First Greek review in ten years

Samantha Donegan

READ the recommendations the Center for Student Involvement made for Greek Affairs.

To solve problems such as low recruitment, lack of cohesive community and increasing financial costs in the Greek community, the Center for Student Involvement compiled a Greek Affairs Review Report for the 2007-2008 school year.

The review is the first of its kind in 10 years.

“We did the review because we had been getting feedback from students that there were things that were happening that were weakening the Greek community at Kent State,” said Brenda McKenzie, interim director of the Center for Student Involvement. “We really wanted to get a sense of where people felt the Greek community was going and how we could put a plan in place to help improve it.”

After conducting two focus groups with campus and chapter advisers and students, along with an online assessment survey used throughout universities across the country, CSI was able to identify common themes throughout the Greek community. Some of those themes were front-page negative press from the Daily Kent Stater; different standards for the Interfraternity Council, Black Greek Council and Panhellenic Council; concerns about the Greek relationship with the city of Kent and Kent police; and advisers’ concerns about student’s academic success.

To improve the Greek system, CSI developed seven recommendations to make the community better, McKenzie said.

“We identified three objectives to work on this year,” she said. “The first one being assistance with improvement to the recruitment process, and those are underway as we speak with sorority recruitment.

“Enhancing communication between our office, the chapters, the advisers and each other is the next objective we will be working on this year. The final one is revamping, restructuring the Interfraternity Council, and that will be a year-long process that we will be starting here shortly.”

McKenzie said CSI would look at the remaining four objectives – developing a marketing plan, focusing on assisting with the academic achievement of students and chapters, revamping Founder’s Arch or creating a similar type of annual chapter review process and pursuing the creation and organization of Greek-oriented leadership development – next year.

Teniell Trolian, assistant director of the Center for Student Involvement, said she was not surprised at the areas that needed improvement.

“Fraternities and sororities nationally are struggling with the same issues – grades are an issue, recruitment is an issue, retention is an issue, expansion is an issue,” Trolian said. ” I just think it was good information to get for where this community specifically needs to focus.”

Trolian said most fraternity and sorority offices throughout the country do a general assessment every single year.

“Right now in higher education nationally, there is this constant need for data and data trend practices, so I think that there is a trend for that to happen a lot more frequently than five to 10 years,” Trolian said. “There has been a change in the management of resource allocation of budget based on the performances of departments. At minimum, I would say that it needs to happen every other year if not every year. That would be my personal preference for it.”

Whitney Thayer, junior early childhood education major, said she has noticed progress in the Greek community through camaraderie since she joined Delta Gamma two years ago.

“I don’t know anything about the Greek Review,” Thayer said. “But the whole Greek community has got closer. Every group supports each other’s philanthropy and goes out to each other’s events.”

Delta Gamma member Katy Hetz, speech pathology major, has also taken note of all Greek organizations coming together.

“We are coming together more, especially with the black (Greek) community,” Hetz said. “We are working on going to their events and them coming to ours. They were at our dance-your-flash-off event and we are going to go to their step show event.”

Greg Jarvie, associate vice president and dean of students of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, said CSI has already started to work towards its goals.

“We did a retreat this past summer,” Jarvie said. “I think as a whole in leadership of the Greek community from that retreat, we were able to pick out some things we felt that we could start working on right away.”

Contact Greek life reporter Samantha Donegan at [email protected].