“There’s a difference between leading and managing,” said Jeremy Rosen, president of the Interfraternity Council and a member of Delta Chi fraternity.
“Leading is taking the organization you have and doing something new with it and changing things. Maybe fix things that were wrong and make changes to things that need to be changed. Managing is when you do the same thing that’s always been done.”
When Joey McCullough, vice president of IFC and president of Kappa Sigma fraternity, and Rosen attended the Southeastern Interfraternity Conference in Atlanta earlier this year, the two said they learned about leadership and unity that benefits VCU’s fraternities.
Interfraternity Council Officers
The two leaders now are concerned with IFC’s Formal Rush proposal, which they contend could raise the bar for the Greeks regarding the VCU community’s perception of them.
“I think formal rush will set a new standard for fraternities that can only improve the quality and view of the Greek fraternities here at VCU,” McCullough said.
The proposed plan recommends inviting all interested VCU males to an open IFC meeting called “Meet the Brothers” night. In all, three “Meet the Brothers” nights would be offered in addition to “Meet the Greeks” and other Greek socials.
“Before (the formal rush proposal) if you did a really good job at getting your name out there, people came to you,” Rosen said. “We want to give them the opportunity to pick who’s really best for them. And if they feel like they’re a better fit with a certain group of people, they will be better members for that organization.”
When students choose an organization because that’s the only organization they’ve heard of on campus, Rosen said, it could lead to those members not living up to their full potential in that organization.
“If you’re suited more for a certain fraternity but never meet that fraternity (or anyone in it), you’re missing out on a lot of what you could do for your organization and the VCU community,” he said.
Because VCU males do not know about some fraternities,” Rosen said, “they lose numbers and pull from a group of people they already know.”
McCullough said in the past few years, VCU’s fraternities’ numbers have declined, but once rush becomes a formal event it “should allow numbers to increase as well as allow students to see more interaction among fraternities and the camaraderie that we all share.”
Though the duo expect the formal rush plan to have advantages for the VCU Greek system, they said unity is the only successful way to do it.
Activities where Greeks can unify include volunteer service.
Keri Danna-Link, assistant director of leadership and Greek Life for students, said they sometimes discuss this issue at their weekly Interfraternity and Panhellenic council meetings.
The IFC introduced a Fraternity Unity Madden Tournament, where members of different fraternities participate in friendly competition.
“That’s why we’re doing things like the video-game tournament,” Rosen said. “Without a strong unified community you’ve got a lot of resistance from some organizations and a lot of help from others and then they clash.
“That’s why we’re trying to unify everyone. Even though you’ve got different shirts on and different letters, when we take the shirts off no one knows the difference. We should all be unified.”
Many old rivalries still exist, Rosen said.
“Rivalries are OK, but when it’s negative and when it’s hurting the Greek system and organizations it’s not OK,” he stressed.
Although he and McCullough are members of different fraternities, Rosen said they get along and attend each other’s functions.
Furthermore, the two men predict that the formal rush plan also could put an end to petty fighting among fraternities because it would encourage every fraternity to attend the parties and socials of other fraternities.
“Hopefully,” McCullough said, “the quality of Greek life on campus will improve, and I believe formal rush is a good start. If all goes well it will encourage others who see what we are doing to become a part of the Greek system.”
The IFC, he said, plans to return the Sigma Epsilon fraternity to VCU’s campus and sponsor speakers from the Society of Success and Leadership program to encourage fraternity members not only to perform academically but also professionally.