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Greek system continues to grow stronger

Fraternity and sorority members tried their hand at the pool noodle relay and the chopstick egg carry at the Hunger Games Relay during Greek Week 2013 earlier this semester.

Lehigh’s sororities and fraternities continue to show improvement on a number of fronts, according to a report released last summer by the university’s Greek Accreditation Committee.

Of the 30 fraternities and sororities reviewed this past academic year, nine chapters earned gold status, 13 earned silver and four earned a bronze ranking. There were four chapters that ranked “poor” this year, as opposed to five last year.

The nine gold chapters were: Chi Phi, Psi Upsilon, and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternities, as well as Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta, Lambda Theta Alpha and Zeta Tau Alpha sororities.

Silver chapters included Alpha Tau Omega, Delta Chi, Delta Phi, Delta Upsilon, Lambda Sigma Upsilon, Kappa Alpha, Phi Kappa Theta, Phi Sigma Kappa and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternities, as well as Alpha Omicron Pi, Mu Sigma Upsilon and Pi Beta Phi sororities.

Chi Psi, Kappa Alpha Psi and Lambda Chi Alpha fraternities and Gamma Phi Beta sorority earned a bronze ranking.

The chapters ranked “poor” are Kappa Sigma, Phi Gamma Delta, Theta Xi and Sigma Chi fraternities.

As in previous years, administrators in the office of fraternity and sorority affairs (OFSA) reviewed the rankings report with chapter representatives and are working with those that ranked poorly to help them improve, said Tim Wilkinson, senior assistant dean of students and OFSA director.

Monitoring five domains of Greek life

The accreditation process was developed in 2004 as part of the Strengthening Greek Life Task Force. It was updated in 2009 to connect accreditation with student learning and fraternal relevance. The revised process has streamlined the requirements, challenging students to demonstrate learning. Reviewers also pose development questions tailored to each chapter’s needs.

Through the accreditation process, chapters are required to present a report of the previous academic year’s efforts and results in five essential domains of Greek life: intellectual development, leadership development, community development, organizational management and facilities management. The review committee includes Greek actives, alumni and administrators.

Wilkinson said that engaging the chapters in candid discussions and active planning continues to be an essential element in the ongoing improvement of Greek life.

“Our goal is fostering a living and learning experience that enriches student life on campus,” he said. “The past year has not been without its challenges, but everyone involved in this process shares a commitment to a campus culture that is respectful, inclusive and accepting. And when this is not the case, we will move quickly to address the situation.”

Wilkinson also noted the expansion of the Greek community to include more multicultural chapters. Most recently, the Mu Sigma Upsilon sorority was established on the Lehigh campus under the motto of “Women Always United.” It joins three other non-residential chapters founded at Lehigh as culturally based organizations.

Additional expansions efforts include Kappa Delta sorority. Selected by the Sorority Extension Committee in May, Kappa Delta recently recruited more than 60 women to commence the colonization of the chapter at Lehigh. This follows the successful colonization of Phi Delta Theta fraternity in spring 2013. Additionally Lehigh has recently announced a fall 2014 expansion effort giving priority to those organizations that are fundamentally committed to espousing Jewish culture and heritage.

Story by Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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