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  #1  
Old 06-05-2016, 04:06 AM
yonah_riese yonah_riese is offline
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What aspect of Greek life do you wish was better?

Hey all,

Simple question - what would you say are some of the most annoying issues in frat life today that could be solved with a little bit of technology?

I ask because I'm looking to spend the next few summer months working on some kind of technical project that would benefit Greeks. I just graduated undergrad having studied computer science (and was in a frat myself), and I want some inspiration for a side project, hopefully something like a webapp or service. I'm asking specifically for PROBLEM definitions, not product requests, since I find that knowing the context underlying a problem makes it easier for me to come up with a reasonable solution.

Good example: "people on campus aren't showing up to our events because we put them together so last-minute"
Bad example: "build a group messaging announcement system"

Feel free to repeat suggestions -- if I see there's interest by more than one person, I'll be more likely to take it on
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  #2  
Old 06-05-2016, 02:31 PM
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Sciencewoman Sciencewoman is offline
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People don't read emails or skim through and miss information, then email/text officers asking for the same information that was already sent, but they didn't read it
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  #3  
Old 06-06-2016, 09:44 AM
yonah_riese yonah_riese is offline
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Originally Posted by Sciencewoman View Post
People don't read emails or skim through and miss information, then email/text officers asking for the same information that was already sent, but they didn't read it
I like that one, thanks. Do you think the issue is mostly event-oriented, deadline-oriented (when dues are due, etc), or something else? Or both?
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:13 PM
austingammaphi austingammaphi is offline
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As an alum whose daughter joined and withdrew before initiation last year, I wish that NPC would return to semester-long new member periods. My daughter and her friends in other houses said that the responsibility for learning about the traditions, history, symbols, etc. was placed almost solely on the new members. There was no discussion or review, or opportunity to ask questions in pledge meetings--just reminders of dues deadlines, encouragement to attend every frat event on the calendar, and endless voting on t-shirt colors. Then, the week before initiation, there was a mad panic to scare the new members into cramming for the pre-initiation test over sorority information and traditions. And it happened to be the same week as midterms, so guess what took priority?

In talking to my daughter's friends, it also sounds like there is much less emphasis placed on getting to know the pledges and shepherding them through their first semesters on campus. I'm told that a lot of "getting to know you" activities (like new members "interviewing" the actives for hometowns, majors, favorite snack, etc.)have been dropped because of privacy regulations, but having designated actives meet you at the door and sit with you during your first chapter dinner, and walk you back to your dorm/apartment afterwards was such a welcoming gesture. None of that seems to be happening any more--at least not on our campus.
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:54 PM
TLLK TLLK is offline
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My fellow alumnae and I have been concerned about this elimination of the opportunity to instruct new members regarding fraternity history, goals, and philanthropy. We were stunned to find out that new members' grades were no longer a factor in being ready for initiation. I agree that it would be better to return to the extended new member preparation.

Austingammaphi-Sorry to read about your daughter's experience as that is an incredible stress load for new members to handle by having their test at the same time as midterms.
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  #6  
Old 06-06-2016, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yonah_riese View Post
I like that one, thanks. Do you think the issue is mostly event-oriented, deadline-oriented (when dues are due, etc), or something else? Or both?
Both. We have announcement emails every other day with event info and deadlines. People don't read the housing contracts either.
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  #7  
Old 06-06-2016, 05:18 PM
jolene jolene is offline
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The fast-track new member period always baffled me. I was one of the last ones to go through the semester long one and that fall (I came in spring), we initiated in a much shorter period (can't remember the amt of weeks). Is there a study of if girls are more likely to drop after initiation with the shorter time or the semester model? It also seems less stressful on the new girls if they have longer to learn the traditions, etc.
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  #8  
Old 06-06-2016, 06:28 PM
austingammaphi austingammaphi is offline
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The fast-track new member period always baffled me. I was one of the last ones to go through the semester long one and that fall (I came in spring), we initiated in a much shorter period (can't remember the amt of weeks). Is there a study of if girls are more likely to drop after initiation with the shorter time or the semester model? It also seems less stressful on the new girls if they have longer to learn the traditions, etc.
My understanding was that it was partially in response to a nationwide increase in hazing incidents. I think there was also an argument for maximizing the full member time so that everyone would have full membership status and privileges for a (slightly) greater chunk of their collegiate experience. .

Chi Omega is the only NPC sorority I know of that refused to follow this trend. They still wait until the semester after the new member period so that they can check grades.
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Old 06-06-2016, 07:17 PM
AGDee AGDee is offline
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I went through recruitment in February 1984 and was initiated that April. If I'd had to wait over the summer to get initiated, I don't know that I would have stuck around. That would be really weird. Ours was never longer, really. Fall class finished recruitment in October and we did wait until January to initiate but nothing happened from Thanksgiving through Christmas because of finals and going home so it was more a timing thing. We had to hurry up and initiate in January before the February recruitment.

