[MUSIC PLAYING] KARA MILLER MCCARTY: Good afternoon.
AUDIENCE: Good afternoon.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: My name's Kara Miller McCarty. I serve as the Director of Sorority and Fraternity Life here. Welcome.
We're going to have some audience participation. It'll be minimal. So don't worry. But if anyone is a Cornell alum, would you raise your hand? OK, great.
If you have a child here who is already in a sorority or fraternity, will you raise your hand? Great. So you all can come up and do the program? Just kidding, but I will rely on your help and your support.
Anyone go to an athletic event or plan to this weekend? Oh, very nice. Go Big Red. Love it. OK.
So you see that I have some assistants here. And these are all student leaders, and there might be one more trickling in. I think it's really helpful if they help inform what I share with you.
I have some slides that we will go through. I understand this is being recorded. So it can be watched later if you'd want to review again, or if anybody isn't here that wanted to be here. We will answer questions at the end. We'll stay afterwards to answer questions too.
And you can always reach the office where I work, which is Sorority and Fraternity Life, which is on the fifth floor of Willard Straight Hall. And I understand you all visited Willard Straight Hall yesterday. So now you know where we live.
So I've already introduced you to me, but we have students here who you will hear a little bit more from. We have a new addition in Buma, and we have Henry who's not here. So we're going to be a little bit flexible.
So some basic statistics about sorority and fraternity life here that you may or may not be aware of, we have 53 total recognized chapters. Chapter is what we often call a sorority or fraternity here. And all of our sororities and fraternities are national.
And so that means the national organization identifies them as the Cornell Chapter, as the New York Alpha Chapter, as the Beta Chapter. They have a lot of different ways they identify them. But if you have a student who's already in a sorority or fraternity, you might hear them talk about chapter.
The 53 groups are organized into three councils. So we often use the term Tri-Council. And the three councils, there are a lot of acronyms, Greek letters and a lot of acronyms.
So they are the Interfraternity Council, often called IFC, the Multicultural Greek and Fraternal Council, often called MGFC, and the Panhellenic Council, often called PHC. I will make the distinction that MGFC has sororities and fraternities that belong to it. And in IFC, there is one co-ed organization.
I will also mention I know there's a lot of interest in pre-professional fraternities and sororities and in business fraternities and sororities here. They are recognized by Cornell, but they are under the campus activities umbrella. So I'm not talking about them much today. But students can be members in both.
So something that we like to talk about at Cornell, of course, is academics. And I thought I would share with you the undergraduate GPA that we were provided by the registrar's office this past spring was a 3.62. And you can see the breakout by gender. And we did use male and female. I understand that gender is not just binary.
And then you can see from the members of our sororities and fraternities, it was a 3.6. You can see it broken out by each council. And then for the new members who joined in the spring, you can see. So some of your children might have contributed to that new member GPA right there or the member depending on their year.
These numbers were taken from the spring, but at that time, you can see that we had 3,527 total recognized chapter members. You can see the breakout by council. And then in addition, last spring, we had 867 total new members. So in the spring, it was about 30% of the campus population.
We do have more students join second semester. Because you're not able to join a sorority or fraternity your first semester on campus. But in the fall, we do have a fairly robust joining process for sophomores and up, as well as transfer students.
If you've been on campus at move-in, maybe for a tour this weekend, you have certainly seen some of the fraternity and sorority houses. It is different than some campuses, where there's not one row that you drive down, and they're all there. But they are clumped in different areas across West Campus and North Campus.
It's common for students to live there as a sophomore. We do ask leaders to live there as upper class students. It is also common for there to be a meal plan for those who live there. They have cooks and chefs, and they eat in the facility.
You are probably aware that next year, Cornell will have a requirement for both first and second year students to live on campus. Recognized sorority and fraternity housing will count to complete that requirement, though I will share that many of our fraternity and sorority houses are privately owned. They're not university owned, but it will still count as long as they're recognized.
The housing component is very heavily related to IFC and Panhellenic. We have MGFC members who might live together in spaces that aren't a recognized sorority or fraternity house or on campus. We do have one Asian interest fraternity that has a house on campus currently.
So I thought it would be helpful for you to hear from the perspective of students. So they got a little bit of advance notice that I was going to ask them to share why they joined a sorority or fraternity and what makes them stay. And so we will start with Alexia.
