Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute: Kerry Mallett, Alpha Gamma Delta

There are few experiences that changed me as a person and empowered me like the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute did this summer. 

The five-day program is held at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.  There are several sessions throughout the summer with about 80 students in each, and I was lucky to meet and become friends with extraordinary Greek students and leaders from across the country and Canada. 

During the program, we learn who we are as leaders, the values that guide us, the problems facing our own Greek communities and those on a national scale, and how as individuals, we can confront these problems.  I left with a deeper understanding of who I am as a leader and person and an invigorated passion to lead my chapter and Greek community. 

In this past, I have been guilty of shying away from issues that seem impossible to change.  But with the program’s theme of “start with you”, I learned that even as an individual in my chapter of 100 women and Greek community of about one thousand, I can set a standard and start conversations about the issues we face—unity across chapters, alcohol and drug abuse, and hazing. 


I am not sure exactly when it all clicked—that these issues could in fact be conquered, and that it is not only within my power, but is my responsibility, to help establish culture change. 


We were split up into ten person chapters for small group discussion, and I was inspired by my chapter members, among whom are a refounding father, someone who wants to start a colony of his organization on another campus, and someone who trying to institute culture change in his struggling chapter.  I was inspired and motivated by these students as well as my facilitators, who are professionals in the fraternity and sorority field, throughout the week. 


From a conversation with a new friend about the terminology of “frat”, “TSM”, and “TFM”, and how they are degrading to our Greek chapters, to an emotional and passionate group debate about whether Greek life deserves to continue (the jury decided it does not), I learned that little actions and mindsets amount to and cause the larger problems. 

Besides confronting and discussing the big issues, I left with many take aways and self-checks to guide my new path.  I now will remember to ask myself, “If our founders were in the room right now, would they be proud of what we are doing?” 

While there were countless powerful moments throughout the week, when I think back to my time at UIFI I will remember our general session about ritual.  Our session facilitator was discussing how we keep our chapter ritual so secret, but we should be proud to live and communicate our values to others.  He recited the opening pledge of his fraternity and then encouraged us to stand up and do the same.  Listening to other sorority and fraternity creeds made me realize that we all stand by similar values, and reinforced the fact that we are values-based organizations, and must live by them. 

-Kerry Mallett, Alpha Gamma Delta

Monday, June 17, 2013

Panhellenic Extension Update: We are thrilled to welcome Kappa Delta to Lehigh!

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs is happy to announce that Kappa Delta Sorority will join the Lehigh University community as the Panhellenic Council’s ninth organization.


Kappa Delta will begin colonization efforts during the fall 2013 semester and participate in formal Panhellenic Recruitment during the spring 2014 semester. Kappa Delta will move into building number 82, Park House, in fall 2014.


Based on the criteria of the organization’s plan for success with the Lehigh University Accreditation Process; their Inter/National Headquarters’ extension/colony development plan; strength of alumni support; and their plan to operate a residential facility; the Panhellenic Extension Committee believes that Kappa Delta would be the best institutional fit. The Vice Provost for Student Affairs John Smeaton and the Panhellenic Council affirmed this recommendation and decision.


The rational for this recommendation and decision are as follows:


·         Kappa Delta has an in-depth five year plan for the Lehigh University chapter around the areas of sisterhood; recruitment; retention; philanthropy; service; member education; officer training; scholarship; public relations; leadership; and visibility.

·         Kappa Delta utilizes the University Learning Outcomes Assessment to measure how their member’s behaviors in areas of critical thinking; self-awareness communication; diversity; citizenship; membership leadership; and relationships compare to members of other sororities and unaffiliated women.

·         Kappa Delta’s unique philanthropy, Confidence Coalition, focuses on promoting confidence among women around the world. Confidence Coalition has developed partnerships with several organizations, including Girl Scouts of the USA and National Eating Disorder Association. The committee believes that this philanthropy has the potential for numerous opportunities and partnerships.

·         Kappa Delta Headquarters’ support is determined by the host institution’s campus culture and issues, not by region.

