New fraternity members traditionally can have a hard time balancing pledging with studying. But with a new InterFraternity Council program, the pledges will receive tutoring and help with their classes. The IFC has instituted a new academic initiatives program, which was put into effect last week, designed to give new members academic support during the new member education period. "There's a tendency during new member education for the new members' grades to slip," said IFC Vice President for Academics Rob Lewin, an Alpha Epsilon Pi brother. "They obviously have another time commitment in their lives now." According to Lewin, a Wharton junior, the grades of men who join fraternities in the spring tend to drop an average of three-tenths of a point from the first semester to the second. An increase in academic programming is one of the goals of the Greek-wide 21st Century Report, which was issued in 1996. Many of the report's other goals -- such as an increased IFC commitment to community service -- have already been met. According to Lewin, the program is voluntary, and the decision of whether or not to participate was left up to each house's president, academic or scholarship chairman and new members. Of the 31 IFC chapters, eight -- Alpha Epsilon Pi, Sigma Alpha Mu, Alpha Chi Rho, Phi Kappa Psi, Theta Xi, Kappa Sigma, Phi Kappa Sigma and Tau Epsilon Phi -- have decided to participate in the program this year. "Our ultimate goal is for all 31 houses to sign on," Lewin said. Participation in the new academic program consists of three components: academic workshops for new members, tutoring in subjects generally taken by freshmen and training for each house's academic chair on the University's academic resources. Even if a new member's house agrees to participate in the program, he is not required to attend the academically oriented events. "Each workshop is voluntary because people won't get a lot out of it if they feel they have to be here," Lewin said. The houses must agree, however, not to schedule any new member education programs that conflict with the academic workshops. As part of the new program, the IFC and Academic Support Services held a time-management workshop Monday night in Steinberg-Dietrich Hall for AEPi's new members. Two "learning instructors" -- students from the Graduate School of Education -- spoke to the men about selecting a time-management method appropriate to their personalities. They handed out blank schedules and calenders to the students to help them plan their days. Most of the new members seemed to enjoy the workshop, expressing that many college students -- Greek or not -- need to learn more effective study habits. "I feel like college stuff is very different from high school," Engineering freshman and AEPi pledge Scott Kanas said. "There were people who had a lot of free time in high school and could come home in the afternoon and do their homework. Now we might have classes in the afternoon. For some people [workshops like these] can be very effective." The learning instructors also felt that it was a very positive experience. "[The new members] were good, they were receptive," said Grace Enriquez, a second-year graduate student in the Education School. "I felt we were able to offer some good suggestions."Comments powered by Disqus
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