Activities & Organizations News

Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life seeks ‘risk and safety’ assistant in SFAC presentation

During Tuesday’s round of SFAC unit presentations, the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life requested a one-time allocation of $29,362 to fund a new position in the department.

“We are a small but mighty department serving a lot of students in a really immersive experience,” said CFSL Director Jason Bergeron.

The allocation of these funds would allow CFSL to hire a graduate assistant for risk and safety, who would focus on risk-management programming and policy within CFSL. Bergeron said the position will increase the amount of hands-on time that the department can have with students.

The CFSL interacts with Greek chapters and councils through chapter coaching, meaning each staff member in the department is responsible for 12-13 chapters at any given time.

“So that person would also be part of our chapter counseling team, probably taking a lesser load, but they would do some really focused consultations,” Bergeron said.

Additionally, Bergeron said this person would help the department think about risk management and risk education in a more comprehensive way.

According to the presentation, CFSL serves 1,500 students across 45 Greek chapters at UH. In Texas, UH has the fourth-highest number of fraternity and sorority chapters, but the campus serves fewer students overall compared to universities with the same number of chapters.

Bergeron said the disparity was due to UH hosting a large number of fraternities and sororities that are culturally based and only have around 15 members.

Through using SFAC funds in fiscal year 2016, the CFSL successfully created and executed the Fraternity Sorority Program Board, which Bergeron said was responsible for hosting events that were open to all students and various Greek-only events.

According to the presentation, the CFSL plans to develop this board further in the upcoming year.

One challenge in the upcoming year, Bergeron said, is the often-unequal funding in different chapters and councils.

“Depending on how many people you might have in that council community, and how many chapters you might have, there might be a little bit of financial disparity there,” Bergeron said. “So we’re got councils who are running a budget of as high as maybe $30,000 to a budget of as low as maybe $1,000.”

For FY 2018, the CFSL is requesting a base budget of $341,478, which is equal to the actual funds approved by SFAC for FY 2017.

Bergeron said one reason for the CFSL’s dependence on SFAC funds is due to the fact that the department does not frequently receive donations.

Most people interested in making donations to Greek life at UH, Bergeron said, are more interested in donating to specific chapters and not the department as a whole.

According to the budget spreadsheet that CFSL submitted, the department only received $800 in donations during FY 2016.

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