That said, our chapters have new member meetings a set curriculum for their new member period which prepares them. We have ongoing programming once initiated, until graduation which focuses on various topics throughout their collegiate experience. Our members are still doing things to welcome new members and integrate them into the chapter. Those interviews are not allowed because it set up a situation to make hazing seem really easy and seriously, is that how you welcome people to your group? Make them interview every member? Can you imagine starting a new job and the first task you are given is to interview every member of your department? No, they have a welcome lunch and people come by and introduce themselves and invite you to lunch or break, etc.

I've not seen any changes in retention over the years. Those numbers have been pretty consistent. In chapters where members are happy, they have great retention. Where sisterhood is lacking, they have awful retention.
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  #10  
Old 06-06-2016, 07:39 PM
1964Alum 1964Alum is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austingammaphi View Post
My understanding was that it was partially in response to a nationwide increase in hazing incidents. I think there was also an argument for maximizing the full member time so that everyone would have full membership status and privileges for a (slightly) greater chunk of their collegiate experience. .

Chi Omega is the only NPC sorority I know of that refused to follow this trend. They still wait until the semester after the new member period so that they can check grades.
We had a full semester of being a pledge, and I applaud Chi Omega for keeping our traditional pledge period. Yes, we weren't initiated until after our semester grades were posted, but we also had many opportunities to get to know our pledge sisters outside of our weekly pledge meetings. Our pledge meetings were 99% focused on our history and traditions with a bare minimum spent on housekeeping. We were also required to individually interview our active members, but I don't remember that being cumbersome at all. Our executive officers also met with us to to explain to us the roles they had. One very helpful meeting was with our Personnel chair to learn the process to resolve conflicts with each other discreetly and without gossip to other members.

We had a weekend pledge retreat, a formal pledge presentation ball, and a party given by the pledges for the actives.

We weren't "New Members" as we weren't members as yet!
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  #11  
Old 06-06-2016, 07:51 PM
jolene jolene is offline
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BTW: I got initiated in early summer (not long after the quarter was up) once grades were official so I didn't have to wait all summer. Don't know how more traditional campuses handled that. I can understand people not wanting to wait all summer. My school is now on a semester system (as is all of the ones in my state--we went quarter to semester all at the same time if they were a public uni). I dunno how they would handle that if things changed. Our school is also less of a commuter one now. I dunno, maybe slightly extend the pledge period, but initiate before the end of the term?
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  #12  
Old 06-07-2016, 12:54 PM
yonah_riese yonah_riese is offline
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Interesting how it seems a lot of people have issues with Panhellenic national (and I guess local?) policies. I know on my own campus, the girls were extremely upset about recruitment policies and their level of enforcement. Fraternities basically had free reign to do what they wanted (including throwing various social events throughout the recruitment period), while sororities were extraordinarily structured and an eye was kept on their every move, making recruitment a miserable rather than fun process. The common opinion was that university administration was being sexist, but digging deeper it was obvious that it was a direct product of NPC's outdated set of rules that don't really fit in modern society.

I don't know if other sororities across the country have the same point of view on recruitment, but it seems like there's plenty of beef with a range of policies.

Technology aside, does anyone know if there's any way to initiate change or consideration of change in these kinds of policies with NPC? Has anyone tried? Thoughts on if they'd even listen?
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  #13  
Old 06-07-2016, 01:06 PM
carnation carnation is offline
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Does anyone get the feeling that we're doing someone else's research for them?
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  #14  
Old 06-07-2016, 01:17 PM
Kevin Kevin is offline
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I don't think at this stage, "more technology" is the answer to any of our problems in Greek Life. It all comes down to recruiting and retaining the right people. There are vast options already in place as far as technology goes--from Greek Life sponsored recruitment apps to simply making smart use of social networking.

Technology is a great tool, but it can also be a crutch. Sometimes books are better than web apps. Sometimes just getting to know potential recruits over a lunch is better than creeping their social media profiles. I kind of resent someone using this as a free focus group for them to develop their next app, but it's a nice potential discussion.

I believe there are multiple options for just about every technological need which we have Greek Life. Having a coherent strategy for the use of technology as well as an understanding on when not to use it is much more important--and I'm sure there's no app for that.
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  #15  
Old 06-08-2016, 11:03 AM
AOIILisa AOIILisa is offline
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Quote:
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I went through recruitment in February 1984 and was initiated that April. If I'd had to wait over the summer to get initiated, I don't know that I would have stuck around.
I went through COB in February 1982 and did have to wait till the following September to be initiated (just before formal recruitment started). The wait actually made me better appreciate getting my badge and letters (at that time, we couldn't wear letters till initiated) plus it gave me the time to save up for my blingy badge.

I agree the new member period should be extended - at least more than 6 weeks. That's not enough time to learn anything or even appreciate the organization. Then again, maybe I'm just old and stuck in the past and perhaps the short attention spans of pretty much everyone nowadays (including me) dictates a shorter NM period. I still wish NMs were pledges, too, but that's another topic.
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