ALPHA Standards of Excellence
The ALPHA Standards of Excellence—ALPHA Standards for short—is a rating system for Fraternities and sororities.
The Standards are a Columbia University initiative that was instituted to uphold and promote community standards of philanthropy, service, and fraternal development. The ongoing recognition of Columbia fraternities and sororities in the Inter Greek Council depends on their meeting or exceeding the requirements of these standards
Examples of ALPHA Standards include organizing large-scale philanthropy events, holding educational workshops, and organizing leadership development programs.
ALPHA ratings score fraternities and sororities according to academics (average GPA), community service (amount of total hours/ average hours per individual), campus involvement (amount of members involved in other campus activities), leadership development (amount of members in campus leadership positions), philanthropy (amount donated and scale of events hosted), housing behavior (if applicable), and alumni information. . Organizations receive one to five stars, though no organization has ever received below three stars. Chapters that exceed the standards and make a significantly large positive impact on their campus and community, while fulfilling their organization’s mission and vision, are rewarded by Columbia’s Office of Residential Programs.
The ALPHA Standards are reviewed by a panel of administrators and unaffiliated students, and administered by Student Affairs. This is a more open review system than the closed, student-run system known as theGreek Judicial Board, in which members of the Greek community elected into judicial positions by representatives from every chapter serve as the review board.
Examples of ALPHA Standards
Chapters must complete educational workshops and events on topics like sexual violence, drugs & alcohol, criminal liability & basic legal concepts, and risk management & insurance coverage. They also must host two workshops or shared experiences of their choice: the first must develop critical thinking skills, and the second must develop skills and understanding in leadership, communication, and membership.
Philanthropy & Community Service
Chapters must organize and execute a large-scale event that benefits an organization of their choice. Over 60% of a chapter’s members must participate in at least one of the philanthropy events sponsored by other Inter-Greek Council organizations. In addition to this, all Greek individuals must complete at least 10 hours of community service per semester.
Involvement on Campus
Chapters must collaborate with a non-Greek campus organization to plan and execute a large-scale event consisting of an educational program or leadership workshop. Over 60% of a chapter must be involved in another non-Greek student organization. Chapters must also have members who hold executive officer positions in recognized non-Greek student organizations.
History of the ALPHA Standards
The first ratings came down in 2012, according to which PsiU and KDR were put on probation. After the multiple Greek scandals of 2012-2013, the ALPHA Standards got beefed the hell up—according to The Lion, "If the 2011 spread were to be used today, as many as seven Greek organizations would be in danger of losing housing".
The increase in the comprehensiveness of the ALPHA Standards, along with the arrival of new director of Fraternity & Sorority Life Brad Badgley in fall 2013, has significantly improved Greek Life at Columbia. The new standards set principals that require that Greeks make significant positive contributions to their community and conduct themselves in a manner representative of the vision and mission of their respective chapter.
The Student Life page describing ALPHA standards states that "those earning five stars will receive the ALPHA status" .
After the Brownstone Review Committee decided not to award AEPi a brownstone despite its ALPHA status, J-Board chairman Matthew Renick sent a hot-headed/whiny email to, well, everyone involved, announcing his resignation .
- The 2014 ALPHA Standards checklist
- The application for serving on the ALPHA panel
- Spec editorial saying that ALPHA standards are unfair and too strict
- The 2013 document about the ALPHA ratings
- A Risk Management form for ALPHA ratings
- A 2012 Spec article announcing the first assignation of ALPHA standards
- A 2012 Spec article about the same, with quotes from Greek organizations