My #AFLVCentral Experience: A Call to Action
Being from a small liberal arts university and being a part of an even smaller fraternity/sorority community than most universities, I have gotten many great opportunities serving as a fraternal leader on my campus. One of the many opportunities I’ve received was being selected to attend the 2018 Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values’ Central Fraternal Leadership Conference including the National Black Greek Leadership Conference. This was my first experience attending a conference, and it’s hard to put into words how much it changed my perspective on many different aspects of fraternity/sorority life overall.
From the magnificent keynote speakers (one of them being former Vice President Joe Biden) to the late-night activities and silent auction (whose proceeds went to St. Jude Children’s Hospital), my time at #AFLVCentral was filled with activities, education blocks and speakers that were passionate about making a difference within the fraternity/sorority community.
The main take away I received from #AFLVCentral was the community looks up to fraternal leaders as role models. Instead of portraying what the media and society thinks fraternity/sorority members are, we need to show everyone who we are and what we stand for by behaving like true leaders. As fraternity/sorority members, we have to stand up for what we believe in and make a difference; it takes one person to make a difference but a whole community can make an impact. For instance, Lawrence Ross spoke about racism on campuses and how big of an issue this is; it is a real issue that needs to stop being thrown under the rug. Students need to start being more open to diversity and inclusion, and stop being ignorant about these issues.
When former Vice President Joe Biden spoke at #AFLVCentral, he emphasized the importance of the It’s on Us campaign and women’s empowerment. Consent is literally everything, and if it’s not given, then that’s a serious issue. It’s on us to help our brothers, sisters, and peers understand these issues. Someday we all want our children to feel safe when they go to college, and it starts with students addressing these issues and putting a stop to them now.
I also learned that researchers are predicting in 4 to 5 years there will be a decrease in student enrollment in college. Which, with less students, it may be harder for those students to choose to join a fraternity/sorority. Therefore, the next generation of students needs to know why fraternity/sorority life on college campuses is so important. We need to show them we are not the stereotypes the media and society think we are. It starts by telling them the stories of why we joined a fraternity/sorority and why we are so passionate to be in fraternity/sorority life, all while being real with them NOW.
I left #AFLVCentral feeling a passion for helping improve fraternity/sorority life on my campus. I hope to make a change this year in August during Formal Recruitment as the Panhellenic Vice President of Recruitment by educating my Recruitment Counselors to have conversations that will make women realize why all these women choose to join a sorority. I hope in my last year at Drury University I can leave an impact and change the stereotypes of what Recruitment really is and show women it is not something to be fearful of.