By Charlotte Lehman
A new policy has been implemented this fall surrounding the social scene at Union College. Union is well-known for its social reputation, having recently been ranked by Newsweek as the number five party school in the country, outranked only by schools with over 20,000 undergraduate students. Yet the policy was created before the ranking was released.
The creation of this new policy began at the end of last year when Greek leaders approached the Dean of Students.
“Many of the Greek leaders were unhappy with the direction Greek life was heading in,” said Associate Director of Minerva Programs Ben Foster.
“They were exposing themselves to unnecessary risks at the party scene level and things were unmanageable at times…and they were out of step with nationals.”
“The Greek leaders approached the Dean of Students office and they wanted to come up with some comprehensive policies that would help alleviate some of the risk inherent in hosting parties as well as repair and better represent Greek organizations in a more modern light,” Foster noted.
He continued, “A lot of fraternities weren’t happy with their reputation of being ‘party-central’ and they wanted to reclaim a more positive image.”
Dean of Students Steven Leavitt then formed a committee of campus leaders, including some from Greek organizations, to develop policies that would change the social scene on campus next fall.
“What that committee came up with was for the first five weeks of school, no first-year would be invited to a fraternity party. After that they are more than welcome to be invited but…it’s all list-based now,” Foster said. “For any fraternity event that a student would like to attend, you first have to get on the list.”
In addition, for the first two weeks of fall term, no parties with alcohol are to be registered on campus.
This restriction is imposed not only on Greek Houses, but also on Minervas and theme houses.
While the Minervas have been encouraged to fill the void left by restricting fraternity parties with events, they were not involved in the creation of the new policies. UProgram was also asked to schedule events to replace parties in the first two weeks.
Activities and events were scheduled last spring, rather than being spontaneous.
The dance party hosted in Old Chapel this past Saturday night was designed to provide students with the opportunity to dance despite the absence of fraternity parties. Many campus organizations were involved in the planning of the event.
“I approached the WRUC manager and asked if WRUC would like to host a campus-wide dance party,” Foster said.
“Other campus organizations have been notified and they’re excited about it. I know a lot of the sororities want to attend,” he stated.
Foster described the event as successful, estimating that approximately 100 students attended over the course of the evening.
He stressed that the party “wasn’t intended to replace or supplant anything” and hopes the dance party will “be the start to a new scene [at Old Chapel].”