New Fraternity and Sorority Life Director aims to improve Greek life community
UO’s newest Fraternity and Sorority Life Director Caitlin Roberts sits at her desk in the FSL office, already at home in the position she has had for about six weeks. She smiles as she bounces her four-year old son, AJ, in her lap.
The reason for Roberts’ hiring was that the University of Oregon had lost its previous FSL director, Justin Shukas, when he suddenly resigned in the spring to pursue a job in human resources in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Roberts was then hired on Oct. 2.
Her job is mostly to provide structure in the office at the moment, as the staff is relatively new, and to cover the administrative side of the FSL department.
“It’s a great place to start fresh and build this program,” Roberts said.
Being a mother has changed Roberts’ perspective on relationships between life and work. She also feels that she can better relate to the parents of the students involved in FSL life, also called Greek life.
When a student was feeling lonely and left out because she had missed recruitment, her mother reached out to Roberts. It made Roberts think about how she would feel if that was her child.
For Roberts, Greek life has been an important aspect of her own life, even when she was young. Her mother is a member of the sorority Gamma Phi Beta, and her grandfather was part of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
“It was always a part of me,” Roberts said. Roberts herself is a member of the Kappa Delta sorority, joining while in her undergraduate years at California State University in San Bernardino.
From there, Roberts moved on to Pepperdine University to get her master’s degree in psychology.
Since then, Roberts has worked in higher education for 17 years, holding positions at colleges such as Chapman University, Long Beach State University and even the University of Oregon as the panhellenic adviser from 2004 to 2005. Within the past two years, Roberts has also worked at the University of North Georgia.
Most of these jobs were FSL-related, with the exception of Chapman University, where she worked as the alumni relations manager.
Her love of the west coast led her to come back to UO, where she was hired as the FSL Director in October.
“I’ve always had a special place for Oregon in my heart,” Roberts said. “I’ve been a Ducks fan since I was here last. It just really made a lot of sense for us [to come back].”
Roberts’ primary goals for FSL life at UO is to build relationships and strengthen communications within the program.
The FSL Assistant Director, Tayler Marshall, has only been with the program for a year, and the office is looking to hire a second assistant director and an office manager soon.
Roberts says she also wants to work on the emerging multicultural Greek life community at the university.
“My plan is to provide more support to those organizations: get them engaged, and [get them] to grow,” Roberts said.
Roberts faces challenges when it comes to accepting the role of FSL Director but has a positive outlook when it comes to the role.
“[This is] a really exciting time for FSL,” Roberts said.
Follow Kylie Storm on Twitter: @kmstorm99