Safer Toga Parties: Risk Management for Fraternity and Sorority Events

There are a lot of stereotypes when it comes to college events, especially when they are for fraternities and sororities. Most of them involve a lot of drinking, partying, and risky situations that could impact the safety of your attendees. 

Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to mitigate the risks involved when you bring a hoard of college students (or alumni) together. Risk management might not be the most exciting topic at leadership events like the Fraternity Executives Association’s Annual Meeting, but it’s an important one to learn more about. Here’s what fraternity organizations should consider to reduce risk.

Types of Risk Management Fraternity Organizations should Consider

An event for a Greek organization should determine risk the same way any organization should. Once you know what can go wrong, it’s important to determine what kind of risk you’re incurring: regulatory risk, financial risk, contractual risk, branding and public image, or safety and security. Knowing what type of risk you’re taking allows you to plan accordingly for how to react if something were to happen. 

Plan to Communicate via the right channels

A defined communication strategy and plan is key to making sure important information is accessible to fraternity and sorority members at your event. If getting the message across is a challenge, you’re not alone. An event app or constant push notifications won’t work for this generation of students. They often refuse to download new apps (for lots of reasons, like being maxed out on storage space) and privacy is important to them. 

An SMS chatbot--such as a 42Chat’s event bot--can bridge the gap because texting (unlike email) is  the most efficient way to reach collegiate members. If you do opt for a chatbot, just remember that communication doesn’t stop there: getting their buy-in is going to be important. They need to give you permission to text them and send push notifications to them over text. In order to get their trust and ensure permission is granted, establish a level of transparency where you tell them exactly what you intend to use your chatbot for. Highlight the importance of being able to reach them in case of emergency. As long as you are upfront and honest about how you intend to communicate and stick to that promise you should have no problem getting their permission. 

Emergency Response Planning

It’s not enough to have a risk management plan in place for your Greek organization. You have to know who is going to respond to the emergency, what they’re going to say, and under what scenario they will respond. 

In order to make this process as effective as possible, it’s important to create a plan and then share that plan with your vendors, venue, and security. Everybody needs to be on the same page. Knowing the plan is the most important step of the process. It doesn’t do anybody any good if the plan sits in a binder or on a file on the computer and nobody knows how to execute it. If you’re going to use your chatbot as a communication tool, you have to train your audience to know this as well. Clear and concise communication only works if your audience knows how they’re going to get the message. 


Once you’ve taken the appropriate steps of determining risk, planning for it, and learning the plan, you’re ready to tackle any issues that may come your way. Being prepared is one of the most essential ways to keep you and your attendees safe. The trust you build with your attendees can be difficult to get back if a crisis is mishandled. So, schedule some time to create a risk management plan or refresh your old one. 

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