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Civic Engagement & Building Inclusive Respectful Communities

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life enthusiastically supports the Shepherd University Civility Code. We stand in solidarity against racism, discrimination, and oppression. We stand in support of our diverse community, peers, and students. We also recognize the history of our fraternal system and commit ourselves, as a predominantly White community, to self-reflect and act to build a better, more inclusive, and equitable environment. We are committed to using our platforms, voices, and resources to amplify the experiences, needs, and concerns of Black and other marginalized communities.

In addition to the action steps being taken by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, we challenge you, our student leaders, to actively stand up against racism and oppression in your chapters, on our campus, and in the greater world. The movement for justice, equity, and accountability must begin here at home as we examine our own practices and impact. It is important to recognize that our fraternal system was originally founded in a segregated world for the benefit of predominantly white, wealthy students. However, that is not the way our chapters should function today. Resist the urge to sit complacently on the sidelines or to assume that the legacy of exculsion and racism does not impact you or your chapters. Call out oppression framed as tradition. Engage in honest reflection, reexamine your chapter’s practices, challenge old ways of thinking, begin the process of self-education, and consider ways your chapters can help to build a more just world.


Civic engagement means using your knowledge, skills, and values to create change in your communities and addressing public concerns. The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life is here to help you do that. Below is a non-exhaustive list of ways to be civically engaged and aligned with the University and Office’s core values.


Volunteer with or begin philanthropic partnerships with organizations that support People of Color and the Black community such as:


  • Ensure your governing documents, policies, practices, and programs are accommodating for all members regardless of socioeconomic status, race, religion, etc. to ensure access and involvement
  • Encourage your councils to implement sustainable policies regarding diversity


  • Be an advocate and active bystander
  • Call out racist comments and jokes
  • Ensure marginalized members’ voices are represented during decision-making
  • Lead by example–attend educational events and encourage others to as well


  • Hold yourself and each other accountable for upholding the values of your organization, the FSL community, and the University
  • Make sure your actions are congruent with your words


  • Promote respectful treatment of all members, students, and community members at large
  • Allow for a safe, judgment-free, open discussion forum for members to understand and discuss White privilege and its impacts on your chapter, the community, and the campus
  • Practice compassion, understanding, and empathy


  • Collaborate with campus leaders and multicultural organizations to promote inclusion, education, and amplification of diverse perspectives on campus
  • Implement educational training regarding historic bias, power and privilege and how all students can be welcomed in our community.


To better understand the issues before us, we are going to have to take the initiative to learn new things. Reject the desire to ask Black people, Indigenous people, or People of Color (BIPOC) to explain racism for you–seek books, films, and resources to help educate yourself.