The Need For Unity
Fraternities and sororities are a rich and historical tradition at many universities. Each of us who joined these organizations bought into a value system and sense of community that has been fostered and intricately designed for over 100+ years. While fraternities and sororities have thrived under these traditional values, it takes change and evolution to ensure longevity and social relevance. This is why I believe that what fraternities and sororities need is to focus on developing unity and inclusion.
Unity is a concept often talked about in the fraternity/sorority community but acted upon infrequently. Far too often, fraternities and sororities define themselves by their differences instead of their commonalities. This leads to a lack of cohesion that diminishes the overall community’s potential.
Consider community engagement, a cornerstone of fraternity/sorority life. Individually, our chapters are able to make a great impact. But, if we put a more concentrated effort into united efforts in our communities, we could address the needs of those communities in holistic and profound ways. This isn’t to say that there aren’t great interfraternal and panhellenic councils who’ve done great community work. It is just that those efforts don’t receive the same enthusiasm or involvement from members of the overall fraternity and sorority life community as individual chapter events.
This applies to far more than just community engagement. If fraternities and sororities spent more time having conversations with each other about campus issues, social issues, and the common problems we share as college students, we’d have more opportunity to build up ourselves and the communities around us.
As we work to have united conversations, diversity and inclusion are paramount. The data shows time and time again that fraternity/sorority populations are not representative of the diversity on campus. This is the case both with racial minorities and members of the LGBTQ+ community. The only way our united conversations can have value is if we ensure a diverse set of opinions and voices are present at the table.
Considering we consistently see a lack of representation and diversity, we need to consider how we invite and create welcoming environments for those groups that currently feel ostracized. We need to find ways to be more inclusive. This isn’t easy though. It requires having tough and open minded conversations about racial sensitivity, homophobia, and gender identity. It requires reassessing traditional views of femininity and masculinity. It requires opening ourselves to empathizing with unfamiliar struggles.
To move forward and evolve, the fraternity/sorority life community needs unity and inclusion. These two concepts don’t work without each other though. Inclusion without unity only leads to scattered voices. Unity without inclusion stops valuable and necessary voices from being heard. As today’s fraternities and sororities consider how they want to change and evolve, I encourage them to consider the untapped potential of rallying together. This simple change would have a profound impact on the fraternity/sorority life community, the greater communities they’re a part of, and the ability of each individual to be challenged to grow into the best version of themselves.