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Developmental Intervention Proposal for Fraternity and Sorority Life: Fostering Belonging and Engagement


The American college experience is fundamental to the fraternity and sorority. Students are offered a unique blend of social connections, leadership opportunities, and personal growth. In recent years, crucial concerns have emerged in the realm of higher education and student affairs. The detectable decline in the sense of belonging and engagement among sorority and family members’ reduction is evident, bringing into question their continued relevance. However, the influence on students’ retention rates emphasizes the crucial role that fraternity and sorority life play in the wider mission of higher education. Changing expectations of modern college students entails an evolved approach to sorority and fraternity, aligning with their aspirations and various needs (Ortiz & Thompson, 2020). This proposal outlines and entails broad intervention, addressing synthesizing student development theory and relevant research, climaxing in the GreekLife+ intervention. We explore this multifaceted intervention; it is crucial to comprehend the adaptable nature of the problem.

Statement of the Problem

Sorority and Fraternity life is known as Greek life, a distinct aspect of the American college experience. A sense of belonging, personal development, leadership opportunities, and a strong social network are provided to the students by the organizations. There has been a reduction in recent years in the sense of belonging and engagement within Greek organizations. Decline in membership is one major issue within the fraternity and sorority life. Research by Hart (2020) illustrates the substantial drop in fraternity and sorority membership was noted over the past decade. Students not perceiving these organizations as significant to their college experience attributed to this decline. Students are choosier about the organizations they join, and Greek life struggles to appeal to an evolving and diverse student body. The effect of this issue goes above membership numbers; it also impacts student retention rates.

Studies indicate a correlation between a sense of belonging within increased student retention rates and Greek organizations. Students persist and graduate, especially those who feel connected to the organizations (Jez, 2022). It is not only crucial for organizations to address the decline in belonging and engagement within fraternities and sororities. However, it was also for broader goals of retaining and nurturing students in higher education. Students play a pivotal role in changing the needs and expectations of today’s college. They demand organizations provide academic support and personal and social opportunities. Students seek an integrated experience that enhances their college life. Fraternity and sorority life must offer and adapt comprehensive experiences for its members to meet these changing needs.

Review of the Literature

The declining belonging issue and engagement within fraternity and sorority life is an adaptable concern that has amassed attention in both administrative and scholarly circles. A review of the literature reveals trends and crucial insights to inform the proposed intervention. It distills key findings from scholarship and existing research by summarizing major themes in an accessible way.

Decline in Membership

One common aspect of the issue is the notable decline in fraternity and sorority membership over the past decade. Beatty and Garcia (2022) assert that advanced student preference increases emphasis on academic achievement, and aspiration for more inclusive and diverse organizations contributed to this decline. Today’s college students no longer align with the values of traditional recruitment strategies. Membership decline is more than a numerical concern. It reveals a shift in how students discern and engage with Greek organizations (Jez, 2022). Traditionally, fraternities and sororities existed, but they no longer aligned with the change in higher education.

Impact on Retention

McCready et al. (2023) highlighted the intense connection between student retention rates and a sense of belonging within Greek organizations. Findings indicate students who feel strongly connected to their fraternity or sorority persist and finally graduate. This connection emphasizes the crucial role that fraternity and sorority life plays in the wider mission of higher education. It goes beyond social involvement and impacts students’ academic and personal development (Potts, 2021). The findings underscore the essence of addressing the decline in belonging and engagement within Greek life. In retaining and nurturing students to overarch higher education, the organizations must enhance a sense of belonging.

Changing Student Needs

The literature emphasizes the shifting needs and expectations of today’s college students. The literature further underscores the shifting needs and expectations of today’s college students. Parks (2021) states that modern students demand organizations that not only offer social opportunities but also provide personal and academic support. They desire an integrated experience that enriches their overall college journey. The change in students’ expectations influences reassessments of support services offered by fraternity and sorority organizations to ensure they are meaningful and relevant (Potts, 2021). The transformation of these organizations is critical in catering to the multiple preferences of current students. The reduction in membership and the changing student preferences highlight the necessity of combating the challenges experienced within the spheres of belonging and engagement (Hart, 2020). The quest to establish fraternity and sorority life leverages the students’ development theory while resonating it with higher education spheres. The GreekLife+ intervention mitigates these concerns by optimizing the sense of belonging and engagement.

Theoretical Framework

To address the issue of declining engagement and belonging in fraternity and sorority life, we have identified two key student development theories that can guide our intervention:

 Astin’s Involvement Theory

The Alexander Astin theory affirms the significance of student engagements within various spheres of campus life. In this theory, students highly involved within and outside the classroom benefit from the college experience. This model proposes positive quantity and quality involvement in impacting learners’ cognitive abilities and their psychomotor growth (Jinag, 2022). This theory affirms that engagements in organizations and extra-curricular activities comprising fraternity and sorority life optimize students’ overall development. This theory resonates with this proposal since it designs a program motivating fraternity and sorority members to be actively engaged in their organizations (Banks & Archibald, 2020). Through optimizing engagements, members experience an optimal sense of belonging and engagement.

