Centre College’s Greek Life recently welcomed 206 new members to its fraternities and sororities. As part of the induction, the College’s Greek Life Office, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the Panhellenic Council (PHC) have joined efforts to offer its annual institute titled “Greek 101,” a series of educational events designed to introduce new members to topics and dialogue relevant to the fraternity and sorority community.
An upcoming session, open to the entire College, will welcome acclaimed writer, performer, activist, musician and biologist Julia Serano to Centre to discuss “A Social Justice Activist’s Perspective on Call-Out Culture, Identity Politics and Political Correctness.” The convocation will be held on Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. in Newlin Hall. While on campus, Serano will also offer a meet and greet session sponsored by the College’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, a discussion with members of the Lincoln Scholars Program and book conversations with Assistant Professor of Anthropology Jamie Shenton’s class.
“Greek 101 is our new member institute for the fraternities and sororities,” said Scotty Rainwater, director of Greek life and new student orientation. “Each year, IFC and PHC select special topics related to the fraternity and sorority experience. There is a particular emphasis on topics related to harm reduction. Some of the topics have included hazing prevention, mental health, alcohol and sexual misconduct.”
Rainwater said the purpose of Greek 101 is to educate the newest members about the community and experience.
“The goals of Greek 101 sessions depend on the topic,” he added. “For example, a goal of the ‘When is Enough, Enough?’ session, with Dan Faill, was to make new members think critically about their choices and how those choices impact the community. A goal of the 2018 session, with Jim Matthews, was to educate students about the risk of binge drinking. Following the program, 92 percent of the respondents of our event survey indicated an understanding of those risks.”
Jacquelyn Engel ’19, executive vice president of the PHC, said that this year’s sessions will introduce new topics and formats to the Greek 101 schedule.
“In previous years, the sessions have been the same topics and have usually been just hour-long lectures. This year the topics are all new, and this is the first time, I believe, that Greek 101 has a training session. We have implemented a sexual assault awareness and prevention training as one of the requirements. We have designed this training to be geared more toward prevention, since there has already been a great amount of sexual assault awareness on campus.”
This particular training was designed, and will be taught, by Sexual Assault Prevention & Education Specialist Sarah Cramer of the Title IX Office.
“This training will, hopefully, encourage by-stander intervention amongst students, because it is more applicable to the culture at Centre and the social dynamics at play on campus, which helps to relate to students in telling them how to intervene,” Engel continued. “Additionally, we have added a session that is focused on diversity, in hopes that this will initiate a movement to be more inclusive and welcoming in our Greek community.”
While the individual goals of the session vary by topic, Rainwater said the overall goal of Greek 101 is to create a safe, well-informed fraternity and sorority community.
“Each year, we welcome new members into our chapters, and those individuals represent the future of our community,” he concluded. “It is important that we have these sessions so that we begin their fraternity and sorority experience with clear expectations.”
The final session, titled “It’s On Us: Alcohol, Bystander Intervention, and Consent,” will be held on March 4.
by Kerry Steinhofer
February 26, 2018
Pictured above: Sorority and fraternity members mingle at Centre’s annual Carnival event while enjoying Kentucky’s signature soft drink, Ale-8-One (colloquially pronounced “A late one”).