Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Fraternity and Sorority Community Update Fall 2020



TO: Chapter and Council Presidents, Alumni Chapter Advisors, Faculty and Staff Advisors, Headquarters Staff, NIC VP of Campus Operations, NPC Area Advisor

FROM: Chloe Abshire, Assistant Dean and Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, Ozzie Breiner, Director of Housing Services

DATE: August 5, 2020

RE: Fraternity and Sorority Community Update Fall 2020

With the recent decision announced by Lehigh to limit the number of students returning to campus this Fall 2020, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs will be orchestrating an entirely virtual fraternity and sorority experience. Fraternity and Sorority chapter facilities will not be open for Fall 2020 and both OFSA and Housing Services will work with residential chapters to ensure a strong opening once Lehigh determines it is safe to open campus more fully. Our offices continue to be dedicated and devoted to the success of the fraternities and sororities at Lehigh University.

We are disappointed that our fraternities and sororities will not be able to experience the in-person activity and connections that normally constitute our thriving on campus student experience. However, this decision was necessary for the health and safety of the Lehigh and South Bethlehem community. For those planning to live locally and study remotely off campus, we want to be clear that in-person events will be limited in size and scope and must comply with COVID-19 expectations. In addition, all students living locally and studying remotely off campus will be held to the same health and behavior expectations, as all who are enrolled in Lehigh coursework are considered students, and are therefore expected to uphold the Lehigh University Code of Conduct. As student leaders, we expect our fraternity and sorority members to model this behavior.

We are encouraging those who are able to do so to consider taking classes fully remotely and staying home if at all possible, as access to campus resources and opportunities for extracurricular and social engagement will be significantly limited.

OFSA Updates
  • Chapters and Councils are strongly encouraged to begin working on innovative and creative plans for a virtual membership experience, including membership recruitment and retention.
  • Guidelines for students living locally and studying remotely will be communicated in the very near future.
  • OFSA will be offering Chapter Coaching Calls Part 2 August 10th through August 18th. Chapter Presidents should be on the lookout for an invitation to sign-up for a Chapter Coaching Calls appointment.
  • Guidelines for virtual recruitment and new member education will be shared with chapter leadership in the coming days. Please note that some of these guidelines may come from the governing council; OFSA will continue working closely with Council Presidents throughout the Fall 2020 semester.
  • Details pertaining to Accreditation for 2020-2021 have yet to be determined.
  • Chapters and their respective alumni corporations or graduate chapters assess dues and fees per semester, and often work with an independent billing agency to do so. If individual members are curious about Fall 2020 membership dues, they should contact their chapter leadership directly.
Housing Services Updates
  • Fraternity and sorority chapter houses will not be accessible for any reason throughout the Fall 2020 semester.
  • Chapters are permitted to leave chapter belongings and paraphernalia in the chapter facility throughout the Fall 2020 semester.
  • If Alumni or House Corporation Officers have questions or issues regarding the chapter facility they should contact Housing Services at 610-758-3500 M-F 8:15-4:45pm.
  • Storage units can remain on campus property and stay throughout the Fall 2020 semester, at the expense of the chapter.
  • Dining services and kitchens will not be available and any contracts should be discontinued/cancelled for Fall 2020.
  • Housing Contracts were not signed, therefore students planning to reside in the chapter facility will not need to worry about cancelling a contract with Housing Services.
  • Additional Liability Insurance beyond chapter General Liability Insurance will not be required for the Fall 2020 semester.
  • Bursar Accounts will have the Housing charges removed sometime during the week of August 3rd.
Fall 2020 Focus Areas
  • Welcome first year students to Lehigh and introduce them to the Fraternity and Sorority community through virtual engagement.
  • Provide ongoing chapter support through leadership and education virtual initiatives designed for chapter and council leaders.
  • Assist fraternity and sorority chapters as they navigate these challenging times, educating the organizations on best practices, safety guidelines and the virtual membership experience.
  • Offer virtual training and coaching sessions for the fraternity and sorority community.
  • Collaborate with industry experts, council officers and chapter leaders to prepare for Spring 2021 recruitment and intake.

