Friday, April 30, 2010

Senior Reflections - Part 2

By Jessica Gehl, '10, Delta Gamma

When I was looking at prospective colleges, Greek Life was an absolute priority for me. My dad was involved in his Fraternity in college and I loved hearing his stories and meeting his old-frat-buds all grown up with families. Even further, my nanny growing up was my dad’s fraternity chef, Flo. He recruited her when I was born to help my parents who both worked full time. Thus, from the beginning, I knew I liked the world of Greeks.

Lehigh Greek Life is a significant part of the overall campus. Even non- members of sororities or fraternities still are affected and involved in some way, whether it is participating in an activity hosted by Greek life or even roaming The Hill certain nights. It was from this insight freshman year that I decided I wanted to go through formal recruitment. I had an amazing group of friends in my freshman dorm and at a point I wasn’t sure I wanted to extend myself outside of that group. “What the heck”, was the overall thought process that led to one of the best experiences of my life.

I met so many people.

On so many levels.

I have an incredibly close pledge class. We all live on the same block of Hillside as seniors, even the same side of the street. Last night we went out for Hibachi to celebrate Lauren’s birthday- old lady at 22. But in addition to my amazing pledge class and sorority, I met leaders in all extensions of campus. A casual BBQ led to meeting an accounting major (just like me) who could give me advice from being a year wiser. I am SO EXCITED to have friends from different schools visit so I can show off my sorority and my friends through different activities, fundraisers, and social events. Lehigh has been an amazing experience, and the Greek system has obviously contributed a lot to that experience.

We’ve all seen the movies. Animal House and Van Wilder have given a narrow perception of what college and Greek Life are all about. As a na├»ve freshman, of course I expected the same thing. What I would never have believed if you told me, was that by junior year I would be President of my sorority. In fact, I probably would have laughed and skipped away without thinking about it twice. However, when our Nationals wanted to change the election year from school year to calendar year, I stepped up as the transition President, with a promise from everyone in my house to work with me and support me through the term. It was one of the best decisions of my collegiate career. I gained new respect for girls in my house that I knew on a personal basis but not necessarily as a “leader.” I was so refreshed and pleasantly surprised to see my own pledge class support me and the younger girls really step up to grow individually and as a sorority. My advice is to absolutely push yourself as a leader. Take on as much responsibility as you can so that you can be pleasantly surprised like I was. Plus, you’ll expand your network and differentiate yourself even further to impress future employers. The Greek system is a great thing to get involved with, to expand with, and to make even better. You can make a difference, and what a better place to do it than a support system consisting of 40% of the University you love.

Senior Reflections - Part 1

By Brian Weisser, '10, Phi Sigma Kappa

As I prepare to attend my final day of class as a Lehigh undergraduate student, I have to take a moment to reflect on my career here over the past four years. As many of my peers would agree, Lehigh has certainly prepared me very well to take that step outside of academia and into the ‘real world.’ However, I can easily say that knowledge and experience I have gathered has not only come from the classroom, but also from the roles I have assumed in various organizations.

Greek life at Lehigh is an excellent stage for students to develop their leadership skills and build their character. The culture of Lehigh is one that challenges its students to continually grow as a person and strengthen the talents needed to lead a successful career. In addition to that, a leadership role in the Lehigh Greek Community affords students an early experience in managing time, people, and money.

Having been involved with my fraternity’s chapter leadership, IFC executive board, and the Peer Value Educators program, I personally feel that I am a better person having applied myself outside of the classroom in addition to schoolwork. In the process, I have truly defined myself and am very grateful for the choices I have made. While I owe much of my experience and gained knowledge to the dedication of my peers and the Lehigh staff, I will carry these with me after I leave Lehigh. When I look back on my college days, I may forget a few of the topics covered in class, but I will never forget the personal growth that being a leader has provided me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Greek Leadership Legacy

By Kristen Klingler, '10, Alpha Gamma Delta

As a senior enjoying my last few weeks at Lehigh University, I’m finding myself reflecting on the experiences that I’ve had over the past four years. It’s hard to believe that in just a few short weeks, I will be on Goodman Campus with the rest of my 2010 classmates, waiting to receive my diploma. What is it that makes the college years go by so fast? Is it the lifetime friends, the unforgettably fun times? Of course, the people you meet and the times that you share with them make a college experience memorable. But the most incredible aspect of college life, I think, is something that people may not even recognize while they’re students - it is the transformation that a person goes through during their time at Lehigh that makes the experience so unforgettable. I am certainly not the same person that I was four years ago and I would never have become the person I am today without the experiences I’ve had at Lehigh and as a part of Greek Life…

If you would have told me during my first semester of freshman year that I was going to join a sorority, I would have told you that you were crazy. To make a long story short… I fell in love with Alpha Gamma Delta, and when I received a bid there, I accepted, thinking that it would be a great way to get more involved on campus and to meet some new people. What I didn’t realize was that by accepting my bid at Alpha Gam, I was getting myself into much more than “just another extracurricular activity.” I was about to make some of the most incredible friends of my life: Friends that would laugh with me through the most ridiculous scenarios… friends that would provide their shoulders to cry on when I needed it the most… and undoubtedly, I met the friends that would motivate and inspire me to work passionately to improve my Alpha Gam chapter, the Greek community and Lehigh’s campus during my four year stay.

