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Sorority & Fraternity Life Encourages More Conversation

Having big conversations centered around race, sexual orientation, and socio-economic differences has become more important than ever as students learn about the diverse world around them. The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life (OSFL) in partnership with the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) are helping students within their four councils and outside of the fraternal community have those through Brave & Bold Dialogues.

Annual Cross Council Exchange

CCE is an annual, interactive educational space to develop cross-council awareness and enhance cultural competence across the four councils within OSFL. Those councils include Multicultural Greek Council (MGC), Interfraternity Council (IFC), National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and Panhellenic Council (PC).

CCE Experience

94%* of participants felt that CCE allowed them to take a deeper dive to explore their personal identities.

92%* of participants agreed that CCE allowed them the opportunity to gain a greater appreciation of others’ cultural identities.

89%* of participants agreed that by participating in CCE they were able to bridge relationships across cultural differences.

*Based on “Strongly Agree to Agree” responses

Due to the pandemic, CCE was hosted in a virtual space but still allowed members to take a deeper dive to unpack their understanding of one’s cultural competence. One participant noted how CCE allowed them to have a conversation that they may not have felt comfortable having before, saying, “I got to engage with members of other councils more candidly than I’ve ever had the opportunity to before, and it was really interesting to hear their different perspectives.”

When asked about Cross Council Exchange, OSFL participants said, “I appreciated learning more about cultural identities in all organizations of Greek life!” and “I gained more appreciation and knowledge around other cultural identities and traditions by the stories that were shared in our groups.

My greatest takeaway was being able to listen and learn about how others feel, and realizing we are all different but still have so many similarities that should be and can be bringing us together!

2020 CCE Participant

A Call for More Cultural Education

Student feedback from a previous CCE session asked for more opportunities to foster cultural education. One student noted their desire to, “Getting deeper into cultural humility rather than surface-level”. This encouraged OSFL and ODE to partner up and bring in Brave and Bold Dialogues (BBD).

BBD is an interactive e-learning course developed by Harbor Institute and AliveTek that walks students through real-life scenarios. These scenarios aim to increase awareness and understanding and provide a four-step approach to becoming a more inclusive member of our community. Students that participated were members of sororities and fraternities and non-affiliated students identified by ODE. Participants were first-, second-, and third-year students, providing the opportunity to engage and apply what they learned on campus the following year.

Photo of Tenea Lowery, Assistant Director of OFSL

Tenea Lowery, Assistant Director of OFSL

To support the cultural competence development of students and align with office priority of diversity, equity, and inclusion, OSFL was able to secure financial support from ODE to co-fund Brave and Bold Dialogues. In addition, collaborate to host this fall’s Cross Council Exchange. OSFL Assistant Director, Tenea McGhee and ODE’s Assistant Director of Education and Development Lorna Hollowell, co-facilitated, Intersect to Connect: Taking a Deeper Dive to Explore our Various Intersections of Identity.

McGhee goes on to say that organizations within OSFL aim to be value-based in their efforts. Having a variety of ways to engage students in diversity, equity, and inclusion education can help them connect not only to those values, but also provides transferable knowledge, awareness, and skills to become more global competent in their efforts.

BBD Experience

84% are now more likely to have BBD with friends and family.

85% are now more likely to have BBD with individuals who are outside of your friends and family circle/networks.

84% are more comfortable having BBD with individuals who identify differently.

One participant noted how CCE allowed them to have a conversation that they may not have felt comfortable having before, saying, “I got to engage with members of other councils more candidly than I’ve ever had the opportunity to before, and it was really interesting to hear their different perspectives.”

It’s clear that BBD and the Cross Council Exchange has opened up a way for members of different councils to communicate with each other about what can make them different, but also how being members in OSFL organizations can unite them in their efforts to create space for students to consider membership and a home for those members to have a true community!