Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Frat Stars and Mean Girls

Frat Stars and Mean Girls: Courageous Conversations about Gender in the Fraternal Experience
Hey, you there - big things are coming this spring and you can be a part of the action!  Read on to find out about an innovative and engaging opportunity the OFSA and OSLD are collaborating on to bring to you:

What is this opportunity you’re alluding to?  
A new Courageous Conversation opportunity!  This isn’t your usual program, though.  We’re looking for a select group of students interested in participating in a bi-weekly seminar devoted to exploring and examining the topic of gender and its influences on the fraternity/sorority experience.

Why Would I Be Interested In This? 
...Maybe the better question is, why wouldn't you be interested??
If you’re interested in discussing what it means to be a “real man” or “real woman”, learning more about how gender is defined in our society, and how this shows up and influences your fraternity or sorority experience, then this is for you!! Not to mention, you get the opportunity to spend more time with Brigette and Carter since they’ll be leading the seminar!

Okay sure, but what will I actually get out of it?
We know you’re busy and we value your time! Here’s what we’re hoping you’ll gain from this experience:
      You’ll build relationships with members from different chapters of the fraternity/sorority community
      You’ll learn more and discuss the role, influence, and impact of gender in fraternities and sororities, including topics like:
      The development of gender identities and innate vs learned behaviors, norms, customs, and expectations
      Intersections with other social identities such as sexual orientation and race/ethnicity
      Impacts of privilege and oppression within the context of gender
      Gender-based violence and harm, particularly within social settings
      You’ll engage in courageous conversations about topics above, to explore and deconstruct how gender-based experiences are informed and impacted by fraternities and sororities.
      You’ll become a more effective inclusive leader within the fraternity/sorority and Lehigh community.

Cool!  What else do I need to know?  There will be two cohorts, one of masculine-identified folks, and one of feminine-identified folks, which will allow for opportunities to discuss real experiences without fear of shame or judgment from others.  While the two cohorts are distinct and will often meet separately, there will also be opportunities for the cohorts to engage together in intergroup dialogue. These ongoing discussions will culminate in a capstone project of the participants’ choosing.

I'm In!  How Do I Apply?
Just follow this link to fill out the interest form by Friday, January 27. Once all submissions have been reviewed, we’ll follow up with you to let you know the status of your participation!

Wait… I still have questions! If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please direct them to Carter Gilbert at cag414@lehigh.edu and/or Brigette Gardner at bcg216@lehigh.edu.

*Note: this new program will be open to members of the fraternity and sorority community for this pilot semester.  Future semesters may include opportunities to engage with members of the campus community.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Opportunity to Attend National Fraternal Leadership Conference

OFSA/OSLD is eager to announce the opening of applications for fraternity/sorority current or up-and-coming leaders to attend a national leadership conference this February in Indianapolis, IN!  

What is it?  The AFLV-Central conference takes place every year in the spring, bringing together nearly 3,000 participants to engage in learning and skill development related to fraternal leadership.  This year Lehigh is excited to be joining that national group and will be taking a small delegate to attend the conference from February 2-5, 2017.

Who should attend?  Current sophomores or juniors (or non-graduating seniors) who are seeking to enhance their leadership knowledge and skills, to become more effective leaders for the fraternity/sorority and campus community.  Particular consideration will be given to those with intentions to serve the fraternity/sorority community from a community leadership role (governing councils, GEM, etc.).

How is it funded?  Though this opportunity costs ~$800 per person, most costs are generously covered by the governing councils and DOS offices.  Because of the significant financial investment, we are asking each student to submit a $100 deposit* to confirm their spot, which will be refunded at the end of the trip.
*Cost should not deter applications - if you have concern about affording the deposit, please reach out to me and we can discuss alternative arrangements and sponsorship opportunities.

What should I do now?  Apply!  Or spread the word by sharing this post - remember that it's especially impactful when you share with a peer that you think they are a great leader and would enjoy/benefit from this experience. 