Chickering’s Theory of Identity Development

Arthur Chickering’s Theory of Identity Development proposes that college students go through various stages of their social and personal development. These stages comprise emotional management, autonomy of independence, developing competencies, establishing mature relationships, and living a purposeful life. This theory resonates with this intervention since it affirms the significance of developing a sense of purpose and belonging (Rhaman, 2022). Within the context of fraternity and sorority life, our goal is to support students in their identity development journey within these organizations. By providing opportunities for personal growth, leadership, and interpersonal relationships, we aim to foster a stronger sense of identity and belonging among fraternity and sorority members.

Proposed Intervention

The proposed intervention for this scenario is a Greek Life+ intervention designed to manage the complexities of declining engagement and belonging in sorority and fraternity life (Shalka, 2019). This is an intervention grounded in theoretical frameworks and literature in offering a comprehensive approach to optimizing the fraternity and sorority experience. This intervention comprises the following elements.

Peer Mentoring Program

The implementation of peer mentoring programs with sorority and fraternity organizations will entail pairing upper-level students with new members while establishing mentor-mentee engagements. The rationale of this program is to enhance a comprehensive support system for new members, assisting them in navigating the challenges of Greek life, personal growth, and academics since it fosters a higher sense of belonging and engagement in optimizing interpersonal engagements within the organization (Shalka, 2019). In implementing this program, training and educational resources will be offered to peer mentors with regular check-ins and feedback systems, optimizing the efficacy of the program.

Professional Development Workshops

This involves multiple series of professional development workshops delving into time management, conflict resolution, and academic success. The workshops will accommodate all the fraternity and sorority members (Hart, 2020). The rationale of this program entails developing leadership skills enhancing conflict resolution abilities while improving academic success and time management, which are critical elements of personal development. Through providing these opportunities, external facilitators such as in-house experts were utilized in conducting and designing these workshops (McCready et al., 2023). There will be frequent establishment of workshops, with attendance being encouraged.

Cultural Competency Training

This program will promote equity, diversity, and inclusion within Greek organizations utilizing cultural competency training. This training will cover topics associated with cultural awareness, inclusivity, and establishing an inclusive environment. To be inclusive and relevant, Greek organizations should integrate the diverse backgrounds and preferences of the current college students (Potts, 2021). The cultural competency training will enhance a welcoming and inclusive environment. The implementation will entail employing external resources and experts in designing and conducting cultural competency training sessions (Hart, 2020). The training will be a mandatory part of the new member empowerment procedures and will be provided to current members.

Regular Feedback Mechanisms

The establishment and maintenance of frequent feedback mechanisms within sorority and fraternity organizations mechanisms comprise suggestion boxes, open forums, and surveys for members to voice their concerns while outlining ideas for improvement in actively seeking member input, enabling organizations to transform and adapt in response to their needs (Hart, 2020). This creates a sense of belonging and involvement among members. The training will be offered to organizational leaders to foster feedback mechanisms effectively (Devana & Afifah, 2020). Continuous analyses and assessments of feedback data will inform seamless adjustments and improvements.

Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Emotional intelligence is a critical component of personal and professional success. This entails the capabilities of understanding, managing, and recognizing personal emotions. Within the spheres of fraternity and sorority life, fostering emotional intelligence is critical in establishing effective relationships and enhancing empathy and individual well-being (Hart, 2020). By conducting workshops on emotional intelligence, participants will acquire insights into self-awareness, social awareness, and the management of relationships (Potts, 2021). This will enable participants to overcome their emotions, effectively communicate, and cope with stress, thus enhancing a harmonious and supportive Greek community.

Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflicts are common and natural components of society, with Greek Organizations included. The appropriate conflict resolution strategies and skills are critical in managing and sustaining healthy relationships, hence mitigating disagreements and developing a conducive atmosphere within the fraternity and sorority (Ortiz & Thompson, 2020). The workshops on conflict resolution will offer members the requisite tools and strategies for constructively managing conflicts. The participants will be able to learn active listening, negotiation, and assertiveness (Jez, 2022). By recognizing these skills, participants can offer a communicative, inclusive, and conducive fraternity and sorority environment.

Challenges and Recommendations

Even though the proposed intervention is effective and promising in combating the challenges of declining belonging and engagements belonging within sorority and fraternity of life, it is significant to manage and anticipate imminent challenges arising during this implementation, with two significant challenges being resistance to change and resource allocation.