I was initiated into the Zeta Beta chapter of AGD in the spring of 2007 and was later elected to be President during my junior year. While I was president, I transformed as a leader and as a person. I learned the importance of communication skills and mastered the arts of organization, time management, and planning ahead. But most of all, I learned how to push myself beyond the limits of what I thought I could do. I learned that with the right attitude and the right people backing you up, no task was too difficult to take on. This was probably the most valuable lesson I learned throughout my entire college career.

So what is the right attitude? And who are the right people?

Well, the right people are those who are willing to support you undoubtedly through anything you may encounter – these people and the support, guidance and assistance they provide will be invaluable as you push through the good times and the hard times. In the Greek community, we have our brothers and sisters and each other to rely on as an incredibly strong network of support. This gives Greeks an advantage when it comes to having the ability to create positive change within the campus community as a whole. And what is the right attitude? For me, the right attitude was realizing that even small changes now may have a large impact in the grand scheme of things on Lehigh’s campus. It is difficult for one individual or one student organization to do something so monumental that it changes the way that the Lehigh community functions or the way that it perceives its Greek population. However, with many student organizations and individuals working together to carry out small initiatives and programs over time, the impact becomes much greater and takes place much more quickly.

I challenge Lehigh’s future Greek leaders to continue inspiring their brothers and sisters to tear down the negative stereotypes that our Greek community is all too often labeled with and rebuild them into the positive reputation that our community deserves. I hope that when I revisit Lehigh in the years to come, I find a Lehigh Greek system that has exchanged its competition from within for more collaboration among chapters and with the rest of the campus community. Lehigh Greek Life attracts some of the most innovative leaders and the most passionate individuals on this campus… we have the potential to positively impact both the image that we portray and the campus climate in which we live.

The path towards creating positive change is not always easy and pleasant. The reality is that nobody ever feels comfortable addressing a problem that is difficult to fix or changing something that has been done a certain way for years. But always remember that no matter how difficult it may seem to carry out your vision as a leader, it is not impossible… especially if you learn to rely on the amazing support system and resources that we have all have access to as members of the Greek community.

So, my advice to future leaders is: Don’t be afraid to stand by your beliefs and challenge tradition. “That’s the way we’ve always done it” is never a good answer. Over the past four years, I’ve seen countless “traditions” change for the better, and the result has only made our Greek community, and this campus, stronger. Keep up this forward momentum and don’t hesitate to leave your mark on this campus before you graduate.

Now, as a senior, I look back on my time involved with Greek leadership. I’m reflecting on all of the work that needed to be done, all of the meetings that needed to be attended, and all of the spur-of-the-moment problems that seemed to arise at the busiest times of all. I think about whether or not I would re-do it all, knowing what I know now about the time and dedication it takes to be a leader within the Greek community. I immediately answer, “YES” – I would do it all again in a heartbeat because the experiences I had taught me so much and made me the person that I am today. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I never joined Alpha Gam… I never would have met my best friends and I never would have learned that it is possible to make an impact on something so much larger than yourself or your organization.

Monday, April 26, 2010

2009/2010 Greek Awards

The Interfraternity, Panhellenic, & Multicultural Greek Councils sponsored the annual Greek Awards banquet on Thursday, April 22 at Candlelight. In a change from years past, only individual awards were distributed, as the chapter awards will now be based on Accreditation results and will be awarded in the fall along with the alumni and faculty advising awards.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees!

Interfraternity Council
Chapter President of the Year: Jeremy Selwyn, Sigma Phi Epsilon
Emerging Greek Leader: Jonathan Pribis, Theta Chi
Interfraternal Award: Avi Lessner, Delta Tau Delta
Lifetime Achievement Award: Derek Lutchko, Lambda Chi Alpha
Greek Man of the Year: Nick Welton, Delta Upsilon

Panhellenic Council
Chapter President of the Year: Liza Zawarski, Delta Gamma
Emerging Greek Leader: Brittany Wiesen, Alpha Chi Omega
Philippi Sorority Service Award: Dana Giallonardo, Gamma Phi Beta
Stephanie A. Phillips Panhellenic Award: Eurie Choi, Alpha Gamma Delta
Greek Woman of the Year: Lauren Harte, Alpha Omciron Pi
Mary Ann Mikitka Award: Jess Diehl, Greek Life Leadership Coordinator

