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By Jenna Campbell
UW-RF University Communications

NOV. 18, 2005-- Greek life at UW-River Falls has set the ambitious objective of doubling its membership so more students will gain from learning through professional development, providing community service to others, and crafting life-long friendships.

Sean Blackburn, UW-RF's student organization coordinator, would like to see those enrolled in fraternities and sororities double within the next three years to some 600 students.

"We're small for where we should be for this part of the country and the size of the school,” says Blackburn. “We should be around 10 percent. Right now we're closer to 4 or 5 percent." He adds that the objective should be to grow and build "brotherhood-sisterhood, it's not necessarily on partying and rivalries."

Several techniques have been tried to increase numbers. One was publishing a new booklet for recruitment week in September. Its objective was to educate men and women about Greek life. A new booklet produced by sorority women was very successful, registering twice as many women as last year.

Another tactic is expanding participating by holding more events visible to the campus community that shows that Greeks are present and vibrant,” says Blackburn. "It's really about presence, getting out there and being creative in what we're doing. We need to get back to the roots and drive for excellence. When they're doing a quality program people are going to want to join them. It's just getting back into the practice. Greek life also will propose that an entire floor in a residential hall be devoted to their organizations to build community among the members.”

Lisa Stratton, public relations chair of the Panhellenic Council and who is a marketing communications major from Clear Lake, Wis., says the idea of a “Greek” floor is welcome.

"It's something that a lot of Greeks are very excited about,” said Stratton. “ It is an opportunity for sorority women to experience community living with other Greeks, which is something they might otherwise miss out on." The Panhellenic Council includes two representatives from each sorority who meet each week to discuss issues of interest to the organizations.

There have been two communities added to campus: the Greek Programming Board and the Cascade group. The Greek Programming Board is an organization that is now in charge of all Greek socials; the organization will also be involved in Greek programming, education and outreach.

The Cascade group is also starting from the ground up. Cascade was formed last spring and has 25 students. The organization is a national peer education network that educates students to train others on health and wellness issues. The students are sent out to speak to other peer groups. Anyone can join Cascade; the network is half Greek and half non-Greek. "Students want to be involved in a community versus a single chapter, we're tying to portray this," says Blackburn.

One milestone was recently reached to achieve the objective to grow Greek organizations. This year Sigma Alpha joined the campus as a new sorority. It is dedicated to professional agriculture, and immediately attracted 40 women. An anticipated objective is to add another sorority within a year or two and to add a fraternity within a year or two.


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:06:46 Central Daylight Time

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