More than a quarter of Georgia College’s 6,000 undergraduate students are involved in sororities on campus.
With such a big Greek community, school leaders felt the women weren’t getting the complete sorority experience, said Tiffany Bayne, director of fraternity and sorority life. A new program aims to restore those missing foundational pieces.
Members accepted into the Sorority Living and Learning Community will live among their sisters in apartment-style residence halls and earn leadership certificates over the course of one year, she said. The program will help them become more well-rounded and enhance their time in college, said Jordan Thomas, a Georgia College senior who is helping with the program.
Most of the sorority houses on campus are occupied by upperclassmen and have a dozen or fewer members residing in them, which is not your typical sorority living scenario, Bayne said.
“When the community gets so large, it’s hard to develop those really close-knit relationships,” she said. “We had members who weren’t getting the most intentional experience with sorority life that we want them to.”
After some construction, the West Campus Center will become the headquarters for the new program, Bayne said. Three buildings on the west campus are being renovated as fully-furnished housing.
As many as 350 second-year sorority students will live there starting in fall 2018. The organizations will decide which of their members become residents, and the college will assign them hallways. Each sorority will have two peer mentors living in its section of the housing.
Seven of the school’s 14 sororities have already agreed to participate in the project, and the others will be approached when school is back in session.
The program’s leadership education portion is still being developed, and Georgia College is searching for an assistant director to lead it. Students will participate in workshops and probably be required to do a special project.
The sessions will focus on teaching them about leadership, helping them find their leadership style, and giving them opportunities to put that into practice, Bayne said. The sorority members will develop their individual skills and build their resumes, Thomas said. This knowledge will help them transition into the workforce and become future leaders, Bayne said.
“If they are a little more shy, this program will help them open up. If they are very outgoing, we hope that this program could provide them with a resume add-on or help develop those experiences,” Thomas said.
Sorority members can start applying for the Living and Learning Community this fall, Bayne said. Since it’s a three-year pilot program, administrators will evaluate the program on a yearly basis and fine-tune it as needed, Thomas said.