Interfraternity Council implements new member education curriculum


Photo courtesy of Interfraternity Council

A member of IFC’s executive board speaks about the New Member Education Curriculum. The town hall was held Saturday to discuss improved programming for incoming fraternity members.

Yvonne Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern’s Interfraternity Council launched a new member education curriculum this quarter, implementing changes to programming that were approved last winter.

McCormick junior Rovik Robert, IFC vice president for membership development and former Daily columnist, said he hopes the curriculum will “bring a lot of the conversation back into the chapters.” The curriculum requires every chapter to complete four mandatory workshops, which cover mental wellness, sexual assault, social identities and suicide prevention. In addition, chapters must complete two elective workshops, choosing topics they feel are most relevant or urgent to them.

The curriculum also mandates what percentage of chapter members must be present at education sessions. All six workshops, which will be hosted in individual chapter houses, must be completed by the end of Spring Quarter.

Previously, a large part of membership development was the responsibility of individual chapters, but these changes have made it more integrated through IFC.

To launch the initiative, IFC held its first town hall on Saturday — attended by more than 90 percent of new members — which introduced the changes to chapters and presented the new IFC executive board.

Robert, who said he spearheaded many of the changes, said he noticed a lack of consistent education during the early stages of fraternity membership, as well as a need for structured discussion about pertinent issues in Greek life such as social identity and sexual assault.

SESP junior Rodney Orr, who will begin his new position as IFC president later this week, said he is eager to have a four-year development program that is more cohesive and streamlined than before.

The council is working with groups on campus — including Center for Awareness, Response and Education, Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault and Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators — to provide more standardized programming, Robert said.

Outgoing IFC president Will Altabef said the plan is ambitious but covers many more issues than IFC has dealt with in the past.

“We really saw the value in using the campus partners here at Northwestern, resources the school provides, and catering it more to the Greek experience here,” the Communication senior said. “I’m excited because, as a Greek member, I want myself and other members of the IFC to be challenged on a variety of topics and to grow. And I think that these programs will help achieve that.”

Robert added that the Winter Education Conference — an annual joint forum with IFC and the Panhellenic Association that hosted outside speakers in previous years — was too generic and not directly applicable to NU chapters.

“I’m very excited that … from the moment (students) become members in IFC to the moment they graduate, they’ll always be engaged in these topics that are so prevalent,” Orr said.

Robert said he wanted to make sure different organizations on campus are aware of the diverse needs of fraternities to ensure that conversations are “special and unique for each chapter.”

He described the crux of the changes as creating long-term culture change, especially regarding issues like mental health and hypermasculinity.

“It’s no secret that the IFC community has a lot of struggles,” Robert said. “I recognized that one of the big reasons why a lot of these issues happen … was that there was no continued conversation about what we could do.”

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