BOONE, N.C. — Leadership of Appalachian State University’s fraternities and sororities issued a joint statement Monday, Aug. 3, that outlines guidelines and actions for the safety of students and others in the community returning to campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the document, the student leaders state "that as residents of Boone and the campus community, we cannot put anyone at a greater risk when it comes to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”
The statement was issued by the Governing Councils of Appalachian State University, the Multicultural Greek Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council, which represent approximately 1,800 students and 32 recognized fraternities and sororities on campus.
The document, which states the groups’ commitment to “enforcing the directives and initiatives of our state, town and campus,” was signed by council presidents Gaby Romero, Multicultural Greek Council; Kris Posey, National Pan-Hellenic Council; Alicia Biel, Panhellenic Council; and Sam Haggard, Interfraternity Council.
As “governing council presidents,” the statement reads, “we are committed to enforcing these initiatives and being leaders on our campus. Our councils and fellow leaders on our boards will do our part to educate our community and will provide structure and guidance to help us get through these challenges together.”
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs J.J. Brown commended the groups’ leadership, saying, “This fall will bring many challenges for us all, and it will be imperative that we all work together to keep our community safe and healthy. Thank you again for your leadership in putting out a document that reflects this very point.”
The guidelines, which will be enforced both on and off campus by the councils and chapters, call for the following:
- Adherence to laws, policies and procedures set forth by North Carolina, Boone and the university.
- Prohibitions on hosting any gatherings that exceed caps set by the state or university.
- Practicing social distancing and providing information and education about responsible citizenship, safety measures and public health initiatives.
- Managing and monitoring events and introducing innovative ways to engage members on campus and throughout the community.
- Encouraging peers across campus to do their part to keep Appalachian and the Boone community healthy and safe.
The statement also declares “those organizations that do not act according to these initiatives and our community values will be held accountable.”
According to the council presidents, each of the governing councils recognized the need for leadership and agreed to the joint statement.
The statement is being shared by each president via an email to their respective chapter presidents and delegates. It will also be shared in a weekly newsletter and made available to Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) advisers.
Becky Acton, Appalachian’s assistant director of campus activities and FSL in the Department of Student Engagement and Leadership, said each chapter has had or is scheduled to have a summer planning meeting with her. During the meetings, she reviews the face coverings policy, events and gathering guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and social policy and expectations.
“We have begun plans for virtual chapter meetings, recruitment events and brotherhood/sisterhood, and are developing new ways to engage in fundraising for their local and national philanthropies,” she added. “The office is also providing guidance and education, including a crash course in adaptive leadership theory to help leaders develop new tools to use as they lead through challenge and change.”
Asked how they felt about returning to campus, Romero said, “I just hope that everyone can use their common sense.”
Biel said she is excited but also a little cautious: “This semester will just need to be taken one day at a time.”
Posey said he, too, is excited about returning to campus. “I know it’s going to be different, but I miss the App State Community. I miss the warm, welcoming environment that the students give off on campus.”
“I’m excited to come back, but we need to make sure that we are following all of the state and CDC guidelines,” Haggard said.
Meet the leaders
Major: Multidisciplinary anthropology, with minors in political science and economics
Hometown: Spartanburg, South Carolina
Major: Exercise science
Major: Elementary education
Major: Banking and finance
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About the Division of Student Affairs
The Division of Student Affairs at Appalachian State University is committed to the development of lifelong learners and leaders by engaging and challenging students within a culture of care and inclusion. The division consists of 16 units that offer activities and services to help students develop more fully by becoming global learners, fostering healthy relationships, appreciating diversity and different perspectives, understanding community responsibility, enhancing self-awareness, developing autonomy and living ethically. These units include the Career Development Center, Campus Activities, Office of Community-Engaged Leadership, Wellness and Prevention Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Health Service, Parent and Family Services, University Housing, Student Conduct, University Recreation, Intercultural Student Affairs, Student Legal Clinic and Off-Campus Student Services, Electronic Student Services, Child Development Center, and Staff Development and Strategic Initiatives. Learn more at https://studentaffairs.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.