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  #1  
Old 09-03-2019, 01:06 PM
PersistentDST PersistentDST is offline
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Greek Life Growth at a Commuter School

Hi Guys!
It’s been a long time! Glad to see some familiar names! I’m sad I fell off, but I enjoyed posting with you guys, so I decided to come back!

So to give some background about my question:

I started working at an “urban” institution, with a high population of Commuters, a few years back, initially in admissions. Naturally, I asked our student workers about Greek Life when I arrived. I was already familiar with the NPHC chapters, but I did not see much information in regards to NPC or IFC chapters. Recently, one of my favorite Sorors has been hired and she is responsible for campus life and most of the programming on campus, including Greek Life. She’s tapped me (voluntold ) to help her work on ways to help with the growth of Greek Life at this university. She is coming from my alma mater, which has seen a very healthy growth in Greek Life in all the councils during her time there, including the expansion of two NPC Sororities in the past four years. But that campus is more traditional, in a college town, where first year students are required to stay on campus.

We have 4 NPC organizations and 4 IFC organizations. In regards to the NPC, one chapter was chartered (founded?) in the 70’s. The other three were local orgs, until the mid 2010’s, when they became NPC chapters. The chapters are pretty small and there isn’t official housing (although I think they may have some designated floor space in the residence halls). One their website, it says there’s over 100 women in the four organizations. I’m not as knowledgeable about the IFC, but I do know some chapters get a lot of alum support. The NPHC has city-wide chapters (multiple universities represented in one chapter), which poses its own unique issues.

So in closing this novel, we are trying to find ways to combat the stereotype that a mostly commuter, urban campus, means our students will not be as interested in campus life, specifically Greek Life. I’m now working on the retention side of the house and we know how important programming and activities are to keep our students engaged in the University. If you guys have any ideas on ways to get more students informed and interested in Greek Life (or campus life in general!) on a commuter campus, that would be excellent!
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2019, 02:46 PM
sigmadiva sigmadiva is offline
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The best example that I know of is University of Houston - Central Campus.

It was very much a "commuter" campus but the school has taken efforts over the years to make it feel more residential.

The change came from the top administration - they totally updated buildings and improved on-campus housing. The school even invested in the sports teams. Overall, there was a huge effort to improve the school all around.

As a result, Greek Life on that campus seems to have improved with it. UH built housing for the Greek lettered orgs.

So, to address what you want to see happen, it is going to take a commitment from the school. It took UH about 10 years to see the fruit of all this labor.
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  #3  
Old 09-03-2019, 05:33 PM
PKT4LIFE PKT4LIFE is offline
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This sounds like my alma mater Cleveland State University.
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  #4  
Old 09-03-2019, 06:09 PM
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TheGreenHeart TheGreenHeart is offline
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This sounds like my alma mater Cleveland State University.
I was thinking the same thing! (And GO, VIKES! )
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  #5  
Old 09-03-2019, 06:11 PM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is offline
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Over 100 women per NPC chapter or all total?
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  #6  
Old 09-03-2019, 06:18 PM
naraht naraht is offline
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I guarantee if the school has IFC and NIC chapters that Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity would be willing to have a chapter there.

Not sure if that variety would help for what you are looking for.
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  #7  
Old 09-03-2019, 08:16 PM
clemsongirl clemsongirl is offline
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Operating on the assumption that this is Cleveland State, because I had the same thought as the above commenters when I read the description of the school, I've got some unorganized tidbits I think could be useful.

-I think promoting the idea of fraternities and sororities as a way to find a sense of "place" on campus, especially a commuter campus where students don't all live together, would be a good way to promote the orgs. If they have a designated floor space or an office in the student union where every member can go hang out between classes, sell that.

-The CSU FSL website doesn't have links to the chapters' social media or websites directly. I think it would be equally helpful, if not more so, to link to those than the national organizations' websites. I like the Panhellenic website and if there's any sort of equivalent for IFC or NPHC it would be helpful to put those there too.

-Specifically with IFC, there's no link on the FSL website that I can find that tells you how to sign up for fraternity recruitment, nor is there any contact information for executive board. That should be front and center on the recruitment page so interested men have someone to reach out to.

-Emphasizing actual time commitment: yes, there are some events in Greek life that are mandatory without a very good reason, but I think commuter students can be wary of joining something they think will take up all their free time or have them going to and from campus multiple times a day. If information is presented that explains what new members and current members are involved in both inside and outside their chapters, that will help give prospective students an accurate sense of whether they could see themselves joining.
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  #8  
Old 09-03-2019, 09:11 PM
PersistentDST PersistentDST is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKT4LIFE View Post
This sounds like my alma mater Cleveland State University.
Youíre on to something here...
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  #9  
Old 09-03-2019, 09:11 PM
PersistentDST PersistentDST is offline
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Originally Posted by FSUZeta View Post
Over 100 women per NPC chapter or all total?
Total of all NPC women. (Based on their website.)
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  #10  
Old 09-03-2019, 09:27 PM
PersistentDST PersistentDST is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sigmadiva View Post
The best example that I know of is University of Houston - Central Campus.

It was very much a "commuter" campus but the school has taken efforts over the years to make it feel more residential.

The change came from the top administration - they totally updated buildings and improved on-campus housing. The school even invested in the sports teams. Overall, there was a huge effort to improve the school all around.

As a result, Greek Life on that campus seems to have improved with it. UH built housing for the Greek lettered orgs.