ALEXIA CAREY: Hello. My name is Alexia. I'm a junior at Cornell. I'm studying development sociology. I'm also pre-med and pursuing minors in human development and dance. And I am President of the So Fly Xi Phi Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated.
And my chapter is relatively new. We were chartered in 2019. But the reason that I joined is because of our principles, and I looked, and I did a lot of research on our organization and the principles of scholarship, service, sisterhood, and finer womanhood. And those are all principles that I would like to portray in my daily life.
And also, being in this organization has given me the opportunity to do service, and we really hold each other accountable. My chapter's pretty small. It's seven of us.
Sorry. So it's pretty intimate, and we all, like I said, hold each other accountable. And we go do service together. We bond, and we work together on our homework.
I am the youngest in my chapter. So it has given me a chance to learn from the seniors in the chapter and find out how to continue to navigate campus. And as it says there, I do stay involved. And I plan to stay involved even after I graduate, because we are in this for life. When you join, you join for life.
So I'm very excited to continue this journey. I just joined. But we've already done a lot of work on campus and interact with a lot of students, hold a lot of events.
PEYTON JOHNSON: Hi. My name is Peyton Johnson. I'm the President of Sigma Delta Tau, and I'm a CS or computer science and applied math double major. In addition, on campus, I'm in the Milstein Program. So I do research there.
And I went into rush not really even considering if I was fully going to join a house. And I think, just going through the experience of being able to talk to so many people and find commonalities was one of the major reasons I ended up joining. In addition, just having that sisterhood was something that was really important to me. I went to an all girls high school, and I felt that having an all-female group on campus was something that I really wanted.
In addition, I think it's really helpful in terms of academics. I think, I speak for a lot of us on here when I say that your GPA will go up when you join a sorority. My academic big was instrumental in helping me find my path through computer science, especially because being a woman in STEM, it's not exactly the easiest thing to do. Pass?
HENRY MALARKEY: Sure. My name is Henry Malarkey. I'm the President of Chi Phi Fraternity and representing the IFC. I joined Greek life because I really wanted to get to know more people. And it's a great way to know people out of your grade and other people in your major.
AUDREY STUART: I'm Audrey Stuart. I'm currently a sophomore in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. I'm the President of Alpha Phi. And the reason I joined Greek life was because I wanted a sisterhood.
When I was in high school, I was actually on a volleyball team. And I was so close, it was like a close knit family. And I wanted the same thing. And so I joined Greek life, went into rush very open minded, wanting to find who I was having great conversations with, who would make me laugh, who I just knew I'd have fun with, but also really cared about the academics. And I found that with Alpha Phi.
We do the academic big system as well. So I have a lot of girls that are also in Dyson classes that are also getting these amazing internships. And it's a great way that they can help you either network with professionals, and help you in your classes that you're going to be taking next year or the year after.
I find that Greek life and sororities and fraternities are a great way to connect with people you would not have connected with in the first place. Coming in as a freshman during COVID, did not meet a lot of people, but as soon as I joined Greek life, I made instant friends. I made people, friends that I will have for the rest of my life. Living in house, it has been a complete joy, and I am so excited for everybody to join.
BUMA GANA: Yeah, echo to what everybody said. Hi, everyone. I'm Buma. I'm a senior in Information Science.
I'm part of the chapter Delta Delta Delta, and I am the President of the Panhellenic Council here. So I have so many reasons for why I stayed in Greek life, obviously. But I will say, when I originally went through recruitment, and I got my bid and everything, I was super excited. I didn't really find any-- part of me was really, really hesitant to stay, just because I come from a non-- like a background that doesn't really know-- my parents didn't know what a sorority was.
And they were like, what is that? Is it a cult? And I was like, no, but I stayed because I met a girl on bid day that, essentially, she really convinced me to stay, even after I was like, I don't know if I can afford it.
She went to the President of our chapter, this little freshman who knows nothing about our sorority, and she's like, I demand you find scholarships for me. And that just really moved my heart, and just I've had so many experiences since then, where my sisters have stuck their neck out to help me. And that has been happening since day one. And like Peyton said, I've always believed in sisterhood.
