Mar 082011
 
Authors: Erin Udell

CSU President Tony Frank spent 30 minutes asking questions and giving answers to members of the CSU greek community, touching on issues like grades, negative perceptions in the community and service.

Almost 60 members of the greek life community gathered at the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house Tuesday afternoon for the first ever “Fireside Chat” with CSU President Tony Frank, Vice President for Student Affairs Blanche Hughes and Interim Dean of Students Jody Donovan.

The forum allowed students and members of the administration to speak openly about what CSU expects of the greek system, creating a dialogue and developing a relationship between the two groups.

“I wasn’t in greek life,” Frank said. “It’s a fair comment to say I don’t understand greek life —I’ve never been a part of it.”

Frank spoke to representatives from the Interfraternity Council, Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council and Panhellenic Council, addressing both positive and negative aspects associated with greek life.

Frank addressed the positive roles greek students have played in the community through service-based projects like helping students on move-in day and organizing holiday food baskets for underprivileged Fort Collins residents.

But, with along with the positive, Frank mentioned a need to maintain good grades while also minimizing the use of alcohol and hazing, two things often associated with greek life.

With tolerance changing over the past few years and putting pressure on old traditions, Frank urged the greek population to take charge of these negative associations.

“If you have a risk factor, you want to have one that you can control,” Frank said.

For most students, this was an excellent opportunity to reach out to the administration.

“It’s really important for greek life to have a voice,” said Emily Dutson, the vice president for Public Relations at Chi Omega. “It was one of our really big goals this year to develop relationships with the administration, faculty and students of CSU.”

For Donovan, the forum was more than just an opportunity for students to ask questions.

“For me it’s about being true to the pillars of greek life: greek scholarship, service, leadership, brotherhood and sisterhood,” Donovan said. “I want to return to that.”

While the administration tries to keep a good dialogue with members of the greek community, the fireside chat was the first time the groups had gathered in a formal question and answer format, Donovan said.

“It’s a two-way street,” Frank said. “And this is a great first step.”

_Senior Reporter Erin Udell can be reached at news@collegian.com. _

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