Friday, June 26, 2015

Reflections from UIFI: Lindsey Sokol

We're excited to feature yet another guest author on the blog today. Zeta Tau Alpha member Lindsey Sokol recently attended the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI). Here's what she had to say regarding the experience:

This summer I had the opportunity to attend the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute in Bloomington, Indiana. During this time, student and faculty leaders of the Greek community from all different organizations come together to develop leadership skills, address difficulties, and find solutions. The new friendships I made at UIFI provided invaluable advice and a fresh perspective that has affected the way I perceive myself, my chapter, and the larger Greek community. This years theme of “It’s time” urged us to take action and reminded us that, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wisely said, “the time is always right to do what’s right.”

For me, the most remarkable part of the UIFI experience was a debate our entire group had about the future of Greek life. Using only personal experiences, we were randomly divided into pro and con groups and tasked with deciding whether fraternities and sororities are a benefit or a hindrance to the success and development of college students. After everyone had the chance to speak, a panel composed of students and facilitators deliberated the outcome and eventually ruled that they are a hindrance.

We came to realize that the positives (like building sisterhoods/brotherhoods, raising money for philanthropies, and personal development) cannot make up for or outweigh the negatives (like substance abuse, hazing, and sexual assault). We did not create these problems and we are definitely not the only ones to experience these issues. However, the fact that these negatives do not originate from nor exist exclusively within Greek life does not absolve us of responsibility. The question is not whether other organizations have the same issues but rather why we allow these problems to exist in our own community. Instead of looking outward, we should first look inward and set the example by creating an environment where they are absolutely unacceptable.

When we joined our respective organizations, we all agreed to hold ourselves to a higher standard. Ultimately, it is our failure to follow through on this promise that leads to situations which create the negative connotations surrounding Greek life. There is no right way to address the problems in our chapters or on our campus. But no matter how small we start, what is important is that we start somewhere and that we set achievable goals, enabling us to measure our success.

Lindsey Sokol

Zeta Tau Alpha 

Many thanks Lindsey for sharing your thoughts!! We love your passion and enthusiasm for leadership and can't wait to see the many great things that come as a result of this experience. If you or anyone you know would like to author a guest blog post, feel free to reach out to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.

Staff Announcement: Ashley Baudouin

As you know we have been in quite a time of transition within the area of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs over the past few weeks. With recent departures, we have had the opportunity to think about the best next steps for our Fraternity and Sorority community.  With the support of the Dean of Students and Student Affairs leadership alongside the Residential Services department, we are excited to share that one of our current Assistant Director positions in OFSA will be converted into an Associate Director position effective July 1st. Ashley Baudouin is being promoted into this role and, in this capacity, she will assist the Director in managing the overall OFSA effort with our fraternity and sorority community.

Ashley has worked as an Assistant Director at Lehigh for three years and, over that time, she has demonstrated a strong track record in creating successful and meaningful partnerships with other departments across campus, alumni volunteers, and parents and families. She has also established strong relationships with students, shown excellent communication skills, and a very strong overall understanding of all aspects of OFSA and its role within the Lehigh community.

Specifically in this new role, Ashley will oversee all educational and bLUeprint initiatives within OFSA; be responsible for all communication processes across the department; work closely with chapter and alumni advisors to train them effectively; assist with conduct follow-up and crisis response; and oversee the annual OFSA Accreditation process. Congratulations Ashley on this well-deserved new opportunity.

While we understand that it seems that many changes are taking place, we are truly excited for the opportunity to move the OFSA in this direction while also providing additional staffing support and continuity within the office. Additionally, we will be in contact with council, chapter, and alumni leadership shortly regarding Ashley’s transition into her new role and its impact on her current assignments and responsibilities.

Thank you,
Allison Gulati
Associate Dean & Director of Strategic Initiatives

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Reflections from UIFI: Gladys Castellon

We're excited to feature a guest author on the blog today.  Mu Sigma Upsilon's President Gladys Castellon recently attended the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI). Here's what she had to say regarding the experience: 

This summer I had the privilege of attending the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. It was great being surrounded by people who loved the Greek experience as much as I do. The days were packed with fun and informative activities and discussions, all happening while building lifelong friendships with those around me. We talked about things like our organizational values: how they relate to our own individual ones, how we exemplify those within different leadership positions, as well as our day to day lives.

One of the things that really stuck out to me was the phrase “That which we permit, we promote”. As a Greek community at Lehigh, I believe that we have been making great strides to better not only Greek life here, but the Lehigh experience as a whole. In order to continue doing this, we must hold all of our fellow Greeks and students accountable for the values that we promised to uphold by joining our chapters or even by just accepting to come to Lehigh. By not doing so, we are essentially promoting a community that is not living up to its full potential.

Coming out of UIFI, I am motivated to help foster the relationships between chapters, councils and other organizations on Lehigh’s campus. As leaders, we are nothing without those who share in our vision and who work with us to achieve them. I hope to aid in the growing collaboration between groups, as well as just the relationships and friendships that can come out of them.

