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