Piazza Center launches national survey to gauge COVID concerns among Greek life

July 29, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Timothy J. Piazza Center for Fraternity and Sorority Research and Reform has launched a national survey to examine Greek-life organization members’ attitudes about returning to campus amid current public health concerns. 

The survey, developed in cooperation with a multidisciplinary team of consultants and academic professionals, aims to better understand fraternity and sorority members’ thoughts and views about housing, safety, council types and other meaningful considerations. 

Anonymous student responses will be collected and assembled into aggregate reports, which will be shared with participating institutions in an effort to influence and inform decision-making in a number of crucial areas including housing, recruitment and social guidance. 

“The Piazza Center is excited to offer the COVID-19 Fraternity and Sorority Member  Readiness to Return to Campus Survey free of charge to nearly 770 campuses with active Greek-life chapters,” said Steve Veldkamp, executive director of the Piazza Center and special assistant to Penn State’s vice president for Student Affairs. “Our goal is to provide decision-makers with quality information to assist with planning and policy creation in preparation for the upcoming academic year.”

The survey includes four sections that collect information about member demographics and living situations; opinions on COVID-19; how members imagine studying and living in the fall on their campuses; and questions related to the survey participant’s well-being. Some questions that directly address the pandemic gather information on what the survey participant’s own college or university is planning for the fall: all in-person instruction, a mix of in-person and remote instruction, or all remote instruction with no return to campus. Survey participants also are asked to rate how satisfied they are with the plans. 

Questions about whether a member’s fraternity/sorority is planning to hold events in the fall or open their houses; if members live in the house or share a bedroom; and if members are worried about the impact of COVID-19 on selves, friends or family members, also are included. In addition, the survey asks if participants intend to follow measures such as mask-wearing and physical distancing in classrooms and public spaces. 

The survey is free and available to all Greek-life institutions within the United States. Participation is limited. Institutions that wish to participate are encouraged to contact Dawn Maynen, Piazza Center project coordinator, at dmm7312@psu.edu. Input for the survey is currently being gathered, with the first set of results anticipated for review by mid-August. 

The survey was modeled after Penn State’s successful “Potential Return to Campus” survey and edited by a national team of faculty and consultants, including Mónica Lee Miranda, director of the Center for Student Involvement, University of South Florida; Eric Norman, vice president for Student Affairs, Austin Peay University; Ashley Tull, clinical professor and program director for Ed.D. in Higher Education, Southern Methodist University; Chris Jefferson, director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Penn State; and Dan Wrona, RISE Partnerships.

The Piazza Center at Penn State was launched in January 2019, in an effort to become the nation’s principal home for identifying, testing and implementing best practices among Greek-life organizations. In addition to the return to campus survey, the center publishes the National Fraternity and Sorority Scorecard and administers the Fraternity and Sorority Experience Survey annually. Since its inception, the center has worked to empower higher education to enact meaningful changes in fraternity and sorority life based on comprehensive research. 

Last Updated January 22, 2021