SAGL lays out strategic plan for Greek life

Charles Rankin

Student and Greek Life is working to strategically plan for the future of fraternities and sororities at Washburn.

SAGL met at 4 p.m. Oct. 20 in the Union Underground with students, alumni, and others in the Washburn community to discuss this plan.

“In July or August of this year, we brought together a group of people, which included alumni,” said Jessica Neumann Barraclough, the director of student activities. “We started these conversations about where and how to move forward and began developing a draft of the plan there.”

As Barraclough and SAGL move forward with the final version of this plan, they want feedback so that SAGL can improve it. This meeting continued that conversation.

“If this is the guiding document that helps us get to where we want to go, we want to make sure we know what needs to be in it,” Barraclough said.

Included in the draft of the document are key areas such as recruitment, retention of students, fraternity and sorority initiatives, partnerships on campus and in the community and marketing and public relations.

In 2014, SAGL worked with a consultant for an assessment of Greek life which showed overall success in the program, but also showed two areas that could use improvement, safety and programming.

Barraclough said that when the assessment was done the campus as a whole was seeing an increase in crimes such as theft which could account for the safety issue.

On the issue of programming, part of this current draft is the creation of a universal calendar that would be used by the entire fraternity and sorority community so that overlapping events and over planning don’t occur.

The reputation of Greek life was one area that was discussed in depth. Washburn fraternities and sororities don’t have an image problem that can sometimes be seen at other, larger schools according to Barraclough. It appeared to many in attendance that Greek life instead has an issue with not being seen for all of the good that its chapters do.

One of the almunae attending the event mentioned an example of a good story she saw on the news that morning. The Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity at the University of Central Oklahoma did a dance routine which has recently become a viral sensation and used the opportunity to raise money for Special Olympics.

“We don’t yet do a good job, as a campus, of telling the good stories,” said Eric Grospitch, vice president for student life. “We don’t always tell the stories [of things] that don’t fit the typical narrative or idea of what Greek life is.”

Grospitch believes an increase in participation in Greek life would help with this image improvement, not only by increasing involvement of students, but also by showing the good of what fraternities and sororities are doing. By doing this, Grospitch sees opportunities for Greek life to improve its image and visibility and in turn aid in the overall goal of student success.