Interfraternity, Panhellenic Councils provide Greeks with tips to stay safe on Unofficial

By Jonathan Wroble

Within the University’s Greek community, one day of festivity had lead to weeks of precautionary planning.

On Feb. 20, representatives from Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council met at a risk forum to discuss Greek involvement in Friday’s Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day. The forum was also attended by four police officers and about 100 Greek students.

“I don’t think Unofficial is a Greek problem, but some Greeks have problems on Unofficial,” said Ashley Dye, assistant dean for Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. “We want to try to reduce the issues that surround the Greek community on (this day).”

At the forum, students received written statements from the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council, as well as an advisory letter from Dye. The main suggestion from all three was clear: No chapter organized events on March 1 or 2.

“We just want people to be safe, and that means a lot of different things in terms of personal behavior,” Dye said. “We are expecting … students to govern themselves on Unofficial.”

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To maintain safety, the Interfraternity Council will visit all 46 fraternity houses twice on Friday. Council members will inspect each house’s first floor sometime between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. and again between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Among other things, council members will check to make sure that a list of emergency contacts is posted near first floor exits. They will also assess whether or not an examined house is in violation of the Interfraternity Council’s risk management policy.

Panhellenic houses will not be inspected because sorority members are banned from having alcohol and hosting parties.

“Another big message here is that this day isn’t void of all rules,” Dye said. “This is like any other day.”

Greek chapter houses have also received safety tips from both councils, which act as strong suggestions but not absolute rules. All chapters, for example, are urged not to print T-shirts displaying their letters. They are also advised to provide a buffet-style assortment of food during the entire day, along with a constant supply of water and other non-alcoholic beverages.

In addition, the Interfraternity Council has requested contact information for an active member in each fraternity house who will remain sober throughout all of Friday.

While safety is the primary concern of each council, it is not the only issue at hand. The Greek community also hopes to distance itself from the reputation of Unofficial.

“There’s a common misconception that the Greek community promotes this holiday,” said Nikki Bromme, graduate student and assistant to Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. “We’re trying to break that message.”

Still, Dye explained that fraternity and sorority members, who make up 24 percent of the student population, are not in any way expected to discontinue Unofficial within the Greek community or the entire University.

“Unofficial is going to happen on Friday,” Dye said. “Our message is to have a safe day.”