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.