UNDERGRADUATE MEMBERS PERCEPTIONS OF THE CURRENT MEMBERSHIP INTAKE PROCESS: AMONG SELECTED BLACK GREEK-LETTERED ORGANIZATIONS
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When students leave home for college, many desire a sense of belonging. One way for students to cultivate this sense of belonging is by participating in formal and informal peer groups (Chickering & Reisser, 1993). Of all peer groups, Greek-lettered organizations, when serving as an effective peer group, have the most impact on its members (Chickering & Reisser, 1993). As Greek-lettered organizations evolved, pledge processes were created as a means of promoting group values and continuing traditions (Nuwer, 1999). However, this pledge process led to accidents and deaths (Kimbrough, 2003; Nuwer; 1999; Ruffins, 1999). As a result, Black Greek-lettered organizations (BGLOs) replaced their pledge process with a membership intake process (Kimbrough, 1997, 2003; Ruffins, 1999). Despite the end of pledging, BGLO members instituted "underground pledging," unsanctioned events that occurred before, during, and/or after the membership intake process as a way to continue the pledge process (Kimbrough, 2003). As a result, students still perceive the pledge process as an instrumental part of the Black Greek experience and continue to participate in unsanctioned pledge activities that lead to injuries and deaths (Geraghty, 1997; Jones, 2000; Morgan, 1998; Rodriguez, 1995; Ruffins, 1997; 2001). Very little research has been conducted on BGLOs. As such, it would seem that research is needed on how members experience and view the intake process. The present study attempted to address this gap by examining the activities that were associated with the membership intake process, as well as current undergraduate members' perceptions of the pledge and membership intake processes.
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