Social fraternities have the Interfraternity Council, and now the pre-professional fraternities have created their own version of IFC: the Professional Fraternity Council. PFC currently consists of 13 Cornell professional fraternities that encompass a wide range of fields, from business to engineering to law.
“I think [PFC] is going to change how professional fraternities are seen on campus and I think it’s going to change it for the better,” Jordan Fuller ’19, president of engineering fraternity Theta Tau, told The Sun.
The Professional Fraternity Council first began meeting in May this year according to Dustin Liu ’19, one of its founders. Liu is also a columnist for The Sun.
The group’s main focus is to establish formal communication among the fraternities and to create a set of standards and best practices for all participating fraternities to follow, Liu said. Currently, fraternities are largely represented by the fraternity presidents, but, starting in December, PFC will be filled by separate representatives from each fraternity.
Among these “best practices” are efforts to make recruitment more accessible, both physically and financially, to a wider Cornell community. Proposed initiatives include hosting meetings in accessible spaces and creating ways for students to borrow business professional clothing. Prior to PFC, the professional fraternities didn’t have a formal way to communicate with each other.
“Our organizations have been working in silos and within our community, which may blind our ability to see ways we can change tradition to better our community,” Liu told The Sun.
Despite its planned initiatives, the only accountability PFC has is the fraternities’ commitment. There still isn’t a way to ensure that the participating fraternities follow the rules and standards put in place by PFC. The council hopes to develop this process when the official representatives are appointed and before recruitment begins in February according to Liu.
In addition, Fuller mentioned that sometimes students rushed chapters that weren’t best suited to their interests, so future plans include a gathering of all the fraternities for students interested in joining a pre-professional organization. With a more structured system, PFC hopes that students will better understand the variety of professional fraternities at Cornell.
Fuller also wants the professional fraternities to incorporate diversity training, saying that individual fraternities lack the resources and information to hold trainings, but that as a group, PFC can organize larger trainings.
For example, when Theta Tau wanted to hold a diversity training, it had to rely on brothers that were diversity and inclusion chairs in their Greek houses to supply the information.
“As an African-American woman rushing Theta Tau and looking at the professional fraternities on campus, I really didn’t see myself represented there,” Fuller told The Sun.
Earlier in the semester, Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity, held a freshman resume workshop and Theta Tau held open office hours during pre-enrollment. PFC hopes to open up more events to students outside of fraternity brothers, in addition to improving diversity and accessibility within the organizations.