Greek Life at Whitman College

 

Greek Life Why Statement:

We believe in the power of the Greek community to foster personal excellence. We will develop organizations that empower our members to be agents of change creating safe, supportive, and inclusive environments, which enhance the Whitman experience.

Started in 2014 as the Greek Sexual Violence Prevention (Greek SVP) discussion group, GAP has evolved into a group that focuses on sexual violence prevention, education and response/referral. GAP continues to focus on system-wide sexual violence prevention discussion topics that impact the entire Greek system, while also hosting film screenings, forums, research/surveys and trainings on campus and community resources. Based on the success of GAP, the college is now hosting two additional peer groups to focus on sexual assault prevent including ACE for athletes and REP for non-affiliated students.

The chapter officers have oversight for Greek activities and work in collaboration with each other via the Panhellenic and IFC Officers. The priority of Greek-sponsored activities is the safety of members and guests. The Greek system's focus on safety was the basis for a new college outreach program called ‘Party Safe' which is aimed at off-campus students who might host an activity.

In 2018, the Greek leaders selected diversity and inclusion as one of the top long-term goals for the Greek community. The system created a 3-5 year diversity and inclusion plan that focuses on 3 primary goals, with a series of strategies and tactics for each goal. The goals include . . . 

Panhellenic recognized several years ago that the cost to join a sorority was a barrier for many women who would greatly benefit from sorority membership, especially in their first year when dues are anywhere from $650-800 for the year. To confront this barrier, Panhellenic created the Sister Fund, a scholarship that assists new members with their first semester sorority dues. Started in 2015, we raised $900 and awarded 3 scholarships. In the fall of 2016, we raised $1500 and awarded 5 scholarships. In fall of 2017, thanks to the generosity of many Whitman sorority alumnae, $3000 was raised via gift donations with Panhellenic adding an additional $1800 for a total of $4800 and the awarding of over 18 scholarships.

Even with the support of our generous alumnae, the need for additional scholarship support exists. This is an on-going effort for Panhellenic. Impressed by Panhellenic, the IFC asked their alumni to also consider making a donation to the newly created Brother Fund, which will be awarded for the 1st time in spring 2018!

Panhellenic and IFC have each created a new council leadership position-the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. This purpose of these positions is to fully invest the Greek system in discussions of diversity and inclusion from both a system and a chapter perspective. From current recruitment practices, to hosted Greek events, to social media posts to the language used at Greek all-campus events, we want to create environments where everyone feels included, feels like they belong, feels like they have a community of people who care about them and value them for what they add to the group.

Each November, the eight Greek groups participate in an annual review process called the "Award for Excellence." This is a 3-part process that begins with each chapter completing a self-evaluation on eleven areas of chapter programming including:

Academic Excellence, Alumni Relations, Chapter Management, Community Service, College Relations, Educational Programming, Finances, Membership Recruitment, New Member Educations, Panhellenic and IFC Participation, and Social Responsibility.

Once the self-evaluation is completed and submitted, a group of faculty and staff review the application and then host an interview with each chapter, to clarify the information included in the application and ask reflective questions. The application is then scored against the award criteria and each chapter receives recognition in categories in which they have met or exceeded the award criteria.

The final aspect of the annual Award for Excellence is the specific feedback given to the incoming new chapter officers in January, so they can use the work of their predecessors to make leadership decisions for that year.

Order of Omega is a national Greek honorary that recognizes Greek students in fraternities and sororities that have achieved academic excellence, provided significant chapter leadership and invested themselves in community service. Each May, the 15 Greek juniors who have demonstrated the strongest scholarship, leadership and service are selected to membership in the Order of Omega.