Multicultural Greek Council
Apollo Award: Mario Paredes, Lambda Sigma Upsilon
Humanitarian Award: Kelvin Castillo, Lambda Sigma Upsilon
Savant Award: Gregory Oshode, Lambda Sigma Upsilon
Distinguished Service Award: Greg Anderson, Kappa Alpha Psi

2009/2010 MGC Wrap-Up

By Greg Anderson, MGC President

The Multicultural Greek Council has finished its first year at Lehigh University! In order to promote unity amongst its members, the MGC hosted a leadership retreat at the ropes course before the start of the fall semester. This was a time to begin forging new relationships, develop an understanding for one another, and establish the specific goals that the council hoped to accomplish by the end of the year.

One of the initial goals of the council was to not only build a foundation for itself on the campus, but also make their name known to the entire Lehigh community. With this objective in mind, the council hosted one of its first events in the fall: Meet the Greeks. This event focused on informing students about the traditions and history of each of the organizations comprising the council. It also served as a time to highlight each fraternity and sorority’s accomplishments and goals for the upcoming year.

Weekly meetings ensured that all council members were aware of not only events that individual MGC organizations were hosting, but of programs being held throughout the entire campus. By utilizing the meetings, members were able to voice their opinions and promote activities that further bonded the council while also serving as positive events for students and faculty. Each organization hosted workshops and presentations to inform those interested of exciting concepts and topics that may not have been discussed otherwise, including programs dealing with sexuality, violence against women in the form of the event “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes”, and a presentation on different rites of passage used in cultures all across the globe.

One of the biggest accomplishments for the MGC was their role in Dancefest. Members from the council served as instructors and were able to teach different steps and strolls to students comprising both the IFC and Panhel. They were also given an opportunity to perform at Dancefest and represent their organizations with pride. This event served as a way to strengthen the Greek community as a whole, and showed that great things can happen when various groups work together.

The MGC has accomplished its goal of establishing its name on campus. It was not always an easy task, but every member upheld the ideals of the council in the highest regard and worked towards promoting a stronger Greek community. With their continued work and dedication, there is nothing that this council could not accomplish with the next upcoming year.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2009/2010 IFC Wrap-Up

By Derek Lutchko, Interfraternity Council President

This year the IFC set its sights on one primary goal: building a stronger sense of community among Greek chapters at Lehigh. As leaders, our executive board officers know the underestimated value of close personal relationships and looked to help develop those relationships in hopes of that effect trickling down.

From the get-go, we planned several things including: a chapter presidents vs. delegates football game (in the rain), an all-Greek "Hill Opening" pig roast with Greek performers, and icebreakers at every IFC meeting.

Each of these small, intentional undertakings played a big role in cultivating new relationships. To further develop these relationships, monthly "presidents club meetings" allowed for a relaxed setting to chat about stresses and take a break from the job.

In other larger community building moves, we reached out both to assist and ask for help. We helped kick off Panhel's wildly successful Pink Week by covering Lehigh's campus and off-campus community with pink balloons and a schedule of events. We also provided the handsome models for their first annual Pink Week Bra Show.

While we supported the brand-new Multicultural Greek Council throughout the year, our fondest memory is DanceFest, when we received guidance from MGC members. We reached out to the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi to help us, the IFC Dance Team, to choreograph a crowd-pleasing dance. While the dance was great, the time leading up to it, learning the dance and sharing ideas with Karl, Greg, and our interfraternal team was most rewarding.

Our year-long efforts culminated with "Beat It for Charity". This philanthropy-focused week saw numerous chapters cultivate new partnerships ans raise a ton of dough for various charities, including the American Diabetes Association, Children's Miracle Network, and the American Cancer Society.

While we could go on about our programs and progress, the above-mentioned times represent the best successes of our year. In working together, we became closer as a Council and were able to take down some of the barriers that separate fraternities from each other and divide the Greek community.

Monday, April 19, 2010

2009/2010 Panhellenic Wrap-Up

By Lauren Harte, Panhellenic Council President

This year the Panhellenic Council made great contributions to both Greek life and the greater Lehigh community. We started off the year setting goals during our council retreat at an apple picking farm. We had a number of successful recruitment events during the fall semester, including a bagel brunch and "Meet the Greeks". In October we organized the 5th annual "Panhellenic Pink Week" and introduced a new event, the "Real Men Wear Pink" fashion show. We raised $3,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. In November we introduced a new initiative with the intent of strengthening our bond as a sorority community. The "Progressive Dinner Series" was a way for all sororities to host members from each chapter for dinner and a presentation on philanthropy.

