Skip to main content
Search

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 professional reform.  

Current Studies

Hazing and substance misuse, and sexual misconduct and violence prevention studies

  • Early warning signs of hazing (signs, prevention, and intervention strategies): Pietro Sasso, Piazza Center; Emily Feuer, University of Albany; and Dawn Maynen, Piazza Center
  • Community of practice hazing/hazardous drinking: effectiveness of intervention and prevention strategies for substance misuse and hazing, review of current literature: Pietro Sasso, Piazza Center, and Brian Joyce, Dartmouth
  • Efficacy of anti-hazing legislation: Max Crowley, Director of Evidence to Practice Center, Penn State 
  • Compassion and stress-fit primer to harm prevention curriculums: Meg Small, Director of Social Innovation Center, Penn State, and Blaine Colaianne, Penn State 
  • Exploring campus accountability and conduct models: Pietro Sasso, Piazza Center; Dawn Maynen, Piazza Center; and Ann James, Miami University

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging studies

  • Understanding sorority cultural competency and diversity, equity, and inclusion within diverse chapters at predominantly white institutions; understanding sorority cultural competency and diversity, equity, and inclusion within chapters at diverse campuses: Partnership with the National Panhellenic Conference; Georgianna Martin, University of Georgia; and Michael Goodman, University of Texas at Austin
  • Racial equity efforts in sorority and fraternity life communities: Crystal Garcia, University of Nebraska; Antonio Duran, Auburn University; and Michael Goodman, University of Texas at Austin

Peer accountability, leadership, community engagement, and learning

  • Impact of ritual and values education and chapter outcomes: Ashley Tull, Texas Christian University
  • Democratic principles and community engagement studies: Eric Norman, Austin Peay University, and Vivienne Felix, New York University

Current Reports

COVID-19 and Readiness to Return Survey Project (Released 2020) A free, nationwide 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
  • Investigating how college students' expectations, beliefs, and attitudes are formed, and healthy and unhealthy behaviors conform during college and fraternity and sorority membership
  • Impact of context and concepts of ritual education curriculum
  • Understanding bystander behavior comparisons (members and non-members)

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging studies

  • Sharing individual multicultural/cultural umbrella groups/councils stories
  • Exploring Anti-Semitisms and Jewish identity in fraternity and sorority life

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

Future Research 

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

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
Location

University Park, PA 16802
PiazzaCenter@psu.edu