Friday, August 18, 2017

Feature Friday: Meet Elizabeth (Liz) Shayler!

Feature Friday is baaaaaack!  Don't be surprised if Liz looks a little different this fall; her family is growing in October!

Elizabeth Shayler
Associate Director, OFSA

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Educational Background: Vanderbilt University, B.S. Human & Organizational Development, M.Ed Higher Education Administration

Affiliation: Chi Omega

Professional Highlights: Always the relationships I build with students.  I love hearing from students that I've worked with over the years and seeing where life takes them.  I was also extremely honored (and surprised!) to receive the Chi Phi Administrator of the Year award this summer.  

Why did you decide to pursue a career in fraternity and sorority affairs? I always knew I wanted to work with people and in an academic setting.  After serving on Panhellenic as an undergrad, my Greek advisor and mentor shared her journey into this field and it sounded pretty awesome! 

High points/Favorite memories during your time at Lehigh University? Receiving an apology letter from a chapter, positive feedback from alumni advisors after a tough year, seeing a chapter bounce back in Accreditation and my 1:1s with students, particularly when they indulge me with their love life stories!

Hopes for the Lehigh Greek Community? Care about each other, regardless of chapter affiliation.  I really want our members to be a part of a community that genuinely cares about one another and seeks to root our harmful behaviors and be positive contributors to Lehigh and beyond.  

If you weren't doing this, what would you be doing professionally? Something with dogs, cooking or wine.  Or all 3.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Reflections from UIFI: Djenne Dickens, Cultural Greek Council President

Thanks to Djenne for sharing her experience at UIFI!

Mid-May I had the great opportunity to attend the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Though my time at the institute was short, I created lasting memories and friendships that will stick with me throughout the challenges of the upcoming year.

At this institute, we were encouraged to think outside the box. Our faculty leaders pushed us to question our current knowledge and delve deeper into topics we thought we already knew. It was great to be able to meet other Greeks and hear about the nuances of Greek life on their campuses. Within our small group meetings, students were able to talk about issues faced on our campuses and brainstorm solutions to these problems. UIFI promoted an accepting and welcoming atmosphere that encouraged students to open up and approach each other with honesty. As a result, I was able to comfortably take off my “cool cap” and fully engage and trust the UIFI curriculum.

Throughout this experience, I learned a lot. I learned the difference between charity and service. I learned the different forms rituals can take, and how important that can be. Additionally, not only was I able to learn more about the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils, but I was able to learn more about the many culturally based councils that exist nationally. With this, I have developed a stronger desire to connect and collaborate with the other councils on Lehigh’s campus. I think many organizations have similar values in terms of serving others, which can be used as a way for the Greek community to come together.

Overall, I truly appreciate how passionately each volunteer pursued making our experience better; their dedication to improving Greek life has served as a model and as inspiration for me to do the same. I am incredibly thankful to Lehigh for sponsoring my experience at UIFI and encouraging my growth. UIFI was a great opportunity that I hope future Greeks enjoy as well.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Congratulations Pike!

Lehigh university pikes earn top chapter recognition in north america

MEMPHIS, TN - At the 2017 Pi Kappa Alpha Academy, Gamma Lambda Chapter was recognized as being in the top 10 percentile of high performing chapters across the United States and Canada. The chapter was recognized with the Robert Adger Smythe Award—the highest undergraduate honor.

The Smythe Award, named after Junior Founder Robert Adger Smythe, is given out once a year. Chapters who receive this honor have achieved academic excellence, contributed to their community through service and philanthropic events, distinguished themselves as leaders on campus, and lived by the values of the Fraternity.

This year the chapter was recognized for earning a 3.21 grade point average, 100 percent involvement in campus activities, an exceptional 96 percent retention of new members, contributing over 1,230 hours and $107,000 to community service and their philanthropy, and ranking in the top three of fraternity intramural athletics on campus.

Gamma Lambda Chapter was also recognized with the Raymond L. Orians Chapter Excellence Award. The Raymond L. Orians Chapter Excellence Award recognizes overall chapter excellence. Chapters that win this award are amongst the best on their campus and Pi Kappa Alpha’s most competitive chapters.

Additionally, the Gamma Lambda Alumni Association was recognized as Alumni Advisory Board of the Year, recognizing outstanding mentorship to undergraduates.

The Academy is just one of the nine PIKE University events held annually across the continent with over 3,500 annual participants. PIKE University is the combined banner for all Pi Kappa Alpha leadership programs and educational curriculum. The mission of PIKE University is to develop and provide educational programs aimed at fostering leadership, management and personal development skills in order to prepare college men for success in life.

For more information about PIKE University, please visit:

Monday, August 7, 2017

Reflections from UIFI: Molly Bankuti, Panhellenic President

Thanks to Molly for sharing her thoughts about her recent UIFI experience!

This past June, I had the opportunity to attend the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) at Indiana University with 70+ Greek Leaders from across the country. UIFI was a chance to connect with people who are leaders on their campuses and who have taken advantage of all the opportunities their communities have to offer, Greek and otherwise; these people have the capacity to incite positive changes at their schools through their continued campus involvement.  At UIFI we spent 5 days talking about ways we, as Greeks, can do to leave a stronger, positive impact on the surrounding community -- and what changes we want to bring back to our own campuses.  

On the third day of the conference, the group came to realize that the benefits of Greek life, both to ourselves and to our communities, are no longer outweighing the negative repercussions of fraternities and sororities at schools.  It was tough to recognize that “not in my chapter,” “not in my council,” and even “not on my campus” is no longer enough to justify being a part of a community that contributes to increased deaths, sexual assaults, and high-risk alcohol and drug consumption on college campuses. It was discouraging hearing about the poor reputations being built up and portrayed in the news and the media.  It was also hard to share stories from Lehigh’s campus and see people visibly cringe, shake their heads, or wish us luck.

When you take a look at all the negative aspects of a community, though, it forces you to revisit why you would want to join Greek life in the first place. During the last few days at UIFI we reconnected with the reason our chapters were founded and the history of our organizations. We revisited the opportunities our chapters provide to our members, the support system so many people gain from fraternities and sororities, and the personal development that comes with being involved as a Greek student. We talked about areas to educate our members, and opportunities to have a more profound impact on the community than our organizations are already having on the communities and philanthropies surrounding us. I think when most people hear the word “ritual” they think of the long ceremonies, the words people have to memorize, and the required dress. But what UIFI helped me realize is that our ritual really doesn’t have much to do with the physical ceremony -- the word “ritual” refers to the higher standards and the opportunities that you are able to take advantage of as a part of a Greek organization.  “Knowing your ritual” is knowing that when you meet someone else in your chapter, or someone else in the Greek community, they’ve committed to holding themselves to a higher standard, and living up to the ideals of friendship and achievement.

It’s not a coincidence that some of the most successful people I know were leaders in their own Greek communities when they were in school -- but we need to recognize, as a whole community, that “not my chapter” isn’t enough any more.  This year, both within and across councils, my hope is that we can start reconnecting with why we joined our organizations in the first place. We need to start thinking less about the physical ceremony and more about what it means to be a brother or a sister of our chapter, and to the other members of the Greek community.  I’m looking forward to what the year brings, and could not be more excited to see Lehigh Greek life continue to grow and strengthen our community.