Monday, September 29, 2014

Reflections from Presidents Academy

Approximately 50 leaders from across the fraternity and sorority community gathered at Camp Canadenis for Presidents Academy, a weekend leadership retreat, in early September.  Participants explored Kouzes and Posner's Five Exemplary Practices of Leadership; built relationships across chapters and councils; and identified a number of challenges facing our community as well as opportunities to address those challenges.  Below are some reflections from participants. 

President’s Academy was truly an eye-opening experience for me. As a chapter president who is already halfway through my term, I thought I already knew the basics of being a leader in the Greek community. What I realized is that there is so much more to learn from my peers and advisors, and we as leaders have the power to use this new knowledge to make some lasting impacts on our chapters and the community as a whole. I am not only more prepared but also more motivated to start this year with the right mindset and methods for successful growth. - Leah Tranovich, Pi Beta Phi President 

I'll admit it: I wasn't excited about this weekend. I'm not a naturally outgoing person and ice breakers usually make me want to run screaming in the opposite direction. It didn't help that I had class until 4pm and had to be that kid that walked on the bus last and tried to not awkwardly find an open place to sit.
But then something unexpected happened: I had one of the best weekends I can remember in a long time. In a group of 55 of Lehigh's Greek Leaders, I spoke up. I made my voice heard. I made jokes, I laughed. I opened up about things that I hadn't told anyone. I rethought how I saw others, further developed and expressed ideas I've been passionate about but never felt I had the right people to tell. I taught a group of surprised fraternity presidents about the often ridiculous rules of sorority recruitment, ate some questionable food (it was perfectly reasonable to confuse that hot sauce for salad dressing...), and celebrated the 21st birthday of one of my best friends. Rarely do we get a chance to do any of these things, let alone all of them over less than 48 hours. 
I went into this weekend dreading what I was going to experience. I left with a support system of 54 other Greek Leaders, people that I can't wait to spend my senior year with. Thank you so much to Stefanie, Tim, Ashley, Carter, Jen, and Elizabeth for giving us this chance to have the conversations we needed to have. I'm so ready for the amazing year we're going to have and all the great things this group is going to do. - Elizabeth Campbell, Panhellenic Council VP Greek Relations 

Presidents Academy will undoubtedly be one of my fondest memories at Lehigh. I have never felt more connected or more able to make positive change in my life. This weekend made me proud to go Greek, even though it was later in my college career than most Lehigh students. Thank you Lehigh for supporting the Greek tradition and continually challenging us to make ourselves better. - Olivia Hodina, Kappa Delta President