Lastly, if you are able to attend UIFI at some point, definitely do it!

Gladys Castellon
Lehigh University '17
President of the Yemaya Chapter of Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, Incorporated
President of the Multicultural Greek Council at Lehigh University

Many thanks Gladys for sharing your thoughts!! We love your passion and enthusiasm for leadership and can't wait to see the many great things that come as a result of this experience.  If you or anyone you know would like to author a guest blog post, feel free to reach out to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Reflections from LeaderShape: Ricky Johnson

We're excited to feature a guest author on the blog today.  Delta Upsilon's President Ricky Johnson recently attended the AFLV LeaderShape Institute. Here's what he had to say regarding the experience: 

The week after classes ended, I traveled down to Orlando, Florida with my little brother, Evan Pentz, to attend the AFLV LeaderShape Institute. This institute was an immersive, colorful, and enlightening experience that I was very happy to have participated in. My little and I met about 32 other Greek leaders from across the country (and Canada) and took part in a leadership program that topped any other that I had ever experienced. During this program, I learned a significant amount about my specific type of leadership style. It was great realizing what my strengths were, but also recognizing my weaknesses and how to improve them. Further, I learned how to effectively communicate and work with other people who possess other types of leadership styles.
                One of the biggest things LeaderShape did for me was alter my perception of the word “Leader.” The program taught me what it takes to be a leader, what it means to be a leader and how to lead in the most effective way(s) possible- and these things aren't always as cut and dry as we think they are. I learned that every person leads in a different way and that there are a variety of leadership styles. For instance, leaders aren't always the individuals who can stand up in front of a large crowd and move them to act; leaders can be the exceedingly intelligent, albeit shy individual in the back of the room who knows how to develop a life-saving device. I learned that leaders are simply the individuals who are willing to challenge the social norm; they are the people who aren't satisfied with mediocrity. Instead, they question everything and when no one seems to understand or believe them, they continue to pursue their visions. We looked at various examples (such as Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and Gandhi) and discussed how each individual had his/her own method of leading effectively and how each went on to change the world.  
                Most importantly, I learned that a good leader understands how to be vulnerable. In fact, the best leaders welcome vulnerability. When we look at different leaders throughout history, we tend to see the individual standing on a pedestal, successfully accomplishing every task he set out to achieve from day one. However, what’s most important to note is that leaders fail. Things get difficult, experiments don’t work, people don’t listen to you, and competitors cheat the system. But the most effective leaders have a certain tenacity that is unrivaled among their peers, and as a result, they do in fact accomplish their goals. Another form of vulnerability is merely that leaders are willing to admit when they are wrong and they are humble in all of their actions. Leaders who value vulnerability understand that it is okay to put yourself out the world, despite what the public perception may be and regardless of what other people say and think.
                Overall, my recent week in Orlando was one of the greatest personal development periods of my life. I learned tons about my personal leadership characteristics and I learned a lot about myself as a person. I discovered that the word “Leader” isn't as narrowly defined as I formerly thought. Furthermore, I now understand that it is okay to be vulnerable, and instead of fearing vulnerability, I should welcome it. 

Ricky Johnson
President, Delta Upsilon Fraternity 

Many thanks Ricky for sharing your thoughts!! We love your passion and enthusiasm for leadership and can't wait to see the many great things that come as a result of this experience when you return to campus this fall and beyond.  If you or anyone you know would like to author a guest blog post, feel free to reach out to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.

Monday, June 8, 2015

QUEST PreLUsion Program

Do you know any incoming first year students?  Are they considering joining a fraternity or sorority at Lehigh? Do you want to help recruit future members of our Greek community?

Then tell those folks to sign up today for QUEST, one of the PreLUsion 2015 programs! Quest will take you from campus to Southside Bethlehem to the city of Philadelphia all while learning more about Greek Life at Lehigh and beyond. Register at the Evolution: 1 tab of the portal. Questions? Visit

Friday, June 5, 2015

Conduct Update: Theta Xi

Update: 06/05/2015
A disciplinary conference was held with Theta Xi Fraternity to adjudicate the charges below:
  1. Respect for Community (General)
  2.  Respect for Community A1 (False Information) 
  3. Respect for Self A1 (Unauthorized Consumption, Distribution, or Possession
  4.  Respect for Property A1A (Vandalism)

The incident these charges were related to is described below:
Theta Xi Fraternity hosted their formal at Bear Creek resort. They did so under the name "LU Men's Chior". They caused over $7000.00 in damage to the hotel.