So, to address what you want to see happen, it is going to take a commitment from the school. It took UH about 10 years to see the fruit of all this labor.
Yeah. Similar experience.

So the residence halls are relatively new to campus (thereís two), Iíve heard murmurs of trying to get more, but...space downtown isnít the easiest to attain. The university works with local apartment complexes, which are as close to campus as the residence halls. Coming from admissions, I did see an effort in selling the schools younger more urban environment, but that we do offer the same things traditional colleges/universities have.

The university does have Division 1 athletics, but no football team. I know students who worked HARD to plan an excellent Homecoming, but it isnít the same without football.

I know this wonít happen overnight for sure, but I see the potential! I definitely think the current President is on board (because we all know itís not just classes that keep students at any university) and there is quite a few new staff members on campus in student affairs who are ready to work.
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  #11  
Old 09-03-2019, 09:48 PM
PersistentDST PersistentDST is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clemsongirl View Post
Operating on the assumption that this is Cleveland State, because I had the same thought as the above commenters when I read the description of the school, I've got some unorganized tidbits I think could be useful.

-I think promoting the idea of fraternities and sororities as a way to find a sense of "place" on campus, especially a commuter campus where students don't all live together, would be a good way to promote the orgs. If they have a designated floor space or an office in the student union where every member can go hang out between classes, sell that.

-The CSU FSL website doesn't have links to the chapters' social media or websites directly. I think it would be equally helpful, if not more so, to link to those than the national organizations' websites. I like the Panhellenic website and if there's any sort of equivalent for IFC or NPHC it would be helpful to put those there too.

-Specifically with IFC, there's no link on the FSL website that I can find that tells you how to sign up for fraternity recruitment, nor is there any contact information for executive board. That should be front and center on the recruitment page so interested men have someone to reach out to.

-Emphasizing actual time commitment: yes, there are some events in Greek life that are mandatory without a very good reason, but I think commuter students can be wary of joining something they think will take up all their free time or have them going to and from campus multiple times a day. If information is presented that explains what new members and current members are involved in both inside and outside their chapters, that will help give prospective students an accurate sense of whether they could see themselves joining.
Thank you so much! These are great ideas!

Publicity is the first place my mind went (I run my chapters Instagram page), so I did look at websites and social media pages. Some of the website was updated, some was not. The NPC page had mostly new information, but some stuff was dated. I perused the Instagram pages of the NPC chapters and the pages are all relatively new, so whoever has updated the website, hasnít put those on the on there. I think they just posted recruitment info and left it at that. I noticed the missing IFC info as well! The university does have OrgSync, so it may be on there (I plan on looking), but it should be on the website as well.

The NPHC is different with citywide chapters. A chapter could bring in a line of 11 (as one did) and not one person on the line is attending CSU. Therefore, they may not ďexistĒ as a chapter numbers at CSU, because they lack the minimum amounts to be a registered org, but students at CSU would be eligible for any lines in the future. Meaning updating websites and all of that could get complicated. A chapter could be official in the spring, graduate two and not ďexistĒ (as far as the university is concerned) until the next intake. Itís about consistency for them.
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  #12  
Old 09-03-2019, 09:57 PM
PersistentDST PersistentDST is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naraht View Post
I guarantee if the school has IFC and NIC chapters that Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity would be willing to have a chapter there.

Not sure if that variety would help for what you are looking for.
Honestly, Iím sure they would be open to that at some point! We do have quite a few service organizations here, so thatís not a crazy notion. One of my students was trying to start a NALFO Sorority (her sister is in a chapter in Florida) on campus. We have a pretty large Hispanic/Latino population, so I didnít think that was a bad idea. In general, we just want to see Campus Life be an asset to the university across the board.

Plus Iím tired of my students complaining about nothing to do when there is, in fact, plenty.
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  #13  
Old 09-04-2019, 01:14 PM
jolene jolene is offline
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I went to Georgia State and it was like that before the dorms came in during the early 00s. I was a transfer and about the only way to get plugged in on campus was to going a Greek org.
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  #14  
Old 09-04-2019, 08:15 PM
naraht naraht is offline
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Originally Posted by PersistentDST View Post
Honestly, Iím sure they would be open to that at some point! We do have quite a few service organizations here, so thatís not a crazy notion. One of my students was trying to start a NALFO Sorority (her sister is in a chapter in Florida) on campus. We have a pretty large Hispanic/Latino population, so I didnít think that was a bad idea. In general, we just want to see Campus Life be an asset to the university across the board.

Plus Iím tired of my students complaining about nothing to do when there is, in fact, plenty.
If it is in fact Cleveland State U, there was a chapter there from 1949 to 1972 and for about 5 years in the late 1990s. So returning would mostly be finding the right interested people.

And I think the closest active chapter to Cleveland State is Case-Western.
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  #15  
Old 10-09-2019, 06:27 PM
*winter* *winter* is offline
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The school I graduated from(Point Park in Pittsburgh) went from largely commuter to a mostly residential, traditional aged campus from 2005 (when I graduated) to about 2012. They managed to acquire buildings and space in downtown Pittsburgh- it can be done. Although there is no Greek life currently, I am hopeful that it is on the horizon and will be arriving in the next ten years. I never thought I'd see the school transform so thoroughly, but it's been an amazing process. Perhaps you could read up on it and see what steps were taken in that example.
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