I just think coming to Cornell I had to find out what that looked like for me. And again, my sorority helped me find my internship. I'm going into tech. And it's just really been a huge part of my life ever since, and I'm glad that I stayed. So thank you.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: I know you all know this because of your own children, but these students are the reason that I've been working here for 16 years. It is so amazing to be a part of their experience, and they're so talented. And they all have so many other things they're doing today. So I'm really thankful that they're here with us.
We're going to transition next, because if you are interested in joining and not already a member, you might be curious how that works. And so we're going to talk about Panhellenic recruitment first. And we're lucky we have three specialists here to tell us how it works. I'll put the schedule up here, so you can see the dates. And if you just want to talk about how the process works, and you can all share when you think it's appropriate.
BUMA GANA: Yeah. Can I look at the dates? OK, yeah. So this year, recruitment's happening just a little bit differently of past years.
We're in this pseudo moving out of COVID heavy restriction semesters and sort of into one. So because of this, we have a hybrid model, where the first two rounds of recruitment is virtual. And this happens before classes actually officially start.
This is the first two rounds. I think it's really important that these runs are virtual, actually, just because this is when the girls are visiting all the houses, like all 12. And there's a huge influx of people that are coming in.
I don't know if you guys have necessarily been through entirely in-person recruitment. But there's just huge, huge hordes of people in the same area. So that's why those two rounds are online.
And then the preference round, round three, are in person, because it's kind of you've gone through the houses. And more selections process has been made. So the lists of houses that you actually have to visit going through recruitment is smaller. That's just how the process works.
I'm pretty sure it goes from max 12 to max nine, max five, and then preference round, you only visit two houses. And then bid day is something that's happening. Bid day is when they get their bids. The day is also in person, but it is at chapter houses.
In the past, I'm not sure if you guys are familiar, but we would typically do a new member bid day card opening situation in Bailey Hall. But again, that's a lot of people. So we are not doing that. Instead we are doing a new member conference, where presidents and new members attend a conference, where they are able to just learn, init-- not initiate, but facilitate new members into our community.
And then March 6 is the new member initiation deadline. And keep in mind the girls who are going through recruitment have rho gammas. And rho gammas are essentially a resource for these girls to help them through the recruitment process.
They-- oh, sorry. They tend to be seniors and juniors in the houses that have already gone through recruitment. I believe that's the requirement for rho gammas that you have to have gone through recruitment at least once on the side of being in the chapter already before you can go back out there and share the love.
AUDREY STUART: When you get closer to the dates, there's going to be a website that you go to that has all the Zoom links with the times. And so it's pretty easy to navigate. What I found different with recruitment, because mine was fully online, was your voting and ranking through an app. And then you match up with another-- or with the sorority that you met or rank basically the same.
And so as she said, you can get invited back to 12 the first round, nine, five, and then it goes down from there. And with the online version, you're going to be having conversations over Zoom. I'm pretty sure the first round might be the video? So the video round was a little-- it took me a long time to put the video together.
So I recommend if you have ideas, start now. Because every time I was making the video, it was just hard. Because you're watching yourself talk, and then you have to put it on YouTube. There's a process to it. More info will come out about that.
But as it moves in person, you're going to get to have longer conversations with the girls. And just make sure that you're being yourself, because you want to be in a sisterhood where you're having friends, where you have people that make you want to laugh. You just want to join the best sisterhood for yourself.
PEYTON JOHNSON: Yeah. And then adding off that, I think the video experience, for both of us, is wildly strange. Recording yourself is super uncomfortable. It did take four girls in my dorm room to try and help us all figure out our videos.
It took far too long. And I think, ultimately, just looking back, I wish I had just taken the time, done something a little bit more relaxed. I think my favorite conversation throughout all of rush was talking about Thompson and Bleecker for about 20 minutes with my now big.
And so I really think you need to just take the pressure off yourself in some senses and just let your personality go. None of us are going to be too judgmental. We're all just here to support you realistically.
BUMA GANA: And I totally want to say, thank you for sharing that about the videos. And that is something that is changing this year. The videos are not going to be nearly as long as they were last year.
And also, I think that also speaks to our efforts in recruitment this year to overall just make it more inclusive. There's no price change after a certain point in registration deadlines anymore. And we're just really doing our best to make sure people feel like this process is not a burden for them but rather a means of finding a community for yourself.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: Yeah. I had a couple of things before we moved to other councils. You probably caught it, but there are 12 total sororities in the Panhellenic Council.
