Increasing Efficiency and Managing Risk: Using OrgSync for Fraternity and Sorority Life


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Increasing Efficiency and Managing Risk: Using OrgSync for Fraternity and Sorority Life

The University of Kentucky (UK), a public institution located in Lexington, Kentucky, and Emory University, a private institution located in Atlanta, Georgia, each have a strong Greek Life presence as part of their campus culture. Staff have had to communicate with thousands of students across dozens of chapters, as well as manage activities throughout recruitment and officer selection. Administrators and student leaders have also struggled to keep track of numerous events within the Fraternity and Sorority Life community, while ensuring they comply with university policies. Within the past year, however, both Emory and UK have been able to improve communication about activities and streamline their departmental processes, thanks to the OrgSync toolset from Campus Labs. Most importantly, the online student engagement tools have allowed them to manage the risks often associated with social events sponsored by fraternities and sororities.

“Emory’s Sorority & Fraternity Life office works to be a place where all students feel included and welcome, and where all stakeholders in Greek Life can go for information and support. We want to advise with a purpose.”

Arthur Doctor, Jr.
Associate Director of Sorority & Fraternity Life, Emory University

Eliminating Paper Processes and Scattered Information

Previously, both campuses used a mix of paper and digital resources to do their work. “Before we had OrgSync, we were collecting a lot of things in hard copy or in Google Forms,” explained Emily Perrin Britt, Assistant Director of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs at the University of Kentucky. UK’s website was also hard to manage, as it featured difficult web development software.

Associate Director of Sorority & Fraternity Life Arthur Doctor, Jr., described a similar situation at Emory. “There wasn’t one place for students to go to find information about our office,” he said. “It was very hard to send communitywide messages out. We only had contact information for the presidents.”

In seeking a solution for UK, Perrin Britt and her team wanted a streamlined system that could build forms and help groups manage themselves, and would be easy for both new and existing staff to use. Perrin Britt and other staff members had previous experience with OrgSync—all positive—making it the obvious choice.

Guided by similar goals, Emory also wanted a system that could manage Greek rosters and social events. Because the Office of Student Leadership & Service was already using OrgSync to manage student organizations—and because Emory’s Sorority & Fraternity Life office engages with so many students—OrgSync became the clear solution.

Improving Processes with a Streamlined Approach

The University of Kentucky now uses OrgSync for most office processes, including event registration, completion of required forms, and general communciations. UK began the implementation at a time of Greek officer transition, which Perrin Britt said eased the process. Convincing UK’s Greek councils to use OrgSync helped encourage individual chapters to use the system as well. Chapters are now required to process their chapter renewals in OrgSync once per semester.

Emory University also benefited from what Doctor called a “very seamless” implementation. The campus now relies heavily on OrgSync’s form building capabilities, with new members filling out both a membership intake form and a hazing compliance form each semester. Greek organizations also use the system for governing council executive board applications and event registration.

On both campuses, OrgSync has made the fraternity and sorority life offices more efficient. The platform has streamlined departmental processes, improved communications, and reduced paper use. “It’s given us the ability to do more in those areas where it was very basic before,” Perrin Britt said.

OrgSync has also provided both institutions with illustrative data. According to Perrin Britt and Doctor, their data is becoming richer as chapters and students use OrgSync to greater depths. They appreciate the ability to track chapter, student organization, and service involvement of student leaders in OrgSync, which helps illustrate the impact of being involved with a fraternity or sorority organization on campus.

Increasing Communication for Greater Student Involvement

At the University of Kentucky, OrgSync’s messaging functionality plays an important role in recruitment. Chapters are able to contact recruitment leaders quickly and easily during recruitment events across campus, ensuring that everyone receives important updates such as weather-related announcements or changes to the recruitment schedule.

According to Doctor, the messaging capabilities have also enhanced Emory’s Office of Sorority & Fraternity Life activities. Before implementing OrgSync, information sometimes got lost. Using OrgSync as the channel to communicate with large groups of students has increased involvement with Sorority & Fraternity Life office initiatives and become an essential piece in managing Greek Life at Emory.

Organizing Events and Calendars for Maximize Exposure

UK’s highest-performing chapters utilize OrgSync’s attendance and calendaring functionality the most; those groups post all events on OrgSync and use the card swipe feature to take attendance. In addition, some groups have given their chapter advisers OrgSync access, helping them stay in the loop and increasing system buy-in. Other groups use the to-do list feature to assign clear roles and due dates, significantly reducing the administrative burden on Perrin Britt and her colleagues.

“No longer does important organizational or engagement data live with a single person. It can now easily be accessed through a shared portal, giving valuable access to multiple members and administrators.”

Emily Perrin Britt
Assistant Director of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs University of Kentucky

Chapters on both campuses have also found creative ways to use OrgSync. At the University of Kentucky, chapters have begun using OrgSync’s forms in lieu of Google Forms, so that information is tied to OrgSync rather than to a specific student’s Google account. At Emory, meanwhile, students use OrgSync to keep track of their chapters’ organizational structures with files and forms, and create polls to gather member opinions for upcoming events.

Managing Risk and Streamlining Event Approvals

Involvement in sororities and fraternities are often associated with increasing a student’s potential risk for abusing alcohol, due to the social rituals associated with Greek Life. The University of Kentucky was previously a dry campus, but in the fall of 2015, administrators made the decision to create a new policy and would allow alcohol at certain events, including those hosted by Greek Life organizations. Perrin Britt and her team used OrgSync to help implement the institution’s new policy while managing potential risk. Fraternity and sorority organizations must now register their events two weeks in advance, and employ event monitors that have completed Fraternity & Sorority Affairs officer training. “Everyone involved can see things,” Perrin Britt said about OrgSync’s event request process. “Everyone knows where we are.”

Emory students also submit events for approval through OrgSync. Doctor said that the questions groups must answer in their submission depend on the event type (e.g., social vs. academic). Submitted events must be approved by the requesting chapter’s president and director before receiving final approval from the Office of Sorority & Fraternity Life.

Supporting Divisional Goals with Purposeful Engagement

Both campuses have experienced a variety of benefits, and moved their departments and chapters forward by implementing OrgSync.

The University of Kentucky’s strategic goals for Greek Life encompass four main areas: academic excellence, member development, chapter growth and member wellness. OrgSync helps them reach these goals by providing up-todate information, stronger communication channels, online training, and a system for gathering student feedback.

Emory University’s goals also support stronger engagement on campus. “Emory’s Sorority & Fraternity Life office works to be a place where all students feel included and welcome, and where all stakeholders in Greek Life can go for information and support,” Doctor explained. “We want to advise with a purpose.” OrgSync helps the Emory team do just that. By bringing together important information and communications in one place, the student engagement platform has made it easier for Emory students to quickly find what they need through Greek Life: a stronger sense of community, and belonging, on campus.