Big changes for Greek life with new Council officers

A new group of student leaders have been elected to help run and organize Greek life at Trinity. New council members are selected by a simple majority vote; current Greek Council members as well as two representatives from each organization vote in each race.

The new Greek Council will officially take office on bid day next semester.

One of the Greek Council projects in 2016 was the Safer Parties Initiative (SPIn), which may bring changes to the structure of the council in the future.  

Allen explained, for example, that there is now more overlap between judicial and risk management chairs than in previous years.

“So in the past, for example, risk management would just be a lot of registering events and doing paperwork to make sure that we have a record of everything that’s happening,” Allen said.

He explained that under the SPIn, parties no longer need to be registered. The risk management chair now occupies more of a consulting role that assists organizations in complying with the SPIn recommendations.

One such recommendation is for members of Greek life to attend alcohol-safety training programs.

“It’s about how to serve alcohol, how to look for over intoxication, how to properly ensure the safety of your guests at a party. And so they’re tangible things that our groups can take back and start to implement in a new way,” Allen said.

The SPIn has also changed the nature of the judicial chair position.

“And judicial, we have a lot less cases than we’ve had in the past, and we’ve created the judicial committee that’s new, again that every organization is a part of,” Allen said.

This committee allows members from every organization, rather than only those on Greek Council executive board, to be represented in hearing judicial cases.

Because the SPIn has led to more overlap between the work of the risk management and judicial chairs, those positions might be combined to make room for a new diversity chair as the 10th position.

“We are going to vote on it as soon as we get back in spring, at the Greek Council general meeting,” Allen said. “And if it passes, we’ll elect a new diversity chair for the rest of the calendar year. So for the next year we might have 11 members on [the] Greek Council [executive board], and then in that following year, 2017 to 2018, we would combine judicial and risk management, have that diversity chair going forward, so we’re at the ten-member level.”

Members of the incoming Greek Council executive board plan to build on the work of last year’s group.

“In my speech for the elections I was talking a lot about how I am active in the social scene so I can see what’s working what’s not working, and I think that I can improve the Safer Parties Initiative to make it work with Trinity students, and to make it more effective,” said Sophia Spurlock, newly elected risk management chair. “So I’ve seen things that have been working but I also know that we still have problems on this campus. I talked in my speech about drunk driving, I think it’s still a big problem, even though we have Uber, people still drive. That’s something that I want to work on specifically.”

She sees the potential merit in combining judicial and risk management positions, but also understands why they might be kept separate.

“If you have them separate you could have one person working at how to reduce risks at parties, and then you have another person who deal with the incidents that happen. And of course there’s a lot of overlap between them, so I can see why combining them makes sense,” Spurlock said.

Yvette Peña, newly elected women’s co-chair, is the only returning member of the Greek Council executive board.

“I really loved being on Greek Council — a lot of people just do it for one year, but I knew I wasn’t ready to stop being involved. And I think that recruitment is really trying to think about the bigger picture, about what we want our Greek life community to look like, not only now but in the future. So I thought that co-chair tied nicely to that idea,” Peña said.

Peña is interested in promoting campus outreach and Greek unity as women’s co-chair. “It’s basically like having clubs reach out to one another more, involve each other more and just break the boundaries of being in a club, and make it more being in Greek life in general,” Peña said of Greek Unity.

She also believes that having a diversity chair is a good idea to promote campus outreach.

“Diversity looks like people involved that may have never seen themselves in Greek life. Or getting our community involved in events that we may have never seen ourselves going to,”  Peña said. “I know that a lot of sororities have diversity chairs and they promote on-campus events that a lot of us never would have gone to if somebody wouldn’t have pointed it out to us. And so I just think it promotes more community involvement or awareness of what’s going on on campus.”