Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Planning Process for NHPW

Two students reflect on the planning process for Lehigh's observance of National Hazing Prevention Week, September 28 - October 2, 2009.

Planning National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW) wasn't a simple task. With help from many of our peers and advisors, we spent a lot of time researching NHPW, including the programming and events that other universities do on their campuses during the week. It was important to choose programming that would be relevant and effective for the Lehigh culture, and our planning committee took this into account. The last thing we wanted to do was to utilize scare tactics or outdated programming. We thought that an interactive speaker focusing on a proactive approach to hazing prevention would be best received on campus, so after some negotiation with outside sources, we were able to finally decide on Hank Nuwer. Hank is nationally recognized for his ability to connect with students. Additionally, Hank had previously visited campus and was extremely well-received, which made our decision to invite him even easier. Aside from choosing Hank, we also very selectively chose promotional materials. We chose "Hidden Harm" posters that would relate to the situations of students at the University and would be noticeable around campus. Similarly, we chose buttons and ribbons that students will appreciate and wear in support of NHPW. Through planning NHPW, we were able to identify countless hazing prevention programming ideas to use at Lehigh. We hope to offer more programming throughout the academic year, even after NHPW has passed.

Rae Williams, '10, Panhellenic Council VP Judicial

Planning and facilitating National Hazing Prevention Week has been a very interesting experience over the past few weeks. Other than working on the general organization of the week and administrative tasks, it has given me a chance to reflect on the issues surrounding hazing and how it is pertinent to the Lehigh culture. The planning process provided the opportunity to reflect on my Lehigh career and my own personal views on hazing. I certainly learned a great deal more about the subject and its implications, as well as gained the opportunity to discuss the issues with a variety of peers and administrators in settings rarely available. I hope that students from around campus will benefit from the activities scheduled this week and, if nothing else, take the opportunity to reflect on how hazing has played a role in their own lives and perhaps use this week as a stepping stone for the future.
Avi Lessner, '10, Interfraternity Council Judicial Chair

Monday, September 28, 2009

Upcoming Events

Write these dates on your calendar and plan to be there!

National Hazing Prevention Week - Keynote Address
Hank Nuwer - Hazing in Society
Wednesday, 9/30
7pm in PA 101

Interfraternity & Panhellenic Council's
Meet the Greeks
Wednesday, 10/7
5:30-7:30pm in Lamberton

Campus Safety Week
Monday, 10/12 - Friday, 10/16

Panhellenic Council's
Sorority Open Houses
Tuesday, 10/13 & Thursday, 10/15

Greek Alumni Council
Fall Meeting
Sunday, 10/18
10am-2pm, Rauch

Panhellenic Pink Week
Monday, 10/19 - Friday, 10/23

Upcoming Greek event that you would like to see posted? Email mim408@lehigh.edu with the details!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Phi Sigma Kappa Convention Honor

By Kevin Abel, '11

My summer was almost half complete when I received a call from Lehigh's former Director of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs, Michael Carey, now the Executive Director of Phi Sigma Kappa. The call was simple, and yet confusing. He asked me to be a member of the Nominations Committee at the upcoming Phi Sigma Kappa Convention in Boston, MA. The first confusion was to the meaning of my involvement in this new task. Was this a joke? Was this committee involved in anything actually relevant?

As it turns out, the Nominations Committee is the most prestigious committee in all of Phi Sigma Kappa. It is the group of brothers that determines, out of many qualified candidates, who is to be in the slate of candidates for Grand President and Grand Council Directors. These being the two most important positions in the entire fraternity, I knew that my position would somehow be relevant.

The other obvious question was: why, over everyone else in the fraternity, would our International Headquarters choose me? Was it because I was randomly chosen? Was it because I was so loyal? (I mean, I have been a lifelong Orioles fan, but I seriously doubt that would help.) Most likely, it was our lovely Accreditation system that helped to show that our individual chapter was a terrific representation of not only Lehigh University and Phi Sigma Kappa, but the fraternity system as a whole. (I believe the Accreditation Committee should give us Gold this year purely based on that answer.)

Regardless, it was my job to positively influence the success of the fraternity. Unfortunately for me, I found out once I arrived at Convention that this committee is known as the most difficult, intensive, and important committee in the fraternity because of the vast influence that it had on the fraternity's future. It was an enormous honor, but I hadn't seen who I was working with yet. Those who composed the committee were past Grand Presidents, Grand Council Members, Medallion of Merit recipients (the highest honor of Phi Sigma Kappa), and alumni who not only remain dedicated to the fraternity, but were founding fathers of their respective chapters. And now realize that there were only seven of us. I was definitely the odd man out.

