Fraternity and Sorority Task Force discusses results from November report on improving culture of Greek organizations

Meghan Sharma | Staff Reporter

The Fraternity and Sorority Task Force, charged by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori White, recently met with fraternity and sorority chapters to discuss the results of the November 2017 report on improving the culture of fraternity and sorority life on campus.

The task force first convened Sept. 1, led by White, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Rob Wild and Executive Director for Campus Life Leslie Heusted. The three hoped that the task force would help identify the strengths and weaknesses of fraternity and sorority life at Washington University.

Members of the Theta Xi fraternity perform a sketch at their Thurtene facade during last year’s carnival, which they participated in along with sorority Delta Gamma. Students in Greek life make up 38 percent of Wash. U’s undergraduate population.Jiyoon Kang | Student Life

Members of the Theta Xi fraternity perform a sketch at their Thurtene facade during last year’s carnival, which they participated in along with sorority Delta Gamma. Students in Greek life make up 38 percent of Wash. U’s undergraduate population.

“It’s important to note that there are a lot of people in the community who are not members of fraternities and sororities, so part of what we’re trying to accomplish is to better tell the story of fraternity and sorority life at Washington University,” Wild said.

Many of the benefits of Greek life that Wild discussed were released in a report published by the task force in November. The 38 percent of Washington University students who participate in Greek life reported to have, on average, higher levels of satisfaction with their undergraduate education than non-Greek students. Greek life members are also reported to participate more in service and leadership, have more close friends and have higher undergraduate GPAs.

The task force also looked at some of the challenges that Greek life at the University faces and proposed recommendations for how to address these challenges. The four recommendations published in the report include finding ways to promote community identity for all fraternities and sororities; making Greek life more accessible to all students; finding more ways to manage risk and safety; and improving the staffing model to support the needs of the Greek community.

Students stand outside Theta Xi’s house during the  fraternity’s annual Deck the House event. Greek life members are reportedly happier than those not involved in Greek life.Grace Bruton | Student Life

Students stand outside Theta Xi’s house during the
fraternity’s annual Deck the House event. Greek life members are reportedly happier than those not involved in Greek life.

“[Heusted and I] are going to visit every chapter, share the report and listen to their feedback on what our recommendations were, whether we are on the right track or whether there are things they want to see addressed,” Wild said.

Senior Max Thompson, former president of Beta Theta Pi, participated in the task force meetings last fall and heard the presentation that Wild and Heusted gave to his fraternity about the task force’s findings.

“When [Wild and Heusted] came and talked, chapter seemed to have fairly positive responses [about the recommendations]. But they are only recommendations, so I think it’s tough to have too much of a response to actual policies,” Thompson said.