Resistance to Change

The fraternity and sorority organizations, just like most established groups, might decline significant changes within their practices and traditions. This resistance can be linked to a sense of loyalty and nostalgia within the current systems and routines, hence the need to develop optimal recommendations. It is effective in developing intervention support among Greek organization’s members and leaders (Decker et al., 2023). Open dialogues and information sessions can be conducted to explain the reasons behind the intervention and manage misconceptions and concerns. Integrating members within the decision-making strategies is effective in gaining their commitment and buy-in within the proposed changes (Jiang, 2022). In eliminating concerns and minimizing resistance, the intervention will commence within the pilot phase. This phase will enable organizations to experiment with new components but in small quantities. Within this period, the feedback will be gathered and utilized in refining the intervention before the whole implementation.

Resource Allocation

Implementation of the proposed intervention might require additional resources in terms of funding and staffing. These complexities can be managed through the effective use of current resources and acquiring external funding (Parks, 2021). In seeking external funding opportunities through partnerships, donations, and grants with alumni and local business networks, these external resources will cover the costs related to workshops and training in optimizing the intervention (Devana & Afifah, 2020). Through collaboration with academic departments on campus to determine areas of imminent resource sharing and areas of synergy, hence offering faculty expertise for workshops, minimizing the desire for external facilitators.


The reduced sense of belonging and interactions within the fraternity and sorority is a critical issue necessitating prompt attention and action. In responding to this complex issue, the Greeklife+ intervention illustrates the insights from the literature review and theoretical frameworks, Astin’s Involvement Theory and Chickering’s Theory of Identity development. Through the implementation of a comprehensive peer mentorship program, cultural competency and professional development workshops, and seamless feedback mechanisms, a strong sense of engagement and belonging will be developed in optimizing engagements among sorority and fraternity members. The complexities, including resistance to change and resource allocation, might occur in the implementation procedure, and they can be addressed through strategies such as building support, sourcing external funding, and providing a holistic, successful implementation plan. Therefore, the Greeklife+ intervention resonates with the transforming needs and expectations of the current college students since it can improve fraternity and sorority life. This will make comprehensive and meaningful milestones for the students. By establishing a sense of belonging and engagement, this intervention will benefit organizations while contributing to the wider mission of optimizing student personal development and retention. Therefore, this proposal will be a blueprint for institutions desiring to address similar complexities within the students’ affairs units.


Banks, S. A., & Archibald, J. (2020). The state of fraternity and sorority life in higher education. Georgia Journal of College Student Affairs36(1).

Beatty, C. C., & Garcia, C. E. (2023). Interrogating whiteness in sorority and fraternity life. Critical Whiteness Praxis in Higher Education, 172-187.

Decker, K. B., Feigel, A. J., Foster, T. D., & Kepl, R. L. (2022). “Press on, continue on”: Rural parents’ experiences of transitions within early intervention. Rural Special Education Quarterly41(4), 197-210.

Devana, T., & Afifah, N. (2020). Enhancing students’ speaking skill and motivation through Instagram Vlog. Proceedings of the 4th Sriwijaya University Learning and Education International Conference (SULE-IC 2020).

Hart, H. L. (2020). Sorority/Fraternity Facilities: Does Type Make a Difference in the Member Experience? (Doctoral dissertation, Auburn University).

Jez, R. (2022). Culturally responsive transition to empower culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse students in self-determination and social-emotional learning skills using equity-based approaches. Proceedings of the 2022 AERA Annual Meeting.

Jiang, C. (2022). Adopting Astin’s input-environment-output model to understand the alignment of residential aims and University aims. Proceedings of the 2022 AERA Annual Meeting.

McCready, A. M., Selznick, B. S., & Duran, A. (2023). Will anything change? Examining historically white fraternity members’ development of openness to diversity in contemporary times. Research in Higher Education64(7), 1011-1030.

Ortiz, R. R., & Thompson, B. A. (2020). Sorority sees, sorority do: How social identity and media engagement relate to in-group stereotyping and self-stereotyping. Psychology of Popular Media9(3), 311-317.

Parks, G. S. (2021). Old heads: Hazing and the role of fraternity and sorority alumni. SSRN Electronic Journal.

Potts, C. (2021). Seen and unseen: First-year college students’ sense of belonging during the COVID-19 pandemic. College Student Affairs Journal39(2), 214-224.

Rahman, S. (2022). Chickering’s Theory of Seven Vectors and its simplification on international students.’s_7_vector_and_its_implication_on_foreign_students/links/5dce67bf299bf1b74b428dd0/Chickerings-7-vector-and-its-implication-on-foreign-students

Shalka, T. R. (2019). Saplings in the Hurricane: A grounded theory of college trauma and identity development. The Review of Higher Education42(2), 739-764.


