November 18, 2018

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Professional Fraternity Council founded to connect organizations

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Correction appended. 

To the editor:

Greek letter professional organizations have had an extensive history in the North American fraternity system. These organizations have a defined purpose to promote the interests of a particular profession or study. The first professional fraternity was Kappa Lambda Society at Transylvania University, a short-lived medical fraternity founded in 1819. This historical concept of bringing like-minded students towards a path of professional and personal development is something that is present on our campus as well.

Professional fraternal organizations have an extensive history at Cornell University. The development of these organizations has allowed for connections between members to provide mutual assistance in a shared professional interest. While informal collaborations between the organizations have occurred in the past, we write this to formally announce our commitment to strengthen this bond.

We, the undersigned leaders of Professional Fraternity Organizations at Cornell University, write this letter to acknowledge the problems within our organizations and believe the Professional Fraternity Council will be a step towards improvements within our system. The Professional Fraternity Council, hereafter referred to as PFC, shall be the governing body for all recognized professional fraternity organizations at Cornell University. The purpose of this council is to regulate the system, connect the PFOs in their individual points of action, support the recruitment of new members to PFOs, build relationships and networks between its PFO members, support mutual efforts of fundraising by the PFOs, and provide professional opportunities to the members of the PFOs, general student body, and community at large.

The Professional Fraternity Council comes out of a desire to improve our organizations collaboratively. By working across silos, we can act more strategically to create best practices for our organizations and find opportunities to better engage with the greater Cornell community. We recognize where our organizations have fallen short in the past and look forward to mending these problems together.

As a Professional Fraternity Council, we will not act as isolated chapters but a broader network of leaders to push forward values of collaboration, community engagement, inclusion and accessibility. Through collaboration, we hope to work together to form best practices for aspects of our organizations including recruitment and new member education processes. We commit to promoting greater community engagement through programming and professional development for the Cornell community and the broader Ithaca community. We recognize that we operate largely as selective organizations and will actively work to work against exclusivity. We commit to greater inclusion and accessibility to our organizations.

These are not empty promises — we have begun our collaboration to move toward these goals. This past recruitment cycle, we have compiled a list of best practices for recruitment. These practices include placing accommodations for potential new members and implemented chapter-specific initiatives to decrease barriers of entry for our recruitment processes. All organizations participated in a Cornell Health hazing prevention training earlier this semester to ensure our new member processes align with university policies. Our organizations have begun to actively partner with organizations within the Cornell community. Many organizations participated in unconscious bias trainings before their recruitment processes. While we are excited about the progress that we have already made, we recognize the many problems that still remain in our system. Together, we commit to work toward mending these gaps.

 

David Brodsky ’20
Alpha Iota Gamma Professional Healthcare Fraternity, president

Stephanie Forester ’19
Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity, president

Sharat Durbhakula ’19
Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity, president

Christopher Ioannou ’19
Kappa Alpha Pi Law Fraternity, president

Molly Bergin ’19
Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity International, president

Isabel LaRaia ’19
Phi Chi Theta Professional Business Fraternity, president

Anum Hussain ’19
Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity, president

Ravi Belsare ’19
Phi Gamma Nu Professional Business Fraternity, president

Matthew Lehman ’19
Pi Lambda Sigma, Pre-Government Society, president

Noah Burgett ’19
Pi Sigma Epsilon Professional Business Fraternity, president

Jordan Fuller ’19
Theta Tau Professional Engineering Fraternity, president

Dustin Liu ’19
Phi Gamma Nu Professional Business Fraternity

Kelly Jahnsen ’19
Phi Gamma Nu Professional Business Fraternity

Samuel Barnett ’19
Pi Lambda Sigma, Pre-Government Society

Erin Kim ’20
Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity

Sameer Nanda ’19
Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity

Naoya Fukuchi ’19
Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity

Esteban Palenque ’20
Phi Gamma Nu Professional Business Fraternity

Ethan Pan ’19
Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity

Rebecca Barnett ’17
Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity, president 2016-2017

Ishan Sharma ’20
Kappa Alpha Pi Law Fraternity

Eri Kato ’20
Kappa Alpha Pi Law Fraternity

Jady Wei ’19
Kappa Alpha Pi Law Fraternity

Hannah Hyams ’20
Kappa Alpha Pi Law Fraternity

Correction: Caitlin Stanton ’20, president of Alpha Omega Epsilon Engineering Sorority, was incorrectly listed as a signer. A previous draft was accidentally submitted, and Alpha Omega Epsilon is in fact not a member of the Professional Fraternity Council. The Sun regrets this error.