March 27, 2012

IFC To Reward Some Frats With Free Food on Slope Day

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After passing a resolution in February that will allow the Interfraternity Council to fine fraternities for major policy violations, the IFC is now implementing a system to reward chapters’ good behavior by providing them with free food on Slope Day.

Houses will be judged according to five criteria — academics, athletics, alumni, philanthropy and social responsibility — and will have to complete at least four events by April 25 in order to qualify for the reward. IFC President Chris Sanders ’13 said this plan marks a new approach for the council in ensuring that chapters operate by its regulations.

“Both we and the houses have a time and budget constraint,” Sanders said. “It’s more like hosting one academic event, such as having a professor come and speak at the frat, or one alumni event, such as having some alumni from different fields come back and host a career fair for brothers.”

Additionally, each chapter must host at least one philanthropy event, one successful dry event and participate in or garner a majority of their chapter’s attendance for at least two intramural sports events, according to Sanders. To receive credit, houses are required to send in a brief description and a photograph of brothers participating in each event.

“Most of what we do is regulation and punishment,” said Alan Workman ’13, executive vice president of the IFC. “We wanted to think of the carrot instead of the stick. We’re not forcing frats to do anything, but rather allowing them to do what we do best and have it pay off in a good way.”

Sanders said that food will be distributed from an IFC tent on the slope, and eligible brothers will receive wristbands designating that their chapter met the qualifications.

Sanders said he wants all houses to be able to complete the challenge. Similarly, chapters cannot be disqualified from participating in the challenge as long as they meet the criteria of at least one event for four categories.

Fraternity presidents spoke positively about the changes.

“We need some sort of system that credits frats for following the rules,” said Eric Silverberg ’14, president of Tau Epsilon Phi. “The Greek system gets a lot of unfair publicity for bad cases, and rightfully so, but the good aspects don’t get reported enough.”

Though Silverberg said the IFC debated other rewards, such as a tailgate or block party in Collegetown, Jesse Bendit ’13, president of Psi Upsilon, praised the IFC’s decision to provide free food, citing its potential to benefit brothers from every fraternity.

“It’s a huge advantage to have food right there on the slope, especially for houses that aren’t located so close to it,” Bendit said. “We’ll get this special area designated that rewards you for good behavior your houses have done.”

Silverberg said every fraternity should be able to obtain the free food on Slope Day.

“A lot of the chapters fulfill most, if not all, of these standards already,” he said. “Now, chapters and brothers will be encouraged to take the next step and earn the rewards.”

Additionally, if the incentive system proves effective in encouraging good behavior, the IFC may expand the “pilot program,” Sanders said.

For instance, Colin Foley ’14, vice president for University and community relations for the IFC, said he hopes that next year’s incentive program will be broader and more extensive.

“The bigger plan will ask more from the frats, but give more back to them in the future,” Foley said. “It comes down to what our chapters want. We’ll differentiate it in each category, and have more prizes and incentives to offer to specific houses.”

Because this year’s plan is a new development, it was not outlined in the previous IFC executive board’s budget, according to Ian Edelson ’13, vice president for finance for the IFC.

Regardless, he said the IFC is not concerned about paying for the plan.

Edelson said the IFC will reallocate funds to look for new sources of revenue, as the IFC budget always has some flexibility for end of year events. He said they will likely use funds from a University provision that mandates that fraternity members studying abroad have to continue IFC base dues.

Silverberg said that while the plan received nearly unanimous support, some chapter presidents felt as if these rewards do not incentivize good behavior in the same way that punishments deter bad behavior.

However, Silverberg also said that he is confident that the combination of the judicial fine system and the new incentive program will demonstrate to the University that fraternities are committed to reversing the negative stereotypes surrounding the Greek system.

“Food on Slope Day only lasts a few hours. But this is a good first step towards changing our image,” Silverberg said.

Original Author: Harrison Okin