There were many hours of interviews. There were multiple hours of deliberation. I missed several fraternity-organized events and quality programming. It was all worth it.

I not only learned about our personal international fraternity system, but I met and became friends with extremely dedicated brothers. I began to see the true meaning of fraternity and what my place in it was. The fraternity is larger than any individual, and the greater good of the brotherhood is what should prevail over everything else.

Choosing between the candidates was difficult, but in the end we nominated three qualified Grand Council Directors and re-nominated the current Grand President. As tough as it was to choose the four men out of the entire group of qualified brothers, I was amazed at how brilliantly every brother on the committee came together. Whether it was talking about nominees or talking about our respective chapter over lunch (purchased by the alumni on the committee, of course), we remembered why we became Phi Sigs in the first place.

With the Convention wrapping up, free shirts give out (once again courtesy of the alumni on the committee), and the slate of nominees accepted, the only last thing to do was to join together in one last truth: we were all damn proud to be Phi Sigs!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Students Attend UIFI

This past summer, seven Lehigh Greeks attended sessions of the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. UIFI, sponsored by the North-American Interfraternity Conference, is a 5-day experience designed to challenge participants to explore, define, and enhance their leadership skills, personal awareness, commitment to their fraternity or sorority, and grow to expect values-based action from themselves and those they lead. Throughout the weeks ahead, we will be featuring testimonials from several of the students that attended this summer's UIFI sessions.

Steph Albano, Alpha Gamma Delta

Attending UIFI gave me a unique chance to share ideas with Greeks across the country. We had structured group meetings that taught us important information about hazing and the general perceptions of the Greek community, as well as informal conversations with students in positions similar to ours that gave us the chance to hash out our ideas, goals, and dreams. I learned how to not only improve my chapter through philanthropy, alumnae relations, and ritual events, but also how to improve the Lehigh Greek community as a whole by proving the negative stereotypes to be false. However, the most important thing I learned at UIFI was having Greek pride: that no matter how bad the stereotypes are, how many times select individuals mess up, or how many problems we face, we are a community united by fraternity and ritual - and that is something worth fighting for.

Steph and her UIFI small group

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Reflections on the Greek Leadership Convention

Two student members of the Greek Leadership Convention planning committee reflect on their experiences leading up to, and including, the event on September 12th.

Emily Rojer, Kappa Alpha Theta

Planning the Greek Leadership Convention was an awesome experience. The other three students who were chosen were all friendly and had great ideas, and it was great having each of us be from a different chapter, to get the broadest range of perspectives. We all also came in with different leadership roles and experiences, which helped us to really incorporate topics relevant to Lehigh Greek leaders today, as well as take into account things we liked or disliked most from other leadership conferences. Also, it gave me an opportunity to get to know the GLCs, especially Michelle and Jessica, better. Having this experience made me very interested in being on Panhel next year, and hopefully getting to work more with the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs. They're a great group of people who really care about making Lehigh Greek life the best it can be, and I would like to continue to be a part of that.

Kyle Schreiner, Sigma Phi Epsilon

Looking back to the Greek Leadership Retreat from 2008, the student committee saw many areas in which the program could be improved. Two of the most noticeable were the name change from "Retreat" to "Convention", as well as the location change from our own campus to DeSales University. Now that the experience has reached a full circle and there is no more planning to be had, I am proud to say that I think that we made some improvements. One of the personal goals that I had as part of the committee was to give attendees the opportunity to meet other Greek students in similar leadership positions to their own. I believe that we were able to achieve that, as I saw many different students conversing with others throughout the day. I heard some great conversations taking place throughout the various sessions, ranging from relationship issues to perception of older/younger members to goal setting. Overall, I think that the day was a success and all that attended the Convention were able to get something out of it.

A special thank you to Emily & Kyle, along with Meaghan Phipps (Alpha Gamma Delta) and Bob Malys (Psi Upsilon) for all their hard work on the planning committee!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lehigh plans for National Hazing Prevention Week

The Lehigh University Greek community will sponsor National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW), September 28 - October 2, 2009. NHPW is celebrated at college campuses across the nation to educate and promote awareness, training, and intervention on ways to confront and address hazing as a barrier to a respectful campus community.

The highlight of Lehigh's NHPW will be a keynote address by renowned author, scholar, and expert on the topic of hazing and bystander intervention - Hank Nuwar. Set for Wednesday, September 30 at 7pm in Packard 101, Nuwar will give his powerful presentation, "Hazing in Society: Athletics/Sorority/Fraternity/High School".

Nuwar has authored four books on hazing, with two more close to completion. He has been featured on The Today Show, ESPN Sportscenter, CNN, and Court TV, and in the pages of Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, and the NCAA News.

Additionally, the Interfraternity, Multicultural Greek, and Panhellenic Councils will sponsor NHPW activities including:
  • Tabling in the University Center with buttons, flyers, and advertisements related to hazing prevention and Nuwar's keynote
  • Hidden Harm posters and information
  • Banners with hazing facts
  • Availability of Bystander Intervention training to chapters, athletic teams, and student organizations

For more information on National Hazing Prevention Week, please contact Veronica Hunter at vmh207@lehigh.edu.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lehigh Alum Joins SigEp HQ Staff

By Mitch Goldich, '09

Shortly after graduating from Lehigh last May, I began working for Sigma Phi Epsilon's Headquarters as a Regional Director. The position began with a two month training program in Richmond, VA before I hit the road as a traveling consultant for the fraternity. Now I oversee 24 chapters in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

I work with alumni, volunteers, undergrads, and university officials to help SigEp chapters improve their operations and serve as leaders on campus. The position focuses mainly on volunteer engagement, recruitment, retention, academics, finances, and housing situations. But rather than advising my chapters over the phone, I'm constantly traveling to see them. I live out of my car, and crash at a new chapter house every couple of nights.

You may be wondering, "What would make somebody want to do that?" Well, I had an incredible experience as an undergrad in SigEp, and it's very rewarding to help ensure that others around the country can enjoy the same opportunities I had.

It's interesting to see that every campus is different, yet they all share a lot in common. Greek communities nationwide are facing the same challenges, in overcoming old stereotypes to promote positive change and serve as leaders on college campuses.

I learned a lot from my experience at Lehigh, which has been valuable to me on the road. By getting involved with the Accreditation process, I had learned to think a lot about not just what my chapter does, but why. This perspective has been crucial to keep in mind as I advise my chapters in the Midwest.

It's a little stressful living out of my car all the time, but it's an adventure that you can only really have when you're 22. And even though I'll be driving more than 20,000 miles this year, it's probably not as bad for my car as four years of driving up and down The Hill, and bottoming out on the speed bumps down Taylor Drive. This job has been an incredible opportunity for me to grow and learn about myself, while helping to give back to others. I'm really excited to be able to share the value of my experience with the Lehigh Greek Community.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Meet the New GLC!

Danny Grzesik
Greek Life Coordinator

Ozone Park, NY

Educational Background:
B.A. Criminal Justice, Quinnipiac University
M.Ed. College Student Personnel, Ohio University

Fraternity Affiliation:
Sigma Phi Epsilon

Professional Highlights:
Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) facilitator
Certified Sigma Phi Epsilon volunteer
Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA) volunteer
Past advisor, Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol (GAMMA)
Areas of Interest: Hazing/sexual assault/substance abuse prevention & education initiatives

Why did you decide to pursue a career in fraternity and sorority affairs?
As an undergraduate, I had the unique opportunity to be part of a new brotherhood on campus that pledged to be different. Sigma Phi Epsilon provided me the avenue to become an Orientation Leader, Resident Assistant, IFC Vice-President, Admissions Volunteer, and to attend multiple leadership development activities throughout my four years in college. The faculty and staff valued relationships, were very supportive of student leaders, and challenged us not to maintain the status quo. I was fortunate enough to have a Greek advisor who I was able to learn so much from, and she now someone I consider my professional mentor. The Greek experience made me the individual that I am today and I can't imagine myself doing anything else other than working with tomorrow's community leaders.
What do you hope to do during your time at Lehigh University?
I hope to help students connect their undergraduate involvement to their future careers and to help them value their fraternity and sorority experience for years to come.
What has been your impression of the Lehigh Greek Community so far?
The Greek community is full of students that are involved outside their individual organizations. The students value scholarship, participating in intramurals, community service, and philanthropy events, and taking care of each other.
Welcome to Lehigh, Danny!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fraternity Member Interns for Psi Upsilon

By Robert Malys, '11

When I heard back from Psi Upsilon's International Office in Indianapolis about my summer internship, I became eager and excited over what the next two weeks would bring. The fraternity had just contacted me about an application I sent in about a month before for an opportunity to serve as an intern and help with the daily duties in the International Office. I soon received the information on my plane ticket and was told that I would be living upstairs in the office in a section furnished as an apartment.

