Greek Advisor

Overview

Campus Fraternity/Sorority advisors — contrary to what you may think — are really very supportive of Fraternity/Sorority life at their campuses. The vast majority are members of a fraternity or sorority and a great many have traveled for their fraternity or sorority. They are in their position because they have an interest in higher education and in helping students reach their potential as scholars, leaders, and citizens. They recognize that fraternities can do more than any other organizations on college campuses to assist in that mission.

To work with these administrators, however, takes an understanding of their goals and limitations. Though they may be members of a fraternity or sorority, and may even have been dedicated to fun and revelry as undergraduates, they are employees of an institution of higher learning. As such, their activities must support the mission of that institution and are charged with helping our chapter to do the same. With the increasing emphasis on structure, expectations, standards, values-development, and risk management current on campuses across the nation, it is not surprising that some chapters will find themselves at odds with the priorities of the Fraternity/Sorority advisor or institution.

Importance of Communication

Chapter officers should open and maintain a line of communication with the campus Fraternity/Sorority advisor. Sometimes the work will be done for you, through the IFC or meetings that regularly bring together campus administrators and presidents from all chapters. Other campuses may not provide this kind of structure. In any case, you should seek to meet in person at least once each term with the Fraternity/Sorority advisor and stay in good communication throughout the term by consistent phone or email communication in order to determine a number of things:

  • What is the attitude of the advisor toward the chapter?
  • Does the advisor see improvement or a trend backwards?
  • What policies or trends does the advisor see for the university, with regard to the Greek system?
  • What resources or programs are available from the university to help the chapter meet some of its goals? Who are the contact persons for those resources?
  • Are rumors going around campus about Phi Tau that should be discussed?
  • Are their questions within the chapter that require a response from the university?

Antigreek?

It's not uncommon for chapters and members to feel that the university is anti-Fraternity/Sorority and "just wants to get rid of us." This is usually the farthest thing from the truth. We all like to have someone on which to blame the fact that we can't do whatever we want. When we're children it's our parents, then the school principal. As college students, we blame the university. Yet, every institution is aware of the fact that members graduate at a higher rate (membership), usually have a GPA above the all-campus average (scholarship), play a major role in leadership within the campus community and service to the general community ([[[community service), and are more active alumni with respect to the giving of time and money (alumni relations).

Why, then, would any campus not want more Fraternities and Sororities?

The answer usually lies in the activities of some chapters and the problems that they sometimes perpetuate. Unfortunately, we often make the time and effort to deal with our mistakes more troublesome than the institution thinks we're worth. Though a university is a learning institution, and though one of the best ways to learn is through experimentation and experience, the laws and policies of the land dictate that if there is a chance of harm from allowing students to learn from experience, it must be disallowed. Campuses are increasingly pressured by federal or state laws to crack down on irresponsible conduct and alcohol violations, or lose millions in federal grants.

Conclusion

The best way to understand the position of the university, to reduce the possibility of conflict and to gain a better perspective of the image that Phi Kappa Tau projects on your campus is to communicate with the Fraternity/Sorority advisor. At minimum, you'll have a contact person when problems arise. At best you will find a friend who is really committed to the success of your chapter and who can become an invaluable resource toward that end.

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