OFSA and Housing Services are committed to offering support and resources as we navigate the complexities of these challenging circumstances. We are proud of our Fraternity and Sorority community at Lehigh and are confident that through collaboration and perseverance, we will continue to offer a thriving virtual membership experience for both our current and future fraternity and sorority members. Together we will endure and look forward to welcoming our community back to campus stronger than ever once it is safe to return.

Sincerely, 






Chloe Abshire
Assistant Dean and Director
Fraternity and Sorority Affairs







Ozzie Breiner
Director
Housing Services

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Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs
Lehigh University
University Center B013
610.758.4157
infrasor@lehigh.edu

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Fraternity & Sorority Housing Assignments Plan Fall 2020

TO: Chapter and Council Presidents, Alumni Chapter Advisors, Faculty and Staff Advisors, Headquarters Staff, NIC VP of Campus Operations, NPC Area Advisor

FROM: Chloe Abshire, Assistant Dean and Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, Ozzie Breiner, Director of Housing Services

DATE: June 12, 2020

RE: Fraternity & Sorority Housing Assignments Plan Fall 2020

Housing Services and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs appreciate the efforts and patience exhibited by student chapter and alumni corporation leadership over the course of the past two weeks as we have worked to navigate logistics related to returning to campus this fall. We recognize that some of our fraternities and sororities are afforded the opportunity to experience on-campus chapter housing and that the members joining these organizations look forward to residing in their respective chapter houses during their membership. While we are still in the process of finalizing the Chapter House Lease Agreements, we continue to work with the Housing Corporations and Alumni Associations to finalize logistics related to assigning chapter members residing in the chapter house based on each house’s capacity. Below is the plan we will utilize to move forward with Fall 2020 Fraternity and Sorority Housing Assignments.

Fraternity and Sorority Residential Students

Alumni Presidents and House Corporation Presidents will assist the Housing Services Office in assigning spaces in the on-campus fraternity and sorority chapter houses. They will be provided guidance from Housing Services as to who receives priority and steps to take if there is insufficient space to accommodate all chapter members who want to live in the chapter house. Each chapter, as the Lessee under the Lease Agreement with the university, will make the final decisions as to who will be displaced based on chapter standards.
  1. In order to ensure each chapter has in-house leadership for its members, priority for housing will be given to the President and House Manager regardless of their class year.
  2. Rising second-year students will then be housed based on their survey responses. Students who requested a single room due to COVID-19 will be placed in a single room.
  3. Any Rising Second-year student who has a medical accommodation through Disability Support Services will receive that accommodation.
  4. The capacity of each chapter will be adjusted to comply with residence hall standards for square footage in individual rooms, resulting in an increased capacity for many houses.
  5. Any remaining spaces will be available to rising juniors or seniors. If the remaining spaces are not enough  to accommodate everyone in the house, juniors and seniors who are displaced will be guaranteed a space on campus in Sayre Park Village.
On Monday, June 22, members of OFSA and Housing Services began meeting with Alumni and Chapter Leadership in F/S Coaching Meetings to inform them of new capacity information so they can make their housing decisions.
  • Coaching meetings are being held June 22-June 30.
  • Fraternity and sorority assignment lists are due to Housing Services by July 7.
Fraternity and sorority chapter houses will not need to set aside quarantine housing, as Housing Services is setting aside Isolation and Quarantine Housing options for students when necessary.

Sincerely,

 

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Chloe Abshire
Assistant Dean and Director
Fraternity and Sorority Affairs
 
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Ozzie Breiner
Director
Housing Services

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

We're All In This Together: #BlackLivesMatter Resources From OFSA

Please keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list and will continue to be updated as additional resources are identified.


