by Matt Mattson
Visit this website today: www.nicindy.org/fraternityrights. Seriously.
We’ll let that website tell the good news, but here’s a sneak peek…
LEGITIMATE RESEARCH SHOWS…
“Students who choose to participate in the fraternity experience gain a significant advantage to non-participants in many formative measurements that apply greatly to civic engagement, relationship building, and professional leadership skills.”
“Students who choose to join a fraternity leave college better prepared for immediate impact in the workplace and involvement within the community than those who do not.”
And interestingly, this research shows that campuses with deferred recruitment policies are keeping men from important first-semester opportunities that could help them maximize their full potential.
Thanks to some leading organizations who took bold steps to ask some powerful questions of their members, there is now research to back up what we believe — fraternities are a powerful positive force in the lives of their members. The massive UniLOA study that this data comes from is an exciting advancement for Greek Life. This represents new information that all the leaders in our interfraternal movement need to understand and utilize in their work to advance Greek Life.
As you are shaping recruitment strategies for the coming year, consider how this information might be taught to your members, shared with key stakeholders on campus, used to help students (and their parents) make life-changing decisions to “Go Greek,” etc.
Phired Up challenges the fraternity/sorority world to look at this new data as a jumping off point for where we can go together. If we jointly choose SOCIAL EXCELLENCE (for example) as our shared focus and purpose, imagine the even more dramatic transformation students will see after joining fraternities/sororities compared with their non-Greek counterparts. Imagine if we start intentionally and strategically preparing our members to be great social hosts, bold social leaders, and confident, vulnerable, compassionate social communicators.
Of course this data should also challenge us to look critically at ourselves in other ways. If this study is true and we really do provide this level of value in the lives of our members — despite our many transgressions — imagine if we leaned into the behaviors that created these positive results and agressively addressed the behaviors that detract. Imagine what the depth of our impact might be then?
Further, the reasons for deferred recruitment policies on campuses across the country are likely a) the health and well-being of first-semester new members and b) the lower academic performance during the first semester of membership in a fraternity. These two factors are currently outweighing the positive attributes of fraternity membership in the minds of many administrators (so much so that they’re willing to risk backlash regarding freedom of association to protect their students). If we could cooperatively and boldly (really boldly) address these two very real risks AND get the results reported in this study, imagine the possibilities. This is a call for a new approach to the first-semester experience in Greek Life.
Let’s celebrate, but let’s be humble and honest as well. Greek life is doing some things wrong and we need to address them, but we also have the potential (as proven by this early data) to quite literally improve lives in ways no other opportunity on campus provides. This is huge.
Thanks to the NIC and all the organizations that have put their effort and energy into this research.
[UPDATE: Here is the official release from the NIC. It is a helpful read.]