Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Safer Social Environment by President Gast

A Safer Social Environment

Alice P. Gast

The Panhellenic, Interfraternity and Multi-Cultural Greek Councils deserve our appreciation and support for their recent adoption of a new social policy to provide a safer social environment, increase risk management and improve relationships with the community. Their self-imposed ban on the use of chapter funds for the purchase of hard alcohol and their removal of hard alcohol from social events will go a long way toward reducing the hospital transports and dangers from alcohol abuse. I am very impressed with the thoughtful and insightful policy that the three Greek governing councils have proposed and implemented, and I firmly believe that their peers should take notice.

It is powerful to have the student leadership recognizing the problems with unsafe patterns of alcohol consumption and taking action on this issue directly.  The Greek governing councils’ work to raise awareness, develop self-imposed sanctions and improve the culture of the social life on the hill will benefit all students, particularly our first-year students who are exploring their options and may have false expectations about alcohol use in college.  This is particularly important as we become more aware of the patterns of alcohol use among teenagers in high school and their first year in college. Lehigh’s student leadership in this area can be a model for the country.

Far too many deaths have occurred across the country due to hard alcohol use, especially in relation to hazing and initiation events for a wide range of student organizations.  While Lehigh University upholds its strict ban on hazing, the three Greek governing councils have recognized that the availability of hard alcohol at social events is related to unsafe consumption and concomitant health and safety risks. The Lehigh administration is actively involved in two organizations that are working to define best practices and to help schools across the country reduce alcohol abuse on campuses. 

In 2011 the NIAAA (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) convened a working group of presidents of universities from around the country. I serve on this NIAAA College Presidents Working Group in order to help to bring national attention to the college drinking issue and to make recommendations for actionable change. Lehigh also belongs to The Learning Collaborative on High-Risk Drinking.  The Learning Collaborative is an organization of more than 30 schools joining forces to address the problems of binge drinking on college campuses and is led by The National College Health Improvement Project at Dartmouth College. Lehigh student affairs administrators have met with their counterparts to share policies and practices that are helping to improve health and safety on campuses. The Lehigh Greek social policy will be an important example to share with these groups. More information about Lehigh’s work in this area can be found at

Lehigh is also adding late-night programming of activities such as open-mic nights, movie nights, cultural programs, intramural competitions, and a variety of events sponsored by student clubs and organizations to provide interesting and engaging activities for students that do not involve alcohol consumption. Students with new ideas for attractive late-night events and activities should send their thoughts to Matt Kitchie, Director of Student Activities.

While the Lehigh administration is working on both national and local levels to confront the problems of high-risk drinking, the student initiative of a social policy is the most powerful force in this effort. I applaud the students’ efforts and, in solidarity with their ban on the serving of hard alcohol at events in their houses, I will eliminate the serving of hard alcohol from events in the President’s House. I am asking everyone on our campus who hosts social events to consider doing the same. I want to hear your ideas. Together, we can make Lehigh University a safer and healthier place.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

March Panhellenic Sorority Woman of the Month - Alexa Procaccino

Alexa is a junior Psychology major with minors in both Health and Journalism. Besides consistently making Dean's List, Alexa is a recipient of the Rodale Online Communication Scholarship, a member of Psi Chi Psychology Honors Society, and a member of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Leadership Award Program.  Alexa just recently finished an internship with Advent Speech and Feeding Therapy and now interns with Scholastic in New York city. Alexa is also a research assistant for Preschool Narrative Lab and an extern for the University of Pennsylvania Student Services.  While being actively involved in all of these organizations, she also devotes her time to the Best Buddy Club on campus.  Alexa has always been actively involved in Alpha Omicron Pi, serving as Vice President of Administration last year, she is always willing to help a sister with whatever she needs, and her bright personality lights up the room.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Greek Heritage Initiative - Plaque Unveiling

Since its inception on campus in 1872, Greek life has played an integral role in the Lehigh community — socially, academically and philanthropically. Our Greek heritage is an essential part of who we are as an institution, and Lehigh’s history would be incomplete without the Greek community’s contributions.

The Greek Heritage Initiative emerged from conversations among members of the Greek alumni community, President Alice Gast, and other university leaders.

The Greek Heritage Plaque Program celebrates the legacy of Greek houses on campus. In 2009, we began installing historical plaques on houses, starting with the oldest. Chapters receiving recognition this year include:

Pi Lambda Phi
Theta Xi
Delta Upsilon
Phi Kappa Theta
Sigma Alpha Mu
Alpha Tau Omega

The reception and unveiling will take place during Reunion Weekend. Different from previous years – there's truly something for everyone! Click to learn more and register.

Schedule of weekend:

Friday, May 18th
1-2:15: Leheights
Plaque unveiling at Leheights

Saturday, May 19th

2:30 p.m.    Reception, Alpha Phi
2:30-4 p.m.    Plaque Unveiling at each house
All events complimentary.

To register for the Greek Heritage Reception and your house’s plaque unveiling contact Linda Shroi at 610-758-3135 or

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"It Gets Better" Video Opportunity

 In September 2010, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video
with his partner Terry Miller to inspire hope for young people facing
harassment. In response to a number of students taking their own lives
after being bullied in school, they wanted to create a personal way for
supporters everywhere to tell LGBT youth that, yes, it does indeed get
better.  Many universities have created their own versions of these
videos and now Lehigh will have one too!

Filming will take place on April 3 and 4 from 12:00 pm- 6:00 pm.  Location will
be emailed out next week based on the weather.  We are looking for LGBTQ
students who would like to talk about their experiences on campus, allies,
faculty, staff, coaches, Greek letter orgs, sports teams etc... pretty much
anyone who is interested in helping us send a positive message to LGBTQ

Interested in this opportunity? Contact Kerri at

Feel free to go to [1] for
more information on the project.