·         Kappa Delta has a strong level of alumnae, regional, and Headquarters’ support. The sorority’s Extension Specialist resides in Bethlehem and a National Leadership Team member is employed at Lehigh University.


Questions about Panhellenic Extension should be directed to Danny Grzesik (Panhellenic Advisor) or Tim Wilkinson (Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs) at (610)758-4157.


For more information about Kappa Delta at Lehigh University, please contact Kirstin Barry, Extension and New Chapter Development Manager, at or (901)748-1897.


Please join us in welcoming Kappa Delta to campus!

OFSA Summer Intern: Javier Gonzalez's Thoughts on Fraternity and Sorority Affairs

            Greetings! My name is Javier Gonzalez and I am a second year graduate student at the University of South Florida (USF). I currently work in my assistantship with the Center for Student Involvement which oversees student organizations and does some of the bigger programming events for the campus. I am currently pursing a masters in the College of Student Affairs program at the Tampa USF campus with the career goal to obtain a position closely related to multicultural affairs and possibly fraternity and sorority affairs. I have managed to gain a substantial amount of experience within both of these aspects through my fraternity, Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Incorporated as well as  much leadership experience along the way.

         Working with my fraternity at such a large public institution has been a great experience as well as a challenging one as well. With 42,000 students, it has been a difficult process to cater to all the needs of the students, as there are many. This amount of people does not allow enough opportunity to build meaningful relationships and dedicate the amount of time one would prefer to any type of family. Lehigh has about 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students and boasts over 680 faculty members. Among these faculty members, are the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA) staff team who have welcomed me into their family and helped me assimilate into the office culture. 
            My experience since arriving has been nothing less than an enjoyable one with the OFSA staff personally seeing to whatever needs both a fellow intern and myself have required, assuring we were as comfortable as possible. At our first day, we were treated like part of the team and everyone would mention some fun facts about the dynamics and culture of the office. We were even integrated into their staff meetings, where the first one involved everyone revealing fun facts about themselves, to better acquaint everyone with each other, learning more about us and us about them. I would describe them as very down to earth and unafraid to express themselves as they really are without ever losing their sense of professionalism.

It is this great sense of truth and transparency that makes them unique, but also attributes to their great success as an office since they apply it not only between themselves, but also their students, chapters, colleagues, and community as a whole. The office works to continuously keep all parties informed of all their chapters’ progress as well as all office efforts towards supporting the chapters in all ways possible. They seek nothing less than the growth and betterment of the chapters and its members alike. This is most evident within their accreditation process, which is subjective only to take the chapters into better consideration towards working for an impactful development, and not just fulfilling another requirement.

The idea is to ensure that the chapters do things not because they have to, rather of their own accord and for their own personal growth. It would be my personal recommendation to many institutions, including my own, that they would do well to model after this process and utilize it to further push chapters towards self-governance and sustainability. Another great aspect experienced was the realization of the importance of alumni support for Greek Life at Lehigh and how much backing the university has from its alumni. They are a constant source of support, both physically and financially. Alumni are incorporated into school events, invited time again to attend all sorts of programming. There are alumni well into their experienced ages that still return for university events and traditions, like “The Rivalry” which has occurred between Lehigh and Lafayette every year since 1884.  This is an example of great school pride, even beyond graduation.

Beyond the OFSA, the remainder of the Student Affairs staff as a whole have also been great and even took the time to set up an Intern Day where they gave a tour of the universities’ facilities, provided constant opportunities to learn more about Lehigh and its departments, as well as meet as many of the Student Affairs staff as possible. We were even provided lunch alongside the opportunity to sit down and ask questions to the Student Affairs staff, and a little later the Assistant Vice Provost/Dean of Students, Sharron Basso and Vice Provost of Student Affairs, John Smeaton. These sessions were the most impactful since they provided great insight into Student Affairs at Lehigh, the culture, a bit of history, and advice for those of us pursuing a career in Student Affairs. Overall, the Intern Day was a great success and one would have never guessed that it was the first of its kind.

