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New Panhel advisor plans to help unify greek life

Bringing administrative experience in working with greek organizations, as well as the experience of being in a sorority herself, Nicole Manley is the latest to join the University's efforts to unify campus greek life.

Manley arrived this summer as the new full-time coordinator of greek life and advisor for the Panhellenic Council. In trying to define a position that has never existed before, and in an office that is also new -- the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life -- she said her most important priority is connecting groups with each other and with the administration.

"Students have great ideas, but they may not have the means and need help to get them implemented," Manley said. "It is very easy for me to take a role where I can partner with them."

After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia and her graduate degree at Colorado State University, Manley worked in student affairs at Colorado State to establish what she called a well-defined relationship with greek organizations.

In the past, some greek organization leaders have expressed concern that administrators offered only short-term solutions. As a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, she said she has experienced the difficulties that sororities face operating independently. Manley was also vice president of Virginia's Panhellenic council, where she worked closely with the judicial board. She intends to do the same at Duke in order to better deal with disciplinary problems in the long-term.

One of the goals of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life is an increased emphasis on strengthening relations across racial and ethnic barriers. For example, the office will advise both the largely white Interfraternity Council and the traditionally minority National Panhellenic Council.

"We want to promote ongoing contact and coordination between the fraternities and sororities and the umbrella groups.... to create a thriving greek system," said Sue Wasiolek, dean of students and assistant vice president for student affairs.

Manley said that improvements to community service and leadership development<including the possibility of a retreat for the officers of all of the sororities<are immediate goals for the council.

The University has also agreed to host an institute in the fall for leadership development in an attempt to allow schools to discuss issues faced by sororities today.

"Being part of a Greek organization is not the only thing students at Duke are involved in. It supplements extracurricular activities," Manley said.

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