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.