This semester, the Intersorority Council (ISC) will introduce a new position for each sorority chapter known as the Sorority Network Liaison (SNL), according to SNL coordinator and College senior sorority member Alex Lopez.

Each sorority’s SNL will meet with other SNLs as well as with ISC representatives and executive boards of all sororities, including their own, to bring members of every chapter up to date on ISC events and activities and foster more connection between chapters, Lopez said.

Lopez said she currently serves as the SNL coordinator, a job that the ISC will perform in later years.

She spearheaded this initiative, known as the Network, last spring as a branch of her work with the Respect Program, a sexual assault and relationship violence prevention program under the Office of Health Promotion.

Through sorority focus groups conducted under the Respect Program, Lopez said she “learned that sorority women wished they knew what was occurring in other sororities and that they had a stronger support network, especially against sexual assault, across the chapters.”

Alpha Delta Pi member and College sophomore Camilla Worsfold said she thought there was a disconnect between the sororities and that the program is necessary.

“Everybody is basically competing for new members [during recruitment season],” Worsfold said. “Things can get a little hostile between different houses.”

Drew Rizzo, who was hired last fall as the health promotion specialist for the Respect Program and the Network’s adviser, said he too saw a need for external support and camaraderie between ISC chapters and oversaw Lopez’s development of the Network when he began working at Emory in October.

“Part of that camaraderie is feeling safe and connected to all other sorority women at Emory,” Rizzo said. “If you’re having a bad night or look around and don’t see any of your own sorority sisters at a party, you can look to any sorority women there and feel a connection and get support.”

Last semester, Lopez spoke with chapter presidents to help select individuals to become future SNLs. Five have been chosen, while the remaining two, Lopez said, will be chosen later due to differences in the sororities’ election cycles.

“My goal for this position was that it best serve each sorority and not be imposed on their chapter in a standard way that may not fit with their sorority,” she said. She added that the network’s primary responsibility is to improve intersorority communication.

The second priority would be sexual assault prevention, she said. Each SNL will be heavily involved with the Respect Program, ISC, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), the Office of Health Promotion, the Greek Sexual Assault Prevention Initiative, Sexual Assault Peer Advocates (SAPA) and the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP).

They must also receive SAPA and Safe Space training and will work with new member educators to discuss bystander interventions and safety, according to Rizzo.

Rizzo said Lopez put a “tremendous amount of time and effort” into organizing and leading the program and that “students have been in the driving seat” of the Network.

“From brainstorming possible structures of the Network to proofreading presentations and identifying other staff to contact, I was really just there to offer feedback and support the direction of the project,” Rizzo said.

Rizzo added that he hopes to see collaboration between sororities in future social events and fundraising efforts.

“The true test of this project will be the extent to which sorority women utilize this network,” Rizzo said.

– By Lydia O’Neal