The first day of classes is Monday, January 23, so if that helps you orient yourself to this schedule. And we don't have sessions. The reason they're broken up on weekends is because we are not competing with classes to have the sessions. And that means you don't need to come back a week early, like people needed to in the past, which is a nice thing.
And you see the new member initiation deadline. All of our groups here, no matter what council, have a four week maximum new member process. And so that's how we set that four weeks from bid day. All right.
We will next have Alexia talk about MGFC. The joining process can be called recruitment or intake. And I think she'll explain this, but there are three different subcouncils in MGFC. So they do things a little bit differently, depending on the subcouncil.
ALEXIA CAREY: Yes. OK. So on MGFC intake, we do not do rush. Other than the Asian interest orgs, they rush, but the NPHC, which is the National Panhellenic Council, the Malik Fraternity, and the Latinx organizations do not do rush. And dates for the Asian interest recruitment, I believe I was told, will come out in more-- more details will come out closer to the time, like towards the beginning of each semester.
But in terms of my council, my organization is part of the National Panhellenic Council. And I believe Latinx organizations operate similarly. We do not-- discretion is pretty important in our process. We have different events throughout the semester.
And normally, we recommend that anyone who's interested in our organization come and talk to us, just get to know us personally, and do research individually on the organization that they're interested in. We also do recommend-- there are nine organizations in the NPHC, and the Malik is an African fraternity. And so we do recommend that people look at the different organizations that you can join and find what principles, what events, what service philanthropy, what attracts you, and get to know the people that are in that organization, and find out if that is the right fit.
It's really hard. I don't know if that was very clear, but yeah. So we do emphasize connecting with people who are in the chapter, and who you see around campus at different events, and showing your face at different things, and seeing what they do around campus.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: Thanks. And a few things I will add, there are currently 13 sororities and fraternities in MGFC. There will be 14. We have a new one joining us in the spring.
And other than the four Asian interests, so two sororities and fraternities who do a recruitment process together with those dates there, none of the intake process happens before school starts. So you don't have to come back early. And it's very individualized, like Alexia was talking about, where you would meet members of the organizations.
And that's a great opportunity to let you know that today from 2:00 to 4:00 on Ho Plaza, right in front of the Cornell store, MGFC is having a yard show. If Alexia needs to sneak out early, it's because they're waiting for her leadership there. But we welcome you to stop by. We hope the rain holds.
If the rain does not hold, it'll be in the Memorial Room. But all of our organizations will be participating and wearing their letters, and you can learn more about MGFC there. Last but not least, hi, Henry. You're up to talk about IFC.
HENRY MALARKEY: Yeah. IFC recruitment is one of the most exciting weeks of the year, because chapters are excited to take on new brothers into their organizations. And all the potential new members are excited to join houses that they will be a part of for the next three years throughout their college experience.
So to get into it, it starts with Meet the Greeks which is a tabling event, where all the fraternities gather in an open space and table with-- and have brothers show up. And all the potential new members join them there, so that they can meet the different chapters, get an idea of which ones to join. Because there are a lot of chapters in IFC. So it can be overwhelming efforts to get to decide which ones you want to be interested in. So that gets you in the door and gives you that first initial idea of what some of these chapters are like.
And then going forward, there's two more steps that familiarize potential new members with chapters. The first one is open houses. And so open houses work where the chapters throw an open event, where there's food put on by the chef. There's usually games and/or basketball, or other situations where you can meet and get to know brothers in a casual setting.
And so the brothers can really get to know the potential new members. And the potential new members can really get a feel for what the chapter is like. And then the next part of that is contacts. And that's basically just a feedback system, so that you can know where you are in terms of if a chapter is interested in you. And then the chapter can see if a potential new member is interested in them.
And that's through an electronic system, where there's a forum. And you basically, the potential new members fill out which houses they're interested in, and the chapters fill out which potentially members they're interested in. And so you get that mutual feedback, so you can really progress throughout the week in the most productive manner towards finding the house that best fits you.
And then finally, that ends in bid day which is on a Monday. And that's where you finally get your choice of if a chapter is accepting you into their brotherhood. And you usually get-- you might get one. You might get multiple, but then the potential new members will then have a chance to choose which house they think is best for them. And that's the end of recruitment.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: Thanks. So as you note from the dates, it won't start until school starts. And it also will be straddling the academic schedule. We do have 28 organizations within IFC.
