Interfraternity Council wins award for risk reduction

RMCs work closely with fraternities to ensure event safety

The Interfraternity Council won the Amy Vojta Impact Award in Risk Reduction at the Northeast Greek Leadership Association annual conference in February.

Recipients of the Impact Awards, which are given in seven categories, “have excelled in a certain area and have created a program or initiative that has had a positive impact on their group,” according to the NGLA website.  

In its application, the IFC emphasized its Risk Management Consultant (RMC) program.

“Essentially, the IFC will hire a team of 12 undergraduate students and train them on how to ‘consult’ for the houses and act as an advocate for them during social events,” Sam Ihns ’20, risk manager of the IFC, explained in an interview with The Tech.

“Every time a fraternity holds a social event, an RMC will come one to two times to that event and confirm that everything is running smoothly [and] safely,” Ihns continued.

Although the program is not new, it has “taken on a bigger role” in recent years, according to Arjun Mithal ’19, president of the IFC. “In the past, the RMC hasn’t done too much in the way of actively monitoring events. Now, I think the system is pretty strongly in place,” Mithal said.

Central to the program is the trust fraternities place in RMCs, Mithal said. Because their responsibilities are separate from the IFC’s judicial process — RMCs act as consultants rather than police — fraternities actively seek their advice.

There are “very few” parallel programs at other schools, Ihns said. Most lack direct student oversight and have a weaker IFC presence.

When it comes to managing fraternity events, including during dry periods like CPW and rush, “MIT trusts [the IFC] a lot,” Mithal emphasized. “Between fraternities, sororities, and dorms, I think we have the most comprehensive risk and judicial process.”

As for data to support the success of the RMC program, Ihns noted that there have been zero external police reports since the beginning of the spring semester, which is “unprecedented.” However, Mithal cautioned against attempting to quantify the program’s effects, citing the presence of many confounding variables (police standards change with time, for example).

Another component the IFC highlighted in its application was its sexual misconduct awareness and prevention programs. Recent IFC initiatives include using a multi-tiered certification system to incentivize fraternities to attend trainings or host events held by representatives from the Violence Prevention and Response Office, PLEASURE, and other campus groups.

“This was the first time we had been recognized at an award at this conference, so it is especially meaningful for us,” Mithal said. “It’s nice to be recognized for something we do right.”