Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Reflections from UIFI: IFC President Kyle Durics

Here are some thoughts and reflections from recent UIFI attendee and 2016-17 IFC President, Kyle Durics: 

In order to achieve anything or see any true change this year we need to have a clear, shared vision of what we want out of our Lehigh Greek experience and for the Greek community. This starts with the presidents of each council. From there we can develop relationships and have collective actions.

Our purpose needs to align throughout the community. In the past I feel as if it’s only been about our individual councils that we put effort into changing. Our vision needs to extend well beyond that. 

Vulnerability, respect, and humility are the three values that I felt were most important in instilling into our Greek community. With so many changes happening this past year within each council and OFSA, we have the best opportunity to make change now. 

In order to show that I want to have a more united Greek community, I need to lead the charge. Actions over words. I plan on attending every MGC and Panhel meeting and not just sitting there, but I plan on participating and getting input and ideas from all members of both councils when creating plans and forming ideas that will make our community stronger. 

In order to see the change I need to model the way, as does the rest of the council. When the other presidents see that we are serious and committed, they will follow. I've seen this happen within my own chapter this past year and am confident we can get this rolling within the IFC this year. Our vision needs to be shared. It can no longer just be IFC and then throwing that onto MGC and Panhel. We need to all work together for our vision. And the ideas need to go beyond "everyone should want to hang out together." 

Our goals may be small, but must be realistic. Overextending ourselves will only hurt us. 

I want to instill the concept of Service vs. Philanthropy. I see too much Philanthropy in our Greek community and not nearly enough service. We have so many people and collectively can do more service and create more of an impact here in the Bethlehem community, which will strengthen our relationship. This thought was my "ah-ha" moment you could say. I never really thought of that—just lumped the two concepts together, but they're very different.

I want to confront the community competency issue we have on campus. I feel that many students in our communities have a level of self-obsession within their chapters and within their councils, thus putting other groups aside. How can we have a united Greek community if that is how we think, speak, but most importantly act? 

I want the ideas that councils have to be passed onto the presidents in a better way. We need to create a "relay station" if you will. This task will hopefully help translate/carry over to our general Greek population. When a chapter sees their Presidents and leaders taking the Greek community ideas more seriously, they will too. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Reflections from UIFI: Megan McMichael

This summer I was incredibly fortunate and able to attend the Undergraduate Inter-Fraternity Institute at Indiana University. The 5 day-long institute brings together Greek students from across the country to discuss and analyze the issues facing the Greek community. My experience at UIFI allowed me to step outside of my own chapter, as well as my own university, to see the similar problems and different approaches we had as Greek students.

One of the things that struck me most upon my arrival at UIFI was just how many Greek chapters there are in existence. There are hundreds, yes hundreds, of Greek organizations on college campuses today. This led me to ask the same question that I have been asked by my non-affiliated friends: why so many? Why are there so many different organizations to do essentially the same thing? What makes my chapter different from another, besides the women who are members? This “why” was essential to the UIFI experience. UIFI taught me that to do something meaningful and effect positive change, it must be done with intentionality. The “why” of anything is just as important, if not more, than the “how” or the “what.” So why does my organization, and Greek life in general, exist?  The facilitators of UIFI posed this question to us all, and it was almost disheartening to see how long it took for us to come up with the answer: our ritual and our values. Yes, the tried and true four or five words that everyone recites during recruitment and when explaining to your parents and job interviewers why being in a Greek chapter is so important. But, if we were to look beyond the marketability of these terms and really understand how they apply to our lives, we can see the individuality of each chapter and how their values shape their organization.

Different chapters were formed because their founders had different values than those of other organizations. This can be seen in the way chapters have split off from one another, the way chapters have been created in direct response to other chapters, as well as the parts of ritual that are essential to other chapters, such as singing to Beta Theta Pi (having a talented Beta in my UIFI family was incredibly entertaining). The great thing about these values and about your chapter’s ritual is that it doesn’t always mean the same thing to you. Being one of the older attendees of UIFI, I saw the way in which these discussions and revelations affected younger members differently than myself. When you’re a first-year just joining an organization, these values can represent a goal, a model, a person you want to become. In your second and third years, they can be a seemingly unrealistic and unachievable standard. But, after attending UIFI and being on the cusp of my senior year, they are a reminder of a promise I made to become the best version of me that I possibly can be. And while every Greek student has made that oath, we are all going about it a different way. While myself and other Thetas are focusing on finding faith, hope, and love all around us, the members of Alpha Chi Omega may be trying to find the symphony of life. While it is the constant struggle to better ourselves and the world around us that unites us as Greek students, the existence of so many different chapters reminds us that there are so many different ways to tackle a problem.

Friday, July 8, 2016

2015-16 Accreditation Results

The Accreditation results for the 2015-2016 academic year have been finalized and the ratings breakdown for the 31 fraternities and sororities reviewed this academic year included 9 gold chapters, 11 silver chapters, and 7 bronze chapters.  Additionally, 4 chapters were rated poor. 

The Accreditation results provide feedback intended to support efforts to enhance the success of Greek chapters.  We encourage chapters to accept the feedback in the constructive spirit in which it is offered, and urge undergraduate and alumni members to discuss this feedback and develop an action plan for continued success.  The results are published on the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs website at http://studentaffairs.lehigh.edu/content/accreditation.  

A heartfelt thank you goes out to the members of the Accreditation Committee who worked tirelessly through hours of presentations and discussions.     

For questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs by phone at 610-758-4157 or by email at infrasor@lehigh.edu.