by Julia Ernst
Members of Rider’s fraternities and sororities may soon find that planning inter-Greek events and fundraisers has gotten a little bit easier and faster.
At the Greek Awards banquet on April 25, the newly formed Greek Council will be announced. This organization is a coming together of the three pre-existing Greek councils — the Northern American Inter-Fraternity Conference (IFC), the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and the Inter-Cultural Council (IGC) — which currently represent 12 Rider organizations.
According to junior Sarah Bryan-Ashwell, a sister of Alpha Xi Delta (AZD) and NPC recruitment chair of the new council, the main goal of the new organization is to promote more Greek unity.
“All three individual councils do the same things — plan events, do community service and support Rider — so we’re going in the direction of unification,” Bryan-Ashwell said. “Now, everyone is going to be meeting at the same time. This is going to solidify us all knowing what each other is doing, and it’s going to bring everyone new members.”
Though it was neither the only reason, nor the primary deciding factor, the decrease in the number of fraternities on campus in recent years was also an underlying force in the merging of the councils.
Junior Karl Craft, a brother in Sigma Phi Epsilon (SPE), said that this is one of the reasons he feels the decision was a good one.
“I think it will help, especially with the low number of fraternities,” he said. “With only two fraternities, it’s hard to have a separate council, our own IFC. I think this will eventually increase the number of chapters on campus.”
Mike Stumpf, house director of University House, where the brothers of SPE live, and Megan Horst, house director of Phi Sigma Sigma, work in the Office of Greek Life, where the decision to merge the councils originally began.
Horst said the process of having individual council meetings and then still needing to meet once again at a tri-council meeting to stay up to date on each other’s activities and to work together in planning events was not a very effective way of doing things.
“It was just a big run-around all the time,” she said. “Those meetings weren’t productive. Unifying the councils cuts down on the overprogamming.”
On Monday, April 6, presidents from the IFC and NPC organizations made a final decision on the leader for the new council, who is junior Danielle Huddleston, a sister in Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA).
“The new president was chosen at our presidents’ meeting,” said Amy Schlacter, ZTA president. “It was decided that the current presidents would be best to choose the first president of this new council in the hopes that it would provide for the most stable transition for all three councils.”
Horst and Stumpf added that on Wednesday, April 8, junior Andrew Boden, a Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) brother, was named the new president of IFC, which will now be an entity in the three-part structure under the new council president.
Junior Janeen Hovnanian was named the vice president of NPC, which is the second member of that three-part structure under the new council president. The third position — vice president of IGC — has not yet been filled.
“IGC is voting on their vice president and intake chair [another part of the new council] today [Thursday],” Horst and Stumpf explained. “IFC will be choosing their recruitment chair tomorrow.”
Junior Daniel Teixeira, president of TKE, explained that the everyday lives of Greeks will not be greatly impacted.
“This change will not affect the day-to-day running of TKE,” he said. “However, it will affect us when it comes to planning and running events. Before the unified council, Greek-wide events were coordinated through two different people — one sorority sister and one fraternity brother. This often led to confusion and awkward communication between councils. With the new council, these problems should be completely solved.”
Senior Brooke Farber, a sister in AZD, feels that this shift will lead to good changes for Rider’s Greeks.
“I think it will have a positive affect on IGC and IFC, because NPC has always been a really strong council, and, hopefully, we can bring all of our ideas together,” Farber said.
Though some members of Rider’s Greek community have said that they feel the changes were well-explained and that they were given a fair chance to share their input, others feel that they should have been told more and given more of a chance to respond.
“The community, as a whole, wasn’t told about it,” said senior Cara Giovinazzo, a sister of AZD. “It wasn’t explained to us. They didn’t ask us how we felt about it. It’s fine, if that is what will work best, but they should have at least given us warning about it and given us a say.”
Stumpf provided information that may help some members of the Greek community who felt left out of the decision-making process understand why it was done in a certain way.
“One of the reasons it was kept so hush-hush was because we haven’t talked to student government yet,” Stumpf explained, referring to the Student Government Association on the Lawrenceville campus.
“They have to petition student government for this change,” Horst added. “It will be official as long as student government approves it,” which, she added, will officially be done in the fall.
In addition, they explained that a number of factors were considered when they chose not open to the process to members of individual organizations.
“The people who are on the councils currently know what’s needed more so than the general chapter membership,” Horst said. “They have a better idea of how the councils run.”
Junior Robert McMahon, a brother in TKE and IFC vice president of public relations, said that Greek students should give the new council a chance.
“The combination of the three Greek councils into one should not be judged yet,” McMahon said. “Once they begin making decisions for the Greek organizations, I’m sure many opinions will change. It is more of an administration change than it is a change for the individual organizations.”
Horst urged students to remember the positive change that could come out of this new council system.
“The collaboration that this is going to bring is going to be fabulous,” she said. “It’s going to provide a lot of really great opportunities.”