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Vanderbilt Greek Community Priorities

These priorities will help guide practice and inform the goals and action steps within the fraternity sorority community at Vanderbilt University.  We will work to be transparent in our progress through both social media and the Greek life website, as well as with our communication with students about their role and expectations in moving the community forward with these priorities.

Throughout the 20-21 academic year, the VU Greek community spent significant time reflecting on the purpose and outcomes for our community – giving thoughtful consideration to our past and the changes that need to be made to align with our values and where Vanderbilt University, the country and the world is today.  Chapters and councils spent time considering what were the priorities, goals and action steps that we must focus on for our future success.  Many changes were made and implemented throughout the 20-21 year, but given the Covid-19 restrictions, most chapter operations were conducted virtually.  As we enter into the 21-22 academic year and beyond, we will use this framework to guide our fraternity and sorority community.

Our Priorities:

  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Creating Spaces of Belonging (recruitment/intake reforms & facilities)
  • Community & Civic Engagement
  • Sexual Misconduct Prevention
  • Health & Wellness (Mental Health & Risk Management)
  • Personal & Professional Development

The Vanderbilt Greek Community will demonstrate their commitment to making the member experience more equitable and inclusive.

Goal 1: Fraternity and sorority members will utilize on campus and inter/national headquarters provided resources to gain a better understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Action Step 1: All members and new members of the Greek community will participate in a module that will introduce the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion and why developing cultural competence is important in fraternity and sorority communities.

Action Step 2: All members and new members of the Greek community will participate in the Intercultural Development Inventory to assess their individual and organizational level of intercultural competence.

Action Step 3: All members and new members of the Greek community will engage in four core educational modules that provide foundational cultural competency knowledge, skills, and awareness.  

Action Step 4: All participants in the Greek Inclusivity Alliance (GIA) will attend a training at the beginning of their experience to set up the foundations for their work in GIA and future work in their organizations.

Action Step 5: All council and chapter officers will attend a training that will emphasize their responsibility for creating inclusive and culturally responsive environments. 

Action Step 6: Chapter members will participate in applicable programming offered by their respective national organizations related to diversity, equity and inclusion.  

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Goal 2: Engage in meaningful action that is informed by the education provided by the Student Center for Social Justice and Identity and the Office of Greek Life.

Action Step 1: As a result of chapter members participating in the Intercultural Development Inventory, each organization will create a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement that will outline their overarching goal related to inclusion.

Action Step 2: Each organization will create a plan for further developing their diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural competence knowledge, skills, and awareness throughout the academic year.

Action Step 3: Each organization will have a membership in the Greek Inclusivity Alliance that is reflective of their membership size.

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Goal 3:  Chapter members will develop a deeper understanding of the historical context of their organizations and our Vanderbilt Greek community and seek to enhance their own learning and understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion as a part of the Greek experience.  

Action Step 1: In partnership with their inter/national organization, every fraternity and sorority will implement curriculum into their aspirant/new member education program highlighting their history in relation to incidents with racism, sexism, and other forms of exclusion including how their organizations have responded to those challenges.

Action Step 2: The Office of Greek Life will update its website to more accurately represent the history and current realities of the Vanderbilt Greek community.

Action Step 3: The Office of Greek Life will provide curriculum to all fraternity and sorority members around the history of the Vanderbilt Greek community.

The Vanderbilt Greek community will highlight their commitment to being actively engaged members of the larger Vanderbilt community and seek opportunities to create spaces of belonging for all students. 

Goal 1: Contribute to creating physical spaces of belonging for all students on Vanderbilt’s campus.

Action Step 1: Explore and implement opportunities for sharing Greek spaces with other student organizations in ways that align with national organization guidelines, resident needs and needs of other organizations as appropriate.  This could also include best practices for events/programs with members that hold membership in Greek and non-Greek organizations hosted at chapter facilities and best practices for collaborative events. 

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Goal 2: Create opportunities for prospective members to connect with active members to explore the possibility of Greek membership.

Action Step 1: Each Council will provide pre-member engagement experiences for prospective members to get to know active members. 

Action Step 2: Each Council will host pre-recruitment experiences that will provide education to prospective new members about membership criteria. 

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Goal 3: Develop dues/fees models that support a financially inclusive Greek member experience. 

Action Step 1: Councils will continue to provide information about financial responsibilities for joining and sustaining membership.

Action Step 2: Councils will continue to provide dues scholarships to members in the fall and spring semester. 

Action Step 3: All organizations will critically evaluate their budgets to determine what costs can be changed/eliminated in order to reduce financial impact to their individual members.

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Goal 4: Fraternities and sororities will be spaces of affirmation for students of all identities. 

Action Step 1: Explore the concept of additional affinity groups within chapters or the community at large for specific identities with students.

Action Step 2: Distribute the calendar with religious observances and encourage chapters to consider all faith traditions when planning events

The Vanderbilt Greek community will continue to build upon its strong commitment to service and philanthropy. Educating fraternity and sorority members on the impact of their philanthropy and service will be central to these efforts along with the social justice connection to these initiatives.    

Goal 1:  Promote a holistic understanding of civic engagement and its effect on the Nashville community and the populations that are being served.

Action Step 1: All organizations will examine established partnerships with philanthropic and service partners.

Action Step 2: Fraternities and sororities will engage in a partnership with Student Organizations, Service & Leadership to discover new opportunities for collaborations with campus and local entities.

