The UNC Greek system is looking to its newest members to help improve its relationship with the University.
The New Member Challenge, which encourages fraternity and sorority recruits to become involved in the University’s non-Greek organizations, is designed to bridge the Greek community with the rest of campus.
“The danger of Greek organizations is getting too involved in a little community,” said Russell Martin, a sophomore member of Phi Delta Theta, who helped win the challenge for his fraternity last year.
Sunday night, Winston Crisp, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, gave a speech to new members and fraternity leaders, warning them to steer away from destructive behavior such as alcohol abuse and hazing. He told them the future of the Greek system was in their hands.
While recent events have cast a shadow over the more positive aspects of the system, Brent Blonkvist, Interfraternity Council vice president for internal affairs, said the program reinforces the Greek community’s effort to contribute to the rest of the University community.
“We want to use every opportunity to highlight the positive aspects of Greek life,” Blonkvist said.
The challenge includes a checklist of goals related to academic performance, community service, health awareness, leadership and council collaboration.
Tasks range from maintaining a high grade point average and getting involved in organizations outside members’ respective chapters to planning at least one alcohol-free social event.
The challenge also provides incentives beyond the benefits of branching out to the broader UNC community.
Each completed task earns points for the new member’s fraternity or sorority chapter. The chapter with the most points wins a $1,000 donation to a philanthropic organization of their choice, as well as an award.
Jenny Levering, assistant dean of students for fraternity and sorority life, said she created the challenge two years ago in order to give new Greek members positive programs.
She said elements of the challenge were modeled after similar efforts by universities across the country.
Martin said the challenge encourages Greeks to use the power of a cohesive organization to band together and benefit the community.
“The challenge is just a way to orient Greek organizations outward,” he said.
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