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Chapter Recognition and Standards of Excellence

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life has established the Chapter Recognition and Standards of Excellence Program as the means by which social fraternities and sororities will be recognized as official student organizations and will comprise a nationally recognized premier fraternity and sorority community.

The Standards of Excellence includes a rubric of expected standards. There are five focus areas we evaluate - Chapter Operations, Academic Achievement, Membership Development, Civic Engagement, and Community Relationships.

Standards of Excellence

Purpose

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL) at Penn State University has established the Chapter Recognition and Standards of Excellence Program as the means by which social fraternities and sororities will be recognized as official student organizations and will comprise a nationally recognized premier fraternity and sorority community.

Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life Support

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life is dedicated to supporting organizations to meet the recognition requirements and achieve the Standards of Excellence targets. Toward that end, the office will provide the following:

Programming

  • New member education programs to acclimate new members to the Greek community and communicate expectations and aspirations of Greek membership
  • Leadership programming to provide aspiring leaders with vital skills and knowledge to become a positive impact on Penn State and beyond
  • New officer training to provide foundational knowledge and expectations to better prepare new officers to lead their chapters and councils

Guidance and Accountability

  • Advising, support, and guidance for the four governing councils, Order of Omega, Greek Sing, Greek Week, and other Greek community initiatives, as appropriate
  • Advising and support for individual organization success, as appropriate, in conjunction with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Compliance
  • In conjunction with the Office of Student Conduct, oversight of the organizational conduct process of each of the four governing councils
  • Annual review of chapter recognition and evaluation of achievement of Standards of Excellence

Resources

  • Liaison and referrals to other campus offices that may assist chapters in providing programming and developmental opportunities for their members
  • Communication regarding programming, outreach, service, and philanthropic opportunities throughout the year

Promotion and Recognition

  • Recognition of chapters who are meeting or exceeding target areas as well as implementing improvement plans to support those who are not
  • Publicizing a report each semester highlighting important aspects of each organization at Penn State and its alignment with the Standards of Excellence
  • Advertising the collective accomplishments of the community as well as individual initiatives, as appropriate
Review of Chapter Standing

At the end of each semester, chapter activity for the semester will be reviewed and evaluated by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. The office will determine the standing of the chapter in two of the focus areas (Academic Achievement and Membership Development) at the end of each spring semester and the standing of the chapter in each of the four focus areas (Academic Achievement, Membership Development, Civic Engagement, and Community Relationships) as well as the overall standing of the chapter at the end of each fall semester. The council advisor will meet with each chapter president and chapter advisor to discuss the organization’s successes and its areas for growth. If the organization does not meet a majority of the targets in one or more focus areas, the council advisor, chapter president, and chapter advisor will meet to discuss improvement and accountability measures.

Process

All chapters are responsible for reporting the Recognition Requirements and their activities by the deadlines established in this document or communicated by the OFSL. Chapters are encouraged to report their activities as they occur to ensure all activities are reported accurately; but, at minimum, reports must be submitted by the deadlines articulated.

Chapters must comply with all provisions of the Recognition Requirements articulated in this document to be considered recognized student organizations. In addition, chapters that meet or exceed all targets in any of the five focus categories (i.e., Excellence in Chapter Operations, Excellence in Academic Achievement, Excellence in Membership Development, Excellence in Civic Engagement, and Excellence in Community Relationships) will be considered for recognition for excellence in that area. Chapters that meet standards across all four focus areas will be recognized for Standards Achievement. Chapters that exceed standards across all five focus areas will be recognized as Chapters of Excellence. Conversely, chapters that fail to meet the majority of targets in one or more focus areas will meet with staff from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life to evaluate and enact appropriate improvement and accountability measures. Conduct violations will be taken into account during the Standards of Excellence review.

Recognition Requirements

 In order for a chapter to be a recognized organization through the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and at the University, the chapter must update and/or provide information with the office each semester. The information to be updated for recognition is as follows:

Item to be submitted Method of Submission Timeframe of submission
Chapter certificate of insurance OrgSync Form Annually by the expiration date on the certificate
Chapter constitution and bylaws OrgSync From February 1
Member roster update (any changes to members, new members, and officers) OrgSync People and Form February 28 and October 30, AND by the last day of classes in spring and fall
Participation in new member education program sponsored by OFSL (2) OrgSync Involvement Collected by OFSL
Participation in mandatory leadership programming sponsored by the OFSL (3) (example: President's Academy, Greek Emerging Leader's Summit) OrgSync Involvement Collected by OFSL
Signed Statement of Relationship by all members OrgSync at login Automatic when new members login to OrgSync

(1) Only required for those chapters recruiting new members in that semester.