Action Step 3: All organizations will create and implement a community impact initiative, as part of the revised Greek Member Experience Program, that will identify an issue that impacts Nashville and their plan to engage with the partner agency/organization in seeking to address that issue. 

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Goal 2:  Maintain organization and individual connections to the larger Vanderbilt University community through service and campus engagement.

Action Step 1: 90%fraternity and sorority members will attend and engage in at least six campus events as part of the campus and community engagement portion of the revised Greek Member Experience Program.  

Action Step 2: All fraternity and sorority members will be encouraged to join at least one additional campus organization, which will be documented as part of the revised Greek Member Experience Program.

The Vanderbilt Greek community will engage in ongoing education about sexual misconduct and develop response mechanisms for members who experience or are accused and/or found responsible of sexual violence. 

Goal 1: In partnership with Project Safe, the Office of Greek Life will coordinate sexual misconduct and prevention education for all new members, active members, officers, and Project Safe liaisons.

Action Step 1: All potential new members will participate in effective consent, prohibited behaviors, and campus resources programming.

Action Step 2: All new members will participate in bystander intervention and identifying rape culture training.

Action Step 3: All chapter and council officers will participate in inclusive survivor support, developing strategic prevention initiatives, and navigating resistance programming.

Action Step 4: All Project Safe liaisons will participate in confidentiality levels, resource differentiation, combatting apathy and rape myths while coordinating appropriate additional education for their respective organizations. 

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Goal 2: Connect individual members to the Project Safe Center.

Action Step 1: Each organization will appoint at least one liaison who will serve as a connection between their organization and Project Safe, specially to support members who have been impacted by sexual misconduct. 

Action Step 2: Project Safe liaisons will receive information about Sexual Assault Awareness Month programming to share with members in their organizations to encourage participation.

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Goal 3: Members and chapters will be accountable to each other for policies and practices related to sexual misconduct prevention.

Action Step 1: Each fraternity/sorority will review and follow their respective inter/national organization policies related to sexual misconduct as applicable. 

Action Step 2: Each organization will work in conjunction with their inter/national organization and Project Safe to develop accountability measures for students accused and/or found responsible for sexual misconduct.

The Vanderbilt Greek community will continue to engage in education about important topics that impact  their health and wellness with a focus on inter/national and Vanderbilt community support resources. Fraternities and sororities will examine their role in providing and participating in low risk environments that seek to do no harm. 

Goal 1: Provide education to all community members regarding risk/harm reduction policies and best practices, particularly in regard to social events and hazing. 

Action Step 1: All members and new members of the Greek community will participate in an online module annually about risk management including information about applicable University policies and Tennessee state laws. 

Action Step 2: In partnership with the Center for Student Wellbeing, the Office of Greek Life will provide training to all chapter and council officers about expectations in planning for and responding to different types of risk. 

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Goal 2: Critically evaluate and change policies and practices to keep events safe for members and guests. 

Action Step 1: Chapter and council leaders will research and implement different models of party patrol management to ensure safety for members and guests at all events. 

Action Step 2: Using evidence-based student safety research and national organization policies, chapter and council leaders will implement policies and practices aimed at making social events safe for all participants.

Action Step 3: The Office of Greek Life will provide education to all community members about expectations in being a guest at social functions. 

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Goal 3: Connect all Greek students to mental health support and resources on campus. 

Action Step 1: The Office of Greek Life will continue to provide advisory and financial support for the Come to Me Mental Health Awareness campaign. 

Action Step 2: In partnership with the Student Care Network, the Office of Greek Life will provide online modules to all fraternity and sorority members outlining available mental health resources and highlighting the student of concern form. 

Action Step 3: The Office of Greek Life Instagram page will continue to feature weekly mental health tips and resources.

The Vanderbilt Greek community will cultivate a leadership pipeline and support the personal and professional development of all students by connecting them to different educational opportunities and encouraging their engagement with alumni. 

Goal 1: All chapters will have at least one trained chapter alumni advisor working regularly with the chapter leadership to provide support and mentorship to the students.

Action Step 1: Host chapter advisor training by early August for all advisors with content on diversity, equity, inclusion, incoming student population, advising expectations and campus resources.

Action Step 2: Work with all national organizations to ensure that every chapter has a minimum of one advisor who has been trained by the national organization in proper policies and educational opportunities offered by the national organization.

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Goal 2: Increase Greek member engagement with their local alumni base.

Action Step 1: Officers responsible for alumni engagement will participate in training about how to develop and implement opportunities for active members to connect with alumni of the organization.

Action Step 2: Chapters will be responsible for attending/hosting a minimum of one event with alumni members as available in the Nashville area.
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Goal 3: Chapters will participate in all educational and professional development opportunities offered from their respective national organizations

Action Step 1: Update programming matrix to ensure up to date information regarding offerings and expectations from national organizations and follow up with chapter leadership regarding participation.

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Goal 4: Increase Greek member engagement in leadership training.

Action Step 1: Connect fraternity and sorority members to the Office of Student Organizations, Leadership, and Service to learn about and participate in various leadership development opportunities. 

Action Step 2: Provide leadership education to chapter officers about accountability,  building community, collaboration, cultivating leadership, and facilitation.  

Action Step 3: Deliver position-specific training to alumni engagement officers,  house managers, new member educators, social chairs, recruitment officers, and treasurers.