After reviewing the information related to incident, the Hearing Officer made the following finding(s) regarding the violation(s) for which the chapter was charged:
  1. Respect for Community (General) -- Responsible
  2.  Respect for Community A1 (False Information) -- Not Responsible
  3.  Respect for Self A1 (Unauthorized Consumption, Distribution, or Possession) -- Responsible
  4.  Respect for Property A1A (Vandalism) -- Responsible

As a result of this behavior the following sanction(s) will be imposed:

The organization is placed on Disciplinary Deferred Dissolution from May 26, 2015 through May 31, 2016. During this period of time, the organization is on notice that any further violations of the Code of Conduct will result in the dissolution of the organization immediately without further review. Disciplinary Deferred Dissolution may not be imposed for longer than two regular semesters. If this sanction is imposed during a semester, it may be imposed for the remainder of that semester and two additional semesters.

Theta Xi Fraternity is placed on Disciplinary Probation effective May 31, 2016 through December 31, 2016. Disciplinary probation is the conditional continuation of a group or organization for a specified period of time not to exceed four semesters. This status implies that any further violation of this Code of Conduct may result in dissolution, termination, or other authorized sanctions. Other sanctions may be imposed, including limitations on social activities, and additional requirements may be imposed as conditions for reinstatement of recognition in good standing.

The Chapter is required to work with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and the Office of Student Conduct & Community Expectations to set up a functioning standards board that holds members accountable in a timely manner. It is to be completed by November 30, 2015.

The Chapter is required to set up two workshops during the Fall 2015 semester in conjunction with the Office of Student Conduct and your Assistant Director from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. These workshops/conversations should focus on individual and group accountability and how individual actions reflect on the entire organization. One workshop should be for the executive board and one for the whole chapter. Both must be completed by September 30, 2015.

The chapter is required to write a letter of apology to Bear Creek Resort. This letter must be typed and no less than 250 words in length. This letter should reflect a keen understanding of the inappropriateness of the chapter’s actions and the impact that it had on the recipient.
Rationale for Finding:
Respect for the Community and Respect for Property: Theta Xi misrepresented themselves (and in turn LU) in a way that did not reflect favorably upon the university and compromises reputation of the university with Bear Creek Resort and jeopardizes other LU group's ability to use the facilities at Bear Creek in the future. Furthermore, based on photographic evidence and reports from Bear Creek, students from Theta Xi did not "serve as positive representatives of Lehigh" while they were at Bear Creek. They acted in ways that put Bear Creek staff, other guests of the hotel, etc. in bad positions.

Unauthorized Distribution of Alcohol: Theta Xi left significant alcohol out in common spaces including bottles of hard alcohol and a keg where they could be accessed by anyone attending the event which included many underage students. None of the alcohol was monitored. The Chapter admitted that at one point one of loft suites that was intended to have a max occupancy of 12 had upwards of 30-40 people in it for pre-party.

Rationale for Sanctions:

The sanctions imposed in this case represent the severity of the incident, and the potential impact that the actions of the members of the organization had on others. It is my hope that by focusing the educational sanctions on building structures to allow the chapter to hold its members accountable, Theta Xi will become a stronger organization in the future.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Staff Update: Stefanie Burke

We are excited to announce that Stefanie Burke has been promoted to serve as the next Assistant Dean/Director of the First Year Experience. 

Stefanie has been at Lehigh for two and a half years as the Assistant Director for Leadership Development. In her current role, she has primarily worked with leadership development initiatives for fraternities and sororities and has been responsible for facilitating leadership training workshops, coordinating the Greek Emerging Leaders (GEM) program, overseeing the Fraternity and Sorority Accreditation process, and managing a preLUsion program, Quest, for First Year students.  In addition, within the Office of Student Leadership, Stefanie has supervised the Ropes Challenge Course and all of the student and graduate student facilitators and has collaborated with a number of other offices on Peer Education Training for student leaders across campus.  Prior to coming to Lehigh, Stefanie was the Coordinator for Leadership Programs in the Department of Student Life at the University of South Carolina for two and a half years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at James Madison University and her Master of Science in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Through all of these experiences and in her tenure thus far at Lehigh, we have been continually impressed by Stefanie's incredible work ethic; ability to build relationships with a variety of constituents across campus; strong presentation, facilitation and public speaking skills; ability to think strategically and operationally; expertise in designing and delivering student leader training content; and, most importantly, her overall commitment to student success and the ability to connect with and positively impact Lehigh students of all different backgrounds and experiences.

We have been very fortunate to have Stefanie as part of our Dean of Students Office team for the past few years, and when this role became available many people nominated her as someone who would make an outstanding candidate for this role.  We can confidently say that we all unanimously believe Stefanie is an excellent choice to lead our First Year Experience Office in the coming years.  Congratulations Stefanie!!

Stefanie will begin to transition slowly over the summer, but will remain formally in her current role until August 21st.  Please join us in congratulating Stefanie on her promotion into this important role at Lehigh University!! Over the coming weeks, the Office of Leadership Development will conduct a national search to find an Assistant Director candidate to replace Stefanie in her current role. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni will be involved in our search effort and we look forward to welcoming a new Assistant Director. 

Thank you,
Allison Gulati
Associate Dean and Director of Strategic Initiatives