There will be 29 in the spring. We're adding a new one. We don't think that you could possibly be trying to visit 29 organizations and sustain that. So we usually try to encourage about five to eight.
We do encourage people to try to keep their options open and not solely only look at one, just because if there's not an invitation, then there aren't other options. But we encourage you not to look at so many that you're spreading yourself thin and people aren't getting to know you. One thing that's really important to note about IFC recruitment is that IFC organizations, if you join, invite you to be on their fraternity meal plan in their house right away, so next spring. And you might be thinking, well, my child's already eating in a residence hall.
There is a deadline of February 9th, where they can drop down some of their dining meal plan. And we will communicate that very well, but I just want to say that. So if your child ends up joining an IFC fraternity, you remember that and pay attention to that. And all of this information, including how to register, is on our website.
That's a lot to remember, but if you can remember greeks.cornell.edu, that'll get you to our website. And there's information about joining. So I encourage you to look there.
And IFC registration is not open yet. Panhellenic is, but registering if you want to go through the process is a really good idea. Because it's the best way to get continual information about the process.
And the students who want to join organizations do have some educational training requirements before they join, some virtual, some in-person. That's also on our website and something to pay attention to. I know folks have questions, and we're almost at the Q&A. So just a couple more slides and we can ask those specific questions.
OK. Health and safety is really important to our community. And we know that hazing is a concern that parents have. A few resources, we have something called a scorecard that's on our website, which is that greeks.cornell.edu.
And that lists the name of every fraternity or sorority. It lists the address of the house if they have one. It lists the President of the fraternity or sorority and their email.
It lists the five years of any conduct history that the sorority or fraternity might have, including alcohol violations, including hazing violations. It lists how many members they have, what their average GPA is, how much community service they do. So that's a good thing to look at if you haven't already.
And then the hazing website is a place where anyone with access to that website can report hazing. It also has violations. It has the code of conduct definition of hazing.
It has a tremendous amount of resources. Our Skorton Center in Cornell Health has put that together, and that's been around since 2004. They were really pioneers in putting that together.
We do have a student in Fall 2019-- this was national news. I'm sure many of you heard about it. Antonio Tsialas, who very tragically passed away as a result of attending what was an unapproved party for students interested in joining a fraternity. That fraternity is no longer here.
And we have worked to name the National Hazing Prevention Week, which is a national thing that people do at campuses across the country in his honor with his parents' permission. And next Monday, November 8, in this very room actually, the Gruver family, who tragically lost a son at LSU, the Piazza family, who tragically lost a son to hazing at Penn State, and Antonio's parents, who died here, will be here speaking to members of our sororities and fraternities as well as other students and administrators on campus. It is live streamed.
So if any of you would like to join, it will be live streamed, and recorded and we can get to a registration link. But we're working really hard to make this community safe and to make it a meaningful experience. But I think it's important to acknowledge the challenges we've had as well.
BUMA GANA: And can I just briefly add to that too? As someone who knew Antonio, and I was also just a sophomore, when that happened, I will say, in terms student wise, while all of this organizational programming is amazing, and kudos to Antonio's parents for coming to speak to us too. Because that emotional labor I know is so much.
But I think, I'm so happy that, within our communities, we are doing the work to talk about it and really have these really difficult conversations within our chapters, within our councils, and just overall seeing how we, as students, can take accountability, like in terms of prevention and what we can do in terms of self awareness, and really doing better in our community just overall. And I just, I think there's a point to me that those conversations are still being had and they're there. We've created a space for it.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: This is a good slide to take a picture of. This is the website for our office. And then each of our three councils has their own website.
BUMA GANA: Follow our Instas.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: Oh, yes. That's coming up. Don't worry. Trying to be more relevant on social media, so we also have a Facebook group for our office, an office Insta. And then each council has an Insta which is where they promote a lot of their events.
And some of you in here might belong-- there's a mom of a student in a fraternity here who started a Facebook group for parents of students of sorority fraternity members here. There are about 300 people in it. I am in there. I don't own the group, but I'm in the group. I post things from time to time. I'm sure they would welcome you, and it's great to see parents answer each other.
You're laughing. Are you the one who started the group? No? OK. I've only met her in virtual, so I don't know, but those are some opportunities.
