Standard Advisor Accreditation, page 8
Greek Life in the 21st Century
Greek Life in the 21st Century
It is no secret that Greek life has repeatedly found itself in the public spotlight since the turn of the century. Unfortunately, much of this spotlight has been negative and much of it has been self-inflicted. In order for fraternities to continue to remain relevant in the 21st century the fraternity industry must, like all industries, continue to adapt, change, and meet the unique challenges that are undoubtedly going to come up.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges for fraternities remains destructive new-member activities and hazing. A majority of fraternities have had no-hazing policies for decades, in fact Pi Kappa Alpha’s first addressed hazing at the 1911 convention, yet the destructive behavior has continued. In the 2017-2018 academic year, the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) lost, on average, 1 chapter per day from its member organizations due to hazing. That was an all-time high for the NIC and is a number that is unsustainable for fraternities.
While some of these incidents that lead to chapter closures were heinous and tragic, many of the incidents that lead to chapter closures were not as newsworthy. These incidents have ranged from forced calisthenics, personal servitude, time-suck activities, and item carrying. The unfortunate reality is, while those activities might have been commonplace or okay even as recently as 10-15 years ago, those activities are quickly rising to the level where University administration will suspend a chapter for implementing those activities. Many of those activities can cause chapters to escalate hazing activities to levels where emotional, psychological, academic, or physical harm can occur.
Universities are responding to the repeated failures of local chapters to address these situations by removing the “self-governance” aspect of fraternity life on their campus. Additionally, widespread campus moratoriums on Greek life have been commonplace since 2018. Due to this, inter/national fraternities have been losing their leverage to intervene after incidents have happened. Universities are moving towards a “zero-strike policy” when it comes towards any incidents of hazing and our chapters, our staff, and our volunteers need to adapt.
Substance abuse is a long-term societal problem that afflicts families, business, and organizations. Unfortunately, substance abuse is amplified in collegiate settings and, per various research studies, amplified even more within Greek organizations. Pi Kappa Alpha, through our members and alumni, must continue to confront substance abuse and mental health.
Value to Universities
One of the questions that all fraternities must answer is: what value do we continue to provide to our undergraduate members and our host institutions? Societal values are changing, the roles of universities are changing, and the cost of education is rising. While the Fraternity is not expected to address every single one of these challenges – the Fraternity does understand that those issues and challenges affect the future of the Fraternity.
Part of Pi Kappa Alpha’s response to these challenges is to continue to invest in the development and education of our members. This is through important initiatives such as PIKE University and the True PIKE Experience which are investments to develop more well-rounded individuals. Additionally, Pi Kappa Alpha will continue to challenge its members to step-up and be leaders and positive influences on their campuses. Our members need to continue to be positive influences of change on their campus, challenge the negative status quo, and address any negative fraternal behaviors on their campus.
Perhaps Pi Kappa Alpha’s biggest value to universities and society is to continue to provide leadership opportunities and develop men who will go on to do great things in their communities.