Appendix A

Table 1. Staffing for the Greeklife+ Intervention

Staff Position Roles Responsibilities
Program Coordinator The primary figure monitoring the entire intervention ·      Reporting to higher administration.

·      Data collection and analyses.

·      Supervision of program elements.

·      Liaising with fraternity and sorority members and leaders.

Peer Mentors Upperclassmen mentors for new members ·      Facilitating peer mentoring sessions.

·      Mentoring new members.

·      Offering guidance on personal growth, social integration, and academic success.

External Facilitators for workshops Workshop experts and instructors. ·      Providing expertise within specific groups.

·      Conducting workshops.

·      Designing curriculum and materials.

·      Initiating group activities and discussions.



Feedback coordinators Develop a feedback mechanism and gather input ·      Collecting and compiling feedback

·      Reporting feedback results

·      Analyzing and interpreting data

·      Establishing feedback mechanisms.

Support Staff from the Student Affairs department Current support staff assisting with various elements ·      Communication and marketing assistance

·      Administrative support

·      Logistical support for the team and program coordinator.

Table 2. The Intervention Timeline

Month (2024) Project Timeline
January Commencing peer mentoring program New members and peer mentors
February Initiate cultural competency training sessions All fraternity and sorority members
March Development of feedback mechanisms All fraternity and sorority members
April Beginning of professional development workshops All fraternity and sorority members
May Comprehensive implementation of peer mentorship program New members and peer mentors
June Continuous cultural competency training sessions All fraternity and sorority members
July Continuation of feedback mechanisms and adjustments All fraternity and sorority members
August Regular provision of professional development workshops All fraternity and sorority members
September Seamless implementation and assessment intervention All fraternity and sorority members
October Rapid refinement of program components and feedback All fraternity and sorority members
November Assessment of the impacts of the program efficacies All sorority and fraternity members
December Reporting on the program’s outcomes and planning their future Program coordinators and administration.

Table 3: The Intervention Budget

Items Number of participants Notes Estimated costs
Program coordinator salary and benefits 1 Full-time position for program coordination $60,000 annually
Peer mentoring training and support varies Training materials and support for peer mentors $10,000 annually
External facilitators for the workshop varies Fees for workshop facilitators $30,000 annually
Cultural competency training resources varies Materials and resources for cultural competency training $15,000 annually
Feedback mechanism and implementation All participants Development and maintenance of feedback mechanisms $ 10,000 annually
Miscellaneous expenses (marketing and materials) All participants Marketing, materials, and other program expenses. $ 25,000 annually

Appendix B: Student Guide for Advising Meetings and e-Portfolio Creation:

Semester One: Fall 2020

Privacy in e-Portfolios

Privacy within e-portfolios is critical, and students should have control over what they share and involve individuals’ reflections and work. Institutions should ensure secure data protection, access, and informed consent. Inspiring responsible sharing and considering confidentiality is critical for a safe and effective e-portfolio system.

Fall Semester Reflection

The fall semester reflection is the best opportunity for students to reflect on their complexities, experiences, and successes in the first semester of the academic year. This includes assessing academic and personal growth, introspection, and goal setting in adjusting for the next semester. The fall semester is a critical part of personal and academic development.

What is reflective writing?

Reflective writing is a type of self-assessment and self-expression comprising thoughtfully exploring personal thoughts, emotions, and experiences. It takes the shape of a written narrative and inspires students to evaluate and analyze their experiences within the personal and academic contexts. This enables understanding of the importance of these experiences and comprises reflecting on past experiences while considering their impacts and determining areas for personal development. This promotes critical thinking, nuanced understanding, and self-awareness.

Suggested Prompts to guide your writing

  1. Illustrate the critical experiences from the fall semester that were important and how they optimized your personal growth and academic development.
  2. Reflect on the challenges you experienced in the fall semester.
  3. Consider your goals and expectations when the semester commences and how they have transformed throughout the semester.

Semester Two: Spring 2024

In semester two, spring 2024, the Greeklife+ intervention is the driving force for transformative change among learners, including fraternity and sorority members. By initiating strategies such as communication, cultural competence, academic success, and self-awareness, participants acquire optimal personal growth and academic resilience. These develop a sense of belonging and engagement within Greek organizations and enhance commitment and deeper connections. This enables the semester to be a period for enriched self-discovery and academic development influenced by GreekLife+ intervention.

Suggest Prompts to guide your reflections and artifact collection

  1. Reflect on specific workshops within the spheres of dynamic intervention critical to my personal growth and comprehension.
  2. Identify an artifact such as a project writing or assessment in your participation within the intervention demonstrating your growth and development.

Appendix C

Fraternity and Sorority Life Chart

Fraternity and Sorority Chart

Fig.1. Fraternity and Sorority Chart

Source: Potts (2021)


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