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New Greek Life Directions, Opportunities Discussed

Student Life

New Greek Life Directions, Opportunities Discussed

Members of the Division of Student Life recently joined students, alumni, faculty, and staff to discuss updates to the “New Directions—New Opportunities” strategies developed to enhance the role of Greek life as a critical element to the undergraduate experience. The primary goal is to elevate Greek life to the forefront of student life by building a Greek system that serves as a national model of excellence, according to Eddie Ade Knowles, vice president for student life.

Beginning in spring 2006, Rensselaer administration, undergraduate members, and alumni began to review a set of strategies, viewed as a means to restore the Greek life community to its founding values of brotherhood and sisterhood. The outcome of this process was a stronger link between Greek life and Rensselaer’s undergraduate plan, an improved vision for new member recruitment (rush) and new member education process (pledging), and a revised Rensselaer Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy aligned to Greek life.

The plan also addresses the consequences for non-compliance that include a minimum two-semester suspension of chapter recognition and function, and an additional stipulation of a ban on alcohol and a live-in house director when the chapter is again recognized following the suspension period.

Other significant outcomes of this effort included the implementation of a Rensselaer Good Samaritan Policy, a Fraternity and Sorority Social Management Manual, and a process for Reinstatement to Full Recognition of a Fraternity and Sorority. Lastly, it was also determined that it is neither feasible nor cost efficient to mandate a live-in house director for on- or off-campus chapter houses, as originally proposed.

In keeping with the goals of The Rensselaer Plan, specifically noting retention and graduate rates, members of fraternities and sororities have higher retention and graduation rates than non-Greeks, and they also exceed the Institute rate. Factors that contribute to this effort include participation in leadership, philanthropy, community service activities, independent living opportunities, and strong connections with alumni.

“New Directions—New Opportunities” is an outcome of 14 months of work in collaboration with undergraduate fraternity and sorority chapter members, the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council leadership, the Alumni Inter-Greek Council, the dean of students, assistant dean of students, Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs, a project manager representing the Rensselaer Alumni Association, the Student Health Center, and a few national/international directors, according to Knowles.

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Office of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590. Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute. ©2008 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.