This past year has marked a number of changes to Greek life, rushing and joining. Last year, The Office of Student Life made the decision to rename social clubs to sororities and fraternities.
This semester, Student Life announced that the two-week process called pledging would now be referred to as “joining” or “new member orientation.”
“We are calling it ‘joining’ because it sounds a little less like hazing or initiation” Robin McPherson, senior coordinator of fraternities and sororities said.
This change in vernacular is the university’s way of saying that hazing will not be tolerated in Greek life and that sororities and fraternities are meant to be spaces for encouragement.
“The reason for this change was to affirm members as humans and not to try to tear them down,” Ryan Richardson, vice president of student life said. “We want to affirm that these organizations exist to provide a healthy space.”
Student Life also made the decision this year to allow freshmen to join fraternities and sororities during their spring semester.
In regards to COVID-19 policy during rushing and joining, sororities and fraternities have been following the university guidelines. Student life is under the direction of the University Emergency Response Team, which is continuing to meet consistently.
The ERT is also consistently in contact with the city and checking CDC requirements. All rush events last spring were masked, which is no longer required this semester in light of the a decrease in COVID cases on campus this semester.
Student Life has been putting a larger emphasis on service projects and community involvement within Greek life, starting this year. Each sorority and fraternity will now have to partner with a local non profit and submit a service plan to Student Life. Sororities and fraternities have community partnerships with organizations such as the Abilene Fire Department, the Ben Richey Boys Ranch, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Christian Homes and Family Services.
Student Life feels that this service requirement will reaffirm the purpose of Greek life at ACU, which is providing Christ centered fellowship and community.
“My main goal is to continue the good work and good nature of Greek life at our university so that students can come into fraternities and sororities and it be a live giving and life building experience,” Richardson said.