The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursrav Novemhr 13 0.2006 - 7A
From page IA
But he cautioned students to take
the test as soon as they felt ready.
"Keep in mind that it does hurt
students to take the MCAT later,"
Gay said. "Taking the test at the
last minute could be detrimental to
a student's acceptance at top-rated
Students said they appreciate the
additional testing dates. Taking the
MCAT in April has conflicted with
students' regular course loads in
"I plan on taking the MCAT
in mid-May," Kinesiology junior
Megan Colella said. "Taking the
test then will prevent me from hav-
ing to worry about taking finals at
the same time."
The digital format means stu-
dents will get theirtestresults twice
as quickly. With the old MCAT,
scores took 60 days to arrive. Now
students only need wait 30.
Gay said the change will make it
easier for medical schools to pro-
cess the results quicker, which will
make the admissions process much
"The new MCAT is much more
cost-effective," said Jeffrey Mean-
za, director of graduate programs
for the Princeton Review. "It
spreads out the volume of test tak-
ers and makes it easier to avoid the
While virtually no changes are
being made to the content of the
MCAT, students still worry about
the new format.
"It's nice to have a shorter exam,
but I am concerned with having to
look at a computer screen for five
hours," Colella said.
Gay recommended that students
prepare for the change of format.
He said a portion of preparation
time should be dedicated to taking
practice tests on the computer.
"Students don't want to be ner-
vous going into the test," he said.
"They should be prepared for how
the test will look, what will happen
if they want to change an answer and
how to transition between screens."
Test preparation services like the
Princeton Review are supplement-
ing their review sessions to accom-
modate the new format. Meanza
said his company will still offer the
same test preparation program, but
some of the practice tests will intro-
duce students to the new format.
Gay said factors such as volunteer
work and extracurricular activities
were still essential for awell-round-
ed application to medical school.
The new MCAT should accelerate
the admissions process, but it won't
change at least one thing.
"I don't think the new MCAT will
increase or diminish the impor-
tance of the MCAT in the admis-
sions process," he said.
From page IA
to usher in a new era of campus
diversity: a white native of West
Bloomfield, he wore a backward
Michigan baseball cap, a polo shirt
and a single earring in his left lobe
during an interview last week.
But that's the role he has found
Last Monday, Averbuch was
inaugurated as president of the
Interfraternity Council, the Univer-
sity's largest governing Greek body.
Over the next year, he will direct
the council through the aftermath
of Proposal 2, a ballot initiative that
banned the use of affirmative action
by public institutions in Michigan.
The passage of similar initiatives
in Washington and California has
led to dramatic declines in minority
enrollment at those states' flagship
Two days before he took office,
Averbuch reflected on the Halloween
party's success in the dim orange light
of the Michigan Union basement.
"All of our big parties in the past
have been the same," he said. "A lot
of people, dancing-it was like going
through the routines. When there's
new people, people get excited to go
out and make a new friend."
He sat about 15 feet away from
the area in the Union that many
call the "Black Hole" because of its
perceived status as a meeting place
for black students.
"Even though we're diverse,
people think there's a lot of segre-
gation," Averbuch said. But events
like the last month's party, he said,
can fix that.
"It's like integration," he said.
"(People no longer say) it's one
group of people over here, and one
group of people over here."
In an interview two weeks ear-
lier, Seriguchi was more explicit.
"The thing is that minor-
ity groups here tend to stay with
each other," he said. "It's sort of a
hesitant attitude on their part to
expand their horizons. I think the
Greeks could play a larger role in
The affirmative action ban has
made these issues more immediate.
"It's crunch time now, game
time," Seriguchi said, leaning for-
ward in his seat. "People are seeing
that now we definitely have a real
thing against us."
A BRIEF HISTORY
No matter how good the inten-
tions, cross-council coordination
can be a thorny task.
Since the University's first two
fraternities were founded in 1845,
the Greek system has evolved into a
complex and layered institution.
Today, it includes nearly 60
chapters and more than 2,000
At its head are four councils, each
defined by a specific set of chapters,
mission statements and goals.
Council and the Panhellenic Asso-
ciation are the largest. Together,
they encompass the majority-white
fraternities and sororities whose
large houses populate the east and
west borders of campus.
As late as 1959, some IFC frater-
nities had constitutional clauses
barring members of certain races.