(2) In order to fulfill this requirement, any new member absences must be excused by OFSL, in writing, at least 24 hours prior to the program. Failure to have full participation will result in the organization not receiving credit and being placed on social probation until an alternative educational requirement, determined by OFSL, is met.

(3) Failure to have at least one member attend, without prior written permission by OFSL, will result in a loss of recognition for the chapter.

Standards of Excellence Focus Area 1: Excellence in Chapter Operations

 Members of the fraternity and sorority community at Penn State will strive for excellence in their chapter operations. Organizations will operate at an efficient level. The following standards will be used to evaluate each chapter’s progress toward excellence in chapter operations.

Standard Needs Improvement Meets Standard Exceeds Standard
Reporting - accurate and timely reporting

 Less than 80 percent of requirements submitted by deadlines

80-99 percent of requirements submitted by deadline 100 percent of requirements submitted by deadline
Risk Management Plan Submitted and less than 90 percent adherence to Risk Management Plan Submitted and 90-99 percent adherence to Risk Management Plan Submitted and 100 percent adherence to Risk Management Plan
Attendance at Risk Management meetings miss more than 1 meeting Miss up to 1 meeting Attend all meetings
Maintain cooperative contact with the OFSL, FSC 1 or less meetings 2-3 meetings greater than 3 meetings
Coduct Chapter receives probation Chapter receives warning No conduct issues

Reporting

Each chapter must submit the following to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life:

  • Risk Management Plan: Submit through OrgSync Form by February 1
Standards of Excellence Focus Area 2: Excellence in Academic Achievement

Members of the fraternity and sorority community at Penn State will strive for excellence in their academic endeavors. Organizations will provide support for the academic achievement of chapter members to ensure their individual and collective academic success. The following standards will be used to evaluate each chapter’s progress toward excellence in academic achievement.

Standard Needs Improvement Meets Standard Exceeds Standard
Chapter GPA at or above the same-gender average At least 0.1 below gender average Within 0.1 of gender average Exceeds gender average by more than 0.1
Chapter new member GPA at or above the same-gender average (4) At least 0.1 below gender average Within 0.1 of gender average Exceeds gender average by more than 0.1
Chapter GPA at or above the Council average Below Council average At Council average Above Council average
Chapter implements an approved academic achievement plan Chapter does not submit or implement an academic achievement plan Chapter submits and implements an academic achievement plan and reports their progress N/A

(4) Organizations that have mixed-gender membership will be compared to the all-gender average.

Reporting

Each chapter must submit the following to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life:

  • Chapter academic achievement plan: Submit through OrgSync Form by February 1
Standards of Excellence Focus Area 3: Excellence in Membership Development

 Members of the fraternity and sorority community will participate in activities that allow them to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to become well-rounded and civically engaged. Chapter leadership will work with their members to identify appropriate opportunities for growth and development. across all years of their college career. In addition, chapters are encouraged to consider the member development required by their national organization and incorporate those requirements into their membership development plans at the University. The following standards will be used to evaluate each chapter’s progress toward excellence in membership development.

Standard Needs Improvement Meets Standard Exceeds Standard

Members (5)  will participate in University, OFSL, and national organization sponsored educational programming in the following Category 1  topics: alcohol/drugs, sexual assault, leadership development, diversity, mental or physical hazing, and mental health.

Member may additionally participate in additional program(s) which would include any educational, membership development program pre-approved by the OFSL.

Less than 80 percent of individual chapter members participate in at least one Category 1 program per semester

80 percent of individual chapter members participate in at least one Category 1 program per semester

80 percent or more of individual chapter members participate in at least one Category 1 program per semester AND 80 percent or more of individual chapter members participate in at least one other  program per semester

Member involvement exists outside the chapter (e.g., jobs, other campus organizations, campus committees, other fraternity and sorority life positions)

Less than 70 percent of members are involved in activities outside of the chapter

Between 70 percent and 75 percent of members are involved in activities outside of the chapter

More than 75 percent of members are involved in activities outside of the chapter

Chapters implement a membership development plan Chapters do not submit a membership development plan Chapter submits a membership development plan N/A
Chapters implement an approved new member plan Chapters do not submit a new membership plan Chapter submits a new membership plan N/A

