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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Panel of experts meets with UW-Madison community members at Memorial Union to discuss Greek life on campus. 

Access to alcohol among concerns expressed in external Greek Life review session

UW-Madison representatives expressed their concerns and suggestions about the university’s Greek community to a panel of experts at an open session held at Memorial Union Monday. 

Representatives from University Housing, University Health Services and UW-Madison Greek Chapters along with other community members gathered at an open session held as part of an external review of UW-Madison’s Greek community, to lend their input on what works successfully in the Greek community on campus and what needs to be changed. 

“We want to evaluate the structures that are inherently holding this university back or which are helping it,” Sam Centellas, expert panelist and executive director and CEO at La Casa de Amistad said. 

Amy Vojta, expert panelist and associate director of fraternity and sorority affairs, Rutgers University, said the purpose of the panelists’ visit is to objectively listen to and observe UW-Madison community members ideas about Greek life. After their visit, Vojta said their notes will be used to “create a blueprint” on how UW-Madison’s Greek community can improve. 

A representative from University Housing voiced her concern about the relationship between alcohol use and Greek life and how the two impact students living in residence halls on campus. 

The University Housing representative said many underage students get alcohol from Greek chapter parties or events. According to the Color of Drinking Survey conducted by UHS, students said they avoid Langdon Street, where fraternity and sorority houses are located, out of fear of their peers’ alcohol consumption. 

A representative from UHS said there is an ingrained culture around drinking at UW-Madison. She said since alcohol is sold at the student unions, it is difficult to expect it will be nonexistent in student life. However, she wants to see alcohol consumption in sorority and fraternity houses regulated more closely. 

Vojta said the panel has also heard that Greek chapter advisors wish to have better communication with UW-Madison officials. 

Kurt Forsika, expert panelist and development director in the Office of Student Life at Ohio State University, said everyone the panelists have talked to so far, including chapter presidents and campus partners, said the Greek community adds something important to the university’s culture but could be updated.  

“Community members want to invest in this institution to do something different,” Forsika said. 

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