, p.77). However, with this higher level of understanding and comprehension there is also a higher level of ability to avoid the issues and it is the responsibility of the campus-based professional to face that conversation head on. Students’ ability to dialogue about issues of difference is an invitation to the campus-based professionals to enter; however, do not enter the conversation unprepared. One of the fundamentals for advisors working with fraternity men and sorority women is to research and know their information. It is imperative that the fraternity and sorority advisor know and understand the terminology, intake/recruitment practices, and the local, regional and national structures

of all fraternities and sororities on campus. If an advisor does not know the difference between a Polemarch, a Number 1, a High Alpha and a Chapter President – that is a problem. Hermanas, sands, prophyte, boule, the yard, and others are all terms that are essential to know, understand, and if used, used properly during interactions with men and women who are members of NPHC and culturally based fraternities and sororities. Obtaining a strong understanding of the history of culturally based fraternities and sororities and the need these organizations were filling at the time of their inception (early 1900’s for the NPHC organizations and the 1980’s explosion of today’s culturally based organizations), is a critical element to understanding the structures and the national projects adopted by the individual fraternities and sororities. It is also important to understand the regional culture for the emerging culturally based organizations. A chapter of a National Association of Pacific American Panhellenic Association (NAPA) or National Multicultural Greek Council (NMGC) organization will operate differently in California than it might in Virginia. A National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) chapter in Texas will operate much differently than a chapter of the same organization in New Jersey. There are significant West Coast – East Coast manifestations of chapter traditions and expectations, and having a tertiary understanding of this is essential to proper advising. Not knowing the critical information of every chapter on your campus, regardless of their history, is not acceptable. Acknowledging the importance of history and symbolism for the NPHC, NALFO, NAPA, NMGC and other culturally based fraternities and sororities is a point of entrance into the larger conversation about race and ethnicity for the White advisor working with this special population of fraternity men and sorority women. Knowing your information is critical to any effort in opening the door to the advising relationship. Once an advisor has a foundation of the basics on culturally based fraternities and sororities, it is time to become exposed to their experience. It is recommended that advisors take the following six steps to create a stronger foundation in cultural competence: > Attend events consistently > Read scholarly information > Understand that there are no real secrets > Network with graduate chapters > Attend culturally based conferences > Ask vital and pertinent questions (Bradley and Hunter, 2008). By taking these steps to immerse yourself into the experience of culturally based fraternities and sororities, you will also open up a wealth of information about your own racial identity.

AFLV // 011

Helms (1990) provided a White Racial Identity Model theory that provides insight into how White men and women develop their own racial identity and then interact with people of other races. Helms’ theory suggests “that White identity development occurs via a stagewise process in which the White individual moves from a stage of naiveté with respect to race or racism to a sophisticated stage of biculturalism or racial transcendence” (Helms & Carter, 1990, p. 67). “The process of White racial identity development involves abandoning one’s racism and developing a realistic and selfaffirming racial identity” (Ponterotto, Utsey, & Pedersen, 2006, p. 93). Helms’ (1990) White Racial Identity Model states that the phases of progress for the Caucasian man or woman consist of the following: Contact Contact is a primitive status characterized by denial of or obliviousness to White privilege. Thus when this status is dominant in a White person, she or he will react to racial stimuli (e.g., discussion about racism) with avoidance, denial, or obliviousness. Understandably, as these individuals do not acknowledge the reality of racism in society, they take no action to understand their own privilege or work toward creating a more just society. Disintegration This status is characterized by disorientation, guilt, and anxiety as the realities of racism seems to break through the obliviousness of the contact stage. The individual is caught between wanting to be accepted by the normative (White) group and at the same time experiencing a moral dilemma over treating (or considering) Blacks as inferior to Whites. One solution to mitigating the anxiety of this stage is to re-embrace the ideology of the normative White group and its racist social pressure. If a person in disintegration adopts this solution to dealing with her or his ambivalence and anxiety, the reintegration status has been entered. Reintegration Reintegration is characterized by denigration of and intolerance toward non-White groups and by the forceful protection of one’s privilege and the racial status quo. Reintegration represents the purest racist status in the Helms model. Negative conditions associated with minority individuals are thought to reflect their own failings or lack of effort. The residual feelings of anxiety and guilt from the previous status are now transformed into anger and fear of minority group individuals. Pseudo-independence In pseudo-independence, the individual acknowledges the responsibilities of Whites for past and ongoing racism. These individuals are not comfortable with a racist stance and begin the search for a new White identity. However, in this status Whites operate more from an intellectual understanding of racism rather than from a sense of personal responsibility based on their own racism. Attention is directed more toward dissatisfaction with other Whites rather than a deep level of personal selfanalysis with regard to their own socialized racism. Immersion During immersion, individuals immerse themselves in the search for accurate information about race and in a deeper understanding of their own racist socializations as White people in America. An individual in immersion might be involved in social activism to fight racism.

012 // connections // 2010 • summer

Emersion In Helms’ latest model (Helms & Cook, 1999), emersion involves a withdrawal from the previous frantic search for a new identity that is characteristic of immersion and the embracing of a community of reeducated Whites where one can be rejuvenated and empowered in continuing one’s identity development. Autonomy Autonomy is the most advanced status of racial identity development for White Americans. The autonomous person is cognitively complex and flexible and may avoid life options that involve participation in racial oppression. Such individuals have the capacity to relinquish White privilege. The autonomous person is humanistic and involved in activism regarding many forms of oppression (e.g., fighting sexism, ageism, homophobia). It is the autonomy status of Helms’s model (1995; Helms & Cook, 1999) that closely resembles aspects of the multicultural personality (Ponterotto, et al., 2006 pp. 93-96). Helms places an emphasis on moral dilemmas in social interactions as the most significant influencers of one’s racial identity. This is very applicable to campus-based fraternity and sorority professionals who are placed in situations to interact with students different from them on a daily basis. Taking the time to properly analyze interactions with students from culturally based fraternities and sororities will lead to a better understanding of your own racial identity. It is also important to remember that college students are going through their own process of racial identity; one should not assume that every student of color is solid in their own racial development. There are profound opportunities to learn together through a properly developed relationship and through an open and honest dialogue. Actively working toward understanding one’s own racial identity provides knowledge and the ability to break down the communication barrier that can often exist between advisors and students. This, in combination with a strong foundational knowledge of student development theory and the historical context of culturally based fraternities and sororities, will make for a successful campus-based professional experience. Another factor in creating a strong advising relationship is to not accept the assumptions of the students, and to not make your own assumptions about the students. It is not appropriate for the students to assume they know anything about your personal and professional experience based on your race or your gender. It will be important to challenge the assumptions the students make about your knowledge and advising experience in a respectful yet strong manner. It is the notion of “do not assume because I am white that I belong to an NIC or NPC organization.” In the same perspective, it is not appropriate for the campus-based professional to assume that every Asian student wants to join a NAPA member organization. Assumptions about one another can be the first step in damaging the student-advisor relationship. When working with students from culturally based fraternities and sororities, it is important to be prepared for a series of interactions. Be prepared for less visible conflict around diversity issues and more body language or passive communication vehicles. It will be rare that the students will use race as a response in a meeting or a conversation with the advisor. This passive context will come up in passing comments or in avoidance of the relationship or interaction. An advisor must be in tune with this and confident enough to name it when it is taking place. It will also be important to help the students move beyond the food, festivals, fashion and fun approach to diversity education. While programming is part of an educational approach, true dialogue through personal interaction is essential to advancing the conversation around diversity and difference. Be willing to be vulnerable about your own identity when asking students to do the same. Attending the culture show can be the entrance into this larger, and more fulfilling, conversation.

Aiding students in their own development as learner and teacher is also a critical element. Students have the opportunity to learn from one another, which also creates an opportunity for them to be the teacher in the relationship as well. The campus-based professional should look for and facilitate opportunities for students to teach one another about their experience, background, or ethnic heritage. The NPHC chapter member can help the NPC member understand the historical references in a neophyte show while the NIC member can help the NALFO member understand the power of the fraternity network. This is also where returning to the commonalities of fraternity and sorority, rather than always focusing on the difference, can be very powerful. For example: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., alpha Kappa Delta Phi Sorority, Inc., Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, Inc., and Zeta Tau Alpha all have breast cancer research as one of their national philanthropies. Rather than have a series of separate programs in the month of October, why not encourage these chapters to work together to create a larger impact while also learning from one another? This is the ideal scenario of creating a learning and teaching opportunity for the students – and for the campus professional. In working with NPHC and other culturally based fraternities and sororities, it is imperative to not change your advising style, and to stop apologizing for being White. A person has no control over their race. What a human being does have control over are their thoughts and actions, and when well informed, those thoughts and actions can help move a fraternity and sorority system toward a community experience celebrating difference through the activities that unite us.

