The Tufts Risk Management Assistance Team (RMAT), founded by the 2015-2016 Interfraternity Council (IFC), is undergoing changes to expand its reach and to improve its ability to keep students safe at Greek events, according to IFC President and RMAT co-founder Alex Spring.
RMAT is opening its membership to all Inter-Greek Council (IGC) organizations, meaning that sorority members will now be able to participate in the program. Members of all Greek organizations who want to volunteer for RMAT will be able to do so after attending training sessions, according to Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Su McGlone.
“The IFC chapters will still be the core group participating, and individuals who are part of organizations in the other councils will also have an opportunity to sign up to volunteer now,” McGlone said.
McGlone said that by expanding volunteer positions to all IGC organizations, RMAT hopes to create a more diverse and inclusive volunteer base that is better equipped to identify and handle a variety of potentially risky situations.
“With RMAT being represented only with IFC chapters, volunteers are majority men,” McGlone told the Daily in an email. “Now that all members of all IGC organizations can volunteer, the hope is that they will be able to provide more extensive and supportive assistance by having all genders represented.”
She added that RMAT hopes to one day allow all students, not just members of Greek organizations, to participate in the program.
Spring, a senior, also noted that RMAT recognized the importance of having volunteers of both genders present at social events, who may notice different risk scenarios. He said that RMAT hopes to have a few female volunteers present at every RMAT-registered social event in addition to the members of the fraternity hosting the event.
“RMAT received critiques upon its inception that a risk management team comprised entirely of males may come with limitations,” Spring said. “It’s our hope that with the involvement of women, partygoers who may not have been comfortable approaching a fraternity member may now feel more comfortable approaching a female. Furthermore, it is our hope that female RMAT members may see risk involved scenarios in a different light.”
Senior Gabbi Fenaroli, IGC President, was enthusiastic about RMAT’s expansion, noting that the inclusion of women in the program would help to make it more accessible.
“I think [women’s involvement] is a step in the right direction of making campus safety a number one priority for ALL greek organizations, not just fraternities,” Fenaroli told the daily in an electronic message.
At the beginning of each semester, RMAT assigns each chapter certain weekends during which it is responsible for providing volunteers at RMAT-registered parties, according to McGlone. In addition, McGlone said all volunteers are required to attend training sessions held at the beginning of each semester.
McGlone, who serves as the primary advisor to both the IFC and RMAT, said that RMAT was formed not as a replacement for risk management for each individual fraternity chapter, but as a supplement to it.
“[RMAT] came about in an effort to help all fraternities improve their overall risk management at parties, recognizing that having more eyes and ears available to help at parties would be a huge benefit. Once [RMAT volunteers] are at the party, they are required to wear the uniform shirt, remain sober the entire time and provide active bystander interventions whenever necessary,” McGlone said.
Spring explained that the team was formed as a way of taking a preventative, rather than a reactive, approach to risk management.
“The main purpose is to serve as an extra set of eyes and ears, in addition to the chapter’s own risk management protocols,” Spring said. “The idea of having members of the community in bright green shirts is also to make our Greek spaces inviting for those not in Greek life, and to make those who visit our houses feel comfortable should they have a concern.”
Since its formation last November, RMAT has provided its services at over 15 IFC-registered events and was the recipient of the 2016 Northeast Greek Leadership Association Award for Risk Reduction, according an April article in the Daily.
Spring said that data from the past year indicates that RMAT has been an effective force in preventing problems associated with Greek sponsored events.
“Judicial data from the Student Affairs Office has shown that since RMAT was created, there has been a significant drop in judicial violations and medical transports related to Greek life,” Spring said.
Spring added that RMAT’s goal was to eventually expand off-campus and allow students hosting parties and events to register with them as well. He said that the the team would continue to focus on further on-campus expansion before that happens, noting that RMAT has since been present at non-Greek life events like the Tufts University Social Collective (TUSC) Senior Oktoberfest in addition to Greek events.