With the experience so far, two significant things that I have learned about myself as a professional is that I am now very open to new options as compared to my prior mindset, and the importance of procedure in all things you do. Originally in my mindset into a student affairs career, I still had the hope to possibly locate a job at USF or at least an institution very similar to USF in the state of Florida, since that is what I know best and have become accustomed to. I could not really see myself at a small private institution since I felt that I would become suffocated or possibly bored due to the sheer size of the institution and student population. But my time at Lehigh has helped me gain a better understanding and perspective towards small, private institutions and see the many benefits that they provide in tune with my own personality. Smaller institutions often will provide more opportunities towards establishing close relationships with both students and staff alike, since there isn’t an overabundance of both to spread you in all sorts of directions. So an ample amount of time can be dedicated to personal interactions and creating a bond.

 All of these experiences so far have inspired me to work hard towards my assigned projects with the office, as well as to make specific, attainable goals for the projects, where I feel that I am making timely progress. These experiences have also made me recognize my professional values and what they may or may not include, like working closely with other people and the type of relationship I wish to establish. I know now, thanks to the OFSA, how much I value teamwork and comradeship with my coworkers and have new ideas to bring that back to my assistantship and institution to better both, as well as USF as a whole.
-Javier Gonzalez

Friday, June 14, 2013

OFSA Summer Intern: Alex White's thoughts on Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and Higher Education

            When I arrived at Lehigh University I was not sure what this summer would have in store for me. This is my first time in Pennsylvania and my first time in the Northeast. My family told me that life here would be much faster. This could have been overwhelming especially for me considering I have spent the last five years living in Tennessee where life is slower and we walk just about as fast as we talk.

I recently completed my undergrad at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN about 40 minutes West of Nashville, where I received my Bachelors in Psychology
and a double minor in Political Science and History. I loved college and I had a great time, even though I may have been a little overly involved at times. My freshman year at APSU I decided to go through the formal recruitment process. A little surprising since I never planned on joining a sorority, nor did I think very fondly of the concept. However, after the first event of recruitment I was hooked. I loved everything about the process. Through recruitment I became a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and to this day maintain that it was one of the best decisions I made. Being a part of Greek life in general was a very rewarding experience. As an active member in ADPi I served as New Member Coordinator and held a few smaller chair positions, but spent most of my time on the Panhellenic side of things.

 On Panhellenic I served as Director of Recruitment Counselors, Director of Recruitment and Panhellenic President. This is where I really found what I was passionate about. Don’t get me wrong I love ADPi, the values, the sisterhood, and the bonds I formed. Being a part of Panhellenic was the bigger picture. I have always been attracted to the bigger picture when it comes to things, putting my own objectives aside and working towards the greater good for the community. When it comes down to it I believe that we all are working towards the same goals, so why not accomplish those goals together and work collectively as a whole for the greater good of the ‘Greek’ community. 

During my time on Panhellenic and time spent with my Greek Advisor (whom I had an amazing relationship with) I discovered that this was something more than just a hobby. Student Affairs was something I could see myself doing for a living that would be rewarding. Thus began my search into Higher Education Student Affairs programs. The more I researched and sought out programs the more excited I became about the process and the more this seemed to just ‘fit’. I’ve had jobs in the past that haven’t been the most rewarding, and I’ve had jobs where I’ve been able to walk away and at the end of the day I felt as though I made a difference. It may not have been the biggest impact for the whole world to see, but even seeing the smallest progress was satisfying. When it comes to Student Affairs this is exactly what impact I would like to make working with students, let’s be honest everyone wants to feel they helped make some difference.

After being at Lehigh for a few weeks now working with OFSA, I know that I have made the right decision to get started on my program at University of Toledo. Lehigh’s OFSA has been a huge eye opener and I love seeing the different programs in place to help student development and all those learning experiences outside the classroom. There is so much more beyond a student’s academic development and Lehigh University recognizes this and does a great job in the personal development of students. It is refreshing being at a university so dedicated to the personal development of its students, especially since that is something I am passionate about. The learning experiences we take away from being a part of Greek Life, the relationships we form, the offices we hold, and the challenges we face all contribute to our personal identity. Being at Lehigh has only furthered my passion for Student Affairs and I feel very lucky to be working with a dedicated staff that is continually challenging the ‘Greek Community’.