And then I alluded a little bit to some new chapters. But I wanted to let you know that Sigma Nu Fraternity, which is in the Interfraternity Council, and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc, which is a sorority in MGFC, both returned to campus this semester. And so that means that they are starting brand new. They have a lot of help from their national organization and for their alumni.
And so it's really unique to join those organizations, because they don't already have 40 students, or two students, or 50 students, or whatever the average is for different organizations here in them. So I just want you to know that those organizations are here. And that we'll also have Sigma Alpha Epsilon, SAE, and Kappa Alpha Psi in IFC and in MGFC coming back in the spring too. So our community is growing as well.
I know some of you are familiar faces from orientation. So I didn't want to say too much of the same things. But we do have a lot of leadership programming and trainings throughout the year. And this is a picture from one of the programs that we had in August.
We are very happy to be back in person after a year and some of doing all of our programs over Zoom and really, really strongly encouraging people to turn their cameras on, which did or did not happen in all cases. So it's nice to be here with you all. I know that we still need masks but better than a year ago.
One other thing that tends to be a question that I didn't mention so far, the scorecard also lists the costs for sororities and fraternities. And so that's a good place to look. I will tell you that they're self-reported, but we do ask for them every semester. And so we think they're pretty consistent.
And they're often broken into dues, which is what your child would pay as soon as they join. It tends to be a little more the first semester, because they're new, and they're getting a badge and things like that. Housing, if they would live in the house, board if they would board in the house. Sometimes there are social fees that are different than the dues.
And so that is where I would direct you to know more information about sororities and fraternities. And like Buma said, there are different chapters that have some scholarships available. The councils have some scholarships available. So that's something that we can help direct you to.
AUDREY STUART: Just to add to the dues, at the end of the spring semester-- middle of spring semester, there's going to be applications for certain scholarships. But again, in the fall, you're going to have applications for scholarships if you're within a leadership position. So if your son or your daughter joins, I recommend they try and put themselves into a leadership position. Because it really helps get scholarship money for the sorority.
BUMA GANA: And also, typically, Panhellenic does a new member dues program and a current member dues program. This year, we awarded 21 scholarships of up to $500 each.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: Thank you. OK. So now, we're at the question period. And so myself and all of my esteemed colleagues here are happy to answer any questions you have. Yes?
AUDIENCE: I don't know anything about Greek life. So I have to ask an oblivious question. When does what was called hazing happen? And what happens between bid day and initiation deadline? [INAUDIBLE].
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: Sure. So bid day and the initiation deadline is essentially the period that we would most likely see hazing to occur. I say, most likely, because we've had two situations on our campus, where it has not happened during those periods of time-- or one, but one where it happened, and the person was already a member.
But if there was hazing, that tends to be when we would see it. It used to be called the pledging process. We call it the new member orientation process. And we have reduced it to a maximum of four weeks to still give it some time to learn the things that they want new members to learn, to orient themselves to the organization, but to hopefully eliminate some of the foolishness that has led to hazing.
And the reason I say that it's most likely during that time period is because Antonio, it was the Fall when he hadn't even joined a fraternity. He went to a party for a fraternity he was interested in joining. And then the initiation deadline-- I'm sorry.
AUDREY STUART: Between bid day and initiation, for Alpha Phi specifically, we do Ivy linker dates, because we're part of the Ivy League. So you get to go on dates with the older girls and get to know them a lot better. So after you get initiated, you can choose your big. And you do the big little process.
BUMA GANA: Yeah. That's typically, I would say, thank you for adding that. Because at least for PHC, what happens between bid day and initiation is a lot of just more so facilitation, like training.
I know we do consent ed and Cayuga's Watchers, just to make sure people understand safety when it comes to different events and just mindfulness. Also, a lot of mental health programming during that time as well. And just overall, I believe-- and this is also on our site and not a new rule whatsoever. But new members are not allowed at social events for the first month, social events of their own organization for the first month.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: Not with alcohol.
BUMA GANA: Yeah, without-- with alcohol. They're not allowed from that day until initiation, essentially. So that time is meant to just give them programming, so that they can be supported, when they actually enter in the sorority or fraternity fully.
HENRY MALARKEY: Yeah. And I can clear some things up too, because I'm sure that a lot of it seems unclear. And that usually, some of these organizations are perceived as somewhat secretive. But a lot of what goes on after bid day leading into initiation has to do with the history of the organizations. Because they've been around for hundreds, like over 100 years, most of them.
