Skip to main content

Exploratory Research Studies 

There are numerous studies on the extent of the problems facing fraternities and sororities. However, there is little evidence regarding professional practice. How we move from identifying the problem to creating chapter, community, and cultural change is critical to the future of fraternity and sorority life. The Piazza Center is exploring interdisciplinary research projects on fraternity and sorority reform.  

Future Research 

If you are interested in current projects or have an idea for future research, please contact Dr. Stevan Veldkamp, Executive Director at

Current Reports

COVID-19 and Readiness to Return Survey Project (Released 2020) A free, nation-wide survey regarding demographics and living situation, opinions on COVID-19, studying and living in fall 2020, chapter experiences, and student well-being.  

University Fraternity and Sorority Staffing Practices: Effect on Student Success (Released February 2021) Research partnership with Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors and Dr. Patrick Biddix from the University of Tennessee Knoxville Postsecondary Education Research Center. 

Current Proposals 

  • Hazing and substance misuse, and sexual misconduct and violence prevention studies
    • Efficacy of prevention and intervention strategies for hazing involving substance misuse emphasizing hazardous drinking
    • Exploring campus accountability and conduct models
    • Investigating how college students' expectations, beliefs, and attitudes are formed, and healthy and unhealthy behaviors conform during college and fraternity and sorority membership
    • Investigating early warning signs of hazing
    • Impact of context and concepts of ritual education curriculum
    • Understanding bystander behavior comparisons (members and non-members)
    • Exploring empathy-based substance abuse, hazardous drinking, and hazing intervention curriculums 
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging studies
    • Understanding Sorority Cultural Competency and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within Diverse Chapters at Predominantly White Institutions  and Understanding Sorority Cultural Competency and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within Chapters at Diverse Campuses in partnership with the National Panhellenic Conference and Dr. Georgianna Marin, University of Georgia
    • Exploring Racial Equity Efforts in Sorority and Fraternity Life Communities, funding assistants for Dr. Crystal Garcia, University of Nebraska; Dr. Antonio Duran, Auburn University; and Dr. Michael Goodman, University of Maryland 
    • Sharing individual multicultural/cultural umbrella groups/councils stories
  • Mental and physical health
    • Investigating health minds comparison (members and non-members)
  • Peer-accountability, leadership, community engagement, and learning
    • Exploring democratic principles and community engagement studies

Note:  Topics were selected and vetted by the Piazza Center Research Advisory Committee in conjunction with three focus groups representing research faculty, campus director of fraternity and sorority life, and headquarter executives.

Research grants for the Piazza Center are awarded on a rolling basis.  Our approved rate for indirect costs is 20 percent of all project costs (Personnel, other research project costs).

Penn State Student Affairs
Piazza Center

University Park, PA 16802