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Let’s Pick Costumes. Not Cultures: Cultural Appropriation in Fraternity & Sorority Communities

Devin Hall, Coordinator of IFC Services North-American Interfraternity Conference With Halloween right around the corner, individuals are lining up at costume stores to pick out this year’s outfit. Should I be Fred Flintstone or Darth Vader? Should I go to the party as a sexy animal or cast member from Friends? The brainstorming has begun. Oftentimes, our costume reflects the events or parties we plan on attending. As we enter this fun-filled season of pumpkins and costumes, it is important that we reflect on choices and how they may impact those around us. Fraternity and sorority communities have been under the spotlight for decades related to the culture of organizations and heteronormative environments. We host social event that are themed around holidays, university traditions, organization history, or celebratory milestones. Too often, when selecting social event themes, organizations have walked the line of creating an environment for cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation refers to a “particular power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group.” Viewed as funny, ironic, trendy, or an opportunity to be retweeted by TFM, dressing up as a Native American, painting oneself with blackface, or dressing as a homeless person is not only offensive behavior, but also correctable. This blog post will discuss ways in which an Interfraternity Council can take...

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From Leaders to Mentors: Impact of Peer Mentorship on Leadership Development

By Devin Hall, Coordinator of IFC Services North-American Interfraternity Conference When we think about leaders, we often reflect on historical figures who have made an influential impact on society or have somehow contributed to a greater cause. How often do we reflect on the leaders on our campus? Do we appreciate the talent and commitment our peers have on the fraternity and sorority community? Leadership is built on trust, understanding, and integrity among other things. These valuable characteristics can be found in your campus community. Our peers can provide guidance and knowledge based on their lived experiences, accomplishments, and opportunities for growth. Now how do we get our fellow leaders to become mentors? This blog post will discuss the benefits of establishing peer mentor relationships within your campus community. I will use Komives’s et al. (2006) theory on leadership identity development to articulate the importance of peer mentor relationships. The Leadership Identity Development model is a linear process where individuals transition through phases of development. College students are often developing between stage three, leadership identified, and stage four, leadership differentiated.  During these two stages, an important component to students’ development is the interaction and influence of others. By fostering meaningful mentor relationships with peers, students can have a positive effect on group membership and leadership development. What are the benefits? Providing an opportunity for students to connect with peers...

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Open Recruitment – The Role of IFC

Daniel Greenebaum, Coordinator of IFC Services North-American Interfraternity Conference Recruitment, it is one of the most important roles for IFCs around the country.  What do I do? How do I get struggling chapters more involved? How structured is too structured?   To kick off our standards series in the blog this year, we would like to focus on the role IFC has to play in recruitment, how that relates to the NIC Standards and some traps to avoid when thinking about maximizing your success. The role of IFC is to advocate on behalf of the fraternity experience.  In relation to recruitment, that means that IFC should be focusing on cultivating interest in the fraternity experience on their campus. That’s it – nothing more, and nothing less. Understanding and communicating this expectation is the most important step for any IFC, as it clearly defines the scope of their work. IFC should be helping to facilitate the recruitment process, and in doing so, should take care to ensure that the recruitment process is in alignment with NIC Standards, which call for the following: Open Recruitment – Defined as the ability of undergraduate chapters and qualified, interested men to enter into an agreement on membership at a time that is in their collective best interest.  Simply put: The ability to recruit any male, at any time. Commonly asked questions for “IFC Recruitment”: Q:...

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