Greek Life Survey Results This year’s NASPA conference in Phoenix offered a special insight into Greek Life and perception on college campuses all over the country. The NASPA Assessment and Knowledge Consortium put together a report about their findings about Greek Life and the numbers are both surprising and alarming.


There has been a renewed emphasis in the Fraternity world on public relations.  This is the most undervalued aspect of any Fraternity’s operations because of the effect it can have on recruitment and retention, two things that can cripple a chapter if done poorly. The NASPA reports offers hard data to examine for each and every Fraternity man out there, active and alumni alike. I tried to take an objective look at the information and provide some feedback for chapters out there so that we as a larger Greek family can use the information to our advantage. Often times, reports like these, whether good or bad, can be incredibly useful tools. The report can be found through the InsideHigherEd.com article here – http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/03/13/naspa-consortium-survey-finds-varying-student-perceptions-value-greek-life. Here were some of the highlights: Positives –          The report stated clearly (and the accompanying articles did as well) that Greeks have a significantly higher graduation and retention rate that non-Greeks and are more active on campus in both campus life and faculty / staff interactions. –          93% of Greeks responded that they were very knowledgeable about hazing policies and what constitutes hazing. 94% reported that they NEVER haze (though we all wish it was 100%) –          There is a concerted effort on college campuses to increase positive Greek exposure and to increases resources for Greeks to continue to grow and be successful. The article above specifically mentioned programs at Eastern Michigan and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Negatives –          Greeks and non-Greeks are consciously setting boundaries between themselves as student populations. This arises from two numbers. 61% of Greeks feel that they are viewed negatively by non-Greeks while only 42% of non-Greeks surveyed have a negative perception. This is a sizable difference and I feel is hindering the enthusiasm and motivations of Greeks. Yes, we should not be viewed unfavorably at such a high rate, but if we feel that a whopping 61% of non-Greeks feel so negatively about us, that is not a helpful mindset –          92% of Greeks feel that they improve campus life, but only 22% of non-Greeks feel that way. That is an alarmingly low number. –          Only 77% of non-Greeks draw their conclusions about Greek Life from interactions with Greek students. Of those surveyed, 14% of non-Greeks NEVER interact with Greeks. Remember Pat’s Positive Public Relations Challenge? This is why. Get out there and meet people. Get out there and increase the number of non-Greeks that interact with you in a good way. Challenge these numbers on your campus. Of course some students just won’t change their minds, but don’t let it be because you never tried. –          43% of those that dropped out of recruitment did so because they did not connect with active members and 38% left with bad impressions of Greek Life. We cannot be successful if over one-third of those that do not sign bids have a bad first impression. In customer service studies, these folks will then tell at least three people about their bad experience. In truth, we’ve lost four potential members, not one. As for connecting with members, it is important to remember that recruitment is not selling your chapter, but selling your people. People join people. It is important to remember that this survey is now meant to attack Greek Life. It is meant as a tool for campuses and Greeks everywhere. It is meant to offer insights and to give Greeks some concrete data to utilize as a means of improvement. I would also encourage you to read the InsideHigherEd.com article posted above in its entirety to see more information and responses to the survey. This article was written by Joe Russo, an alumni brother from Phi Delta Theta and new contributor for the thefraternityadvisor.com. If you are interested in writing for thefraternityadvisor.com – let us know (CLICK HERE)!






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2 thoughts on “NASPA Greek Life Survey Results

  1. What’s the saying – there are lies, damn lies and statistics???

    Regardless – if true – I think the most alarming numbers are those which state that 42% have a negative perception of Greek Life and 22% say that Greeks don’t improve campus life. That tells me two things:

    1) That we could do a better job in the PR department. Like Dennis stated, not everyone is cut out to be Greek. Nor do we want everyone. However, I think it would do all our organizations a ton of good if we made the effort to make a positive impression on non-Greeks.

    2) I think it tells that a very large percentage of the student population has no idea what fraternities do. To say that fraternities don’t improve campus life is absurd. Greeks donate more community service hours than their non-Greek peers, and they also provide the social life for most college campuses. And that is not to mention that Greek Alumni give back to the university in a multiple magnitude to their non-Greek peers.

    Part of me ones to take the stance of ‘who really cares what outsiders think’ but I’m not sure that is the right approach. The negative perception of fraternities permeates society and threatens our very existence. We can choose to ignore it, or do something about it.

    Thanks Joe for the article and Dennis for your thoughts!

    Pat

  2. I don’t think the negative perception number indicates setting ourselves apart. I think it reflects a perception from media coverage and pressure by invasive administrators. If you went back to the 60s (or any decade for that matter) and asked people by race if they thought racism was a problem in the US, you’d get skewed numbers. It’s the same thing. A greater percentage of us feel we’re portrayed in a negative light because we experience it deeply and constantly, while the majority of non-Greeks really don’t care about Greek life nearly as much as we do.

    That said, I have no issue setting ourselves apart from non-Greeks. My goal is not to make the whole world Greek. It is to cherry pick the best of society that I’m capable of, and then educate/indoctrinate them so that they can carry out our world improving mission. Not every Christian is called to be a missionary/pastor. We do teach people to base their lives on a set of principles and set themselves apart from the rest of the world that will bring them down by association. I don’t want to create some grand kumbaya homogenious society where we all just get along in perfect equality and harmony. That’s reducing people to the least common denominator rather than lifting them up to be all they can be. I want to improve the world by driving it to a higher level, by being better men. That requires us to cut loose those that can’t hang and seek those that can. So, if there is a division between Greeks and non-Greeks, for the most part that’s as it should be.

    The improve campus life, not a big deal. Most students have no idea how their own campus works or what’s going on. They go to class, go home, and hang out with their small group of friends. I’m more interested in how administrators would poll on that questions.

    The recruitment question I’m with you on though. I think you for sure have to separate that by council because the system and experience are vastly different nationwide from panhellenic and IFC. I can easily see how the panhellenic system can be rough and leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth, but it is effective at placing a lot of girls. The fraternity system is all over the board. We’d need to look at campus specific IFC stats on this issue to get anything worthwhile. But, certainly our actives in a perfect world would make the experience more pleasant for everyone, even if it’s sometimes a long painful endurance race for us while we’re doing it.

    Interesting survey I guess. Don’t understand why they bothered. They’re just sticking numbers on stuff we already knew. I guess it’s useful to share with administrators if they’re completely out of touch. I may do that with ours.

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