National fraternity conference reboots outreach

Greek leaders from around the country expanded services for their individual chapters.

Keaton Schmitt

Help is on the way for fraternities nationwide, following an update for a national umbrella greek organization.
 
Earlier this month, the North American Interfraternity Conference — the body that oversees most fraternities in the U.S. — passed a set of new policies to change the way the NIC interacts with campuses.
 
The new policies, entitled NIC 2.0, allow individual fraternities to request NIC services such as paperwork assistance, bylaw interpretation and help for running meetings. 
 
In mid-November, the national conference withdrew its support of the Safe Campus Act, a proposed bill that would put sexual assault investigations in the hands of police.
 
Ron Atkinson, a coordinator for the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life, said he thinks the NIC is headed in the correct direction, despite having made a move he said was disapproved of by many University greek life staff members.
 
“I think a lot of what the NIC is trying to do is get back in the good graces of the institutions and organizations,” Atkinson said.
 
Because services were previously not available to fraternities, Atkinson said, some were concerned about where dues were going.
 
“I think one of the big things from 2.0 is we’re acknowledging there’s some problems,” said Will Foran, vice president of university relations at the NIC. “Instead of turning the blinders on, we’re trying to work with campus based professionals and curtail some of these issues.”
 
The conference wants to strengthen partnerships with higher education and develop consistent programming for all involved in fraternity life, a press release said.
 
“Whenever you pay into a system, it’s great to see some sort of a tangible benefit for it,” said Mitch Kelly, president of the University of Minnesota’s Interfraternity Council.
 
Though he has yet to see the full reform documents, Matt Levine, the director of the University’s Office for Fraternity and Sorority life, said he has heard positive things from colleagues.
 
“We’re going to see an increased level of support for students who do really tough work,” Levine said in reference to chapter leaders.
 
Jud Horras, interim president and CEO of the NIC, said the conference will work to increase its relationships with local fraternity communities and the campus administration.
 
“Ultimately, we’re all trying to achieve the same goal,” said Horras.
 
Horras said one of the priorities of the NIC is the creation of a database ranking the service support and performance of fraternities as well as campuses, which both greek life
organizations and campus administrations will be able to access.
 
“We think the more information that’s out there about our industry and how it’s performing, the more that will help our members be informed about making good decisions,” said Horras.