The Miami Report

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Successful start for Greek alcohol policy

Miami’s Greek community is off to a successful start implementing an alcohol-free social activities resolution, passed last spring by the National Panhellenic Council (NPC).

Laser tag and volunteering at soup kitchens are some of the new Friday night activities appearing on sororities’ social calendars this semester.

The resolution, part of the alcohol-use policy outlined in the Miami Model for Greek Excellence, prohibits sororities from co-sponsoring events in fraternity houses where alcohol is present. "This has been an entirely positive move for Miami; the new policy reinforces core values of the Greek system," says Carrie Gilson, Panhellenic Council vice president of standards.

Shannon Sauter, Panhellenic Council president, is working to help implement another of the resolution’s requirements: all new Greek members must attend the On Campus Talking About Alcohol (OCTAA) risk reduction program sponsored by the office of health education. Through the support of Greek affairs and the Parent’s Council, about 1,500 new members of fraternities and sororities will participate in the program, cost-free, next semester.

"This is an unprecedented accomplishment in the Greek system. The driving force has been the leadership of the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council. They feel that in order for the new Greek alcohol policy to be successful, students need to have accurate knowledge and the skill to make low-risk alcohol choices," says Karen Murray, director of the office of health education. OCTAA will also be open to any Miami students who wish to participate, and the feasibility of high-school students participating is being considered.

The alcohol use policy is part of a wider effort on campus to promote alcohol-free social alternatives:

• Three fraternity chapter houses are alcohol-free as of this semester: Phi Delta Theta, Phi Gamma Delta and Beta Theta Pi. Three others plan to "go dry" in the near future: Delta Upsilon, Sigma Nu and Theta Chi. Sigma Theta Epsilon has always been dry.

• Miami’s "After Dark" program, initiated at the start of this semester, offers free and entertaining late-night activities designed to appeal to a wide number of students.

Evaluations from students completed during the first two months of After Dark indicated that 86 percent rated the program as good or excellent, and 97 percent said they would probably or definitely participate again.

Among student comments are these: "(It offers) fraternity/sorority involvement with freshman and non-Greek students – that doesn’t happen otherwise," and "Miami University is giving people who don’t drink something fun and safe to do at night, (an) alternative to uptown."

After Dark is sponsored by student affairs with additional support for food by finance and business services.

Date Published: 11/30/2000
Volume: 20   Number: 17


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