Helpful Steps to Bridging the Gap between All Fraternities and Sororities As campuses become more diverse and the number of culturally-based fraternities and sororities grow, it’s important for fraternity and sorority communities to create opportunities to discuss, understand, and enhance their knowledge about each other. Below you will find some ideas for how to create a greater sense of community between all members, regardless of council affiliation: > Greek Week: Use your Greek Week as a way to showcase and bring together your entire community. Make sure events are attractive to all types of fraternity and sorority members, mix teams by having organizations from different councils in each, and create ways for team building and get-to-know-you activities among groups. > Joint Meetings: Even if attending another meeting is the last thing you want to do, getting all council executive boards and chapter presidents together, especially when events for each organization are happening, is helpful. This group of leaders can strategize for the fraternity and sorority community at large and find new ways to work together and collaborate.

After fifteen years serving as a campus-based fraternity and sorority professional, the author has a list of ten lessons learned that have relevance for other professionals working with NPHC and other culturally based fraternities and sororities: > Be uncomfortable > Go to an event or program (not fraternity and sorority related) where you are in the minority > You set the expectations of what the advisor should know – not the students > Call the bluff > Make mistakes and learn from them > Find a friend with whom you can ask your perceived “dumb” questions > Find a mentor in the field who has walked your path > You are the expert whether you think you are or not - you are and need to be > Commit to passively learning in every moment – the students do not need to know you do not know > Stop apologizing and start advising!

> Educational Programming: Collaborate by hosting programs that focus on educating individual members. Whether these programs are based on current events, life skills, or health and wellness topics, they can be open to the general campus community or just members of your organization. This strategy can minimize over-programming but also allows for chapters to work together and learn from each other’s members.

Finally, it is imperative that every campus professional be as up to date as possible on the relevant information related to advising culturally based fraternities and sororities. The Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors offers a free set of resources on advising NPHC, NALFO, NAPA, and NMGC member organizations. These resources, along with the Advising College Panhellenics, Advising Interfraternity Councils, Advising Local Organizations and the Fraternity and Sorority Advising Manual are a great primer for men and women beginning their work with this special and very important sector of the fraternity and sorority experience.

> Partnering on Philanthropies & Community Service: If your chapter shares the same philanthropy with another organization, why not pair up to do an event that raises awareness or money for that particular cause? If not, doing community service with another organization is a great teambuilding activity that also helps to promote the values of fraternity and sorority life!

References Bradley & Hunter. (2008) To cultural competence and confidence: One step at a time. Perspectives, Fall 2008, 18-19.

> Liaison Position: Have your council create a position whose sole responsibility is to educate, inform, and work with other councils. Having this position allows for an open flow of communication but can also demonstrate to other councils how committed you are to working with them.

Broido, E. (2004) Understanding diversity in millennial students. New Directions for Student Services- Special Issue: Serving the Millennial Generation, Volume 2004 (106), 73-85. Helms, J. E., & Carter, R. T. (1990). Development of the White Racial Identity Inventory. In J. E. Helms (Ed.). Black and White Racial Identity: Theory, Research, and Practice (pp. 67-80.). Westport, CT: Praeger. Helms, J. E. & Cook, D. A. (1999). Using race and culture in counseling and psychotherapy: Theory and process. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Ponterotto, J. G., Utsey, S. O., & Pedersen, P. (2006). European American (White) Racial Identity Development, Mental Health, and Prejudice Preventing Prejudice: A Guide for Counselors, Educators, and Parents (pp. 88-108).

> Community Wide New Member Retreats: Work with your campus’ fraternity and sorority advisor to put together an educational program that brings together all fraternity and sorority new members. Make sure to put in the agenda time for icebreakers as well as a session that is dedicated to learning about organizations other than their own.

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There’s No Place Like Home…

In Which Campus Office Should Culturally Based Greek Letter Organizations Reside? Robert Page, University of Kansas

Maybe the Oz and Kansas reference is a bit much, but for many culturally based fraternity and sorority members on predominately white campuses, the office they call their home has been a debate that has existed for many years. On some campuses, Office of Multicultural Affairs and Fraternity/Sorority Life offices have been in a territorial struggle over who should oversee culturally based fraternity and sorority organizations such as those affiliated with the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO), National Asian Pacific American Panhellenic Association (NAPA) and National Multicultural Greek Council (NMGC). While both offices have contributed to the success of these organizations, the fact that most campuses are promoting diversity and inclusion has translated to a fraternity/sorority community for all, not just some. So, the question remains, how did we get here and where should culturally based fraternities and sororities reside? During the 1960s, NPHC groups saw major growth and so did many offices that we call Multicultural Affairs or Services. Today, these offices’ major role is to support students of color in academic, cultural and personal needs; as a result, these offices seemed a natural fit for these organizations. As times changed, so has the role of these offices. The dynamics of membership in culturally based fraternities and sororities have become more complex, more accountable, and most have become subjected to more litigation by the nature of the process. Spending many years in Multicultural Affairs and Fraternity/Sorority Life, I have struggled with this issue and believe this should be a priority for council leadership, chapter leadership, fraternity/sorority advisors, and other Student Affairs administrators. If we are really committed to providing these groups with the best possible collegiate experience, these conversations must occur. This article will explore the pros and cons of both perspectives but will support the opinion that these groups must report to the area of Fraternity/Sorority Life. Let’s start with why for many years Minority Affairs (now called Multicultural Affairs on most campuses) was the only office that would or could provide support for these groups. Culturally based fraternities and sororities operated outside the normal guidelines of other fraternal organizations and because of their role, many Minority Affairs officers understood the premise of these groups and volunteered themselves as advisors. Additionally, many Minority Affairs staff were also members of these organizations so they had a “better understanding” of the needs of these groups. This phenomenon still exists in some places which is why this issue is still a major struggle for campuses throughout the country. The primary mission of many Minority Affairs offices is multicultural education and programming, so it is natural that culturally based Greek letter organizations find common values and support within these entities. In addition, functions and events (like cultural programming, community service, social interaction, and academic support) tend to be values shared between Minority Affairs offices and culturally based fraternities and sororities; collaboration on these efforts are innate in both of their missions. In the early years, NPHC organizations would meet in Multicultural Affairs offices and indirect programming would take place. While these offices were normally understaffed and asked to carry the torch for campus diversity, Fraternity/Sorority Life offices were also understaffed and overwhelmed with the issues of the NPC and NIC organizations such as housing and risk management; these issues took priority in offices of one or two employees. This also dominated the meeting agendas of governing councils like the Interfraternity Councils and Panhellenic Councils who did not address the issues that were important to culturally based fraternities and sororities. In addition, the secrecy and pride of culturally based organizations made it very clear that there was a vow to be different. Smaller chapters, dry socials on campus, and social norms and patterns grounded in hazing would sometimes intimidate the Fraternity/Sorority Advisor on campus. Many of the students who joined culturally based fraternities and sororities were already involved in Multicultural Affairs offices and in other ethnic cultural organizations prior to membership, and thus continued this relationship. Juan Izaguirre, former Greek Life Director, Vice President of Collegiate Operations for Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity Inc., and the Program Director in the Office of Multicultural Affairs at the University of Kansas, provides a further perspective: 014 // connections // 2010 • summer

“Before participating in a Membership Intake Process or New Member Education Process, students of color find their homeaway-from-home in Multicultural Affairs’ offices throughout the country. By participating in numerous programs and events that these offices may host, students begin meeting members of Greek organizations through their involvement. Due to this involvement and as members of their organizations, these students feel a common union with the Multicultural Affairs office which continues after their membership in multicultural Greek letter organizations. Soon after membership, these members are asking the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) staff to assist with retreats, provide guidance, aid with grade reports, and if possible, suggest new members for them. While this relationship is healthy, Greek Life offices are also looking for and wanting this relationship with the culturally based groups. As staff, these individuals are just as equipped to assist these organizations’ needs and wants, and they often want this relationship. While an NPHC, NALFO, MGC, or other council may report to a Greek Life Director, individual chapters may never step into these offices unless needed by the Council advisors (if they work in the Greek Life office) or when national paperwork needs an official signature from a Greek Life staff member. Greek Life staffs have a much better chance to provide support for these organizations throughout the academic year and beyond. If a hazing allegation occurs, staff is better equipped to work with the university community to provide an ample investigation and provide support for the members. Greek Life staff can also provide grade reports, academic rankings, leadership retreats, and other information that is grounded in theory and practice for Greek Life members. On many campuses, Multicultural Affairs and Greek Life offices may not have any type of working relationship and may be territorial about where these organizations should report. On others, a strong working relationship exists in which the organizations are housed and advised out of Greek Life but have a “part time residence” and are given support by the OMA. In these situations, the staff members are often in communication to bring each other up to speed on the challenges, issues, or highlights that these organizations may be experiencing.” The debate will continue on many campuses, and while all fraternities and sororities are becoming increasingly more diverse, the climate on most campuses has become more about creating inclusive environments. The commitment to specific communities’ needs still fosters the fact that culturally based fraternities and sororities must have the support of an OMA to be successful. So, while I believe that both Fraternity/Sorority Life offices and Offices of Multicultural Affairs must collaborate for the success of our chapters and its members, these groups must be advised through the campus Fraternity/Sorority Life office. Here are four factors why campuses should develop a structure that supports and “houses all fraternities and sororities” under one office: > Risk Management: As mentioned before, most OMAs are not equipped, trained, or prepared to handle a situation involving a risk management issue in a timely and efficient manner. If an issue were to arise that involved a culturally based organization, let’s say a hazing injury, the liability that an OMA could assume would prove to be detrimental for the institution. Offices of Fraternity/Sorority Life and fraternity/sorority advisors are trained to handle risk management issues and while the office does not assume sole responsibility, these offices and professionals have procedures with support from resources like the Director of Student Activities, the Dean of Students, and other administrators on campus. In addition, Fraternity/Sorority Life staffs have much more opportunity for professional development through organizations like the

Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors and other similar associations and organizations that are not typical professional development experiences for staff who work in Multicultural Affairs. > Chapter Management: In accordance with their national organizations, culturally based organizations operate under different guidelines and regulations. However, many of the issues that prevent that same national organization from effectively managing chapters can be supported through the Fraternity/Sorority Life Office. Chapter rosters, grade reports, end of the year reports, intake and member education approval forms, and many other systems and processes not found in OMAs provide the national organization the tools it needs to effectively manage chapters from afar. > Leadership Development: Most Fraternity/Sorority Life offices are normally part of an Office of Student Activities or Leadership Development. While an OMA does and can provide this leadership training, the resources available to students through the Fraternity/Sorority Life office can benefit chapters uniquely and tremendously. Specific information on leadership involvement is at the core mission of student leadership and activities centers. When both offices work together, events like an all fraternity/sorority leadership retreat that promotes harmony and collaboration (which is the core of brotherhood and sisterhood) is more likely to emerge. Additionally, the Fraternity/Sorority Life office should encourage all multi/cultural fraternity/sorority members to participate in the OMA student organization retreats that also address specific cultural needs that are sometimes not covered in fraternity/sorority leadership retreat. > Departmental Support: Some issues that face the entire fraternity/sorority community are common in nature. Advisor training, finding financial resources, professional development at the undergraduate level, and office space to conduct business can be best addressed in an Office of Fraternity/Sorority Life. Again, issues that are complex and unique to fraternity/sorority life can be best addressed when those organizations have an official relationship with that office. I do not imply that OMAs cannot serve culturally based organizations or provide the functions and resources mentioned. Ideally, it takes a collaboration of both Fraternity/Sorority Life and Multicultural Affairs offices to work together to serve the needs of these groups. Multicultural Affairs provides a commitment to multiculturalism that is at the heart of culturally based organizations, but the motto of the National Pan-Hellenic Council speaks best to this issue, “Where There is Unity, There is Strength.” When offices collaborate and the entire fraternity/sorority community works together, the campus is stronger. However, to assure that these organizations are successful, especially on predominately white institutions, these organizations must make their homes in Fraternity/Sorority Life offices. This means that both offices must refrain from participating in territorial struggles. Instead, they should model behavior that assures culturally based organizations’ members they can trust Fraternity/Sorority Life offices and still receive support and mentorship from Multicultural Affairs. This concept will take dedication and hard work but the end result will be a strong, diverse fraternity/ sorority community. If it was as easy as clicking your heels three times and saying, “there’s no place like home,” the least of our issues would be territory and we could focus on growing and building a community of brothers and sisters that are a vital part of the college experience.

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inc lus ion awa ren ess &in vol vem ent

TERMS Diversity is understanding the differences and variety of people Inclusion is connecting the differences and showing the benefits of the similarities of people Respect is appreciating the differences and similarities of people LEARNING OBJECTIVE To gain a better understanding of others from all areas of life. College students have an opportunity to expand their horizon continually. With this diversity & inclusion activity, students will be asked to think critically about the differences and similarities of themselves and others. Each student should actively participate in discussion by speaking his or her opinions and listening to other’s point of view. Differences in opinions may spur additional discussion. The goal of each of these activities is education, awareness and understanding. Students will learn through discussion, activities and takeaways about varied experiences and people. Students should become more aware of their actions and the effect on others as well as others’ effect on them. And students should gain a larger understanding of the tools necessary to build a more inclusive community during their collegiate years and beyond. FACILITATOR CONSIDERATIONS > HOT TIP! Make sure students understand that diversity-themed discussions are not an attack of participant beliefs, but a discussion of different perceptions and experiences. > Remember the term Fraternity/Sorority Life refers to all chapters, not just IFC and NPC Chapters. Encourage cross participation through attendance at chapter programs, council meetings or participation in all-Greek events. > Education is important. By working to understand the history and culture of a new experience, you begin to understand the value. > It’s ok to seek a qualified professional. Don’t try to be the jack-of-all-trades. By bringing in someone else, you may also be able to expand your understanding on the topic. > All people want to know how it will benefit them. When explaining inclusion to students, be sure to cover why it is important, how it benefits the student and how it can be applied during college and beyond. > Encourage students to ask questions. Students that ask questions invest in learning and expanding their world view. > Branch out. Try new things. Encourage students to take initiative and step outside of their comfort zone. Immersion training is sometimes the best key to understanding. > Don’t expect everyone to get it. Celebrate successes and continue to encourage the students who are getting something out of the activities.

fac ilI tat ion 411 016 // connections // 2010 • summer

HOW TO GET STARTED > Gather students from all councils on your campus and, if applicable for the inclusion training, other groups of students > Divide students into discussion groups and separate students into groups of varied backgrounds and experiences ROOM SET-UP Discussion: Chairs in circle formation for groups of students GROUP SIZE Divide participants into groups of 6-8 people SUPPLIES Discussion: none Activities: travel accommodations may be required for some activities ACTIVITY TIMING Discussion: Topics should last for 5-10 minutes each Activity: Plan an hour or more for participation in each out-of-the-box activity

WHAT TO DO: DISCUSSION Lead the discussion with these questions: > What does Fraternity/Sorority Life mean to you? Who does it include? > Discuss a time that you felt that you were out of place. Were you uncomfortable? Comfortable? > Which diversity component do you understand the most, have the most experience with? > What is the easiest diversity component for you to accept? > Do you think that we, as American college students, have made progress in understanding diversity? WHAT TO DO: OUT-OF-THE-BOX ACTIVITIES The activities listed here are examples of experiences that can provide a beneficial way to strengthen the student’s perspective on diversity, inclusion and new experiences: > Ride the city bus. > Attend a campus program hosted by the gay/straight alliance student group. > Attend a church service of another denomination or culture. > Participate in cross-council activities. > Participate in a culture immersion activity. > Participate in a Disability Awareness Day or Week.

PLAN FOR SUCCESS People get more out of experiences that they enjoy. When leading or participating in diversity training, make sure it is an event that helps participants change their perspective in a safe, beneficial way. Allow participants to have the opportunity to do what they want with the information, it may take days or months or years for them to grasp the concept. ASSESSMENT After you’ve hosted or lead any event, assessment is essential for improvement. Consider distributing surveys to participants or sponsor a feedback meeting to gather successes, opportunities and goals for the next program. ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES > Jeopardy Diversity Game: Ask each council, or select members, to submit facts about culture, history or any topics of interest. Organize these facts into a Jeopardy game to encourage student participation and understanding in a fun, easy learning format > ABCs of Inclusion: Write the alphabet on a piece of paper. Have groups of students list diversity and inclusion topics that start with this letter on the paper. Time the activity. At the end of the time, ask students to review topics and group interaction during the event. > Bingo Diversity Game: Ask each council, or select members, to submit key terms from their group. Arrange these terms randomly on multiple BINGO boards. Read the description of the term as the BINGO clue and have students find the term from the description provided.




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Q: I am the President of my school’s NPHC council. We don’t have a Greek Advisor to work just with our council and the Greek Advisor we do have is white and is a member of an NIC fraternity. We often feel as though he doesn’t really understand our chapters and, therefore, doesn’t really do that great of job advising us – at least in comparison to the other groups he works with. What can we do help educate him and get him more involved in our community?

Liz Says: Friend, I find myself directly on the other side of this question. I am an alumna of an NPC organization, and I advise Panhellenic Council and the Multicultural Greek Council. At my institution, MGC consists of four organizations, two of which are founded on Native American principles. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in 2009, I had little to no experience with anything Native American. Thankfully, my students have been very willing to educate me. This education occurs as a result of honest dialogue. I’m very open with my students and encourage them to be equally as open with me. I ask them to correct my vocabulary and invite me to events that might help me gain a better understanding of their culture. I cannot speak for your advisor, but I can speak for myself. If my students felt that I wasn’t giving them the support that they needed, I would want them to approach me in a constructive way, tell me their needs and help me help them. I’ve never met an advisor that could read minds, so reach out to your advisor with your concerns and start an honest dialogue. Candice Says: I think it is important to remember that most NPHC councils are in the same situation. It is rare to have an advisor specific to your council, much less one that really understands your experience. Explain to your advisor what you hope to gain from having him as your advisor. Give him time to change his actions and attitudes as he grows more comfortable working with your groups. This transition can be overwhelming! If you have the opportunity to go to the next AFLV conference with him, pick out a few sessions from NBGLC conference and suggest that he attend those sessions. Of course, if he isn’t interested in being an appropriate resource for your council, you’ve got a bigger issue on your hand, but my guess is that he’s just more familiar working with groups he understands better.

