Earlier in 2022, the Perspectives Editorial Board engaged in conversation about the purpose of the publication. In that conversation, a question emerged: what is the future of fraternities and sororities? After a lively discussion, the next question surfaced: is there a future for fraternities & sororities? Of course, that brought about an even more lively discussion, but with a very conclusive end result. There absolutely is a future, made brighter if we begin to bring light to some of the conversations only spoken about in darkness.
Our profession cannot continue to hide from the elephants in the room. We must truly grapple with the challenges that exist within our organizations and our professional community, and explore if the way in which we are serving our members and ourselves is not only aligned with the purpose of our organizations, but with the relevant needs of our community today.
We can’t always talk about the elephant in the room, because the room wasn’t created for everyone to begin with. We also have to examine the room. Who truly has access and power to set the parameters for what is deemed acceptable in our profession and in our organizations? How do we champion equity work in a community first built for an exclusive group of people? How do we do all of this while remaining attentive to the always-urgent-yet-sometimes-unimportant needs of our members, staffs, volunteers, and stakeholders?
The goal in this issue was to provide a platform for members to fill in the blank: “I believe there is a future for fraternity/sorority, but only if we tackle ____.” The articles in this issue begin to name some of the root causes holding us back from a successful future. We also acknowledge, with significant work still to be done, there are voices and topics still missing from this conversation. Voices from individuals who, out of fear for safety or fear of retribution, hold valuable perspectives and lived experiences that need to be included as this narrative evolves.
As we convene for the 2022 Annual Meeting, we challenge members to consider this issue as we continue to make decisions about not only how we advocate for the member experience, but also how we interact with each other as part of this profession. Let’s show up in ways that are authentic, critical, and respectful; examining not just the experiences we create, but the experiences we live. When we all do that, we certainly will be leaning into a future of which we can all be proud.