Bonny Shade works to ensure all University fraternity and sorority members have a sustainable, healthy and amazing collegiate experience. As associate director for fraternity and sorority life, Shade is a member of a unit that works closely with students who participate in campus Greek life. UNC Charlotte students can join any of the nearly 400 student organizations on campus; however, approximately 6 percent of the student body are members of a fraternity or sorority.
As a member of Zeta Tau Alpha, an international women’s fraternity, Shade understands firsthand the impact that Greek life can have on students.
“Being a first-generation student, building relationships was the best way for me to understand what the college experience was about,” Shade said. “When I started getting involved, it became one of those experiences that shaped me into the woman that I am today.”
With a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in creative writing and education from Florida Gulf Coast University, Shade taught high school courses in biology, integrated math and science and marine biology for one year before completing a master’s degree in higher education at Bowling Green State University. Her focus was in college student personnel.
“I was speaking to my mentor, trying to figure out what exactly was student affairs and what were the issues I wanted to solve,” she said. “I knew my passion for higher education came from fraternities and sororities.”
According to Shade, Greek life at UNC Charlotte works to empower students.
“Fraternities make men better men, and sororities make women better women,” Shade stated. “Fraternities and sororities are deeper than the social element that we see in the news so much. Women coming together to support other women around core moral values and beliefs is a powerful thing. Our male organizations do the same thing.”
Shade, who has been at UNC Charlotte for five years, values the diversity of Niner Nation.
“UNC Charlotte was the first place that felt like home,” she stated. “There is so much diversity and energy breathed into the city that bleeds into the University.”
To best serve the University’s growing student population, Shade believes that strong relationships among different resources across campus are essential. “Our students add to the culture that is UNC Charlotte, and people do themselves a disservice when they fail to recognize that.”
During her free time, Shade enjoys exploring Uptown with her partner and two dogs. She also travels around the country as a professional speaker and chief culture officer with ForCollegeForLife, an organization that provides educational and professional development offerings to colleges. Shade’s topics include sexual assault prevention and education, building community and women’s empowerment.
This article originally appeared in Inside UNC Charlotte.