Gary Says: While it is not your sole responsibility to educate your advisor it can be an opportunity for you to build a unique relationship with him. If you can come from a genuine place of concern and express a desire to build a strong supportive relationship with your advisor it can benefit all parties. Sometimes it is difficult to ask for help or admit that you don’t know as much as you should about certain issues; especially if you are supposed to be the expert on campus on all things “Greek.” There are a number of resources in the form of books, articles, and even the National Black Greek Leadership Conference that can provide opportunities to be up to date and informed about Black Greek issues on a national level and making sure your advisor is aware of those opportunities is one step. Most importantly you want to share your experience and the concerns of your council on campus. Take the time to sit down and organize your thoughts and how you think he could help and advise your council better. Share these ideas with him and let him know that you are ready to be a resource for him so that he can be successful in his role as your advisor. Veronica Says: This issue is not uncommon among students who have to work with an advisor who is not a member of an NPHC organization. What many students fail to realize about this situation, however, is that it is a great opportunity for students to learn about other groups that differ from their own. It is also an opportunity for NPHC affiliated students to really teach the advisor everything that they want him or her to know about their organization. It is the responsibility of the advisor to foster growth and development with every single organization or group that he or she advises. The key here is that while this is a clear responsibility, sometimes he or she may need some assistance and this is where you come in to save the day! In order to really relate to your fraternity and sorority advisor, you must come into the relationship willing to learn just as much as you are to teach. This creates a reciprocal relationship that builds trust and a lasting relationship. There are a few things that you can do to aid in this relationships building and they are listed below: > Start by inviting him or her to your educational events and other chapter functions that show the rich history of your organization. Offer resources that will help your advisors not only learn about your particular organization, but every single organization on your council. > Sit down with your advisor one on one and state your needs. You should be prepared to talk about specific and detailed things that the council needs to be successful and ways he or she can help you in achieving this goal. Examples include: strategic goals and outcomes for the year outlining areas of focus and steps taken to adhere to them, program and event planning, relationship building with other offices, etc.

> Once you have stated your needs to your advisor, talk to your peers about the issue and what you can do collectively to assist your advisor. Make sure that the responses are ones that are productive and will add to your end goal of an advisor who is invested and understands your organizations. There is no room for negativity here as you are trying to shift culture and attitudes. Those who are not on board are a detriment to your success as a council. Start with council officers and lead by example the type of relationship you would like for your advisor to have with students and vice versa. > Realize through this process that it takes time. Patience is a virtue. Just as if you were learning something new for the first time, this may be an adjustment for your advisor to get used to. Having the support that is necessary to assist him or her will go along way and I assure you they will appreciate it in the long run.

018 // connections // 2010 • summer

An expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study. Experts are called in for advice on their respective subject, but they do not always agree on the particulars of a field of study. An expert can be, by virtue of credential, training, education, profession, publication or experience, believed to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially (and legally) rely upon the individual’s opinion. Historically, an expert was referred to as a sage (Sophos). The individual was usually a profound thinker distinguished for wisdom and sound judgment. Experts have a prolonged or intense experience through practice and education in a particular field. In specific fields, the definition of expert is well established by consensus and therefore it is not necessary for an individual to have a professional or academic qualification for them to be accepted as an expert. In this respect, a shepherd with 50 years of experience tending flocks would be widely recognized as having complete expertise in the use and training of sheep dogs and the care of sheep. Another example from computer science is that an expert system may be taught by a human and thereafter considered an expert, often outperforming human beings at particular tasks. In law, an expert witness must be recognized by argument and authority. Research in this area attempts to understand the relation between expert knowledge and exceptional performance in terms of cognitive structures and processes. The fundamental research endeavor is to describe what it is that experts know and how they use their knowledge to achieve performance that most people assume requires extreme or extraordinary ability. Studies have investigated the factors that enables experts to be fast and accurate.



Gary Ballinger Indiana State University gballingerjr@gmail.com Veronica Hunter Lehigh University Vmh207@lehigh.edu Samantha Armstrong Washington State University sjarmstrong@wsu.edu Candice Wolf Northwest Missouri State U. candice@nwmissouri.edu

Liz Osborne Oklahoma State University elizabeth.osborne@okstate.edu

WANT TO BE AN EXPERT? If you are a professional who has great advice, email publications@aflv.org and let us know that you are interested in being one of our future Experts.

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Liz Says: Before deciding what type of council to create, the membership of the NALFO and NPHC organizations in your campus community need to get together and talk about their shared purpose, goals and lack of support. It might be a good idea to include chapter advisors and campus professionals in this conversation. From that, the four organizations can decide whether or not they would like to work together. Then, a constitution and bylaws can be created that will be mutually beneficial to all involved. In this formation process, it might be helpful to review the AFLV awards for NPHC and MGC councils to find nationally accepted best practices. Furthermore, use similar campuses as benchmarks for your potential council. Following the creation of the new council, the NPHC and NALFO organizations should work toward cohesion within their council by educating each other about their national organization and working toward their shared goals. Samantha Says: While I agree with you that NALFO and NPHC groups can be different in their focus, rich history, and cultural background, it is important to remember they are all fraternities or sororities and espouse many of the same values. Spend some time researching Multicultural Greek Councils (MGCs) or United/Unified Greek Councils (UGCs) at other campuses and learn more about their structure, successes and challenges. Often a quick email or phone call can provide a wealth of information for you. The next step is to learn about each organization, have discussions about what they envision in a Council, and begin drafting a structure. This is a tremendous opportunity for your culturally based chapters to learn from one another, build relationships among chapters, challenge each other to get to the next level, and call upon your campus to support all chapters equally. Gary Says: The first thing that you could do would be to determine the purpose of the council. Will the council be set up as a governing board or simply used as an opportunity to share resources, thoughts, or unify campus groups. Whatever the decision you should take the time to explore the options and organize the council in a way that benefits and enhances the chapters on campus and not just add another layer of bureaucracy. A council should be structured in a way that allows organizations an opportunity to show their strength and uniqueness but provides ample support to member groups. Take some time to research similar councils at other schools and find one that Our campus community you think might work best on your is small and has four mulcampus. You can reach out to the ticultural fraternities and student leaders and advisors on that sororities. There are two campus and learn how their council operates and what (if anything) they NALFO groups and two would do differently if they could. If NPHC groups. The NALFO you have the opportunity to attend groups are pretty big (like regional or national conferences of 15 members) but the NPHC your own individual organization groups typically have 4 or you can also talk to your brothers/ fewer members. Right now sisters and see what there campus there isn’t really a functiondoes, whatever you decide do your ing council for these groups research and make sure that what to participate in but we want you decide to do makes sense and fits the needs of your campus. to set something up? We feel


like a Multicultural Greek Council is the best since there are only four chapters but NALFO and NPHC groups are so different… Any ideas?

020 // connections // 2010 • summer


Candice Says: It’s important to remember that everyone is likely coming at this issue from a different perspective. I would delve deeper to try to understand why some of your NPHC and NALFO members feel this way. Is it because they feel this activity is sacred to them or that “white Greeks” can’t step? In either case, create an opportunity for dialogue. There are examples of chapters and universities that have made this work. (The University of Arkansas Zeta Tau Alpha chapter recently won one of the largest stepping competitions in the nation, and they did it by collaborating with their campus NPHC chapters.) If you haven’t already, I would consider including an educational component to the step show to help your Panhellenic sisters and IFC brothers understand that stepping is about more than dancing. Perhaps requiring NIC/NPC chapters to pair up with an NPHC/NALFO chapter would help both groups gain a mutual respect for where one another are coming from.

Our campus fraternity and sorority community has an annual step show and we’ve always allowed the NPC and IFC groups to participate if they want to do so. They’ve only been participating for three or four years but this past year things got a little heated as some members of our NPHC and NALFO groups said that the “white Greeks” shouldn’t be stepping. This is going to be crazy next year and I know that we’ll have to address it – any advice?

Samantha Says: Most of our toughest challenges at work and at home come from us defaulting on our relationship building and maintenance. So, for this challenge, I recommend focusing on the relationships between groups involved in the step show using conversation and education! While addressing this situation may not be easy, if you start early and have a mentor or colleague you can discuss your approach with, I am confident that you can help your fraternity/sorority community come together and determine your next steps for making your annual step show a success. First, take stock of the concerns everyone had with the last show. You may notice trends such as “respect and understanding for the history of stepping and strolling.” Given the concerns from each group, facilitate a discussion with all the key players in planning the event. On paper, outline the issue(s) at hand, any applicable background information, options worth considering, and their role in helping this event move forward. If you feel strongly about every council/chapter being involved in some way, ensure you clarify roles with the group members. After this discussion, you should have an idea of where everyone stands and the decision that must be made. It may end up that the step show will continue to involve members from all councils or, it may be decided that members from other councils take a different role in helping support the show. Next, educate your community on the decision and the rationale for it as well as the involvement each organization will have in taking the show to the next level. (Note: This discussion should happen every year so that concerns are addressed from the start. It is important to not assume that everyone is ok with an all Greek step show every year.)

For more information on how to approach having the discussions above, I highly recommend Susan Scott’s Fierce Conversations (2002).


Gary Says: It is great that your community has been open to NIC and NPC groups participating in the annual step show. I can understand why some member organizations would be concerned with predominately white organizations participating in an event that has been traditionally used to show the unity, strength, history, and passion of cultural based organizations. The concern could be coming from having individuals and organizations participating in an event without understanding the history, significance and its importance to cultural based organizations. I think a great starting point may be to have a meeting with cultural based organizations where members can openly express their concerns regarding open participation. It could be helpful if you have an advisor who feels comfortable mediating this conversation to make sure that it remains constructive and structured. If the consensus is to continue to host an open event and let all groups participate then perhaps there could be an exhibition given by NIC/NPC groups that allows them the chance to showcase their skills but doesn’t add a sense of competition. There is also an educational opportunity that you could take advantage of. Stepping/Strolling has become an important part of the culture of NPHC and MGC organizations and if you can educate NIC/NPC members on the historical significance then they might begin to understand the importance and cultural impact of this event.

Liz Says: It’s okay to start small in order to form strong alliances between all councils on your campus. If the relationship is there, it’ll be easier to work together on larger tasks in the future. Over time, it will become a natural thought for Panhellenic to include MGC (and vice versa) rather than a passing notion. To begin building the relationship, start at the top. If the executive councils for Panhellenic and MGC are familiar with each other, they are more likely to reach out to one another. Have a joint executive team meeting at the beginning of everyone’s term in office, or perhaps work with your advisors to plan a joint officer transition. Then, continue the relationship by including MGC in Panhellenic Council meetings. Add their leadership to the agenda and allow them to present their goings-on to the Council. Additionally, offer to send representation to the MGC meeting to give a Panhellenic report. Pay particular attention to the events MGC is planning and attend them, or even offer to cosponsor an event that might benefit both groups’ membership. If your Council meeting includes a time to remind each other of your sorority’s history, include MGC organizations in the rotation. The more you learn about each other, the more you’ll find you have a shared purpose. Furthermore, you might try having dinner exchanges where the MGC chapters could visit different IFC and Panhellenic Council chapter houses throughout the semester/year. This would help foster a connection between the councils’ general membership rather than just the members that attend Panhellenic and MGC meetings. If your campus doesn’t have fraternity and sorority housing, IFC and Panhellenic Council could plan a community dinner at an on campus location. All chapters could be invited to attend. However, there is no need to recreate the wheel if resources aren’t available. Instead, if there is an all fraternity/sorority community service event or Greek Week on your campus, make sure to invite the MGC chapters to participate. For example, rather than having just one fraternity paired with one sorority for Greek Week activities, break everyone into groups and incorporate as many fraternities or sororities as is necessary to include all organizations. Begin Greek Week with team social events to get the relationship building started right. What’s more is that you may find the general fraternity and sorority population on your campus doesn’t share the same passion for unity and inclusion as the Councils’ delegates and executives. If things aren’t going as you hope, consider implementing incentives for chapters that show a commitment toward including MGC in community events. Incentive examples could be the creation of a Unity Award to recognize an exemplary I am the President of our chapter or include Comcampus’ Panhellenic Counmunity Unity as part of cil. It came up in our recent your campus’s chapter acofficer transition that our creditation process. Buildcouncil needs to do a better ing a working relationship with another council is job partnering and doing not going to happen over events with our Multiculturnight or as a result of one al Greek Council. Our MGC event. It will take a conincludes NPHC and NALFO sistent effort from Panhelchapters. It seems like this lenic and MGC to form a is something we talk about lasting friendship, so don’t every year but never really be discouraged if it takes do anything about…. Everymore than a semester to one on my council (and the become truly united. Ultimately, if Panhellenic is IFC) says they are interested, committed to reaching but no action ever happens. out to MGC, the effort has What ideas do you have? to be genuine and multifaceted.


022 // connections // 2010 • summer

Candice Says: The problem is, you can’t force friendship—but you can help break the ice. To get councils accustomed to working together, create a liaison position in all councils so one person from each council is attending every other council’s meetings. It seems simple, but when someone from (for example) your MGC is telling Panhellenic women, face to face, what they have going on, attending that activity seems much more appealing. From there, create opportunities for councils to work together in planning pre-existing activities (such as Greek Week, community service events and step shows) together and ask for respective chapters to contribute through planning meetings, donating resources or even simply attending! If this seems ineffective, you can help spur the change by recognizing or offering incentives to those chapters who partner with your MGC chapters for activities. Samantha Says: Congratulations! You have taken the first step to making something happen, you have recognized that you need a plan and are actively seeking ways to create that plan. My recommendation is that you think S.M.A.R.T and create a plan that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Using the S.M.A.R.T model and your campus advisor(s) as resources, consider what you currently do as a council and where you can actively collaborate with other councils. Do you have a council retreat that you can shift part or all of to be an “all Greek Council” retreat? Can you schedule one joint Council meeting a month to discuss collaboration opportunities? Can you connect with each Council president to create a joint Greek calendar of events? Can you request that each Council officer attend at least one or two events hosted by another Council during their term? Think about starting with an informational meeting on how each council functions. As a campus advisor who has worked to increase the connection between all Councils and chapters, I can tell you that the place we often go wrong is by planning an event or program and then simply inviting other Councils to the table. Each Council needs to feel like they are part of the planning process in order to create the partnership you desire. Personal ownership over working together and creating change is imperative. Veronica Says: I applaud you for your effort in achieving collaborative relationships within your fraternity and sorority community. Oftentimes this is overlooked and glossed over in many communities. I will offer some pointers in helping you to move forward with this goal. While these pointers may not provide you with a specific program or event, it will prepare all councils for the opportunity to move even closer to whatever joint council event you choose. Before you are able to successfully collaborate with other organizations from either council, there must be a clear understanding of what each group is about. Many times the lack of collaboration that exists between a council is because of a lack of knowledge that groups may have for each other. Whether the difference is culturally, methods of recruitment or the like, it can be something that holds a community back from achieving greatness. The good news is that this is something that many students can overcome! Attending the events of groups that are different from your own provides great exposure and education to what the organization is about. Events such as Founder Day celebration, philanthropic drives, council meeting, and chapter educational programs that relate national initiatives are great ways to learn more about a particular group. This also shows this organization that you truly support them and are looking for ways to learn more.


Finally, start small! If you want to create a culture of collaboration across campuses, you have to give it a test run first. Think about an event that all three councils can be equally invested in and dedicate the time and effort that is needed to make that event great! Once you have mastered this, you will be able to have larger and more frequent opportunities to engage the entire community in cross council events and initiatives.


Top Five Ways to Learn More about Cultural Fraternities and Sororities Co-Sponsor Initiatives: One of the best ways to learn about others is to work with them on projects. Why not employ this strategy by focusing on initiatives that your organizations are mutually passionate about? Ask Questions: By engaging in conversations and gaining an understanding of the traditions and cultural contexts that other councils are built upon, you show that you care about what these organizations have to offer.

Support Events: Attend events that are open to the general campus community (these can be anything from new member presentations to educational programs to philanthropic events). You would be surprised how much you learn about an organization by attending their events! Read and Research: While not many books are currently published that touch on fraternity and sorority life, especially the cultural fraternity and sorority experience, the websites of national organizations do a great job of providing information about their history, customs and values!

Attend Council-Wide Information Meetings: The purpose of these Information Sessions is to educate prospective members about the organizations within the council. This is a great educational tool that provides information about the history of the national organization, local and national initiatives, and responsibilities of members.

Cross Council Collaboration Increasing University of North Texas About a year ago, the Multicultural Greek Council at The University of North Texas set a goal to improve communication among the councils. The result was the creation of the Council Liaison position. This position is an elected position within the council who has the responsibility to improve communication between the other councils on campus. The idea of the position is simple. Provide an elected officer who is charged with attending the regularly scheduled meetings of the other councils to help promote the events that are happening within the Multicultural Greek Council. Secondly, this position is charged with relaying similar information to the members of MGC about what other councils or chapters are doing. The other councils have welcomed this guest to their meetings and have even provided a dedicated space allotted to these announcements within their agendas and the minutes of the meeting. This position has allowed for increased communication among the councils while encouraging collaboration. This elected position is heading into its second year at UNT and the students are beginning to see outcomes. This past year, Sigma Lambda Beta hosted three events within a week that were collaborations with organizations from other governing councils. This collaborative effort was due, in part, to the relationships that came from the open lines of communication that this position has helped to create. Another notable outcome has been more Interfraternity and Panhellenic chapters beginning to promote their events to a wider audience by looking for new relationships with the chapters in the Multicultural Greek Council. Multiple Activities Create a Culture of Opportunity Northwestern University Northwestern University puts multiple efforts towards the advancement of Multicultural Fraternities and Sororities. These events come from a collaborative effort with support through the chapters, council and the office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. A few of the events and programs have been highlighted below. Night with the Neo’s The MGC created an event to spotlight the new members of the council. This casual icebreaker consists of a pizza dinner and multi-player games, such as pool, Rock Band, and video games. During the two hour event, all new members introduce themselves to the community and were challenged to interact with the rest of the community. MGC/NPHC Collaboration Retreat This year, with the help of two amazing student leaders, a collaboration retreat was created for the two executive boards soon after they were elected. Each student leader was given a transition folder with an agenda, contact information sheet, council constitution, and resources from the prior officer. The officers were paired with a member of the other council who shared similar responsibilities and they kept these seats throughout the day. MGC Fall Retreat The MGC fall retreat was another step in unifying the MGC community by creating more events where the ENTIRE council could be together in one room with one purpose – the success of the Multicultural Greek Council at Northwestern University. The council used the time to plan initiatives to make the council stronger internally and discuss how to achieve the ultimate goal of living out the values of the organization and mission of the council. During the retreat, the council invited key on-campus constituents (such as the Multicultural Student Affairs staff and local chapter advisors) to present themselves and share the resources they afford the council. The programming consisted of workshops on building community, working collaboratively, roundtable discussions on hot topics such as scholarship and expansion, team builders, and marketing the MGC experience and creating a brand for your chapter. 024 // connections // 2010 • summer

Strategic Planning for Multicultural Greeks Underway DePaul University While working to develop a strategic plan for the Fraternity and Sorority Community at DePaul University, it was determined that the Multicultural Greek Council needed some additional attention regarding some of the issues that they face. Although DePaul has had a Multicultural Greek Council on campus for ten years, the goal to create a council-wide vision has not been fully met. During the course of the past year, focus groups and meetings were held with the different cultural centers on campus. These focus groups focused solely upon the issues of the Multicultural Greek Council and were held independently from the larger strategic plan focus group meetings. Through these discussions, along with meetings with other campus stakeholders, DePaul is wrapping up a draft of recommendations to help guide the Multicultural Greek Council. When the final report is issued, the hope is that the fraternities and sororities will be able to have a clearer direction on how chapters and councils can work toward fulfilling a very important mission. DePaul strives to have a thriving urban Fraternity and Sorority community that is representative of the diversity that is reflected in the student enrollment. The Fraternity and Sorority Life office wants their students to be leaders and to be able to verbally express their organizational values.  The students should also be able to clearly show both the campus and the community how their values are reflected into the faith based mission of DePaul University.

Gamma Zeta Alpha at UCLA hosts annual Youth Peace Conference / University of California, Los Angeles Latino-interest fraternity Gamma Zeta Alpha has worked to establish the Youth Peace Project. The mission of the organization is “to educate, engage, and empower youth (and their communities) to promote non-violence.” One of the many different ventures that Gamma Zeta Alpha utilizes to fulfill this mission is the Youth Peace Conference. The Youth Peace Conference brings together approximately 300 high school students from local high schools in the local Los Angeles community who are considered to be at risk for several reasons, one being the prevalence of gangs and gang violence in the neighborhoods in which they live. The conference holds workshops on a variety of topics ranging from leadership to conflict resolution. The Conference also focuses on showing these students how they can be productive members of society and are hoping to inspire them to think about college as an option for them to attend after high school. Throughout the Youth Peace Conference, members of Gamma Zeta Alpha are trying to convey the larger message to the high school students: promoting peace through education and leadership. The Youth Peace Project also hosts an annual Gang Symposium as part of their educational outreach programs. This annual symposium brings together local members of the community to have an open dialogue on issues surrounding gangs. Panelists have included former gang members, police officials, local religious leaders, members of academia and many others. Students are also invited to talk about how gang activity has personally affected their lives. For more information on the Youth Peace Project please visit their website at www. youthpeaceproject.org or the chapter website at www.gammas.org/eta.



From the Road is a chance to highlight best practices from Fraternity and Sorority communities across the nation. What has your campus done lately that deserves recognition? If you would like to be featured in an upcoming issue, go online to www.aflv.org/services/connections and submit an overview of a great activity that your council or community has done lately.

the crowd went absolutely wild and gave me a great idea for our upcoming Greek Week; we were going to have a stroll-off on our campus!

Building Community through Multicultural Programming By Kristen Wagner-Hilt, Kent State University

When beginning my position as Vice President of Programming for the Panhellenic Council at Kent State University this past year, my number one goal was to plan events that brought our community together. At Kent State, our fraternity/sorority community is smaller when compared to other universities of our size, and yet we weren’t really united as a community. This past year, our Greek Councils have made great strides towards changing our community and reminding individuals and chapters that we’re “all Greek together.” Before beginning my preparations for our annual Greek Week in April, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the AFLV Central Fraternal Leadership Conference in St. Louis. While I learned many valuable tools and lessons to bring back to Kent, the greatest of all was learning more about the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council chapters and the culture in which they are all so deeply rooted. Attending the AFLV Stroll Competition really opened my eyes to the bond we had been lacking with the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) chapters at Kent. What I found so eye-opening was that not all universities had just strictly NPHC performers, but also Panhellenic and IFC members as well. As each school performed,

I began work right away on making this event happen when I returned to Kent State by first contacting the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. president on our campus. He agreed right away that having a stroll-off would be a great opportunity to bring our entire community together. The event fit in perfectly with the overall goals I had for Greek Week - I wanted to eliminate competition and focus more on showing the campus a united fraternity and sorority community, rather than individual chapters. With the stroll-off, we wanted to focus more on a hands-on learning experience rather than having a competition. With the help of a few other Kappas, a simple stroll was put together to use as Kent State’s first ever unity stroll. My vision was to be able to use the unity stroll at any event where the Greek Community was together, such as LipSync, Songfest, and our Homecoming events. As the rest of the Greek Week preparations were in full swing, the stroll-off remained my number one priority; I was determined to make it an absolute success. The driving force that made this event so crucial to me was to remember how involved the crowd was at the AFLV Stroll Competition. The entire auditorium came together and the camaraderie of all the schools was such an enlightening moment for me. Looking back on that time at AFLV pushed me to show my community at Kent State what I had learned, and bringing even half of the enthusiasm I had seen would suffice for me. The week of Greek Week was honestly the most stressful week I have had in college thus far. By Wednesday, the day of the stroll-off, I was nervous for the turn-out. For many members of our community, the culture of our NPHC chapters was completely unknown. Would they want to participate in something they knew nothing about? During this time, the Executive board

Taking Action!

of Panhellenic and IFC really got me through those nerve-wracking feelings and assured me that if no one else showed up, they would be there fully supporting me. I can’t tell you how special the bond is between the executive board I am a part of this year. All but two members are not members of my sorority and I would do anything for them as they would for me. Knowing I had that bond with my board really gave me the support I needed coming into the event. The night before the event everything slowly turned into a complete mess. Our noise ordinance request still wasn’t approved, which meant that the event may not be happening. As I was heading to bed and hoping everything would work out, I get a call from the Kappa Alpha Psi President saying that the DJ we had lined up had a sudden death in the family and would no longer be able to be there. For me, the stroll-off meant everything and the possibility of it not happening was an absolute nightmare. He assured me that everything would be OK and reminded me that we had come much too far for this event to not work out. As we got off the phone, he encouraged me to call a well-known DJ in our community who he knew very well. The Kappas had participated in Greek Songfest for the first time a few months before and had formed relationships with our Sigma Nu Fraternity chapter. This relationship gave me a starting point to solving the crisis. At 1:30 that morning I made a call to the DJ and pleaded for him to work the event on such a short notice. He agreed right away and restored my faith in my dream of a united community. He told me that although it was short notice, he would do anything to help the Kappas and a fellow Greek out. The relief I felt following that phone call was overwhelming and I had seen again, like I have so many times while at Kent State, just how good being Greek really can be.

The next day everything came together perfectly. I got a call in the morning approving the noise ordinance request and full confirmation from the DJ that he could be set up and make the event larger than life. I chose to have the event right outside our athletic center, which is right in the middle of campus and would ensure students to walk past in between classes to see what we were all about. For me, I wanted Greek Week to represent pride in our community. Since I had joined Delta Gamma, Greek Week was all about the points each chapter got and competing in events. Does that really showcase to the community the one week we have to stand out on campus? Does having a three-legged race really showcase the pride we have for being Greek? Obviously you know by now my answers to these questions and my sheer determination to show the rest of the community the answer to those questions. To my surprise, the event turned out to be better than I could have ever imagined. Not only did the entire membership of Kappa Alpha Psi attend the event, they taught not just the unity stroll, but five different strolls, to the community and performed for the 200 person crowd. Being a part of that day made me feel like I was at AFLV all over again as I watched the crowd get excited each time the Kappas strolled with complete swagger and grace. I was also surprised that two other NPHC groups attended - sharing the spotlight with the Kappas and the strolls of their organizations. Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. added to the learning experience for the crowd and made my small idea an enormous success. I can honestly say the stroll-off is my most prized accomplishment thus far in college and it all came to me through AFLV! I was told later that day that I had done in a half hour what our advisors tried to do for years! The Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity President was overjoyed as well and wants to make stroll-offs more frequent events in our community. To accomplish an event like this, all you need to do is reach out. It’s amazing how your community can come together if you just have faith in it.

The How can Greek students improve cultural partnerships? Terry Williams · The Ohio State University · Kappa Alpha Psi By having mixers with other organizations. Ice breakers would be a good thing. Cortney Slavicek · Illinois State University · Sigma Sigma Sigma Greek students can improve cultural awareness by being more open to new ideas and asking questions to find out more information. Michelle Harper · Colorado State University Education, education, education! We cannot cultivate partnerships without first cultivating understanding, appreciation, and mutual commitment. Audrey Kinney · Northern Kentucky University · Kappa Delta Greeks can create programs and philanthropies that work with various cultural groups. This way we can all learn by working together. Chapters can also educate internally about diversity within their chapter and across campus.

Wall How has cultural diversity impacted Greeks?

Lindsay Dabbs · Texas State, San Marcos · Zeta Tau Alpha Cultural diversity has completely changed our Greek community. What used to be a “sorority woman” or “fraternity man” has greatly evolved as our culture has been more aware and supportive of other diverse cultures. Rachell Werito · Alpha Pi Omega Diversity has impacted the Greek community by giving all cultures the opportunity to create an open environment to learn as well as promote cultures everywhere.

Miami Mess Up #1: Pi Beta Phi at (Miami alumni-owned) Lake Lyndsey Lodge Miami University has suspended a sorority for a year after a lodge owner complained about damage and unruly and lewd behavior during a spring formal. The disciplinary action against the Pi Beta Phi chapter followed a letter to the school about the April 9 event at Lake Lyndsay Lodge. “When the students arrived at 8 p.m., most were already heavily intoxicated and some could barely manage to walk inside the facility.” [The lodge owner] complained that many arrived intoxicated. She claimed students urinated in sinks, vomited inside the facility, broke a concrete lion and other items, left a pile of human feces outside the building and brought drinks on the dance floor, spilling many of them. Among other allegations: two couples were caught inside having sex, an appetizer table was overturned, crystal decorations tossed and several people climbed over a counter to get drinks after the caterer stopped serving alcohol. One attendee told [the reporting news station] that he didn’t see any of those things happen, but did confirm part of one thing [the lodge owner] said.”People were drinking before they got on the buses and stuff,” he said. Pi Beta Phi has placed the Miami chapter on probation, a move the chapter will not appeal. “The alumnae join Fraternity leadership in expressing great disappointment in the decisions of a few chapter members who have completely disregarded the values in which Pi Beta Phi was founded,” [Pi Beta Phi’s] Grand President said in a news release. “They have placed their chapter in jeopardy with Miami University and Pi Beta Phi.” “We are extremely disappointed and embarrassed by the behavior displayed by these students,” Miami’s President said… “Their actions are contrary to the values of Miami University. We deeply regret the impacts that their actions have had on the owner and staff of the facility and on the rest of our student body.” [A Lyndsay Lodge representative], a Miami graduate, said no fraternity or sorority from Miami University would be welcome at the facility in the future. She said she planned to keep the $500 security deposit. This alleged incident and the – many, many – subsequent media stories about it fall firmly in the category of ‘Stuff We Couldn’t Make Up If We Tried’. So let’s talk about all of the things wrong here. Pre-gaming? Check. Unruly members and dates? Check. Laws broken? Check. And, yes, we’re including underage drinking as a broken law. Behavior only acceptable by undomesticated animals? Check. Total humiliation to your organization and institution? Double check. Possibly the only thing more appalling than the actual behavior is the initial position of Pi Beta Phi. We want to know in what universe this kind of behavior earns a second chance? Was there a conspiracy to ensure the Miami chapter didn’t know what was and wasn’t OK? We’re guessing no. Sororities are scary good at making the rules well known. So this seems like a prime candidate for: If You Can’t Handle It, It Will Be Taken Away. Open and shut. Instead, the fraternity places them on probation – ooooh, scary. In our experience, “probation” typically means “no more events with alcohol.” As if that is really the root of the problem. To their credit, Miami has suspended the chapter.




EXTRAVAGAN Stupid Things that You Have

We truly, truly feel for our Pi Beta Phi friends who are not part of the problem. It’s been a really tough season to be a Pi Phi. Or a Miami official, for that matter. Let’s review: the owner of the ransacked establishment is an alumna; the university president has openly spoken about his embarrassment and displeasure. Yet, we can’t join Pi Beta Phi á la their official statement and support the idea that the real problem is “the decisions of a few members of the chapter.” A problem by a few members of the chapter happens in a random offcampus house, one night, where a few women are gathered. This was a chapter event. How do we know that? There were contracts: the bus company, the facility to name a couple. An educated guess tells us it was planned by the social chair, announced at meetings. No question in anyone’s mind this was a chapter event. That means the whole chapter was at fault. No question. According to reports, the members and their dates were drunk on the bus. Either every single member was drunk or the members who weren’t ignored the fact that others were. That puts the members who didn’t drink at fault, too. We’re hoping those same, silent members would have said something if the drunkards would have shown up to drive themselves to formal. Remember, if you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Something in that chapter has created a culture where that behavior is okay. That makes everyone in the chapter part of the problem. And lest anyone suggest some of the damage may have been accidental, let’s think about just how difficult it is to break a concrete statue.

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It’s not necessarily the intention of Busted! to pick on one school, one organization, or even one state. Yet when the flood gates opened in Ohio this spring and sororities were washed away one by one for being stupid irresponsible, how can we not? If the press found four incidents in four weeks to report, it begs the question: how many more went unreported across North America?


Acting up in Athens, OH: Pi Beta Phi… Again The Parkersburg Art Center has been compensated by its insurance carrier for damages claimed after an Ohio University sorority formal in March. [The Attorney representing the art center] said the center has been paid $46,555 by the West Virginia Board of Risk and Management for damages done during the March 6 formal by Pi Beta Phi. Last month, the director of the art center, sent a scathing letter to [the] chapter president of the sorority, saying the group did substantial damage to the facility and engaged in inappropriate behavior, including sexual incidents. The damage necessitated repairs to the hardwood dance floor, a bathroom, the ballroom ceiling, carpet and baseboard. Beer keg taps were also taken, she said.




one Lately

[Pi Phi Chapter President] alleged the damages were caused from a food fight and two people attempting to engage in sexual relations in a bathroom. According to the letter, a bartender and members of the catering staff also witnessed sex acts. “The professional bartender hired for the event personally witnessed a couple engaging in sexual congress while surrounded by a cheering throng,” the letter states. “The catering team interrupted two of your members engaging in sexual relations under one of the banquet tables.” The letter also includes claims from a bartender that guests attempted to tear off her clothing and take money from her apron pocket. “The behavior of your members and their guests in our facility transcends normal student hijinks,” [the Director of the art center] said in the letter. Photographs of the damages were taken a day or two after the event, she said. Last week the sorority’s national office issued a statement to The News and Sentinel stating it would defend itself. The Ohio University Judiciary Office also is reviewing the incident. The national admitted someone stole keg taps from the center, but other claims were “grossly exaggerated.”

“Those charges are based solely on the letter from the art center and a police report. It is important to recognize that the police were not contacted by the art center until a month after the event,” the statement said. “The police report simply concludes that the venue’s complaints are a civil, not a criminal, matter. We agree.” …. Damages alleged in the police report were from spilled drinks, chewing gum on the carpet and dance floor and a food fight along with the theft of several taps to the beer kegs. The damages exceeded a $1,200 security deposit from the sorority.

Reference (2010, May 14). Dayton sororities joins growing list of party offenders. WLWT. Retrieved June 21, 2010 from: http://www.wlwt.com/news/23553310/detail.html Murphy, J. (2010, May 26). Attorney: Art center situation resolved. Parkersburg News and Sentinel. Retrieved June 21, 2010 from: http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content. detail/id/530212.html?nav=5061 (2010, May 11). Sorority suspended after Lake Lyndsey incident. WLWT. Retrieved June 21, 2010 from: http://www.wlwt.com/news/23515967/detail.html

We already mentioned it was a rough time to be a Pi Phi this spring, yes? For the record, the nearly $50,000 the Art Center was paid in damages will get an out-of-state student nearly two full years of tuition with room and board at Ohio University, according to the University’s Undergraduate Admissions Tuition & Fees web page. Or, for a different perspective, that’s a decent down payment on a half-a-million-dollar house. A SORORITY did enough damage to an ART CENTER to warrant an insurance payout worth TWO YEARS of college. We think that’s worth yelling about, at least a little. In response to the alleged situation, Ohio University has since placed the Pi Beta Phi chapter on probation with sanctions including financial restitution and community service. Because we don’t think we need to restate how appalling such behavior is, let’s focus on this sanction, shall we? We understand that it can be very, very difficult for the powers that be – whether civil or criminal court or a university conduct system – to prove to the required threshold that a certain behavior occurred without witnessing it personally, we still believe that a) financial restitution should not be something the chapter had to be told to do and b) community service is a crappy, copout kind of sanction. First, community service is a cornerstone of fraternity. The chapter should be doing this anyway. They shouldn’t be told to do it. It should be something we aspire to do, not punishment. What message does that send? Forget sending it to a sorority; let’s talk about the message that sends to college students? If you are bad, you must serve the community. So “good” students shouldn’t’? Ugh. That’s just backwards. We realize we tend to critique here at Busted!, and we don’t want anyone to say we aren’t about solutions. So, here’s one: instead of sanctioning “community service,” try sanctioning some restorative action. For example, the chapter has to give their time, talent and treasure to improve the Art Center – the actual facility it damaged. Could the Center use some extra hands laying mulch next spring? (And, trust us, laying mulch is good, sweaty, manual labor). If yes, then the Ohio University chapter of Pi Beta Phi should be there with gloves on ready to go. Do they need volunteer docents? Then every Pi Phi should readily give 10 hours a semester to do so. Let’s not let these ladies get away with making a few cards out of construction paper and sending them to senior citizens they’ll never meet to make up for harm they caused live and in person.

