East Carolina University’s Interfraternity Council (IFC) looks forward to improvements among its chapters in 2020 while it reflects back on the growth made in 2019. Board members hope with the upcoming year to see accountability among its members to restore its public relations with ECU and the surrounding community.
Former IFC President Anthony Fraraccio said since 2018, the IFC has achieved numerous accomplishments, which include an increase in recruitment, adopting its own charity, the creation of its own website, an increase in social media use and the re-establishment of Lambda Chi Alpha.
He relates the 7% increase in recruitment to the increase in social media activity. He said by following students who have the ECU 2023 hashtag in their social media bio, he was able to bring more eyes to the IFC Instagram page, which resulted in more interest in joining a chapter.
“After we started doing that, we went from 200 something followers to 900 something followers, Instagram pictures were getting 140 likes and above and just getting people to see it and look at it, the positive things we put out there, more people were interested after that,” Fraraccio said.
Vice President of Recruitment and Retention Ryan Hagwood said the social media showcases the IFC and its chapters for incoming freshmen, which is something parents look out for when sending their kids off to college.
The IFC will continue to improve its social media presence, in hopes to spread the word about opportunities given when becoming a member, according to Hagwood.
“It’s something for the parents too, because believe it or not a lot of people look at that (social media) too. When they are first sending their kids off they want to see what we have to offer in terms of community service, philanthropies and stuff like that,” Hagwood said.
Additionally, Fraraccio said the IFC can thank its increase in recruitment to the chapters following Greek organizational accountability guidelines in 2019. Though some fraternities faced suspension and probation in 2018, there were not any issues the IFC faced this past year.
“We had a good year, 2019 nobody got in trouble during our term, nobody got kicked off so that whole spring when parents came and talked to us and said, ‘Oh I heard about the recent stuff,” but I’m like yeah that was in 2018 and below,” Fraraccio said.
IFC Vice President Brian Argonis new policies such as the Anti-Hazing Compliance Form, the New Member Education Plan of Accountability, the Grade Release Form and the New Member Presentation Checklist enforce a new standard process, which is more focused on accountability. The IFC will try to hold the fraternities at ECU more accountable for their poor actions of the past. This process is helping the IFC take more control over the fraternities, according to Argonis.
These policies were created to focus more on being transparent and to enhance the IFCs public relations with the community. A couple years ago, when a few fraternities were kicked off due to violations, it harmed its public image and severed their community relations, according to Argonis.
“These policies were created as the forefront for the foundation to help build our community image, becoming transparent with not only the school but becoming transparent with the Greenville community,” Argonis said.
Argonis said he has served two terms on the IFC and when he first joined, there wasn’t really a “set in stone policy” verified by the school or verified by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR).
They worked for over two years to create these policies which came to light in 2019 as the IFC finished them by making sure its policies corresponded with the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) and other National Organizations, according to Argonis.
“We are trying to create a foundation out of nothing. There weren't really any policies two or three years ago about holding these fraternities accountable for their actions. It was kind of a mess. These policies are helping clean up the mess and get everything well organized again,” Argonis said.
Argonis said the IFC will continue to focus more on philanthropic events in 2020, such as events like the Grid Clean Up. The IFC also chose the Purple Pantry as its primary charity in 2019 and hopes to work with them more in 2020 because the charity is a great community philanthropy that helps everyone in the university get involved, according to Fraraccio.
Besides focusing on charity and philanthropy work, the IFC will focus on expanding its council. In 2019 it brought back Lambda Chi Alpha and made a total of 15 chapters in the council. Fraraccio said though the chapter was one of the first on campus, it dissolved due to poor leadership.
“They were one of the first four chapters here on campus back in 1958 and after being here for 40 to 50 years I think their chapter kind of just imploded, just had bad leadership and it didn't really work out,” Fraraccio said.
Typically it is a four year timeframe for a chapter to come back and after leaving campus 2010, members asked to be welcomed back as a chapter in the IFC. After voting, Fraraccio said the agreement was unanimous.
Now, Argonis said Lambda Chi Alpha has a lot of alumni presence and its chapter is going strong since it has been brought back. The IFC is also going to slowly expand more. He said if they bring back three or four fraternities during the same year too quickly, it will mess up the requirement process because each new chapter is going to try to meet its quotas and it would just take from the other fraternities that have been here for so much longer.
“It helps having Lambda Chi because they have been here since the beginning and they have roots, it’s easier to help connect them with their Alumni bases. Over the next couple years, we hope to bring back the fraternities that also got kicked off. They’re going to slowly start making their way back,” Argonis said.
These new policies will help bring in enrollment. Some students base their school off of Greek Life. Greek is everywhere on campus and it increases every year. With the growing numbers, there’s more philanthropy events and more giving back to the community, according to Argonis.
He said he is excited for these new policies. He is continuing here at ECU for graduate school, so he’s really looking forward to seeing how these new policies are played out and get things fully integrated into the bylaws.
“It will reflect on ECU more and will help build a more positive community. We’re looking to shy away from our past. We have rebranded, implemented these new policies, and we are more accountable than we were in the past. We’re turning it around and going in the right direction and the right path. It’ll be nice to see the fraternities fully blossom into what their full potential,” Argonis said.