- Alexandra White

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute: Madison McGahan, Zeta Tau Alpha

Attending UIFI was one of the best and most empowering learning experiences I have had so far. Not only did I get to meet awesome leaders in the Greek community from all over the country and have the opportunity to learn from them, but it helped re-shape how I view things about myself and things that I stand for.

On the first day, we took time defining leadership and the definition we were taught was leadership is what we do and why we do it. We then looked at Greek Life as a whole and established the idea that we are values-based organizations and that we need to define our values as what we do. Listening to the leaders of UIFI define words that we throw around all time in ways I never really would have thought, was extremely insightful. It made me evaluate what my organization does and if we are living up to these definitions and our potential as a group. In addition to these terms, UIFI also made me rethink about the role I play in my chapter, the role my chapter plays in Greek Life at Lehigh, and how those roles then play into the Lehigh community and Greek Life on a national level. It made me realize that what we do as individual chapters isn’t just affecting us because we are just a small part of a number of larger communities.

This really hit home for me when we participated in a debate about whether Greek Life was a benefit or a hindrance to our society. During the debate it was powerful to hear about all the opportunities given and bonds formed when people chose to be members of Greek Life, but to also hear about the number of indiscretions committed by members of our organizations. At the end of the debate the student panel voted that we are a hindrance to society. After hearing all of this I couldn’t help but question how we could be so proud to be a part of something that even its own members feel is hurting our community. The leader of the program then talked about how his job was to fight for the existence of Greek Life and that despite the negative attention, we truly breed the best leaders when we do stick to our values. It was at this point in the experience that people started to wake up and realize that we contribute to the reason that something that made our college experiences so great, may not be here for others to experience if we continue to let the negatives define us. UIFI was a wake up call to the fact that we know what we are doing wrong and we are the only ones that can make the necessary changes. My experience at UIFI gave me the encouragement and tools to start making a difference and to start acting on my values to be the change in my community so that I can give back to something that has already given me so much.  
Madison McGahan
Zeta Tau Alpha, President


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Phi Gamma Delta Update

Good Afternoon All,


For the past nine years, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA) has conducted an annual Accreditation process in which each chapter is evaluated on their performance in five categories deemed vital for the Greek community success: Intellectual Development, Leadership Development, Community Development, Organizational Development and Facilities Management.


After careful review and consideration, the Accreditation review panel, comprised of students, alumni, and staff members, has rated Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity an overall Poor rating for the second consecutive year. Per Accreditation standards, chapter recognition and the privilege of university group housing has been withdrawn as a result.


All chapter members will be working with the Office of Residential Services to secure available housing. Per Lehigh policy, second year students are guaranteed house and upper class students will have the option to move off-campus. The future use of the facility will be determined based on housing demand. This will be determined as quickly as is practical. OFSA and Residential Services will work with alumni and students to secure all chapter and personal possessions before the end of the summer.  Any questions regarding housing should be directed to (610) 758-3500.


We recognize that this is a difficult time for all active and alumni members.  Although this is certainly a sad moment for the fraternity, please know that we are dedicated to providing whatever assistance we can to help the undergraduates maintain a rich, rewarding academic and personal experience at Lehigh.


Please feel free to contact the OFSA at (610) 758-4157 or via email at should you have any questions.  If you would like to read the report online, please go to the Fraternity and Sorority Affairs webpage at
Tim Wilkinson
Senior Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs

Monday, June 3, 2013

Spring 2013 Grade Report

Congratulations to our highest overall term
average leaders in their respective councils!

  • Phi Delta Theta for having an overall chapter term average of a 3.38 within the IFC
  • Lambda Theta Alpha for achieving a 3.458 for an overall chapter term average within the MGC
  • Alpha Chi Omega for their 3.363 overall chapter term average within the Panhellenic

You can find the Spring 2013 grade report here: