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CONNECTIONS the MAGAZINE

of AFLV

VOL. 5 / ISSUE 019 / SUMMER 2012


How will you contribute?

Immerse yourself in culture, fraternal values, & serving others.

New Orleans, Louisiana December 17 - 22, 2012 $450 plus cost of airfare

San Salvador, El Salvador December 29 - January 5, 2013 $750 plus cost of airfare AFLV Service Immersion Experiences are changing lives, communities, and an entire generation’s perspective on serving others. When will you choose to contribute?

Visit aflv.org/EventsPrograms/ImmersionTrips to register


Connections is the official publication of the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values. The views expressed by contributors, authors and advertisers are not necessarily those of the Association. AFLV encourages the submission of content to: Carol Preston • Editor connections@aflv.org Submit advertising queries to: Lea Hanson • Director of M & C lea@aflv.org 970 • 372 • 1174 888 • 855 • 8670 info@aflv.org Connections Magazine is published by AFLV for our member subscribers four times each year. Submission Deadlines:

Fall 2012 • Do the Right Thing • Aug 27 Winter 2013 • Immersion Experiences • Dec 5 Spring 2013 • Greeks & Government • Feb 18 Summer 2013 • The Power of One • June 24

Send address corrections to:

Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values 123 N. College Ave. • Suite 250 Fort Collins, CO • 80524 970 • 372 • 1174 888 • 855 • 8670 info@aflv.org

Creative Director • Layout & Design Steve Whitby • CAMPUSPEAK, Inc. steve.whitby@gmail.com Editorial Board Andrea Battaglia • Drury University Kristen Darnell • Teach for America Larry Long • Michigan State University Neil Stanglein • Virginia Commonwealth Viancca Williams • University of South Florida  

Member / Fraternity Communications Association

headquarters hate you? 06 Does AFLV Staff

Take it from the staff at AFLV – they know the ins and outs of fraternity and sorority life from all perspectives - students, campus administrators, organization volunteers, and headquarters staff. AFLV gives these people several opportunities each year to meet each other at our conferences and leadership programs. They interviewed several headquarters staffers and you may be surprised by what they learned.

to men: 10 boys Navigating the Road to Masculinity Matt DEEG

Matt Deeg is on a mission to learn and educate others about all things student affairs and higher education, most notably, men’s development. We think his article is the perfect primer for college male development and the role of the fraternity.

i wrong about sorority girls? 12 was Tina VanSteenbergen

When we were looking for someone to share what it’s really like on “the flip side,” Tina VanSteenbergen was the first to come to mind. Tina has quite the opinion on fraternity and sorority life and has seen it from the inside and out.

20 The Flip Side: Stuff we love & they hate

It’s no secret that advisors and students don’t always see eye to eye. This article should shed some light on a lot of the things about which students and advisors disagree.

COLUMNS

002 // Letter from the Editor 016 // Taking Action: An Unlikely Alliance 018 // Facilitation 411 024 // Sorry, We’re Not Sorry 025 // From the Road 026 // Busted! 027 // Do’s & Dont’s of Credibility 029 // One More Thing

AFLV // 001


Chances are, at some point in your life you’ve been on the outside looking in. Perhaps seeing some activity of which you desperately want to be a part. Gazing out the window during class as your friends lounge on the grassy knoll. Looking indoors while you’re stuck trudging through a snowstorm. Or maybe staring at something, or someone, you don’t understand. I’ve been on all sides of the glass looking at this concept we call fraternity and sorority. As a first-generation college student, I looked at all the bubbly sorority women and amusing fraternity men during new student orientation and thought, “yeah, that’s not for me.” Little did I know standing in the university commons that day, a short three months later I would be taking an oath to be a better person, to demonstrate “the highest type of womanhood.” At the time of my initiation, I knew my sorority meant something. I knew we had standards and that we were expected to act decently, to respect others, and put our academics first. Not like those other chapters (right…). The fact that all our chapters were founded on strong, undying values wasn’t apparent to me until after I graduated, when that whole “lifetime membership” spiel became a reality. A little over a year after graduating, I had the opportunity to come back and work full time at my alma mater, advising student organizations and overseeing part of the orientation program. I vividly recall telling my supervisor, who had supervised and advised me for three years as an undergraduate, “I don’t want to be the Greek Advisor” since at the time we didn’t have someone in that role. I had a different view on what sorority and fraternity life was about and I didn’t want to be responsible for it. Two years into that job, I was advising the councils, doing my best to advocate for the members and it took a toll on me. I considered resigning, asking to be given different responsibilities, anything but be the “Greek Advisor.” I didn’t think I had it in me to do what my colleagues at other institutions were doing.

Letter from the Editor

Fast forward six more years, almost eight years spent advising fraternities and sororities at three institutions, volunteering for fraternal associations like AFLV and AFA, serving on the Connections Editorial Board, now as Editor, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I bounced back and forth between the mentalities that “sorority and fraternity are awesome!,” “if I were a student now, I’d have never gone Greek,” “why in the world would I ever want to advise these groups?!,” and what I just said: “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Like many friends and colleagues who work with college students on a volunteer or professional level, we see the flipside often. Sometimes we see both sides in the same month, week, or even the same day. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t understand fraternity and sorority as you do – an unaffiliated classmate or professor, your parents, a member of another chapter on campus. Don’t just do it once or twice, do it every time you have to make a decision in your chapter or defend why you joined your organization. There is value in fraternity and sorority; sometimes it takes longer to see the value from the flipside. But try it sometime.

Editor Connections Magazine @Carol_Preston 002 // connections // 2012 • SUMMER


NEARLY 20 YEARS OF ENERGIZING FRATERNITY AND SORORITY MEMBERS WITH HIS FUNNY AND IMPASSIONED KEYNOTE!

DAVID STOLLMAN In his popular keynote, David will teach his student audience to:

1 2 3

uphold the core values of Fraternity & Sorority Life: friendship, service, leadership and scholarship be inspired to take action NOW to make their chapters and campus communities better identify those members who just don’t get it to and demand they “buy in or get out!”

Too often, good leaders and good chapters are not able to succeed because they are too busy cleaning up after the ones that don’t get it. Imagine how much more you could accomplish if they were part of the solution instead of part of the problem. David will say what you wish you could. Let him confront them in his funny, interactive and moving style. Want to recruit the right members the first time around? Get quantity and quality with RECRUITMENT BOOT CAMP, the nation’s premiere fraternity and sorority recruitment workshop. Find out more information at recruitordie.com. For more information about David, contact CAMPUSPEAK at (303) 745-5545 or e-mail us at info@campuspeak.com. See a promotional video of David’s keynote at www.campuspeak.com/stollman.

C


CONTRIBUTORS MATT DEEG • University of North Florida matt.deeg@unf.edu • @mattdeeg Matt Deeg believes fraternities and the values they promote motivate college males to mature and develop into strong men. This guy loves to read and it shows in this article and on his blog, “Watching” (mddeeg.blogspot.com).

Tina VanSteenbergen • Alpha Gamma Delta International Fraternity TVanSteenbergen@alphagammadelta.org • @TinaRaeVan Tina VanSteenbergen wasn’t involved in a sorority in college; heck, she went to a college Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota - where fraternities and sororities don’t even exist. Now she works as the Education Specialist for Alpha Gamma Delta International Fraternity. Bet she never thought those words would come out of her mouth, huh?


Does HEADQUARTERS

HATE YOU?

An article by the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values 006 // CONNECTIONS // 2012 • Summer


Why do fraternity and sorority members think everyone hates them?

Even though members of fraternal organizations are often more heavily involved in campus activities, interact more with faculty, and generally have more positive things to say about their campus environment than non-members, they still seem to have the perception that “if you’re not with us, you hate us.” Is it a martyr attitude that makes members feel like victims despite their privileged and positive college experience or some backwards self-fulfilling victim prophecy? A recent study by the NASPA Assessment and Knowledge Consortium, created in conjunction with the Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors, showed that fraternity and sorority members drastically undersold themselves. When asked what others think of them, 61% of fraternity and sorority respondents said non-affiliated students thought poorly of them, while in reality, only 42% of non-affiliated respondents in the study believed this.

But even those who do make “good” money (what IS good money, anyway?) say, first and foremost, that is not why they do what they do. One executive-level fraternity staff member said, “membership is a lifelong experience and I believe in that.” When asked why he continues to work for the fraternity, he said, “here’s the deal. I know, in the end, that almost all of our members will have a good experience, graduate, and remember their fraternity experience as one of the best in their life.” Another said, “the number one factor for us working here is to better the organization. We’re doing it because we love our fraternity. We’re not in the business of shutting people down, we’re in the business of

In other words, fraternity and sorority members think most nonaffiliated students hate them, when in reality, most of them do not. This got us thinking… it is not difficult to find studies that offer the perceptions of campus peers, but we can think of another group who undergraduate members sometimes claim hate them. “Headquarters,” the enigmatic and seemingly untouchable staff at the inter/national office. Most collegians have We delved into this issue and have some first-hand, behind the never even met any of them. Sure, a consultant scenes information regarding the perception that headquarters comes to your chapter every year or so, but who are staff has of undergraduate fraternity and sorority members. the men and women who really run the show? The people who make the big bucks? More importantly, why do they hate you so much? Or, do they?

We delved into this issue and have some first-hand, behind the scenes information regarding the perception that headquarters staff has of undergraduate fraternity and sorority members. We all know each other here in the land of fraternity/sorority advising so we are sure the HQ staff gave it to us straight.

First of all, most headquarters staff members are not really making the big bucks; let us get that straight right here and now. Do not assume the money your chapter pays for dues is lining the pockets of the staff members. “Are you kidding me?” said one fraternity staff member. “We take all of that money and put it right back into the organization. I don’t get that money. I don’t even get a bonus. I make a modest salary. I think I can speak for everyone in my office in saying that I work very hard and sacrifice opportunities for higher salary, time with my family, and a more active social life so I can help members have success in their lives. Trust me, I’m not doing this for the money.”

sharing the experience of fraternity.” In other words, these men and women do not show up to work every day because they hate their fraternity – or you for that matter.

But what about when you do stupid stuff? They hate you then, right? Well, yes and no.

We asked these men and women how they feel when they hear news that a chapter has done something horrible. One executive-level staff member at a women’s organization said, “I know what we teach, what we value and who we are as an organization, so when a chapter fails to live those values, my first thought is always that we’ve somehow failed our members. I worry there is a disconnect between what we think we’re teaching and what our members are actually taking in.”


They do this because you are their brothers and sisters. They do this because they love your organization and the bond they share with you. Why?

While not everyone thinks they might have failed the chapter when things go wrong, there was one thing every staff member agreed on: hazing sucks. “I was in a chapter that didn’t haze,” a women’s organization leader told us. “My commitment to my organization is strong, and it’s not because I was hazed. So I get really frustrated with members who haze, because they think it will make members better. Yes, my organization is about making women better and helping them grow - but we’re not about going about it that way.” “As a member, it is always a sad experience for me when I find out chapters are hazing,” a fraternity staff member said. “Nothing about my personal experience was like the things I have to deal with.” Not only can he not relate to the experiences, he talked about why they are difficult for him to deal with personally. “It’s hurtful to me personally because I see the ugly; things I would have never experienced in my chapter. I guess, yes, sometimes it makes me mad that these individuals don’t realize how many people they are affecting for the own selfish behaviors.” What about when they have to stand up for you? When the media calls, someone usually has to talk to them. What is that like?

One man said, “I’m the one in my office who deals with the media in these cases and I am dealing with people who hate fraternity; because of this it’s very difficult to do.” He said it is most challenging when it’s a good chapter for all intents and purposes and one member – or a small group of members – does something awful. “In these situations, my job, initially, is to try to control the situation. On one hand, I don’t want to look like the fraternity is trying to cover something up, but I also have to avoid admitting guilt,” he said. In other words, “It’s my job to go to bat for the chapter,” and most times he’s happy to do so. But, when you are a stupid chapter, it is not as easy. “We want to protect the chapter, but we will never, ever condone inappropriate behavior, whether it’s the individual or the group. It’s not what we stand for – brother or not.” Another fraternity staff member agreed, “I see the overwhelming majority of our members doing good things. They do the right thing. But the bad stuff is what sells. It’s frustrating because men this age [18-22] are in the time of their lives where they do risky things and are, in many ways, still very immature.” So really, headquarters staff know better than anyone that one bad actor has the power to taint the entire organization’s name. And that sucks for everyone.

008 // CONNECTIONS // 2012 • SUMMER

So why do bad people join good organizations in the first place? “I don’t think they are bad people, they just make bad choices,” a sorority staff member responded. “They just don’t think clearly about what they are choosing to do. I think they get caught up in the campus culture, or a drinking culture, or whatever, and all of a sudden find themselves in a situation they never imagined they’d be in.”

But if these members who make poor choices are really good people – and are members of good chapters, for that matter – where in the world do they come from? “Honestly, I do sometimes wonder ‘where did these women come from? How is it possible that they are my sister?’”, a women’s organization leader said. One fraternity executive knows one place they come from: “you get what you recruit. If you are using alcohol to recruit… you’re going to get people who have baggage regarding alcohol. You’ve recruited a member under the pretense that ‘this is acceptable and how we do things.’ It’s really that simple sometimes.”

Think about it. These headquarters staff members are people, your brothers and sisters for that matter. “Here’s what I hate,” one staff member said. “When members look at staff as second-class citizens. Like they think I can’t get a “better” job. They forget that we’re a part of the same organization they are. We hold the same ideals, the same principles, the same BADGE.” Like we said, these people are people. If anyone can relate to you, they can. But when they have to stop everything to pick up the pieces of something stupid you’ve done, it’s not easy. “When something bad happens, all things stop and revolve around that. Meetings get cancelled; last minute travel occurs. Resources get spent that we hadn’t planned to spend: money, volunteer time, my time, and more,” a sorority executive explained. In other words, things get put to the back burner to cover the expense and the resources needed to cover your ass. Trust us, these folks are not doing this for their health.

But at the end of the day, they go to sleep and wake up the next – and go back to work. For you. They do this because you are their brothers and sisters. They do this because they love your organization and the bond they share with you. Why? One fraternity staff member explained, “I think it’s because I know in my heart that my fraternity is a good organization… and the good really does outweigh bad. The bad might be more publicized, but I know too many stories of how brotherhood has changed someone’s life for the better. That can’t be denied.” We thank our colleagues who agreed to be interviewed for this piece. For respect of them as individuals and to support an environment in which they were allowed to speak from their personal viewpoints rather than being a spokesperson for their organization, these men and women remain anonymous.


satire of TFM and the males that are typically two to three years older. “So what?” you may ask. “They’re going to grow up at some point.” Can we wait for them to grow up? Moreover, will they really fully mature? Or will they always have one foot in “Guyland,” a citizenry that will affect their relationships, work ethics, and personal growth?

Boys to Men Navigating the Road to Masculinity Matt Deeg, University of North Florida

At the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA) Annual Meeting in 2011, Cori Wallace, Tanner Marcantel, and Jordan McCarter presented on Total Frat Move (TFM) and the role the website plays in developing a false masculinity in our fraternity men. After attending their program, I was both bothered by the data and inspired by the potential we in the fraternity community have to reverse the behavior perpetuated on TFM. I poured myself into the research around men and masculinity, wanting to understand what was lacking in a fraternity man’s journey to masculinity. What I found drives me to believe that we have some work to do with our fraternity males.

010 // CONNECTIONS // 2012 • SUMMER

Let me paint a picture for you: a college male who may be a member of one of the fraternity chapters on your campus. He is a minority on the typical college campus on the basis of gender, with 57% of today’s college students now being female (National Center for Education Statistics, 2010). His academic performance is lower than that of the women and much of his future is plagued with uncertainty as to what he wants his life to look like. Does this sound like one of your friends or students? Now add in the fact that he inhabits the world that Michael Kimmel describes as “Guyland,” a world between boyhood and manhood, and a place that men, “to prove their masculinity, with little guidance and no real understanding of what manhood is, they engage in behaviors and activities that are ill-conceived and irresponsibly carried out” (Kimmel, 2008, p. 19). A fraternity man’s guidance in this quest to manhood is the

The primary issue affecting this tour into “Guyland” is the lack of rites of passage, rituals, and initiations into masculinity. Stephen James and David Thomas (2009) remind us that “we cannot emphasize enough how significant these rites and rituals are in the lives of boys (and men). As experiential, spatial, and tactile learners, boys need events and ceremonies to help mark significant moments and transitions in their lives” (p. 275). Think back to your childhood. Aside from a graduation ceremony, can you remember a defining moment when you passed from one phase of life to another? When our culture does not provide for consistent rites of passage, boys seek out their own. This is partially why I believe hazing exists for fraternity men. They are attempting to initiate each other into masculinity because that initiation might not have been provided for them previously. James and Thomas (2009) warn that “without initiation, boys become disillusioned, dissatisfied, and disenchanted [with] nothing greater than themselves to be a part of” (p. 277). What should we do then? What must we do? First, we must acknowledge what Robert Bly offers in his pertinent book on male rites of passage, Iron John. Bly (2004) tells us that “manhood doesn’t happen by itself.... Older men welcome the younger man into the ancient, mythologized, instinctive male world” (p. 15). Many men do not experience this kind of initiation into masculinity in America, at least not on a regular basis. We must begin to provide it in the fraternity community and I believe that the fraternity and its alumni can help foster this positive initiation. Initiation into masculinity cannot be a onetime thing. There is no “bam, you’re a man!” It is a process that must occur over time. Bly (2004) outlines five steps in the process of a boy becoming a man: bonding to and separation from the mother, bonding to and separation from the father, arrival of the male mentor, apprenticeship to a hurricane energy, and marriage to the queen. If you think about these steps, they make sense. I will briefly outline these steps below.


Bonding to & separation from the mother At birth, males bond to their mother. The mother serves as the primary caregiver and men cannot help but become close to her. Sadly, however, most males today don’t make a clean break from their moms until well into their 20s. If they did, helicopter parents would be a concept of the past. This separation is not easy, but does serve as a necessary first step.

Bonding to & separation from the father Bonding to the father is a more difficult endeavor. In our modern world where parents are typically working more than 40 hours a week, the time a dad can spend with his son or daughter is highly limited. Additionally, we are in an era where 30 to 60% of children go to bed without their father or grow up without him present (Horn, 2004). This bonding cannot happen if fathers do not spend time with their sons. Moreover, if there is no bond, there can be no healthy separation.

Arrival of the male mentor The arrival of the male mentor is typically the place where fraternities begin to play a role. The mentor serves as a refining energy, one who helps the boy build a bridge to his greatness. This is important for two reasons. First, after separating from parents, someone or something needs to fill that developmental gap. Second, as Robert Moore (as cited in Bly, 2004) states, “if you’re a young man, and you’re not being admired by an older man, you’re being hurt” (p. 31).

Apprenticeship to a hurricane energy All males need someone to help them release and then harness their spirit. It takes only a few moments watching boys play to see how wild they can be. Apprenticing or joining with the hurricane energy (the male’s wild side) allows for a male to understand his energy and master it. This helps males develop their energy in a safe and controlled manner, while learning to use it for good.

Marriage to the queen Finally, after harnessing their inner wildside, males must identify with their sympathetic sides. In saying this, I can already hear some of my fraternity men telling me this is too feminine; it is not manly. In response, I would offer that the opposite of manhood is not womanhood or femininity; it is boyhood. A man is able to access all spectrums of emotion, both the hurricane energy (the wild side) and the sympathetic side.

What role do advisors play in the fraternal community, then? As advisors, campusbased and otherwise, we must serve as mentors to and supporters of our students, men and women. We must provide them with role models and other mentors through advisory boards and alumni chapters. The time for disengagement is past; mature graduated men need to step up to mentor their undergraduate brothers. Even more so, men need to go into the schools and reach out to boys struggling without a male figure or guide in their lives. If we can reach young boys before they even begin college, perhaps we can start them on the right path sooner. As undergraduates, it is okay to admit that you do not know everything. More so, I encourage it. This means that you will seek out older men mentors. Look beyond college into your future, find someone that you admire, and ask them to guide you. Be selective, obviously; you will more than likely have to approach them. The time of sitting idly by is over. You must act. Lastly, the fraternity community needs to have real dialogue about this issue. Why do some fraternity members spend chapter meetings discussing trivial issues? Get deep into the heart of fraternity. A brotherhood exists first and foremost to strengthen undergraduates as men. Therefore, you must talk about this. What does it mean to be a man? How are men hurting society? How are men helping society? What can men do better? These are all questions you should be asking and answering.

What does the future look like? I do not know for sure, but my guess is that if advisors and alumni do not step into the role of guides and mentors, then our boys will get lost on the road to masculinity. In fraternity, this should never happen. A fraternity is a sacred place, a bond between brothers. Sam Keen (1991) offers that “to grow from man-child into man, [one] must take leave of woman and wander for a long time in the wild and sweet world of men” (p. 16). Most men do not have that opportunity provided for them easily, but in fraternity, it is already there. At the Interfraternity Institute (IFI), I shared with my colleagues my dream for fraternities: that they would be the prime producers of outstanding husbands, fathers, citizens, activists, and professionals. Lofty goal? Yes, but it is one I believe is possible and is worth for the fight. The first step is beginning an earlier and healthier transition into manhood. Fraternity men do not have time to waste wandering aimlessly through “Guyland”. Fraternity men must be talking about what it truly means to be a man, looking deep inside to access this meaning. College men can no longer allow others to create this meaning for them. As advisors, we must be here for that dialogue and must be patient as we mentor and guide our fraternity men on the road to masculinity.

AFLV // 011


Drunk. Stupid. Skanky. Was I Wrong About Sorority Girls?

By Tina VanSteenbergen / Alpha Gamma Delta

012 // CONNECTIONS // 2012 • SUMMER


Drunk. Stupid. Skanky. These are the words I previously used to describe “sorority girls” three years ago. This was right before I moved into the Alpha Gamma Delta house at Illinois State University in the fall of 2009. Right before my perception, my career and my life would change forever. From the beginning, I need to say that I am not currently a member of a sorority. In more frequently used words, I am what the fraternity and sorority community call a G.D.I., a Geed, a wannabe. And I was not merely a GDI who did not care about the fraternity and sorority community. I was one of the worst - one who firmly believed that my aforementioned opinion of fraternity and sorority members was one hundred percent accurate and would not be convinced otherwise. I developed this perception the same way many of us do – a combination of ignorance, movies and Facebook. My undergraduate institution did not have a fraternity and sorority community. I never interacted with fraternity or sorority members in college. Instead, my opinions were cultivated from movies like Old School and House Bunny, from pictures on Facebook and stories from high school friends about “frat boys.” I, like many of the non-affiliated students, faculty, and administrators on your campuses, developed quite the negative opinion of fraternities and sororities. An opinion which was rooted in disgust for groups that produced girls and boys who are drunk, stupid, and skanky. It should come as no surprise that as I decided to attend graduate school for student affairs, working with fraternities and sororities was not on my to-do list. I truly only began to work with the fraternal community out of financial necessity. Concerned about finding a way to live on a graduate student stipend without piling on even more student loan debt, I discussed with my mentors ways to s a v e money during graduate school. When one of them suggested that I look into being a “house mom” for a sorority on campus, I quite literally laughed out loud. He had to be joking – I would not be caught dead in a sorority house. But I looked into it, and the opportunity to live for free while getting residence life experience was far too tempting to turn down. After a few applications and interviews, I was selected to serve as the Resident Supervisor for the Beta Omicron chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta at Illinois State University.

I have never been more grateful for anything in my life. It is fair to assume that being offered this position and moving into a sorority house means I began to rethink my opinions of fraternity and sorority life. But my opinion did not change overnight. Instead, I told everyone that I was fully expecting to barely survive this experience; I would likely hate my time in the house. I expected to hold back girls’ hair, to kick boys out of the house and to break up cat or pillow fights. It would be a struggle for me to deal with the drunk, stupid, and skanky sorority girls. But those women were not drunks. They were in no way stupid. They were very far from skanky. They were not snotty, disrespectful, or rude. They were not elitist, ostracizing, or mean. They were not sorority girls; they were true sorority women. They were nothing I expected them to be. I was pleasantly surprised in every experience I had with them. In reality, I was completely shocked – shocked they were not drunk, stupid, and skanky. I was shocked to find they were instead quite the opposite. Each and every woman in that chapter found a way to connect with me, to make me feel welcomed in this place where I said I would never be caught dead, and together they gave me a family in a place where I had none. They accomplished something very few ever had: they changed my mind. I then began to understand how wrong I might have been about sorority women, how much I didn’t know. Fueled by my need to rid myself of my ignorance to the experiences fraternities and sororities provide to college students, I began to volunteer with the Illinois State University fraternity and sorority community. I read books and articles, spent hours asking my fraternity and sorority member colleagues and students about their experiences, their letters, and what it all meant. I was inspired. That inspiration led me to a position at Alpha Gamma Delta International Headquarters in the summer of 2011. I was beyond thrilled at the opportunity to work for the organization that had done so much for me and to officially be a part of the fraternal movement. To be honest, I was also equal parts petrified. What if the experience I had was specific to the Beta Omicron chapter? What if the impressive fraternity men and sorority women I know and admire at Illinois State University were a rare breed, rather than the norm? What if my original perceptions and opinions were about to come true?


Fraternities and sororities are about giving - the giving of your time to community service and money to philanthropies working to better others’ lives. Fraternities and sororities are about cultivating brilliance while emphasizing the importance of striving to achieve academic excellence while in college. And above all else, being a fraternity man or sorority woman is about being courageous. If I have learned anything, it is that it takes courage to be a fraternity man or sorority woman. To wear letters. To tell the rest of the world that you are a part of a community that they likely believe to be drunk, stupid, and skanky. It takes courage to commit yourself to living your entire life by a set of values, a creed, or a purpose. It is courageous to strive to live up to the ideals of your founders every day. It takes courage to do all of this in the face of powerfully negative opinions held by those of us who do not understand.

But it wasn’t, they weren’t, and they didn’t. Leaving my Illinois State University bubble instead confirmed how wrong I had truly been. With every interaction I have with the men and women of fraternal organizations, I am re-educated about the power of this movement. It’s powerful to see the men of Phi Kappa Psi sitting together in a hotel writing Action Plans at Recruitment Boot Camp with the sole focus of finding better men to join their chapters; the members of Alpha Tau Omega, Delta Gamma, and Alpha Gamma Delta spending a week of chapter-based LeaderShape® Institute designing their individual visions to change the world; the new members of Sigma Phi Epsilon spending a weekend EDGE retreat dedicating themselves to truly understanding the meaning of being balanced men; the men of Beta Theta Pi participating in the Wooden Institute connecting to the principles and ideals of their organization in the very room in which their founders created them. To experience the conversations I have the privilege of being a part at Alpha Gamma Delta International Headquarters each day regarding how we can help inspire our membership to truly Live with Purpose. Each of these experiences and many more teach me what being a part of a fraternity or sorority is all about.

014 // CONNECTIONS // 2012 • SUMMER

Most importantly, it takes courage to change those perceptions and opinions of people like me. To stop allowing Hollywood, Facebook pictures from Friday night’s party and their innocent ignorance define who you are. To instead let your values define you, to really live your Ritual every day, and to let those ideals become your identifiers to the rest of the world. Rather than merely boast your philanthropic and academic accomplishments, prove it. It takes courage to stand up against those popular negative perceptions and show what you are really about. You have already proven you have what it takes, that you have the courage. Each of you does, and you proved it the day you initiated and every time you put on your letters. So do it. Take the time to change those perceptions like the incredible fraternity men and sorority women at Illinois State University did for me. You have the courage to be better, to live up to the ideals in your ritual. By doing this, you will change the mind of every nonaffiliated person you meet. By simply being the men and women you pledged to be, you will be able to show all of us that you are not drunk, stupid or skanky. That instead, you are:

Giving. Brilliant. Courageous. And inspire the rest of us to be the same. Because that is how you changed my perception, my career and my life – by showing this “GDI” what it really means to be a fraternity man or sorority woman. Now I believe in the power of your organizations, of the men and women who have the courage to stand up in their letters and challenge themselves to be better. Now I will do whatever I can to continue to work professionally as a part of the fraternal movement, to help remind us all what we are capable of. I will trade in my GDI letters for new letters, better letters, letters it takes courage to wear. I will become a member of Alpha Gamma Delta at International Convention this July, because you have inspired me to be giving, brilliant and courageous. By simply being the men and women you said you would be, you have the power to help us all see what good you can bring to the world and to help us realize the power of the fraternal movement.


Thoughts from those who have been in your shoes regarding their relationships with others as undergraduate members…

G. Andrew Hohn

Michelle Guobadia

Director for Fraternity & Sorority Life University of North Carolina-Charlotte Member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. “I would have sold my organization more to people outside of my circle. My chapter had a serious numbers and recruitment/ intake problem. My friends and people in my circle either already knew what chapter they wanted to be in or were not interested in going Greek. I wish I had branched outside of my circle, made more connections with non-Greek students and told them what my organization was about and how we could partner in programming and collaboration. For some reason, I thought the chapter and our good deeds would just sell themselves and nonGreeks would ‘just know’ we were a group worth joining.”

Lesson to learn from Michelle’s experience: Resting on your “laurels” isn’t enough – it’s important to reach out to non-Greeks, be friendly, and partner with them. This is a guaranteed way to get others interested in your organization while building your organization’s support system!

Asst. Director of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Member of Kappa Sigma “During my undergraduate years I think that I built strong positive relationships with the campus administrators. Looking back on this, I think that it helped my chapter whenever there was an issue that involved my organization. I knew that ‘the university’ wasn’t trying to close our chapter but instead I found that the different administrators like the Dean of Students or the Chief of Police had no problem picking up the phone and calling me to handle a situation because they trusted me and knew that I would take care of any concerns. I also think that these relationships allowed my chapter to be more aware of what was happening at the institutional level regarding changes in policies or practices. This allowed me to serve as a stronger chapter leader because I felt as though I truly understood how the institution operated and when I disagreed with a policy or if I had a question, I had already built relationships that would allow me to have honest conversations with the Fraternity and Sorority Advisor or other staff in the Dean of Students Office regarding the policies. Ultimately, if I could do one thing over differently in regards to this, I would have tried to find more ways for more of the chapter to interact with the campus administrators. I think that this would have helped encourage the relationships that I built to continue once I graduated and it would have made the members of my chapter realize that the administrators are just ordinary people. This would have also allowed the members of my fraternity to realize that the university was not out to close our chapter down but did have expectations that we were a positive contributor to the university environment.”

Lesson to learn from Andrew’s experience: Your university’s administration is not out to get you – they just have expectations that you need to live up to. Additionally, if you communicate and work with them, they will help you. Last, if you build relationships as a chapter leader, make sure they are continued by your successors that way your chapter can continue to gain credibility and be a real partner, not just when it’s convenient.

Ryan Newton

Coordinator of Fraternity & Sorority Life University of South Florida Member of Beta Theta Pi “I would have listened. I would have been open-minded. I would have given others the benefit of the doubt. Why did I think that people were out to get me? There were so many dedicated, caring professionals and classmates that would have been there to help and support through the ups and downs but I closed them off because I believed my fraternity could do it alone. I was so wrong. Nobody can and nobody should have to navigate the challenges of fraternal life alone. It’s okay to ask for help.”

Lesson to learn from Ryan’s experience: You can’t do this on your own. Build partnerships, ask for help, and allow others in.


“It was not long until I realized that this was a cause I was not only willing to help them with, but felt an outstanding moral obligation to do so.”

Taking Action: An Unlikely Alliance Ross Larson  University of Denver  Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity


In April 2012, a major victory was won for American Indian youth across the country. I am both proud and humbled to have witnessed and been a part of this event. The events that occurred at the University of Denver (DU) over the 2011-2012 academic year have truly been life changing. Members of my fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, and Delta Delta Delta gathered at an off-campus venue for a cowboys and Indians themed mixer, ready to enjoy a night of fun and dancing at a nearby venue. Nearly two weeks later, the president of the sorority and I, president of my fraternity, received an email from the fraternity/ sorority advisors at DU stating we were to schedule a meeting with them immediately to discuss the aforementioned event. As presidents, our four biggest responsibilities are to serve as the liaison between the fraternity and the school, lead by example, make sure all officers are executing their goals, and take the blow when things go poorly. We both came prepared with written apologies and were asked to read them aloud to the entire fraternity and sorority community, and separately in front of the Native Student Alliance (NSA) with an open invitation to the Denver community. We apologized to the entire fraternity and sorority community at DU’s annual Greek Awards event. Between the party, the meetings with University administration, and our first apology, lots of talk was happening on campus. During this time, several articles were written online in both news and editorial blogs about our party and the response from the Native Student Alliance. Pictures from our party were included in the articles and our emails and phone numbers became public. At the time, I had a lot of different feelings. I felt embarrassed, misunderstood, frustrated, and defensive. The night before our meeting with the members of NSA, I called my older sister. She is currently obtaining her degree in social work at the University of Washington. As an AfricanAmerican woman having worked three years as the Assistant to the Diversity Coordinator at a Seattle middle/high school, my sister is well-versed in the issues of race and sensitivity. We spoke for over an hour; her expertise on the issues proving to be instrumental to my understanding of how our actions had offended so many. While the event itself had no issues re-

garding inappropriate behavior, the theme itself portrayed Native Americans as a relic of the past. The costumes worn were also inappropriate, mixing traditional regalia in a party atmosphere. Just before the second public apology to the NSA and greater Denver community, there was a closed door meeting between myself, the sorority’s president, members of NSA, university administrators, and a moderator. Since our groups were clearly in the wrong, we extended our feelings of remorse to the NSA members and explained that both groups addressed fraternity and sorority life about the issue and were implementing what we learned in our respective fraternity and sorority education programs. When it came time for the members of NSA to share, the meeting became much less formal and quickly became emotional. The NSA members shared stories with us of countless racist actions performed against them while at DU. Hearing their stories of unsolicited acts against them purely because of the color of their skin or spiritual and cultural beliefs immediately hit close to home for me. I come from a multiracial and multicultural family. It was not long until I realized that this was a cause I was not only willing to help them with, but felt an outstanding moral obligation to do so. We apologized to a crowd of nearly 100 community members. In addition, several similar offensive incidents had occurred earlier in the year. Ours proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back with the NSA. Earlier in the fall, DU hosted a homecoming parade themed “How The West Was Won.” Despite the NSA’s verbalized disapproval, the University went forward with the theme. Earlier in the year inappropriate comments had been made by some students during a multi-organizational meeting with a member of NSA present, but were disregarded as being harmless jokes. It was not until our sit down meeting with the NSA that all of the pieces of the puzzle added up for me. Following the meeting and public apology, I followed up with the NSA, inviting them to our upcoming barbeque to discuss all that had happened. A few members came to the barbeque, which proved to be an even more valuable exchange than the organized meeting earlier. Not only were we able to continue the discussion we had earlier, but they were also eager to learn

about our organization and all of the work that we do for the community. I explained our chapter recently hosted our eighth annual Mustache Bash philanthropy, a funk/disco themed party in a downtown Denver venue, generating $25,000 for the National Sports Center for the Disabled. Their acceptance of our invitation also presented the opportunity for members of NSA to meet fraternity members other than myself, and for my brothers to meet the members of the NSA for the first time. By the end of the event, I invited the NSA members to our next barbeque and offered our unconditional support in the future. Over the next few weeks and months, the relationship grew with weekly and even some daily phone calls between me and the NSA advisors addressing how to move forward. I wrote a letter of support to the NSA on behalf of my fraternity and all of fraternity and sorority life for the NSA’s meeting with the University Chancellor. The letter addressed the event and inclusive excellence in general at DU, and how the NSA had fraternity and sorority life’s unconditional support in their fight for a voice on campus and equality. In May, we cosponsored the NSA’s second annual powwow. As a result of the meeting with the Chancellor and our letter of support, the University granted NSA a $6,000 budget for the event, boosting it from a small campus event to a community-wide success. In the following months, I received several emails from people who had read about our efforts online and thanked us for our efforts. The support we have seen since we chose to create a relationship with NSA has been overwhelmingly positive and humbling. The relationship is a perfect example of turning a negative into a positive. The relationship also illustrates how doing the right thing brought positive change to our community. I am grateful to have been a part of the discussions, healing, founding of an unlikely relationship and to be able to share my experience with others.

AFLV // 017


FACILITATION 411: GREEK OSMOSIS

Contributed by Camille Famous, MS, PLPC. Drury University

There is an allure to crossing to the other side. You have seen images in the media, most infamously Animal House and more recently ABC Family’s Greek. Perhaps there is a legacy to honor within your family. Or you have scrupulously considered your options and believe fraternity/sorority life is the path for you. Either way, through the process of diffusion you have gone through the proper channels of rush or invitationals, recruitment or pledging, bid day, and initiation. Now it is official.

You are a certified sorority or fraternity member! For most, this experience serves as a badge of honor evident in the letters which you proudly wear. You are aware of the principles and expectations of your organization and are ready to act accordingly. Yet, somewhere along the lines you realize that your social circle has changed. Whatever happened to those non-affiliated classmates and colleagues who were on the verge of becoming one of your confidants, but just drifted away in the hustle and bustle of fraternity/sorority life? As you recount the number of potential friendships that hang like low bearing fruit, feel excited! Just think of how much your cadre of buddies could grow if given the opportunity.

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Specific Directions for the Conversation

At times it may seem difficult to find ways to merge two distinctly important parts of yourself. As much as you enjoy time with your brothers and sisters, there still exists a pull for independence from the group. In small conversations with individuals who are nonmembers, you may feel positioned and sometimes misunderstood by their perceptions. Simultaneously, it is refreshing to live outside the “Greek in a Box” and hear and share ideas and thoughts with individuals not familiar with the fraternal code. Although you value your letters, they sometimes limit non-members’ understanding of who you truly are. They cling to tawdry concepts of what it means to be a sorority or fraternity member and you respond as a broken record. At times it appears easier to only maintain your identity within fraternity/sorority life for the members understand the difficulties and triumphs of membership. Despite the stalemate that occurs between fraternity/sorority members and those who are not affiliated, there lies a concentration of connection that continuously pushes on the fallible wall of difference. In order to open the communication between these two groups, consider hosting a conversation party. Gather individuals who are representative of both groups and have an intentional conversation about the perceptions of each group. If you have a fraternity or sorority house, this is an excellent time to be inviting and courageous hosts. Don’t know what to talk about? Let this following activity serve as an encouragement and guide to connecting with non-Greeks.

PEOPLE SAY THAT I’M A… Goals > Emphasize the way people feel they have been labeled. > Identify the meaning of labels and the emotions associated with them. > Deconstruct the meanings of labels, reassign positive labels. The purpose of this activity is to raise awareness of ways each member has been defined by others in the past. It will also serve to break down early barriers among group members. This activity works best in a small group of 6-8 people and intentionally includes fraternity/sorority members and unaffiliated individuals. Directions Introduce the idea of “labeling theory” to all present. Invite each person to share a negative name he or she has been called or a label he or she has been assigned in the past. Allow other people to define and reconstruct the label. Have everyone take turns telling two short personal narratives about times they felt they were (and were not) that name or label. Have each person reassign him or herself a new label. Introduction to Conversation: Introduce the concept of “labeling theory.” Labeling theory is concerned with the way people are assigned names or label, and then are likely to believe these labels. This theory specifically refers to the way majority groups label minority or deviant groups. For the purposes of this conversation, labeling can refer to any type of labeling or name calling.

Provide the following instructions: “Many of us have experienced negative labeling and name calling. For this conversation, I want everyone to think of a negative label they’ve been assigned or a hurtful name, they have been called.” Give everyone a few moments to think about a name. “We will each take turns sharing a name or label we’ve been called. After each person shared the name/label, I would like the rest of us to help define what that name/label means.” First person says: “People say I’m a…” The member is to fill in the blank with a name or label he or she has been called or assigned in the past. Facilitator asks the others the following questions: What does that name/label mean to all of you? Are there any possible strengths to that name/label? After the participants have defined the name/label and discussed answers to the above questions, the facilitator asks the original individual the following questions: When someone calls you that, what does it feel like? Do you believe that you are that name? Why or why not? After answering the questions, that individual is to tell two short personal narratives: Narrative #1: Tell a story about a time that you felt like you were that name/label. Narrative #2: Tell a story about a time that you felt like you were the opposite of that name/label. Everyone else present then assigns the individual a new, positive label, using the following sentence structure: “People say he/she is a…, but I think that he/she is a…” After hearing these new labels, the individual must formulate a new statement: “People say that I’m a…, but I’m not, I’m actually a…” Repeat the process for each person participating in the conversation. This conversation will last at a minimum of 45 minutes, but has the potential to last for hours. Be cognizant that this conversation may bring up hurtful language that may trigger participants’ emotions. It is best that at the onset of the conversation, the facilitator ask that everyone present be honest and agrees to respect the experiences of all. Although confidentiality is not guaranteed in any group, please insist that everyone respect the information shared and one another’s privacy. Ideally, this will not happen as a one-time event, but more as a conversation starter that will begin to open the doors to not only acknowledging the similarities that we experiences as individuals, but celebrate the differences we have through specific affiliations. About the contributor: Camielle Famous, MS, PLPC is neosoulhippiesingstar who daylights as a Mental Health Counselor at Drury University. She relishes in daydreams of a better tomorrow and is grateful for the simple joys of each day. Although Camielle is not affiliated with a fraternal organization, she does keep secrets very well and uses calls to connect with others… on her cell phone.

AFLV // 019


6

THINGS TO LOVE & HATE It’s no secret that advisors & students don’t always see eye to eye.

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6

THINGS TO LOVE & HATE

Let’s shed some light on some of the ideas, activities, habits, & mindsets about which students & advisors love to disagree.


T-shirts

1

Advisors can tell you first hand, with zero hesitation, there is no practical (or impractical) use for all those T-shirts once you graduate. First they sit in your bureau drawer, then they go into a box in your closet, and eventually they go to the garbage – or worse, a yard sale. Why do you think you see people in third-world countries wearing a Fall Rowdy Party T-shirt? Because somewhere along the line, someone in your chapter gave it to the Goodwill (who turned and gave it to the Red Cross) because it was deemed wasted space. Think about how much money you have spent on T-shirts (or any other party/event favor, for that matter) and then think about what could have been if you spent your money on other things.

2

Underage drinking

Sure, advisors were young once and many will be the last to claim they never drank before they were 21. Nonetheless, it’s oftentimes the advisor’s job to model and assist the governing councils in enforcing policy, not to mention – ahem – the law. Most advisors will admit it’s not the “glass of wine with dinner” to which they object… Let’s be honest, many fraternity and sorority members are consuming more than that one glass of wine. And, contrary to what many undergraduates think, advisors aren’t even fun-haters; they really and truly want students to make healthy decisions, not be arrested, and not die from alcohol poisoning.

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TFM (and other fratty ridiculousness)

Sure, TFM and every other fratty and fratastic things can be hilarious… but usually only when you’re inside the circle. Consider this: To Greeks, TFM and frattiness are hilarious inside jokes, to everyone else, they make us look like a-holes.

Scavenger hunts (AND other “harmless” hazing)

By now, everyone knows that making people drink enormous amounts of alcohol and swim in a kiddie pool filled with condiments is wrong. Even the chapters that do this know they shouldn’t – that’s why they do it secretly. But, advisors are still routinely frustrated with chapters that are technically hazing but do it anyway because they think it’s harmless. Scavenger hunts, serenades, sleep deprivation, and calisthenics are still bad, people. Even when no one is being injured, anything that separates your pledges/new members from the rest of the group and forces them to participate is probably hazing. Do you wonder if you’re (still) hazing? Ask your advisor, they will help you think of something better to do.

5

Obligatory Philanthropy & Service

Sure, not everyone hates doing good things for the betterment of society, but too many fraternity and sorority members are only doing service because their chapter or community requires them to do so. Why is this the case? Contributing to the community is part of being a responsible, functional adult. It really can be very enjoyable and rewarding. If you’re not doing something you enjoy, try something else! Really!

6

Greek Week

To non-members, Greek Week is one of the most stereotypical, cliché things that happens in a fraternity/sorority community. Sure, lately an increasing number of communities are working service and values into their Greek Week debacles, but it’s still always at least a little bit horrible for advisors. For one, it can be frustrating to see students putting so much thought and energy into the “Greek Olympics” and Powder Puff Football when the same students claim to be “too busy” the rest of the year to be bothered with council meetings, service, and volunteering. Second, it’s hard for advisors to see chapters compete with each other so viciously; it’s wasted time and energy, if you ask them. Even though most communities compete under the guise of “friendly competition,” we know the truth. And it hurts, quite frankly.

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Meetings

1

Advisors want fraternity and sorority leaders, chapters, and communities to be successful. They really do. In order for this to happen, they need to communicate with you and leaders need to communicate with each other - and regularly. The reality is that the easiest way to make that happen is by gathering together and talking face-to-face. Pretty much everyone can agree that meetings have the ability to waste time, but there are lots of ways to prevent that from happening. Yes, social media has opened up doors for communication that didn’t exist a few years ago. But, what if these new communication venues were ways to enhance and further streamline communication rather than replace what you’ve typically done? Finally, don’t forget that chapter meetings provide an immeasurable value that members don’t get anywhere else: an opportunity to perform the Ritual. And, we can all appreciate that.

2

FIPG (And Dry Events in General)

So many students ask - and oftentimes not erroneously, “In what other aspect of my life will I be forced not to drink at a social event?” It’s a fair question. Unless your religious or personal values prohibit the use of alcohol, most adults continue on with a life after college that includes kicking back a few brews when they’re hanging out with their friends. Happy hour, BBQs, holiday parties, and even rec league softball often involve a cooler and a six-pack for many high functioning, moral, responsible, and successful adults. The difference is the liability, folks. As silly as it sounds, when you drink at a chapter event, your organization assumes enormous amounts of legal liability. Inter/national fraternal organizations have a legal duty to protect their members. It’s just not the same at your holiday party or softball game. And, it’s not the advisors fault.

3

Saying “No”

This one is a little bit different. Advisors really don’t love saying “No” but students forever will think they do. It is very difficult to say no and deliver bad news, especially when doing so makes people angry with you. There are a lot of reasons why advisors say no, and some of them are beyond their control: > Their boss tells them to. You may not have noticed, but your advisor is not the President of the university. > The law requires them to. > They are upholding the policies and values of your inter/national organization. Paddles are good example. Many inter/national organizations prohibit members from making them. Even if the advisor has one they love from their undergraduate days, they respect your organization enough to honor their wishes and policies. > Past precedent tells them to. Let’s say your Panhellenic Council wants to shorten recruitment to five days from three. Your advisor knows that this was tried two, four, and seven years ago and failed each time. So, it’s just easier for them to say “no” than to allow you to try it and fail.

4

Grade Reports

Kind of like paperwork and documentation, it’s a necessary evil. However, it seems that the only chapters who hate grade reports are the ones performing poorly. The chapters who consistently achieve an impressive chapter GPA year after year don’t seem to mind whatsoever that their business is posted all over the Office of Fraternity/Sorority Life website. Just sayin’.

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normal working hours

Even though you (very) frequently see your advisor working outside and beyond the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., it doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to call them whenever you like on their personal cell phone to discuss a fraternal non-emergency. Believe it or not, advisors have families and friends, and they value the time they spend with them; as much you love them (and they love you) try to wait until morning to chat.

Documentation/Paperwork

Advisors want to – and have to – maintain records about pretty much everything: membership, recruitment, events, elections, and more. For most advisors, this is a love/hate relationship. Yes, this much record keeping can be a pain, but it’s a necessary evil and their supervisors appreciate them more when they have up to date statistics magically available at the drop of a pin. Student affairs and higher education professionals aren’t going to stop doing assessment, that’s just the reality. So, perhaps a better question is “How can this happen more efficiently?” Have a conversation about using electronic forms, combining efforts, and the like.


SORRY, We’re Not Sorry Hazing Doesn’t Belong at Penn State Three hazing incidents are three too many, but we suspect that’s just the tip of the cultural iceberg.

Penn State police are investigating three alleged incidents of hazing from recent weeks on campus. Police Chief Tyrone Parham put voice to our fears when he said: “It may be going on more than it’s reported.” Parham said Penn State might normally have one such incident in a year’s time. To be investigating three alleged hazing incidents at the same time is “unusual,” he said.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said of the most recent incident: “Once the investigation is completed, we plan to expediently file the appropriate charges that are supported by the facts and the law, as we do in every case.” We urge local police to pursue these cases vigorously and to prosecute those they connect with the activities to the fullest extent of the law.

Some might call it a coincidence.

And we urge those who have been victimized by the barbaric practice of hazing to contact police and expose those crimes.

Others would point to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse allegations as prompting more people to step from the shadows and contact police when they feel they’ve been wronged.

Ultimately, we urge bright young people to recognize that hazing is a demeaning and potentially dangerous activity that should be eradicated from the practices of their organizations.

So far, the timeline of alleged incidents includes:

Another article about Penn State. They’re certainly in the spotlight lately, but it’s not all bad. Although this article brings to light some behavioral issues of our fraternal brothers and sisters, we’ve chosen to highlight it here because it shows that the university is putting its foot down and trying to clean up its act and reputation – in more ways than one.

March 11, when police found a group of men engaged in suspicious activity in a campus residence hall that was closed for spring break. Police said the 10 men were connected with a fraternity. April 4, when a female student contacted police and said she was a victim of hazing at a sorority between January and February. April 9, when another female student said she was beaten during activities involving the Omega Essence “little sisters” group connected with Omega Psi Phi, a graduate fraternity that does not have a recognized chapter at Penn State. Local law enforcement leaders and university officials unanimously said they take accusations of hazing seriously — as they certainly should. This is a shout out to fraternal members, chapters, councils, or communities that have opted to do the right (albeit unpopular) thing. These people have stood for what they believe in - their fraternal values - despite the fear or reality of being ostracized or ridiculed. You’ve heard the saying “what’s popular is not always right and what’s right is not always popular.” It’s the truth. These people have got guts; they’ve owned their values.

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We like the call out to come forward if you think you’ve been hazed. We think they’re right when they say lots of instances of hazing go unreported. They’re saying, “We’re going to hold you accountable. Sorry we’re not sorry.” Sorry we’re not sorry that we’re taking accusations seriously. Sorry we’re not sorry that we don’t let you trounce around in closed residence halls. Sorry we’re not sorry you can’t beat each other up. Sorry we’re not sorry we’re going to expect you to act like the ladies and gentlemen you espouse to be.

REFERENCE: Centre Daily Times. (2012, May 6). Hazing doesn’t belong at PSU. Centre Daily Times. Retrieved from: http://www.centredaily.com/2012/05/06/3187239/ hazing-doesnt-belong-at-psu.html#storylink=cpy


FRO FR OMO OM THE THEOROO RO ADO AD Omega Psi Phi Graduate Members Serve as Positive Role Models

Sorority Community at UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO Combats Negative Stereotypes

Springfield, Illinois

University of Colorado – Boulder

When you think of the way your chapter gives back to the community, what comes to mind? Do you think of philanthropic activities in which members raise money for a charitable cause by participating in a competition? Perhaps your last highway clean-up comes to mind. While these activities are important and contribute to the welfare of the community, they often miss a significant element: forming a personal relationship with the people you are serving.

You probably have heard the statement that one should not wear one’s letters the first day of class. The belief behind this statement is that if one wears one’s letters, one will be negatively labeled by the instructor. Rather than hiding a part of their identities, one sorority community is displaying their letters with pride.

Think of the last time you engaged in a service project where you served someone. How did it make you feel? What did you learn? What impact did you have in the life of the person you served? Service activities such as after-school tutoring, volunteering at a nursing home, serving food at a shelter, and mentoring a little sister or brother, are powerful because they not only impact the person being served, but the servant, as well. These interactive service activities enable you to learn from others while also learning about yourself. One graduate chapter of Omega Psi Phi is giving back to their community by serving as positive role models for adolescents in Springfield, Illinois. According to an article in the State Journal–Register, members of the organization meet with local high school students to expose the students to successful African American men. The goal is to demonstrate to the students that education can lead to a better life. In addition to interacting with high school students, the Omega Psi Phi members also provide school supplies and sponsor scholarships. How are you leaving a lasting impact in your community? How are you influencing the lives of others? When you organize your next service activity, consider organizing an activity that enables your members to interact with the people they are serving. _______ You can read the full story in the State Journal–Register at http://www.sj-r. com/top-stories/x255285008/Omega-Psi-Phi-members-try-to-be-a-presence-to-black-youths

Most of the women in the sorority community at the University of Colorado are high achieving. So why should they not be proud to be sorority women? To address the negative perception of fraternal organizations, the sorority community is combating the stereotypes by disproving them. According to an article in the Colorado Daily, the sorority community began a public relations campaign that involved educating sorority women about the impact of their behaviors. Some members took this to heart. One sorority member in the article stated that being tardy is not an option. She did not want to reinforce the stereotype that members of fraternal organizations do not care about their academic success. In addition to encouraging members to present themselves in a positive light, chapters have also hosted faculty members. This has enabled faculty members to learn about the sororities at CU-Boulder, while having a secondary effect of chiseling away the negative perceptions that some faculty members might have had of the sorority community. One faculty member in the article stated that he now thinks of leadership development when he thinks of fraternal organizations. _______ Source: Bryen, W. (September 13, 2011). CU-Boulder sororities work to disprove negative perceptions. Colorado Daily.


Another Alpha Chapter Loses Its Way

Is it possible that frat boys could be so vile and disgusting, so drunk and disorderly, so utterly contemptuous of civility and good taste -- so egregiously out of control -- that their fraternity big brothers would shut down their frat house? For the rowdy lads at Miami University’s Sigma Chi International chapter, thumbing their noses at society has finally had consequences. They got the ax this week from the fraternity’s national executive committee, which ordered the Miami chapter shut down. All 29 Miami University Sigma Chi members have to be out of the frat house in Oxford, Ohio, by Wednesday. The fraternity’s offenses were not fully articulated, but they seem to have incorporated the usual “Animal House”-style infractions: excessive drinking, hooliganism, disrespect for others, and an alleged predilection for recreational drugs. The executive committee was so appalled that it dismissed the miscreants as “so-called members,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Monday. “The so-called members of our Order at Sigma Chi’s chapter at Miami University have lost their way in aligning their lives toward, and living up to, our values and ideals,” Michael A. Greenberg, the international fraternity’s grand pro consul, wrote in a letter to school officials. The letter referred to “illegal and continual drug usage and the possible distribution of drugs from the chapter house,’’ the Enquirer reported. The fraternity brothers also displayed “clear and blatant disregard for authority and anyone who is not a member of Sigma Chi’s Alpha Chapter,” Greenberg wrote.

Needless to say, the fraternity was already on probation – not necessarily the double secret probation imposed by Dean Wormer in “Animal House’’ – but serious enough to threaten the local chapter’s very existence. It was with regret, Greenberg wrote university officials, that “we have been unable to successfully save our chapter at your institution.’’ The Miami chapter was founded in 1855, but it was ultimately shut down after 157 years by what national Sigma Chi president Dennis R. Santoli reportedly said was members’ “frequent engagement in inappropriate behavior.’’ The fraternity has 244 chapters in the U.S. with more than 300,000 members. Michael Dunn, executive director of the fraternity’s national office, said the organization will not even consider reinstating the Miami chapter until the current members graduate, the Enquirer reported.

It seems fraternity members got drunk in February 2010, tore up hotel rooms in Columbus, Ohio, and filched items from the hotel gift shop, the Enquirer reported. They got in trouble again last spring in an alcohol-fueled hazing incident. There was another hazing infraction this year, school officials said, but declined to provide details, according to the newspaper.

Busted! Stupid Things That You Have Done Lately References

Abrams, P. (Producer), & Becker, W. (Director). (2002). Van Wilder. United States: Myriad Pictures. Goldberg, D. (Producer), Medjuck, J. (Producer), & Phillips, T. (Producer & Director). (2003). Old School. United States: Reitman, I. (Producer), Simmons, M. (Producer), & Landis, J. (Director). (1978). Animal house. United States: Universal Pictures. Zuchinno, D. (2012, April 10). So long, Sigma Chi: Alcohol-fueled Ohio fraternity went too far. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from: http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-miami-university-sigma-chi-fraternity-20120410,0,6374866.story

026 // CONNECTIONS // 2012 • SUMMER

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


The media never fails to get blamed for perpetuating negative stereotypes of the sorority and fraternity community. When asked why Greek Life has such a bad reputation, chances are college students at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio will answer by blaming movies like Animal House, Van Wilder, and Old School before ever considering that these stereotypes could be a result of their own community’s actions. Although there are many fraternal organizations out there doing the right things, when the actions of some members confirm that these movies accurately represent fraternity and sorority life, it’s no wonder the community has such a negative perception with both members and nonmembers alike. The Sigma Chi brothers of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio had many infractions that were described as Animal House-type behavior. One cannot really question how this connection was made, because the similarities between the movie and actions of the fraternity are extremely similar in nature. In Animal House, the Deltas broke rule after rule, continually got in trouble and never learned from their mistakes. When Dean Vernon Wormer was describing the worst fraternity on campus, he explained the disciplinary files of the Deltas by asking, “Who dropped a whole truckload of fizzies into the varsity swim meet? Who delivered the medical school cadavers to the alumni dinner? Every Halloween, the trees are filled with underwear. Every spring, the toilets explode.” Although their history of infractions was not quite as comical as that of the Deltas, the Sigma Chi chapter’s reputation was perceived by onlookers just as negative and their disciplinary file was just as thick. Excessive drinking, destroying hotel rooms, illegal drug use, drug distribution, and hazing all made the list. Sadly, Queen’s 1980s hit single “Another One Bites The Dust” would make a great theme song for fraternity and sorority life in Oxford, Ohio. In 2009, Delta Delta Delta was put on a two year suspension for hazing. Miami University made the news again when their Alpha Xi Delta chapter was suspended through August of 2012 for infractions at their 2010 formal, including public urination, damaging property, disrespecting staff, and extreme intoxication. Finally, the Pi Beta Phi chapter was also suspended for an outrageous formal which included heavily intoxicated members who were vomiting, having sex in public, and vandalizing property. You might remember Summer 2010 when they were featured in Busted!, too. Instead of learning from the indiscretions of these sorority women, the 29 Sigma Chi members mimicked their misguided actions and now suffer similar consequences. These men chose to chance ruining 157 years of brotherhood at Miami University and embarrass the other 300,000 Sigma Chi members across the nation all because they wanted to channel their inner Animal House. The writing is on the wall for the other 53 chapters at Miami University. Let’s hope the rest of them get a clue faster than Sigma Chi before another chapter from Oxford, Ohio ends up Busted!

Do’s & dont’s of credibility When working with entities outside of your chapter, it is extremely important to build credibility. Credibility, defined as the quality or power of inspiring belief, takes time to earn and can easily be lost. While it’s not easy to do, it is worth working toward as it could lead to some great things for your chapter, council and fraternity and sorority community. Below are some thoughts on what to do and what to avoid when it comes to credibility:

Do:

Follow through – when you do something you say you will do, people feel like you’re more than just talk. Following through on your commitments helps build trust and lets people know you’re reliable. Treat others with respect – showing respect to others lets them know you think beyond yourself and appreciate others. It’s also the first step to others respecting you. Take personal responsibility for your actions – if you did something wrong, just own up to it and stop trying to cover it up. When you cover things up, eventually the truth comes out and that leads to the ultimate loss of credibility. Go the extra mile – when you show others you’re willing to go beyond what’s expected, you let others know your level of commitment. Being committed (for the right reasons) translates to credibility. Be congruent with your organization’s founding values – when you joined your organization, you made some promises that were meant to be kept. The moment you stop upholding promises, you begin to look like a liar. Lying is the ultimate loss of credibility.

Don’t:

Finger-point – when building credibility, own up to what you’ve done. If you start shifting blame to others, people will notice. Discredit the work of others – everyone’s input is important – don’t say that what someone said or did is less important than what you have contributed so that you can look better than them. That just makes you look arrogant. Look for loopholes – if you’re constantly looking for a loophole, people will think you’re looking for ways to not follow rules, guidelines, etc. Some people also think this is unethical. Avoid all of this by just playing by the rules and if you don’t agree, voice your opinion and change what you don’t like! Just be reactive – while it’s important to show others that you can react to situations and crises, it is equally as important to show others that you are being proactive and actively working toward the future. Stop building relationships – so you think the relationships you have are enough or you’ve done everything you can to build a particular relationship? Think again. This is an ongoing process – the more you nurture a relationship, the stronger it becomes and the more likely you are to find other relationships you need to build.


24/7/365: So Much More Than A Week September 24-28, 2012 NHPW WEBINAR SERIES September 6

Hazing in Predominantly African American Organizations September 13

Large Audience Case Study: University of Kentucky September 20

40 Answers Social Media Campaign September 27

Anti-Hazing Hero Award Panel Each webinar is $50 per site or $175 for the entire series.

Check out the NHPW Planning & Retail Products Guide at www.NationalHazingPreventionWeek.com,

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one ELEVEN more { Ideas 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.

01 Don’t just talk to them when there’s bad news – establish connections with them year-round.

02 Share your chapter triumphs like winning awards, setting philanthropic or service records, and achieving your chapter goals. 03 Find ways to meet with these individuals at least once a year and share your goals. Also, ask them how they can help you achieve your goals! 04 Ask for advice when you need it. 05 Hold your members accountable and avoid actions that could inhibit your ability to maintain positive relationships with these individuals.

06 Turn things in on time, return phone calls, reply back to emails promptly, and attend meetings on time.

07 Invite them to chapter events such as scholarship dinners, community service projects, and Parents’ Weekend events. 08 Include them in the list of people you send your newsletters to! 09 Follow campus and national organization policies. 10 Show appreciation and recognize them. 11 Think about the messages your signs, t-shirts, websites and actions send to these entities – and find ways to make sure all is congruent with the values of your organization.

for Establishing Beneficial Relationships with Campus Advisors, Administrators & Headquarters Staff & volunteers Believe it or not, these individuals are not out to get you! Their role is to serve as a resource, support you when you’re living in congruence with your organizational values, and guide you. It’s important to build AND maintain these relationships. Here are some ideas for how you can establish and keep rapport with these valuable entities.


Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values PO Box 1576 Fort Collins, CO 80522-1576

Stop photocopying, just get more copies. CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE puts real answers, perspectives, and well-reasoned ideas into the hands of your staff and student leaders. You receive two copies of each issue with your council membership, but your campus can get extras for your entire council leadership or for each chapter president. CONNECTIONS is a cost-effective way to start great conversations with student leaders. Scan the QR code to learn more or go to AFLV.org to subscribe today!

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AFLV Connections Summer 2012  

AFLV Connections is the Association's quarterly magazine highlighting information, stories, best practices, and news that impact fraternity...

AFLV Connections Summer 2012  

AFLV Connections is the Association's quarterly magazine highlighting information, stories, best practices, and news that impact fraternity...

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