Is Greek Housing on the Horizon?

The decision for whether or not FAU will see Greek housing on campus rests on one man’s shoulders – and he’s not even affiliated with the university. Professional college assessment consultant Tom Jelke visited the Boca campus last week and will decide the fate of FAU’s on-campus Greek housing.

“FAU seems to be in the right place given the community’s age and size,” Jelke says. “The university could go either way but when both students and faculty want a change, it’s likely to be a good change.”

Jelke’s charge, according to Greek Life Coordinator Ryan O’Rourke, was to perform a professional assessment of sororities and fraternities on campus. Jelke spoke with Greek and non-Greek students, faculty and administration during his seven-day tour of FAU. He received $6,000 to compile a 15 to 40-page “idea book” to administrators and his assessment could decipher whether or not FAU will see on-campus housing in the future.

“I think the money was well spent,” says Associate Dean of Students Terry Mena. “This [the assessment] really stands out as the first leap towards a better Greek society on campus.”

The $6,000 paycheck was signed and cut out of Vice President of Student Affairs Charles Brown’s university spending account.

“Jelke is a professional who has investigated and improved Greek Life at many other universities,” says Brown. “Naturally, he was chosen for his expertise and resume.”

Other universities Jelke has visited in past years for assessments include the University of Central Florida, Drake University in Iowa and Monmouth College in Illinois. Jelke says the results of his visits are unclear as he offers only advice, not “divine pathways” for expanding Greek Life. Deciphering the best method for each university is based on surrounding demographics, the standards of living in that area, historical statistics and the current state of letters on campus.

“I like to [divide] my research into Greek focus groups, recruitment events and student/administrative relationships,” says Jelke.

Jelke says it is important to note the existing members’ GPAs and the focus groups that are recruited. In light of studying the current state of Greek Life on campus, the assessment consultant also offered tips for improving recruitment and retention in the existing Greek organizations on campus.

“There’s a couple of things prospective college students look for when applying,” says Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Leader Davina Rutherford, who met with Jelke last week. “Sports are one and Greek Life is the other. Now that we’re getting a stadium on campus, we need Greek Life to accompany it.”

Phi Beta Sigma fraternity member David Quant agrees that on-campus Greek Life is a necessary figment of real student life on campus, but notes that it’s not all about partying.

“I’ve seen what many students have not,” says Quant, “Holding events and parties for students of all ages used to be so cheap. Now everything is more expensive and college students need to work more and party less. But Greek Life isn’t about the junkie party scene stereotype; we’re here for the university’s advancement.”

Assessment consultant Jelke says he has high hopes for FAU’s Greek advancement and sees on-campus Greek housing on the horizon. Jelke will release his final report by December after he visits the Broward campuses.

“Once we find where interest is lacking,” says fraternity member Quant. “We can fix that while getting more students involved, Greek housing will get off the ground.”