In addition to a significant increase in student enrollment this year, the University also saw an increase in participation in Fraternity and Sorority Life. An innovative recruitment program and a focus on academic excellence, leadership, and civic engagement continues to provide a positive experience for UTC students.
The National Panhellenic Council (NPC), which includes the sororities Alpha Delta Pi, Chi Omega, Delta Zeta, Kappa Delta, and Sigma Kappa, saw increased numbers with 292 students accepting invitations this semester.
The Interfraternity Council (IFC) experienced similar gains in recruitment with 193 men accepting invitations for membership. In comparison, the University had 80 men had registered for recruitment in 2008. The IFC is made up of seven fraternities: Kappa Sigma, Delta Upsilon, Kappa Alpha Order, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Mu Alpha, Pi Kappa Alpha, and Sigma Chi.
Another umbrella group, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), continues to recruit new members. Currently, NPHC has record membership among the six member organizations, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Phi Alpha, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, Sigma Gamma Rho sororities.
“Greek life has had a historic year in 2011 at UTC. Our student leaders did an exceptional job recruiting and promoting the positive attributes of joining a fraternity or sorority during orientation and welcome week activities,” Sara Jahansouz, Assistant Dean of Students said.
UTC uses a customized learning outcomes model of recruitment to assist prospective new members in the process of choosing the right organization.
“A custom curriculum is utilized with all the potential new members to help them identify their personal values and make meaning of the shared experience they are engaging in,” Jahansouz said.
During rush activities, a reflection activity is introduced to challenge a student’s growth and development in the areas of interpersonal relationship development, civic engagement, and decision making.
In the three years since the learning outcomes model of recruitment was implemented, Fraternity and Sorority Life has seen significant improvement in retention rates.
“We are thrilled with the program so far. Students have been very receptive to it. The amount of learning that happens is transformational for them,” Jahansouz said.
“In 1998, the average size of a fraternity or sorority chapter was 54 students. Now, it’s 153,” she continued.
Derrick McGhee joined Alpha Phi Alpha his sophomore year after going through Membership Intake and deciding that the values of the fraternity best matched up with his own.
“My experience in Alpha Phi Alpha has been amazing. I’ve made a lot of connections through my fraternity, especially in the Chattanooga area,” he said. “It’s also been nice to have mentors throughout my time at UTC. I can turn to the older brothers for advice and guidance.”
Recently, McGehee served as president of his fraternity. In his six-month term, he was named NPHC Leader of the Year.
“Being president of my fraternity was a great experience. Though it was stressful to try to get all my brothers on one page at the same time, I had a lot of fun and learned important leadership skills,” he said.