The Multicultural Greek Council
is the newest. Its University branch
was founded in2002. Itnowconsists
of culture-specific fraternities and
sororities with such as Lambda Phi
Epsilon, an Asian-interest house.
Apart from their smaller size,
MGC chapters differ mostly in
their recruiting efforts, said Sejal
Tailor, the group's president.
While IFC and Panhell directly
oversee their houses' recruitment,
multicultural chapters prescribe to
more individualized guidelines and
The smallest and most fre-
quently misunderstood council is
Seriguchi's National Pan-Hellenic
Council, which existed as the Black
Greek Association until 2003.
On a national level, NPHC was
founded in 1930 on the campus of
the historically black Howard Uni-
versity in Washington. It united five
historically black Greek houses.
Over the next 70 years, it added
four more, forming what the group
calls the "Divine Nine."
"We all have the same purpose,
in a sense: to uplift our communi-
ty," said Tony Saunders, president
of the University's branch.
The need for campus support is
less visible than it was when Alpha
Phi Alpha, the council's first chap-
ter, was founded on Cornell's cam-
pus in 1906 inresponseto lynchings
and beatings of blacks, he said. But
it does persist.
"We still see the struggles (black
students) face in terms of a support
system on campus,"he said. "There's
definitely still a hole there."
Because the council emphasizes
history and requires a time com-
mitment on par with that of a four-
credit class, its chapters are usually
include 10 to 14 members, most of
"Ninety-nine percent of the time
it will be majority African-Ameri-
cans, due to people's fathers or
grandfathers or grandmothers who
were part of the council," Saunders
said. "The history relates to them
directly, so they feel more of an
attachment to it than others might."
Despite their culture-specific
focuses, University policy prohib-
its MGC and NPHC chapters from
discriminating on the basis of race
But even ifthey could, executives
said, they wouldn't. Most chapters
consider fostering diversity a cen-
tral tenet of their missions.
"We don't want people to feel
weird, like we're not approach-
able," Saunders said. "Historically,
we're African American; however,
we want to serve the campus com-
munity as a whole."
Tailor, a member of a tradition-
ally South Asian sorority, agreed.
"There was a white girl in my
sorority," she said. "It doesn't matter."
When the four councils mesh,
it is usually on the fourth floor of
the Union in the cramped office of
Amid countless lettered banners
and brochures, fundraisers are
planned, volunteers are coordinat-
ed and friendships are forged.
This is the hub of campus Greek
From a shared office, Mary
Beth Seiler and Chris Haughee,
the director and assistant director
of Greek Life, advise recruitment
efforts, maintain alumni connec-
tions and channel the unending
stream of Greek issues.
With them, B.J. Harmon, a third-
year law student, specifically advises
the MGC and the NPHC. As anunder-
graduate at Columbia University he
was a member of an NPHC chapter
and helped establish that school's
Multicultural Greek Council.
For Greeks, the office is like a
bridge to the University. It con-
nects them to it, but it doesn't con-
trol their activities.
During an interview two weeks
ago, Seiler held a neat yellow legal
pad fullofbulleted talkingpoints.She
was eager to discuss her office's role
in helping bridge cultural divides.
"I've always felt that our Greek
community can be the model for
diversity on this campus," she said.
But real progress has been limited
to recent years.
"It really wasn't until we got this
space up here on the fourth floor
(seven years ago) that we really
started functioning together as a
Greek community," she said.
It was then that the University
started providing its standard ben-
efits package to council advisers.
Until then, they had been compen-
sated entirely by alumni donations
and students' membership dues.
The move signaled a shift in
Greeks' role on campus, Seiler
said. It acknowledged them as a
legitimate entity and lent the sys-
Along with a new sense ofrespon-
sibility to the University, the sepa-
rate councils now shared physical
space. Proximity bred familiarity.
"If you start to see yourself as a
community when you first join, it's
only goingto get better," Seiler said.
When students interact on a per-
sonal level, barriers crumble, Seiler
said. Her office seeks to encourage
this. But still, she said, it is up to the
students how and when they want
Forcing partnerships and inter-
action would take away from the
individualistic nature of the coun-
cils, a vital aspect of Greek life,
"That would be trying to make
everyone the same," she said. "We
don't do that."
Still, the Greek system isn't sat-
isfied with the status quo.
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(March 21 to April 19)
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