So a lot of it is learning about the house history, learning about the alumni, learning about why the house is important. And then the other part of it is getting to know the brothers. So they have a-- for us, for our chapter, we have a philanthropy requirement, where you have to go out with brothers and do philanthropy projects.
And part of one of ours is cleaning up Cascadilla Gorge, picking up trash down there every Sunday. So we do that. And we also do fun activities, like we take kids on a camping trip in the spring and other events such as that to try to get to know each other better and really welcome them into the house. And that leads up into initiation.
BUMA GANA: Yeah. And not to say that stuff isn't fun too. I remember, my sophomore year, the seniors in my sorority did their little capstone project, where they collected recycling from fraternity and sorority houses for the entire year. So that we could take it to compost.
So those things are also just fun to do with people who are in your orgs. And you'll find that you have passions for these things. And I think that's what's so great about Greek life is that, during initiation period, that period it's like these people that are your friends and care about you also help you find what you're interested in. And that's a really special process.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: And initiation should be an actual ceremony that is the nationally prescribed ceremony that happens on a date that should be shared with your son or daughter. If the initiation date is a secret, that could be a red flag that you should pay attention to. But it should happen within the end of the four week process. And it's a very prescribed process, only for initiated members of the organization. And then you're full member from that point forward. Yes?
AUDIENCE: So the sororities have the week before school starts in January to do the virtual stuff, but the IFC has nothing like that going on?
HENRY MALARKEY: Yeah. So for IFC, we're not doing a virtual initial thing before school starts. The entirety of IFC recruitment will take place during the first week of class, which is syllabus week, which is normally where students are just getting-- are just the first or second class of the semester, where the professors are not really giving that much work and just going over the baseline requirements of the classes.
So all of the IFC events will take place in the afternoons and evenings before sunset. But I think before the end of 8:00 PM, or there's a deadline for time wise. But regardless, it should not conflict with school. And it's throughout that first week and then over that following weekend.
BUMA GANA: Yeah. And I do want to say that difference exists just because of the nature of how recruitment works for both of our councils. And also, for IFC, there's just so many more organizations. We have 12. I believe they have around 30.
And so like Kara said, you choose a few, like five to eight, that you really like. Whereas for sororities and how our council functions, it's like everybody goes to every single house and experiences, like has a conversation. So that's why we have to do ours part virtual and part in-person.
AUDIENCE: How do they get to know which houses they like if they're not going to [INAUDIBLE]?
HENRY MALARKEY: Yeah, and that's the purpose of the Meet the Greeks. That's the first event that is before the open houses and everything. So that's where all of the chapters, all 30-- or all 28 chapters hold tables in an auditorium. And so you can go-- your kid will be able to go around to each table, talk, and have conversations with some of these chapters, and get to know them. And then follow up with the ones that they like throughout the open houses later in the week.
AUDIENCE: And that's on the 23rd, the first day?
HENRY MALARKEY: Yeah, that's on the first day.
PEYTON JOHNSON: In addition, there are also other events that you can meet most of the chapters at. So thus far, I can speak for PHC and IFC, and I think MGFC has been there as well. We've had Meet the Greeks, Registration Go live. We're also going to have a philanthropy fair.
And then there are also events that you will see across campus. This Friday, we had Kappa Delta and Sigma Delta Tau were out there with philanthropy events, where we were doing bake sales. And so throughout the semester, if your child is interested in meeting different organizations, there are a plethora of opportunities for them to do so.
AUDREY STUART: But I'd just like to add, no matter if your kid has friends in the fraternity or the sorority, or if they went to high school together, I went to a high school that nobody has ever gone to Cornell before, came in knowing absolutely nobody. And I felt like it was a really great opportunity for me to meet new people. I did not know anybody in Alpha Phi when I rushed either. They're very accepting of everybody and people who are different or have not come from a common background. And so I'd just like to put that out there.
BUMA GANA: Yeah, [INAUDIBLE].
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: Yeah. That's advice that we would give is to have your student really kind of trust their gut about where they feel comfortable. Sometimes there can be pressure to want to join where maybe everybody on your floor wants to join.
Or somebody's told you this is the most popular organization you should join. But just like with many decisions in life, we encourage students to continue to go back where they feel most comfortable. Go ahead.