Application link: Click here for the form.
Please submit your interest as soon as possible; by 1/16 at noon, at the latest!
Applicants will be notified of their status by 1/18.

More information about the conference: AFLV Website

Questions?  Contact Carter Gilbert, Assistant Director of Greek Leadership Development, cag414@lehigh.edu  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Feature Friday: Breezy Maravich, Gamma Phi Beta

Our first Greek student-athlete Feature Friday, Breezy Maravich of Gamma Phi Beta!

As a student-athlete on the women’s tennis team and member of the Greek community, I have been lucky to gain life experiences and knowledge through multiple outlets. Despite having their own unique challenges and rewards, my participation in both groups on campus has given me the ability to be well rounded and learn from many different types of people. There are important skills that I have garnered from being in a sorority that have been beneficial in enhancing my career as an athlete. There are also many ways that my role on a division one team has helped me bring a different perspective to my chapter. One of the most important skills that I have received from being on a sports team is leadership and being able to interact with and get along with differing personalities. My team is very diverse and being with them daily through challenges and successes has taught me how to be inclusive of everyone and find ways to connect with every person on my team. This has allowed me to be able to forge connections with the girls in my chapter, despite having different schedules, interests, and personalities.
            Greek life has been influential in showing me the importance of philanthropy. Being a part of many of these philanthropic events has encouraged me to try to use my position as an athlete to access a range of different people and get them involved in giving back to our community. I have supported Lehigh athletics by being on the Adopt-a-family committee to help with fundraising for underprivileged families to provide them gifts and essentials for the holiday season. I also try to find ways to have my team show its support for other important causes like raising awareness for Breast Cancer.

Most importantly, being a member of both of these influential organizations has pushed me to go outside of my comfort zone. I have strengthened my ability to be vocal and communicate with others. I have also grown from hearing ideas from other people and strive to make the most out of my four years here at Lehigh.   

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

Feature Friday: Joe Mitri, Sigma Phi Epsilon

Another outstanding Feature Friday post from Joe Mitri, Sigma Phi Epsilon

As I’m going through my last year at Lehigh, I’m trying to take everything as slowly as possible. That’s not to say I’m not ready to move on, but it’s more that I’m so appreciative of the people I’ve met on campus and the experiences I have had that I want to make sure it comes with me as I leave. After I joined my fraternity and completed my first year, I knew I wanted to meet as many people as I could on campus. I wanted to make myself a well-rounded and experienced student who would be ready for anything after college.

I found myself joining student senate and being elected as the treasurer after sophomore year. Joining senate was a big commitment and being treasurer allowed me to develop myself as a leader. During this time, I lived in the chapter house and part of the reason I enjoyed working on senate was it gave me a chance to meet and work with so many other people. I developed some very valuable relationships with people outside, as well as inside, my chapter during that time. The commitment of senate was challenging and finding that balance between Greek Life and my extracurriculars was difficult, but I wouldn’t trade that experience, and what I learned from it, for anything. 

Right before the start of my senior year, I was chosen to be an orientation leader. I can wholeheartedly say that this experience changed my college perspective and my outlook on life. I learned so much about other people and their experiences throughout life, that it changed who I was for the better. Our days were filled with fun, random activities and evenings often included intense discussions that reflected on the hardships people go through every day. Being an orientation leader allowed me to get closer to other people by letting myself go. I’ve never felt more free than when I went through training; free from social pressures, free from judgement, free from the stereotypes that I think Lehigh student create too often.

I try to bring these two main experiences back to my fraternity. I learned how to become an effective, open minded, and inclusive leader through my experiences outside of Greek Life and it was, and still is, difficult to bring it to my chapter, but its not impossible. I think it’s necessary for a better college experience for students to branch out. People are always talking about the Greek bubble and exclusive social atmosphere, but it all starts with people becoming more open to the opportunities that are happening on campus and all around them.