(5) Chapter members are defined as those listed as new members and active members on the organization’s roster

Reporting

Each chapter must submit the following to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life:

Item to be submitted Method of submission Timeframe of submission
Membership Development program attendance OrgSync Involvement Spring/fall: within 30 days of program or by last day of classes
Membership Involvement list OrgSync Form Spring/fall: by the last day of classes
Chapter membership development plan OrgSync Form February 1
Chapter new membership plan OrgSync Form Spring/fall: before Bid Day or new member education begins

 

Standards of Excellence Focus Area 4: Excellence in Civic Engagement

Members in the fraternity and sorority community will participate in activities that allow them to become positively engaged in and give back to their local, state, national, and global communities. This includes involvement in community service, service-learning, and philanthropic activities. The following standards will be used to evaluate each chapter’s progress toward excellence in civic engagement.  Chapters should consult with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life for event approval.

Standard Needs Improvement Meets Standard Exceeds Standard

Chapter members will participate in hands-on community service (ex. blood drive, Greek Sweep)

The average number of hours per chapter member is less  than 10 hours per year

The average number of hours per chapter member is between 10 and 15 hours per year

The average number of hours per chapter member is more than 15 hours per year

Chapters will raise money for philanthropic efforts outside of THON (ex. Participating in other chapter philanthropy events)

The average number of dollars raised per chapter member is less than $25 per year

The average number of dollars raised per chapter member is between $25 and $30 per year

The average number of dollars raised per chapter member is more than $30 per year

Chapter makes physical charitable contributions (ex. Random Acts of Kindness, Thanksgiving Day Baskets, clothing drive, etc.)

Chapter makes contributions to less than 2 activities per year

Chapter makes contributions to 2-4 activities per year

Chapter makes contributions to more than 4 activities per year

Reporting

Each chapter must submit the following to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life:

Item to be submitted Method of submission Timeframe of submission
Chapter community service hours OrgSync Form and Involvement Spring/fall: within 30 days of the event or by the last day of classes
Chapter philanthropic dollars raised OrgSync Form Spring/fall: within 30 days of the event or by the last day of classes
Chapter charitable contributions OrgSync Form Spring/fall: within 30 days of the event or by the last day of classes

 

Standards of Excellence Focus Area 5: Excellence in Community Relationships

Members in the fraternity and sorority community will participate in activities that help them to build positive relationships with the Penn State and State College community. They will also maintain positive and supportive relationships with chapters across all four of the fraternity and sorority governing councils at Penn State. The following standards will be used to evaluate each chapter’s progress toward excellence in community relationships.

Standard Needs Improvement Meets Standard Exceeds Standard
Chapter will participate in Penn State sponsored events (ex. THON) Chapter participates in fewer than 2 events per year Chapter participates in 2-4 events per year Chapter participates in more than 4 events per year
Chapters will participate in fraternity and sorority community events (ex. Philantrophy, Greek Week, Homecoming, Greek Sing, Holiday Lights) Chapter participates in fewer than 2 events per year Chapter participates in 2-4 events per year Chapter participates in more than 4 events per year - must host at least 1
Chapters will participate in State College community events (ex. Lion Bash, Neighbor to Neighbor) Chapter participates in fewwer than 2 events per year Chapter participates in 2-4 events per year Chapter participates in more than 4 events per year

Reporting

Each chapter must submit the following to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life:

Item to be submitted Method of submission Timeframe of submission
Participation in events in the Penn State community OrgSync Involvement Spring/fall: within 30 days of the event or by the last day of classes
Participation in Greek community events OrgSync Involvement Spring/fall: within 30 days of the event or by the last day of classes
Participation in State College community events OrgSync Involvement Spring/fall: within 30 days of the event or by the last day of classes

 

Improvement and Accountability Measures

 Improvement and accountability measures are intended to provide support and guidance for chapters that are not meeting a majority of the targets in one or more of the focus areas. The following table provides an overview of the action a chapter should expect:

Target Deficiency Corrective Action
Deficiency in one focus area

Chapter works with OFSL to create a plan to improve

Deficiency in two areas

Chapter placed on probation(7)  for at least 1 semester and works with OFSL to create a plan to improve

Deficiency in three or more areas

Chapter is placed on probation for at least 1 semester, loses social privileges for a minimum of 4 months, and must participate in a conversation with OFSL, the relevant council president, chapter advisor, and any other relevant stakeholders to demonstrate their commitment to continue to be recognized. Following the conversation, the council president and OFSL will determine the status of the chapter moving forward. University recognition may be withdrawn. If recognition is not withdrawn, a set of requirements will be developed that are designed to help the chapter address deficiencies. Failure to adhere to these requirements will typically result in a loss of recognition.

