While recognizing the sometimes negative connotations of Greek life, West Virginia University will emphasize the goals of diversity and inclusion, by renaming the Office of Greek Life to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, while the organizations are expanding their philanthropy mission to build a new school in a developing country.
“I am committed to making positive changes and holding the WVU Greek community to a higher standard,” said Matthew Richardson, who will continue to direct the office. “My first steps on campus were spent elevating dialogue on diversity and inclusion among fraternity and sorority members to better align our core values with the University’s values.
Richardson, since his appointment in August, has been working with other campus leaders to ensure a safe and secure environment for fraternity and sorority members, and has already implemented new initiatives to integrate diversity and inclusivity in fraternities and sororities for a more positive experience.
“The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life will collectively embrace diversity and inclusivity as a core value, along with scholarship, leadership, service and philanthropy, and brotherhood/sisterhood, as the five pillars that shape our community,” he said.
In addition, the Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and Panhellenic Association have chosen the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation as the WVU Fraternity and Sorority Life philanthropic beneficiary. This new community-wide philanthropic endeavor supports and raises financial resources for entities around the world that are removing educational barriers for girls and women facing poverty and oppression. The WVU fraternity and sorority community will work together to raise money to fund the construction of a school in a developing country and eventually travel abroad to physically build a school.
Richardson has also partnered with the WVU Alumni Association to establish the WVU Fraternity and Sorority Alumni Council, which will attempt to improve connections between the vast fraternity and sorority alumni network to current undergraduates. Likewise, the council will engage with current undergraduates by piloting a mentoring program as well as professional networking events.
“When you think about traditional Greek life stereotypes, they are rooted in the way members view the community,” Richardson said. “By being more inclusive and retitling our office, we are acknowledging that the experiences of men and women in our organizations are inherently different, but equal in terms of importance.”
“Dr. Richardson brings excitement and enthusiasm to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life,” said Dean of Students Corey Farris. “I’m confident he will continue to help preserve and strengthen the positive aspects of our Greek system while working with others on campus to establish initiatives that promote the ideals and community standards that fraternities and sororities should follow.”
WVU’s Greek community is home to 16 IFC fraternities, nine Panhellenic Association and five NPHC fraternities and sororities.
CONTACT: Mathew Richardson, Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life