There is something incredibly inspiring about a group of greek students gathered in Indianapolis for four days. The conversations, networking, resourcing and collaboration truly shows the potential of what can be accomplished when greeks work together on a common task and when greeks unify.
Unity is such a relevant challenge within our Fraternity and Sorority Life communities. We are consistently scrutinized for the divisions that happen between our councils, among our communities and even within our own chapters. However, this weekend has shown myself, and hopefully you, that there is a group of students and professionals that are ready to truly revolutionize Fraternity and Sorority Life. We are ready to lead a movement that is unstoppable and that shows ways in which we can promote Greek Life at all colleges and universities.
1. We have a growing problem
It is no surprise that we have a growing problem in our greek culture. We see the media, we hear our administrators talk, and our national headquarters are constantly watching over us. There are greek students (a small percentage) that have made decisions which reflect poorly on all greek students and all chapters all across the nation. The sessions and workshops have presented those issues in a very relevant way and we no longer have an excuse to minimize or hide from those problems. We can’t try and believe that they don’t exist any longer.
2. But we have a plan of action
On the other side of that, we have been equipped with an action plan. All members of our councils have notebooks full of information and ideas in which they want to implement. We are provided with resources and connected with students from across the country to get into action and to stay in action. Failing to act upon your ideas would mean this entire weekend is a complete waste of everyone’s time. Decide what needs to be done and do it. Make it happen.
3. The “conference high” mentality doesn’t do it
Myself, like many of you, have attended many similar conferences. LeaderShape, Leadership Institutes, Greek Academies, Chapter Round-tables, etc. provide us with opportunities to get hyped about the changes we are going to implement, we are excited to continue conversations, we create GroupMes with the people we met, we stay up late at night thinking about the awesome opportunity that these could create, but many times we fail to act upon them. Even on the way home we are continually talking and tweeting about the enthusiasm and excitement that we contain. However, if you are like me, the reality of our campus climate can hinder our visions. It can discourage us and it can defeat us. We need to take time before we leave to get connected, follow other social media accounts, and get engaged so that the support built here will long last after we get back to our home campus. Take the initiative now so you can implement it later.
4. It requires ALL Greek Students to unify
We now understand, if we didn’t already, the value of unity. It is absolutely critical. We do not just exist as an individual council. We are a member of a chapter, an executive position on a governing council, a chapter president, a professional, a speaker – but we are also part of a bigger movement. A movement that will inspire and initiate change across all campuses. If, and only if, we all come together. Enough of the divisions and distances that we put between ourselves. We are relevant and able to be related to and we need to realize that. There is so much value in a group of 3,200 students and professionals uniting for a purpose that we all believe in.
5. The time is NOW
The time is now. We cannot wait. A large problem that I see in student organizations (executive boards in particular), is that there is no sense of timeliness or urgency. The procrastination gets the best of us and our awesome plans become drawn out excuses until our term is completed. We tell ourselves that the next board will do it. Look over your notes, maintain your action plans, use your contacts to hold you accountable, and make sure you feel empowered to follow through on your great ideas. Then again, they are great ideas!
6. We have support
The knowledge and ambition that so many people at AFLV Central possess is incredible. So many professionals have spoken about their personal experiences and their personal stories. These people, as well as many of the students, have eroded walls of vulnerability and allowed us to ask the hard questions. We asked the questions that many were afraid to ask. If this doesn’t show the amount of support, I don’t know what will. The national headquarters of many different greek organizations, partnerships, associations, and others that continually supporting AFLV are critical in being a catalyst for change. They have given us valuable information and will support us moving forward. They will ensure that we are supported to follow through on our campuses.
7. We must LIVE our values
In a world where our greek organizations are being scrutinized and diminished, our values are apparent more now than ever before. Our national headquarters, our administrators, our advisors, our peers, and our brothers and sisters are watching us daily. The unaffiliated students on our campuses are making decisions to join our organizations based on the snippets of the greek representations they see in our everyday lives. Our classes, our unaffiliated organizations that we take part in, our jobs, our relationships, our friendships and every other component of our lives are either supporting our values, or feeding various stereotypes. Failing to live our values can put all greek values at jeopardy. Then again, for most students, greek is greek is greek.
What is one thing that you would share about #AFLVCentral?