If you were to describe your dream job, dealing with thousands of sorority girls, angry parents and crisis management for 18-to 22-year-olds probably wouldn’t come to mind. However, for Auburn’s Director of Greek Life Jill Moore Martin these characteristics are part of her everyday life, and she loves it.
Since taking the position in 2013, Martin has been in charge of overseeing all major Greek life functions for Auburn. She is also involved in crisis response to situations like the death of a member, hazing complaints and suspension of a sorority or fraternity.
“I am involved in disciplinary actions,” Martin says. “If a complaint is brought against a group, I’m often the one who has to decide: Do we investigate it? Do we report it to their headquarters? How do we move forward?”
Martin often finds that blame for a Greek organization’s suspension falls on her. Though these actions are rare and are often the result of repeated violations of Auburn’s standards, some parents and alumni have proven to be irrational in their responses.
“At times I’m like a lifeguard overlooking everything, and if an angry parent is flopping and flailing in the water you can’t let them bring you down too,” Martin says. “I have to allow them to calm down and then try to help them understand the situation.”
Dealing with angry parents have become a routine part of Martin’s job: especially when it comes to sorority recruitment. Martin has been threatened with lawsuits, media attention and the removal of her position. One parent even threatened to stop giving donations to Auburn because his daughter did not get the sorority she wanted. Another compared her daughter’s withdrawal from recruitment as being equivalent to death.
Most people would find dealing with such overbearing characters to be emotionally wearing, but Martin is able to find humor in it.
Despite criticism from upset parents, Martin’s dedication to the men and women in the Greek community won her recognition in the form of a $2,000 scholarship presented in her honor. The Jill Moore Martin Endowed Scholarship is given to a Panhellenic woman who displays financial need. She describes the surprise as one of the most memorable moments of her career.
“I realize that things get blamed on me, and I’d rather the sororities hate me instead of each other,” Martin says. “But that felt like at least somebody noticed that I’m trying to do something good, and it was really awesome.”
Martin’s role as the blame-taker has done little to diminish her reputation in the Greek community. She is highly regarded for her outgoing personality and has been known as a “fireball” since her first Panhellenic position as an Auburn undergrad.
“I love working with students in December and helping them gain the confidence to do their jobs,” she says. “I love seeing the learning and seeing the end of the year compared to the beginning of the year.”
Despite the angry parents, crisis management responsibilities and lawsuit threats, Martin continues to show an admirable passion for her position and the students she works with. Perhaps director of Greek life does not describe your dream job, but if you ask Martin she’ll say with a bright smile, “My job is so much fun!”