Formal recruitment in January was extremely successful. We had 237 students sign bids! In March the Panhellenic executive board along with the sorority chapter presidents were honored to host a dinner with Lehigh's President Gast. We talked about goal setting for the future and the accomplishments of our council. This year the Panhellenic Council also created a new website, a "Lehigh Greeks" Facebook page, and an online blog. All throughout the year the council sponsored and participated in numerous philanthropic activities, attended campus speakers, and partnered with different campus organizations. As a testament to all of our hard work this year, the Panhellenic Council received two awards at the 2010 Northeast Greek Leadership Association conference.

Congratulations to the 2009/2010 Panhellenic Council on an outstanding year!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

LSU Receives National Recognition

Congratulations to the Uman chapter of Lambda Sigma Upsilon Fraternity, Inc. for taking home several awards at their National Convention this past weekend.

Chapter of the Year - This award honors an undergraduate chapter that embodies the goals that the Founding Fathers established for LSU. The recipient of this award is selected by the National Executive Board and is based on the final results of the Chapter Rankings.
Highest Chapter GPA Award - This award is presented to the chapter with the highest cumulative GPA within the National Fraternity.

Alberto Rivera Award - This award is dedicated to Founding Father Alberto Rivera and honors a brother who has made great contributions to LSU that reflect the fraternity's goals and mission. The recipient of the award does not only make a difference within LSU, but also to his family, friends, and community. Congratulations to Lehigh LSU brother, Greg Oshode!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Walk A Mile

On Sunday, April 11, the ladies of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. sponsored the inaugural "Walk A Mile in Her Shoes" in conjunction with the Women's Center, P.A.C., and Kappa Alpha Theta. Over 60 men turned out to "walk a mile" in high heels and speak out against sexual assault, rape, and gender violence.

All the Walk A Mile participants & sponsors

Director of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs, Tim Wilkinson and Director of Residential Services, Ozzie Breiner

Friday, April 9, 2010

DanceFest 2010

DanceFest 2010 participants
The Lehigh Greek community sponsored three teams in the inaugural DanceFest event this past Thursday, April 8. The Multicultural Greek Council, the Interfraternity Council, and the Panhellenic Council each had a dance team that featured hip hop, stepping, strolling, and much more!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Accreditation Presentations

Each spring every Lehigh fraternity and sorority submits a report and conducts a presentation outlining their accomplishments over the past academic year in the areas of Scholarship, Leadership, Citizenship, Partnership, and Stewardship. The Accreditation panel, comprised of five rotating faculty, staff, students, and alumni, deliberate and designate each chapter as either Gold, Silver, Bronze, Poor, or Unacceptable.

Presentations last approximately 40 minutes followed by 20 minutes of Q&A from the Accreditation panel and are open to the community.

Friday, April 9 - UC 308
8:30 AM Theta Chi
10:30 AM Delta Tau Delta
1:30 PM Alpha Tau Omega
3:30 PM Alpha Gamma Delta

Saturday, April 10 - UC 308
8:30 AM Lambda Theta Alpha
10:30 AM Phi Sigma Kappa
1:30 PM Delta Phi

Monday, April 12 - Lamberton Great Room
8:30 AM Theta Xi
1:30 PM Kappa Alpha Theta
3:30 PM Kappa Alpha Psi

Friday, April 16 - UC 303
8:30 AM Phi Gamma Delta
10:30 AM Delta Upsilon
1:30 PM Alpha Phi
3:30 PM Sigma Phi Epsilon

Saturday, April 17 - UC 308
8:30 AM Kappa Sigma
10:30 AM Sigma Chi
1:30 PM Kappa Alpha
3:30 PM Phi Kappa Theta

Monday, April 19 - UC 308
8:30 AM Chi Psi
10:30 AM Pi Beta Phi
1:30 PM Alpha Chi Omega
3:30 PM Gamma Phi Beta

Friday, April 23 - UC 303
10:30 AM Delta Chi
1:30 PM Delta Gamma
3:30 PM Alpha Omicron Pi

Saturday, April 24 - UC 303
8:30 AM Psi Upsilon
10:30 AM Lambda Chi Alpha
1:30 PM Lambda Sigma Upsilon
3:30 PM Pi Kappa Alpha

Monday, April 5, 2010

Panhellenic Elections

Congratulations to the 2010/2011 Panhellenic Council Executive Board!

President: Lauren Koenig, Alpha Phi
VP Administration: Andi Lucas, Alpha Omicron Pi
VP Programming: Chloe Mullins, Gamma Phi Beta
VP Recruitment: Meaghan Phipps, Alpha Gamma Delta
VP Judicial: Sam Bello, Delta Gamma
VP Finance: Elizabeth Upton, Alpha Omicron Pi
VP Marketing: Kimberly Boone, Alpha Chi Omega
VP Communications: Hilary LaBar, Pi Beta Phi
Campus Relations Chair: Carolyn Ferreira, Kappa Alpha Theta
Community Service Chair: Jenna Andreu, Alpha Omicron Pi