Upon arrival in Indiana, Tom Fox, Psi Upsilon's Director of Chapter Services, gave me a quick tour of some of the different offices for Greek organizations operating in Indianapolis. The city passed legislation offering tax breaks to non-profit organizations, which drew many fraternities and sororities to relocate to Indiana years ago. I felt welcomed at Psi Upsilon's office immediately when I walked in and looked up to see a painting modeled after our membership badge on the wall. I slowly took a tour of the office, trying to take it all in. I was surrounded by the original constitution laying down the structure and values of Psi Upsilon, membership badges of our fraternity's founders, and other interesting artifacts that played an integral role in some portion of Psi Upsilon's history.

It soon came time to begin the work I came to Psi Upsilon to complete so I moved to my office. During the course of my two weeks there, I worked on several different projects. Nearly every Greek organization has booklets to advise the appropriate chapter officers concerning new member education, finances, academics, etc. It was my task to read through the different literature Psi Upsilon has produced on the subject and to edit the texts while making new additions and restructuring it. I also worked hard to make sure that all of the documents necessary for our annual convention were flawless and presentable for the brothers who would be in attendance. I worked on several other tasks, one of which included researching universities according to different criteria to evaluate the possibility of founding colonies and expanding. Along with this I offered a report on changes to be made to Psi Upsilon's website to make it more accessible and relevant to undergrads who are members or those who may be looking for the right fraternity to sponsor the new colony they wish to create. During my free time I searched through the archives and recovered some interesting histories, documents, and correspondence from the earliest years of Eta, Lehigh University's Psi Upsilon chapter.

I gained more than just work experience while at Psi Upsilon; I earned an appreciation for the hours of hard work on the corporate level which makes Greek life possible for undergrads across the globe. On my various projects I had the opportunity to work with Executive Director Mark Williams, Mariann Williams, the Director of the Psi Upsilon Foundation and Alumni Services, and Tom Fox, Director of Chapter Services. It is important to understand that some organizations have many more employees while Psi Upsilon's daily business is executed by three people. Working in the office side by side with them taught me what true dedication to the fraternity meant and has inspired me to stay involved as an alumni in the years ahead.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lehigh's Award Winning Chapters

Each summer at fraternity and sorority inter/national conventions and conclaves, the best of the best chapters are recognized for their outstanding achievements over the past one to two years. In addition to Lehigh's comprehensive Accreditation process, many of our chapters completed similar processes for their inter/national organizations, often receiving awards as a result of their hard work and commitment to the values and ideals of their fraternity or sorority.

We're proud to announce that this summer three Lehigh chapters were recognized as a top chapter in their respective inter/national organizations - Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Congratulations on this outstanding achievement and thank you for representing the Lehigh Greek community so well!

Included below is a list of all Lehigh chapters that received recognition from their inter/national organizations this summer. Please note that not all inter/national organizations distributed awards this summer, as some occur on a biennium basis and will be awarded again in 2010.

Alpha Omicron Pi sorority
  • Jessie Wallace Hughan Cup (chapter of the year)
  • Academic Development Cup
  • Alumnae Advisory Committee Performance Certificate
  • Campus Total Honor Roll
  • Contingency Management
  • Corporation Board Performance Certificate
  • Initiation Honor Roll
  • Membership Recruitment & Retention
  • Philos Award
  • Ruby Award

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

  • Undergraduate Chapter of the Year

Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity

  • Member Recruitment Award
  • Campus Involvement Award

Phi Kappa Theta fraternity

  • George Uihlein Alumni Engagement Award
  • Michael T. McSweeney Leadership Development Award - Honorable Mention

Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity

  • President's Special Achievement Awards in:
  • Scholarship
  • Philanthropy
  • Campus Involvement
  • Recruitment
  • New Member Education

Psi Upsilon fraternity

  • Clasped Hand Award for Outstanding Philanthropy & Service
  • Award of Distinction - for benefit concert to aid the Alpha Omicron chapter house fire

Sigma Chi fraternity

  • Significant Sig Achievement Award - Bobby Buckheit '09

Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity

  • Buchanan Cup (chapter of the biennium)
  • Phi Beta Kappa Wheelhouse Award
  • Recruitment Cup
  • Manpower Award
  • GPA Award

Theta Chi fraternity

  • Chapter Achievement Awards in:
  • Recruitment Programming
  • New Member/Member Education Programming
  • Community Service & Philanthropy Programming
  • Alumni Programming
  • Chapter Finances
  • The Ritual
  • Chapter Operations
  • Theta Chi Procedures & Involvement
  • Campus Involvement
  • Risk Management Practices
  • Social Programming

Theta Xi fraternity

  • Accreditation Recognition Award
  • Superior Academic Achievement Award
  • Outstanding Recruitment Award

Congratulations to all of Lehigh's award-winning fraternities and sororities! Keep up the great work!