Monday, August 3, 2015

Reflections from UIFI: Matt Bay

We're excited to feature yet another guest author on the blog today. IFC President Matthew Bay recently attended the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI). Here's what he had to say regarding the experience:

   This summer I had the privilege of attending the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute in Bloomington, Indiana. It was a five-day, fully immersive leadership experience. The attendees at the conference ranged from sophomores to seniors, and everyone was from different chapters, organizations, and councils. At the conference, we were led by extremely qualified and caring facilitators.  These facilitators helped us to explore who we are as individuals, who we are as leaders, and the potential that exists not just in those at the conference, but in the entire membership of the Greek Community nation-wide.
   I learned a great deal about myself and about what it really means to be a member of the Greek Community while attending this conference. I met so many incredible people and really did make friends there throughout my 5 days (Special shout-out to Group 2 (truuuu) for being great people). However, the biggest thing that I took away from this experience was a new way to think about the daily activities in my life not from just a personal standpoint, but from a chapter and council level as well. This new way of thinking can best be described as “knowing the why” in everything that I do. With every action, with every meeting, with every program, have a “why.”   I realized that often times I had been acting based on what I thought I had to do and what had been done before, without ever fully realizing the purpose behind the actions I was taking.

Throughout the week, we were told:
Leadership is what you do and knowing WHY you do it.
Values are what you do and knowing WHY you do it.
Service is what you do and knowing WHY you do it.

   I came to realize that without a purpose for actions I take, often times the results are not what I wanted them to be or very disappointing. I thought back to all of the times I had blindly done something that I didn’t care about and that I just “wanted to get over with”.  I’ve never taken away any meaningful experiences or had any real success from an event that I didn’t care about (or didn’t even know why I should care). More importantly, it was even harder to get help from others when even I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing. After all, nobody would follow someone or join a movement where the leaders or organizers didn’t really care about what was going on. This concept could be extended to apply to our chapters and to our Greek community: often times we do things because we feel as though we have to, or because we want to do what everyone else is doing. The problem with this is that we end up with a lot of programs and a lot of events that people don’t really care about. These events are almost like place-holders taking away our time and holding us back from creating actual, meaningful change that has a lasting impact.
   On the last morning of UIFI we went around the room and pledged to everyone else what we would commit to when we returned to our campus. I pledged to “know my why”. I went to UIFI because I wanted to learn more about myself and become a better leader. I left UIFI with much more than that.  I left with a tangible goal that will help shape my every-day actions. If I can have a “why” for everything that I do, I may not always be successful, but I will always care about what I am doing and be putting genuine effort into what I do. I’d like to challenge everyone to find their “why” both on a personal and on a Greek level. The worst thing that happens when working or doing something you care about is you have a good time. The potential benefits however, are endless.

   Finally, if any of you have the opportunity to go to UIFI I would highly recommend attending. It was the best leadership institute that I’ve ever been a part of.

Matthew Bay, Lehigh University ‘16
Brother of Phi Sigma Kappa

Interfraternity Council President

Many thanks Matt 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.