Repeated deficiencies (multiple semesters)

Chapter is placed on probation for at least 2 semesters, loses social privileges for a minimum of 4 months, and must participate in a conversation with OFSL, the relevant council president, chapter advisor, and any other relevant stakeholders to demonstrate their commitment to continue to be recognized. Following the conversation, the council president and OFSL will determine the status of the chapter moving forward. University recognition may be withdrawn. If recognition is not withdrawn, a set of requirements will be developed that are designed to help the chapter address deficiencies. Failure to adhere to these requirements will typically result in a loss of recognition.

(7) Probation is a time period, during which, the organization will need to ensure that it is following all University and council policies and that it is working to address the issues that resulted in the Probation. Should a chapter violate any University or council policy during the probationary period, the organization will immediately lose social privileges for at least 4 months. Organizations on Probation will need to conduct weekly meetings with the relevant council advisor to address deficiencies and evaluate progress toward meeting the expectations of the focus areas. The OFSL will have sole responsibility to determine when expectations are met and when the Probation will be lifted.

Greek Column Awards

Each year, the Standards of Excellence is used to recognize chapters who meet or exceed standards, in addition to a number of awards nominated by peers in the community.

Honorary Membership:

  • Lizzie Esterline - Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life
  • Katie Jordan – UPUA

Living the Ritual:

  • Adam Holz - Sigma Chi
  • Nathan Lattig - Phi Kappa Sigma
  • Francesgladys Pulido - Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc.
  • Melanie Kamil- Omega Phi Alpha
  • Samantha Blackburn - Alpha Delta Pi

Outstanding Governing Council Award

  • Multicultural Greek Council - Pratyush Parasana - Iota Nu Delta Fraternity, Inc.
  • The Panhellenic Council - Jane Pereira-Ogan - Alpha Phi
  • The Interfraternity Council - Michael Cavallaro - Pi Kappa Alpha

Outstanding Chapter President Award:

  • Brandon Brodsky - Acacia
  • Caitlin Henley - Kappa Alpha Theta
  • Jung Lum Lee - Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Inc

Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award:

  • Brent Smith - Sigma Pi
  • Erin Tench - Alpha Omicron Pi
  • Kelly Griffith - Zeta Phi Beta

Sorority Woman of the Year

  • Drianna Buonocore - Alpha Omicron Pi

Fraternity Man of the Year

  • George Filippatos - Phi Sigma Kappa

Standards Achievement:

  • Acacia
  • Beta Sigma Beta
  • Lambda Chi Alpha
  • Phi Gamma Delta
  • Zeta Beta Tau
  • Zeta Psi
  • Alpha Delta Pi
  • Alpha Omicron Pi
  • Alpha Sigma Alpha
  • Alpha Xi Delta
  • Delta Zeta
  • Gamma Phi Beta
  • Kappa Delta
  • Kappa Kappa Gamma
  • Omega Phi Alpha
  • Phi Mu
  • Phi Sigma Sigma
  • Pi Beta Phi
  • Sigma Alpha
  • Sigma Delta Tau
  • Sigma Kappa
  • Zeta Tau Alpha

Excellence in Academic Achievement:

  • Alpha Chi Omega
  • Alpha Omicron Pi
  • Alpha Xi Delta
  • Delta Gamma
  • Delta Zeta
  • Gamma Phi Beta
  • Pi Beta Phi
  • Zeta Tau Alpha

Excellence in Membership Development:

  • Delta Zeta
  • Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority, Inc. rity
  • Lambda Theta Alpha National Latin Sorority, Inc
  • Sigma Omicron Pi

Excellence in Civic Engagement:

  • Sigma Alpha
  • Beta Sigma Beta
  • Delta Theta Sigma
  • Phi Sigma Kappa
  • Theta Delta Chi

Excellence in Community Relationships:

  • Beta Sigma Beta

Chapter of the Year:

  • Delta Zeta

Outstanding Contribution to the Fraternity and Sorority Life Community:

  • Danny Shaha