Author

Josh Murray

Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Leadership Studies

Abstract

Colleges and Universities across the country grant students the opportunity for development in all areas of life. Within these educational institutions, student organizations play a major role by challenging students to become more involved and contribute to the University community. Social fraternities exemplify one popular means of student involvement. However, the appeal fraternities have on first-year students is unclear and individualistic. For some freshman students amidst an intense phase of transition, Greek organizations fulfill a desperate need for affiliation. They provide incoming students with a support structure and a network of friends who aid in the adaptation to an entirely new environment. Others view the involvement in such organizations as a tremendous leadership opportunity. Whatever means of justification one chooses, involvement in a fraternity greatly impacts both personal development and the shaping of one's identity throughout college.

Leadership Plan for Organizational Redesign:

Recommendation 1:

The University of Richmond needs to firmly define fraternities as either University recognized and supported organizations or independent entities. Defining the leadership role of the University administration to fraternity organizations is essential in eliminating inconsistent messages sent to University students. The effectiveness of the organizational structure and the attainment of organizational purposes is contingent upon a clear definition of the formal authority.

Recommendation 2:

Once this relationship is defined, alumni boards can serve as the regulatory liaison between fraternities and the University of Richmond administration. A written agreement should hold fraternities accountable to the University administration through the chapter advisors, and vice versa. This type of regulation and improved communication will de-emphasize the formal hierarchy currently present within the system's leadership structure.

Recommendation 3:

Referencing the Maryland plan as a model, Greek fraternity leaders should identify a set of standards by which the University can hold them accountable. These standards should be compatible with the University of Richmond Greek system and social climate. The effectiveness of the leadership plan is contingent upon the Greek affiliates' initiative towards system change and improvement.

Recommendation 4:

Greek leaders should utilize the Greek Life Advisory Board as a means of receiving constructive feedback from the University faculty. Faculty should serve as a primary resource towards the promotion of Greeks contributing value to the University of Richmond community.

Recommendation 5:

Following the implementation of the above recommendations, the Alumni Board, the administrative leaders and the Greek leaders should formally meet to assess and determine the progress of the Greek system towards the year 2000. This evaluative measure will allow these three groups of individuals to review all standards, address problems facing the system and reestablish goals for the future. This leadership plan is controversial in itself. It questions the firmly established leadership structure of this institution in regard to a extremely traditional, deeply-rooted social system. Our current leadership structure fosters the preservation of the status quo rather than challenging social organizations to improve and contribute to the University community. The resistance to change this organizational structure is enormous by students, faculty and administration. As evidenced by the Maryland Plan, the effectiveness of this organizational change depends on both the administration of this institution and the Greek students. Without the participation of these stakeholders in addition to the participation of the alumni board, resistance to change will only continue and the status quo will be maintained. Yet only by restructuring the system will the social fraternities be able to progress towards reestablishing the ideals on which they were created .

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