Here you will find an introduction to our community and resources to help you.
Here at Alma College we have 11 chapters all of whom have houses that are owned and operated by the institution. Our community at the end of the fall 2018 semester has 6 fraternities with a total of 131 affiliated members, and 5 sororities with a total of 150 affiliated members. Our community has 2 governing councils call Interfraternity council and Panhellenic council.
A letter from the Greek Life Advisor
My name is Matthew Jones. I serve Alma College as the Assistant Director for Greek Life and Orientation. I am in my 4th year as a professional in Higher Education and working with fraternity and sorority life. I have an undergraduate degree in Communication from Eastern Michigan University, and a Masters in Post-Secondary Administration from Ferris State University. I have been part of the Alma College community since August 2017. I am a member of fraternity life and have been since 2009.
My role here is to work with the Fraternity and Sorority community to promote a values driven positive experience. I work directly with our chapter presidents and governing council leadership to promote a positive and meaningful membership, I also oversee the chapter houses where some of our members reside. There are a total of 11 Greek chapters that affiliate between Interfraternity Council (our men’s organizations), and Panhellenic Council (our women’s organizations).
This is an incredibly impactful experience that has the potential to create lifelong changes for our community members. The fraternity and sorority experiences exists to help the members of the community grow in positive ways, this is done through meaningful programming that starts with the recruitment experience.
Recruitment is a time in which your student has the opportunity to explore the uniqueness of each organization, and to examine the opportunities each chapter offers to help your student grow. At the conclusion of recruitment your student begins the new member phase of their experience. We have two different recruiting time periods that we typically take in new members. Primarily, we recruit in the winter semesters as we have a system called deferred recruitment. Deferred recruitment means any student in their first semester at Alma College must establish a GPA at the institution by attending 1 semester before they become eligible for membership. During the new member period your student will be learning about the chapter, its history, mission, vision, values, and the current sisters/brothers. This is also a time where hazing is most likely to happen. Alma College has a robust policy about hazing and we have each new member attend an information session about hazing, something I facilitate each semester. We do this to educate our new members about what hazing is, the dangers associated, and their resources. I also work with our chapters to ensure they are creating an environment that is welcoming and safe for new members. You as parents are in a unique position to notice changes in your student’s behavior during this time. Some of that is natural, but if at any point you believe that being a member of a chapter is negatively impacting your student, please reach out so I am able to step in.
This is also a time that your student will be experiencing challenges with time management. Trying to balance being a full time student, a member of their organization, and countless other activities they want to be part of, can often be challenging. As a community we believe that all of our members are students before they are a member of their organization. This new member process last typically 6-8 weeks before they are initiated into the chapter’s active membership. The college also hosts an event called New Member Education. This is a program meant to further your students understanding about the experience and expectations of our community members.
Active membership lasts for the rest of their time during their undergraduate career. During this time, members will continue to learn about the chapter, but what is more exciting is all of the opportunities to engage in. These opportunities are meant to challenge your student to grow and can come in the forms of taking on chair positions, elected to be in an executive council position, to national programs and positions. Recently we participated in a community survey about our community experience. Some of the highlights from the program are as follows.
In evaluating the chapter’s education on educational programs/workshops our member said:
- 94% of chapter hazing education is above average
- 90% of sexual misconduct education is above average
- 89% of founding values education is above average
My chapter experience has positively impacted my:
- Sense of personal values 97% agree
- Ability to develop positive relationships with others 97% agree
- Sense of confidence 93% agree
Where are we going? Great question! Right now our community is in a transition phase with new college leadership starting, and the ebb and flow of student leadership in roles that decide direction. We have some hopeful programs in the development stages starting with a strategic planning committee. This committee is looking at data we have collected over time to work on identifying gap areas in our experience and will be tasked with planning programs and activities that fill those gaps. We are also developing a weekend emerging leadership retreat to further our members understanding of their chapter’s values, and their leadership skills. We are also focusing on our recruitment practices and improving the potential member experience.
We are a community that is building and working towards bettering ourselves and our experience. My goal through this letter is to create some transparency about this experience, and my goal is to continue transparency throughout your member’s process. I truly believe in this experience, it does make a difference and has so much potential to positively impact your student. I hope your student considers joining our community. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and ask either by phone 989.463.7550 or via email email@example.com.
Matthew D. Jones