Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life debuts new mission for Greek life

Students sit during the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life meeting in the Charles B. Gentry Building on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. (Bailey Wright/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL) announced a new vision and mission for the Greek community Wednesday night, in hope of redefining Greek life at UConn.
    
Director Todd Sullivan addressed the controversy that Greek life faced last year at OFSL’s annual “state of the community” meeting.

“Last year, quite frankly, we were in survival mode,” Sullivan said.

Following these struggles, the OFSL decided to commit to extensive internal and external evaluations. Last fall they began a self-study in which they critically examined many of their operations and discovered that hazing continued to plague the community. 

To combat this issue, they brought in Dr. Gentry McCreary, who met with staff and students in early March to learn about UConn’s culture and provided feedback for the OFSL.

In April, Veronica M. Hunter, Sam Centellas, and Lauri Sidelko, nationally recognized external reviewers, also visited the campus to further evaluate the situation. 

Sullivan said the OFSL realized that there is a disconnect between the public’s perception of what the OFSL was doing and the reality of their operations. Furthermore, Sullivan said that there is a need for the OFSL to collaborate more with other departments and shift their focus to individual students rather than Greek organizations as a whole.

Following this, Sullivan debuted the OFSL’s new vision and mission. Their vision—what the OFSL is striving towards—is for UConn to be “a community of values-driven individuals committed to lifelong social responsibility.” 

Their new mission—what the OFSL hopes to carry out—is a bit longer. The OFSL desires to “provide quality support services and educational experiences that enhance the holistic development of students as global citizens” and “set an expectation of excellence that challenges our diverse fraternity and sorority community to exemplify the highest scholastic, social and ethical standards.” 

To help fulfill this mission, the OFSL created a new fraternity and sorority community center in room 203 of the Student Union. Their new center includes a community room, conference room, consultation room and fully stocked kitchen.

It is now a “student-focused space that is accessible to the entire university community,” said assistant director Jamel Catoe. 

Another notable initiative is the OFSL’s new set of scholastic standards for social fraternities and sororities. While the average Greek GPA was above the overall undergraduate average last year, the OFSL felt that not every organization held themselves to the same high standard.

Now, the minimum requirements are a 2.5 average GPA for chapters, new members, and Greek Community Affairs Board members, and a 2.0 average for individual members. If an organization or individual does not meet these standards, they will have to meet with the OFSL to discuss how to move forward. 

Many members of the fraternity and sorority community seemed enthusiastic about the new initiatives. 

Katie McManus, vice president of New Member Education for the Kappa Tau chapter of Alpha Chi Omega, said she liked how “OFSL is making it more of a UConn community and wants to integrate Greek life more into UConn’s community.”

Kenyi Silva, president of the Intercultural Greek Council, expressed similar sentiments.

“I like that they opened this up to the whole community—Greek life and non-Greeks as well, faculty and staff were present as well, and I like that—just the openness about it,” Silva said. 

Members of the UConn community can share their thoughts about the OFSL’s new vision and mission at greeklife.uconn.edu.


Helen Stec is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at helen.stec@uconn.edu.