AUDIENCE: This is just to follow-up on the fraternity, which is that there's [INAUDIBLE] registration [INAUDIBLE].
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: There is a registration. It's just not live yet. It'll be live within a few days. There is a sorority and fraternity fair in September on Rawlings Green by the first year students.
Fraternities and sororities are actually allowed to interact with potential new members this semester. It just has to be without alcohol. So they can invite them over for dinner. They can invite them over to the fraternity house. They can invite them to do a philanthropy project with them.
IFC is also able to plan different events. They could have a Meet the Greeks in November if they wanted to. I don't think one's been scheduled yet, but it's something they could do. Like you've heard Panhellenic talk about the philanthropy fair and a recruitment goes live event, some things that they have as well.
BUMA GANA: Yeah. And I would say, overall, tell your students the best way to stay engaged is through social media. Because a lot of times, a lot of individual chapters will have events.
And while we try our best to get as many events out from SFL and Panhel, and I've seen MGFC, I think it's really important that they stay engaged on social media. That's their prerogative. But also, social media is not for everybody. So please check out our events.
And these past two weekends, sororities were doing open houses as well, where they teamed up and had an open house for, I think, five hours at a time. And they were just able to meet new members. And just this process is a time for them to casually get to know the people in these chapters and move away from, I guess, what bad influence in terms of opinion and just form their own opinions in terms of that.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: And there are-- while it's still nice too, there are tables on Ho Plaza right in front of the Cornell store often. And I've seen several sororities and fraternities out there, like Pie a Pi Kapp or Pie a Pi Phi. And that's a great opportunity to stop by the table.
There was a voter registration that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc was doing. Those are great opportunities for students to stop by, say, hello, participate, maybe exchange phone numbers, get to know people. So I'd encourage people to keep their eyes open for that too.
AUDIENCE: Yeah. Thank you to you all. This was really helpful. I had a question for the IFC about the fraternities and what sort of training goes on about consent, with respect for women, and anti-toxic masculinity and things of that nature.
HENRY MALARKEY: Yeah, of course. That's something that IFC has been taking seriously. This past two weeks ago, we had a presentation during our president's council from Consent Ed which is an on campus group that talks with organizations about consent and those types of topics. And it's a requirement for the spring semester that each chapter in IFC holds a 1 hour presentation with Consent Ed, where they come and speak in person at our chapter and have discussions about these types of things. And oftentimes, chapters will then follow up with that in the coming week, during chapter, and continue those conversations within their chapters such as that.
AUDREY STUART: I'd also like to add it's very important for the sororities as well. This past weekend, I actually organized a sexual violence training for my chapter. And so we take it very seriously.
And I know every member of the organization, as well as everybody in PHC, takes it very seriously. And we're all very understanding of the world that we live in today. So just know, from IFC to all of these different organizations, it's very important to us.
BUMA GANA: Definitely. And I do want to add on there that thank you for asking that question. Because I really do think it's important to emphasize that Greek life on every single campus in this country has had a toxic and exclusive history that has perpetuated things that hurt the people in our communities.
And we want to fully acknowledge that and take accountability for that. And those conversations we're having, we're not just having conversations. But I think as leaders, we're definitely figuring out, what is the best way to translate those values that we have in contesting racism, sexism, homophobia, and all of those things, and how do we translate that into meaningful programming that is going to pervade and see change over the years?
So it's definitely not an easy question. It's not an easy thing to talk about. But I want you to know that we are putting forth that effort. And we are making strides to answer those questions and address those things within our community.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: So I am told that we are at our end time. I feel like if I was at the Oscars, they'd be playing the music right now. But we will all stay up here if you want to come ask us questions.
On those websites, you can reach any of my staff. I have four others who aren't here. We have a table today in Barton from 2:30 to 5:00 that some students will be standing at as well. Maybe some of the same students. I think Buma might be there.
BUMA GANA: Yeah, I will.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: And student leaders, all of their contact information is also on the websites if you or your child would prefer to reach out to them. Thank you so much for being here and enjoy the weekend.
BUMA GANA: Thank you.
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Cornell is home to over 50 social sororities and fraternities. Learn more about the sorority and fraternity community at Cornell during this informational session. Cornell staff members from the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life and current student leaders who are members of sororities and fraternities will share more details about the community and the process of joining as well as answer any questions.