Miami Mess Up #2: Alpha Xi Delta at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Another Miami University sorority is under fire for bad behavior at a spring formal event. The Alpha Xi Delta sorority faces a two-year suspension after an incident at its spring formal, which was held at the Freedom Center on March 26. A spokesman for the Freedom Center said as many as 270 guests at the party arrived inebriated and combative, treating the building with “abject, profound disrespect.” During the party, floor tiles were damaged, restrooms were trashed and one young man was stopped before urinating under the stanchions of the slave pen, the spokesman said. Miami University President… said he was angry and embarrassed. “Here we are, a university where Freedom Summer occurred in 1964, where we know about the significance of places like this.” [The University President] sent a letter to the Miami University community decrying the incident. He said he also called the Freedom Center to apologize as soon as he learned of the incident. “This is not the face of the university that reflects what happens here and that we’re proud of,” he said. [The President] said that the university’s Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution has recommended a two-year suspension for Alpha Xi Delta, which the sorority is appealing. The university is also planning to put together a list of recommendations for student conduct at events, which will include accountability for students and bystanders, as well as use of monitors at events where students are bused. Those recommendations will be drawn up over the summer, [The President] said. For its part, the Freedom Center said it invited the sorority back in the fall for a tour, but that they would no longer be welcome to hold parties there. This is the second incident this week involving a Miami University sorority. Pi Beta Phi was suspended for one year after an incident in April at the Lake Lyndsay Lodge. … an attorney for several fraternities and sororities, said incidents like this do incredible damage to the otherwise fine image of the organizations. [The attorney] said he believes it is clear that “pregaming,” or drinking ahead of the event, is one issue that must be dealt with in a more meaningful, substantive way.

030 // connections // 2010 • summer

First, we want to know which Alpha Xi Delta member said, “Wow. Formal at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. That’s heavy. What a cool location!” And, where was she throughout this debacle? She didn’t think of standing up in a chapter meeting and saying, “Girls, we really should be on our best behavior at formal this year. This is a pretty symbolic location.” No? No one was thinking that? Shame on you. Not only was the sorority irresponsible, but they chose to do so at a facility dedicated to educating us about a fairly dark time in our nation’s history. They may as well have put up a banner that said, “Screw you, underground railroad leaders, we piss on what you did. Love, Alpha Xi Delta.” Because, well, that’s basically what happened. As for the University President, bless your heart. He said, “We have to get a better handle on this.” Ya think? First, we’re sorry because we know you have better things to do – WAY better things to do. Second, we’re sorry that sorority women put you in a position to have to think that, let alone say it. We simply hope that the next steps you take are careful, purposeful ones. Here’s a hint: find the Miami students who really get how it should be done (we’re confident they’re there) and involve them in those “recommendations for student conduct.” We value the fraternity experience as one for college student development and you’ve been presented with a heck of an opportunity to let your student leaders get to it. For those council officers out there reading this, let us offer some guidance. The university is going to have rules, the organizations are going to have rules. They are typically very obvious and/or severe stuff; when they’re broken people – and the Associated Press – may well notice and not stop talking about it for a while. Here’s your golden opportunity: Make rules that are stricter. Yes, you read that right: Make rules that are stricter. That way, when a chapter breaks your rules, you can show leadership, hold them accountable, and stop them from screwing up so bad that CNN shows up on campus with their mobile broadcast van. Or before someone dies. We’re in favor of avoiding both of those things.

Down the road in Dayton: Alpha Phi Formal Fiasco [Yet another] Ohio sorority is in trouble after a wild party that authorities said involved vandalism. The University of Dayton’s Alpha Phi sorority faces a May 27 disciplinary hearing for a March gathering at the Top of the Market banquet hall in Dayton. Authorities said students were accused of urinating and vomiting on carpet and alcohol theft. A men’s bathroom sink was ripped off the wall and mustard and ketchup was sprayed around the facility. The university said it paid the building owner $2,300 for repairs and will get restitution from students. The accusations follow disciplinary action taken against two Miami University sororities, which were also involved in rowdy parties. We realize at this point that we’re beginning to sound repetitive. Same formula: sorority goes somewhere for formal destroys property and behaves like baboons. Actually, baboons may be more civilized, come to think of it. So instead of repeating why this is stupid and irresponsible, let’s focus on another fun fact: these incidents seem to all have occurred at the organizations’ FORMALS.

It’s not necessarily the intention of Busted! to pick on one school, one organization, or even one state. Yet when the flood gates opened in Ohio this spring and sororities were washed away one by one for being stupid irresponsible, how can we not?




Call us old fashioned, but the idea of a sorority formal actually brings thoughts of women in pretty dresses, men in sharp suits, table linens, a tuxedoed bartender, and real plates and silverware. Perhaps the location is a hotel ballroom, or perhaps it is an art gallery. Or just your average banquet hall. Sure, there’s dancing and that moment when all the women gather in an uncoordinated circle/ huddle to sing ‘We Are Family’ at the top of their lungs with zero harmony.


There is a lot of (positive) tradition and opportunity for the annual sorority formal – a chance to honor graduating seniors, for example. A chance to try out the tricks from that etiquette program you had to go to at convention, for another. Time to play that flash movie of the year with all the smiling, posing women at each organization’s philanthropy and shots of sorority families on big/little night.

Think about it: maybe your wedding guests will act the way your sisters and dates did at your formal. If they do, don’t look at us, we’ll be here thinking “serves you right.”

The goal of Busted! is to call attention to an event, situation, or practice that has actually occurred and utilize it as an experience that others can learn from. 

It is commonly said that fraternities and sororities suffer from unfair stereotypes and are undervalued for our true purpose as values-based organizations. Unfortunately, some fraternity and sorority members commonly mock these stereotypes by behaving in ways that only solidify them in the minds of others. Busted! aims to confront these stupid decisions via direct confrontation.


Aside from the obvious stupidity of this incident and the three that were so Busted! worthy before it, the complete trashing of all the principles for which fraternal organizations stand, and the humiliation brought to thousands of sisters, alumni, and advisors, another true tragedy here seems to be the death of the classy sorority formal. Such a loss, really, that we can’t even be sassy about it anymore.

If the press found four incidents in four weeks to report, it begs the question: how many more went unreported across North America?

Actions such as these do nothing but reinforce the negative stereotypes of today’s fraternities and sororities. Embarrassed? Then knock it off.

Reference (2010, May 14). Dayton sororities joins growing list of party offenders. WLWT. Retrieved June 21, 2010 from: http://www. wlwt.com/news/23553310/detail.html Murphy, J. (2010, May 26). Attorney: Art center situation resolved. Parkersburg News and Sentinel. Retrieved June 21, 2010 from: http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content.detail/ id/530212.html?nav=5061 (2010, May 11). Sorority suspended after Lake Lyndsey incident. WLWT. Retrieved June 21, 2010 from: http://www.wlwt.com/ news/23515967/detail.html

{ }

one more { thing we know you’re near the end, but we’d love to tell you

before you go and look at the back cover of the mag.

How Fraternity & Sorority Advisors can be Better Allies for Cultural Greeks One of the most important roles of a fraternity and sorority advisor is to be an ally. In doing so, advisors need to take steps to learn about all organizations they work with and build relationships with their members. A 2008 study of Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) members discovered that members of Asian-based fraternities and sororities felt their fraternity and sorority advisors knew little or nothing about their organizations and did not care about them. One way to avoid this is to reach out to members of the organization to discuss needs and ideas, provide assistance in planning initiatives, and provide a support system. Advisors should strive to understand the perspectives of all chapters they work with. It is easy to have conversations with students to understand paradigms and discover what cultural aspects influence how their organizations operate. Advisors should attend chapters’ events. This can help build familiarity with various organizations’ history, policies, and values. Additionally, physical presence allows students to see their advisor as being truly invested in their experience and are committed to supporting their organization. Finally, assist development of individual members by helping students identify the similarities, not just the differences, among the entire community. Too often we get caught up on how we are different and forget to look at how we are the same. By highlighting what makes each organization different but also educating students on what makes fraternities and sororities similar, advisors can help chapters understand they are part of something greater than themselves.

032 // connections // 2010 • summer

Beware. This is a stock photopgraph. It does not represnt the reality of your campus and the relationships among the different culturally-based groups. If you’re looking for butterflies, double-rainbows & easy smiles, you took the wrong job.

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