Embark: Fraternity & Sorority Potential New Member Orientation

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Emilie Dye
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Fraternity & Sorority Life has a new initiative this year! Embark: Fraternity & Sorority Potential New Member Orientation is a program design to introduce students to the benefits and responsibilities that come from joining a fraternity or sorority. Students interested in joining any fraternity or sorority at Duke were informed that participation in Embark is expected – either prior to joining, or during the semester of a student’s initiation. This fall, it includes four sessions, offered at varying times and days to accommodate class schedules.

The ultimate goal from Embark is that students clarify their individual values, and recognize how to find an organization that shares similar values to their own. This level of congruence will allow for more successful membership for the individual, but also will lead to more productive chapters and a stronger fraternity and sorority community at Duke. To achieve this goal, students spent time in Session 1 identifying their top 5 actionable core values, and then reflected on how the choices they make each week should be informed by those values. Session 2 gave students the opportunity to hear from Tim Mousseau, a national speaker on sexual assault prevention and bystander behavior. Following his keynote presentation, students were challenged to consider how their values would inform the role they play in building safer communities on campus. Session 3 (happening through late October!) is in partnership with DuWell – students are learning about the dimensions of wellness, and participating in facilitated conversations on how to better integrate these dimensions in their every day lives. The final session, happening in early November, will bring it all together, first allowing students to reflect on what they have learned about themselves, and then providing them with tangible ways to ensure they find what they need to be successful in a fraternity or sorority.

With almost 650 students participating this fall, Embark is off to a strong start. Participants have interest in all four of our governing councils, and through review of the raw assessment data collected so far, they are gaining new knowledge about themselves. Hopefully, this knowledge will help students be more successful at Duke, regardless of whether or not they choose to join a fraternity or sorority. Be on the lookout in the spring following recruitment & intake for more details on the program’s effectiveness!

-Emilie Dye

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