In the past seven years, the College of Coastal Georgia has undergone a series of rapid-fire changes, transitioning from a two-year college to a full four-year baccalaureate institution offering undergraduate degrees, on-campus housing, sprawling student life opportunities and a recently announced partnership with an international school in Greece.
But one key facet of an active undergraduate college remains unfilled, and students and officials are starting to take notice.
Across the college’s campuses, students, professors and administrators are asking: Is it time for the college to take on a Greek life system, introducing fraternities, sororities or both to its campuses?
“This is most certainly a conversation we are having across campus,” said Jason Umfress, vice president of student affairs at the college. “We are asking, are we ready to start a Greek system? This is something that has been brought up by groups of students on our campus.”
Student population at the college has changed drastically as the college has grown, with about 60 percent of students now falling into the traditional student category, meaning they are between the ages of 18 and 23 years old and go to the college as either full- or part-time students. Prior to the shift, only about 40 percent of the campus population was seen as traditional, Umfress said.
Additionally, about 350 students live on campus, which brings a new dynamic and new sense of connectivity between students and the school, Umfress said.
“Our campus is changing, and with those changes will eventually come a Greek system,” Umfress said, noting that a Greek Life Expansions Committee has been formed on campus made up of school officials and students. “We are not saying yes, let’s do it. But we are not saying no. We are doing research to make the right decisions when the right time comes.”
With the growing interest students are showing in investing their time and energy on campus, adding a Greek life system seems like a probable next step for the school, Umfress said.
Officials at the school began examining the possibility of adding a Greek system to the college last spring, and a recent student poll showed that students had an interest in the effort.
The Division of Student Affairs recently conducted a campus-wide survey among students. Of the 280 student responses, 77 percent said they would be interested in joining a Greek system.
“For the time being, we know we have two options,” Umfress said. “Either we say we are starting a Greek life now, and we set out timelines and date. Or we say we will start a Greek life later, but that later may be five, 10, 20 years away. We either move forward with plans on starting a Greek system, or we say it’s just not right for now.”
Beyond looking at if the school is ready systematically for fraternities and sororities, the college, too, has to find the right Greek system to join. And that is a two-sided conversation, where certain fraternities and sororities eye the school and the school eyes them back.
“We have to want them, and they have to want us. It’s a two-way street,” Umfress said. “Beyond adding football to the school, creating a Greek system would be the most major change and shift we could add to the college. This is not a thing to take lightly. We are seriously looking, but we are jus
The Brunswick News