OFSA recognizes that improvements are essential to ensuring education, understanding and accountability occurs surrounding racism within the Fraternity and Sorority community at Lehigh. It is our goal to create a space where voices are heard. OFSA is in the process of auditing our curriculum, programming and staff training as we collectively work towards a better community together. It is on all of us to ensure we are properly educating ourselves and each other during this time. Our hope is that these resources will serve as a starting point if you have not already begun. OFSA will continue to serve all students and advocate for a socially and equally just experience and environment both in the Fraternity and Sorority Community and Lehigh University Community..


Here are some resources we have found helpful as we work to become an anti-racist community. 


Media


How to Help


Articles

Lehigh Resources


Mental Health

 

Books

Friday, June 12, 2020

Fall 2020 Fraternity and Sorority Housing Update

TO: Chapter and Council Presidents, Alumni Chapter Advisors, Faculty and Staff Advisors, Headquarters Staff, NIC VP of Campus Operations, NPC Area Advisor

FROM: Chloe Abshire, Assistant Dean and Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, Ozzie Breiner, Director of Housing Services

DATE: June 12, 2020

RE: Fall 2020 Fraternity and Sorority Housing Update


In the message from President Simon on Wednesday, June 10, he shared that Lehigh University is looking forward to welcoming our students, faculty and staff back to our campuses as we begin a phased return. The key focal points of the message included information about health and safety, the educational and on-campus residential experience, and information about how the semester will be different in light of the pandemic.

We are thrilled that Lehigh is working towards a plan for us to return to campus in the fall, and we want to recognize that the road ahead will require our community to exhibit patience and flexibility as we navigate the many moving pieces. As leaders of your chapter, it is our hope that you remain positive and hopeful in partnership with OFSA and Housing Services.

First and foremost, all of the decisions being made are focused on the best interests and safety of our community. As shared in the email sent on May 29 regarding Greek leases, chapters and residents should expect changes. As members of the fraternity and sorority community, you can be positive role models as we progress into this new normal; it will require patience, creativity and teamwork. OFSA and Housing Services remain supportive of the chapters as we navigate the road ahead.

At this point, there are likely more questions than answers. For the time being, we want to offer a step-by-step process for what the housing assignments rollout process will likely look like for the Greek houses. As outlined below, survey results from individual members will impact how steps 2-5 fall into place. Thank you for your patience as we work to make the best decisions possible for the safety of our community.


Step One
Members planning to live in the chapter house will need to complete the survey from Housing Services and indicate whether they desire to live in a single or double, or do not plan to return.

Step Two
Once Housing Services has received a response from each individual student, they will then gauge each house’s capacity given the results of the students’ self-selected preferences. We encourage individual members to communicate with their previously planned roommate(s) about whether they are comfortable remaining in a double room or prefer, due to personal concerns about COVID-19, to reside in a single room. Over-occupancy will not be permitted. Therefore, chapters planning to over-occupy must be prepared for some members to live elsewhere.
Please note: This will be a shuffling process based on the number of available spaces and the number of members selecting a single vs. a double room.

Step Three
House Managers will work with Housing Services to assign members to rooms based on individually completed survey results of their members.
Please note: Pending survey results, chapters may need to go “back to the drawing board” in consultation with Housing Services to reassign members given individual selected preferences.

Step Four
Housing Services will work to identify residential options to accommodate any members not able to reside in the chapter house based on capacity and survey results. If any chapter members need to move to different housing assignments, Housing Services will, to the extent possible, assign housing that allows proximate living among members.

Step Five
Housing Services will do their best to accommodate Chapter Officers, such as the House Manager, Chapter President, New Member Educator or Recruitment Chair in the chapter house, regardless of class standing. However, given the circumstances of the year ahead, students in those officer roles should indicate in their Housing Services survey if they prefer alternate housing. All chapters need to plan to elect those officer positions based upon members who will plan to reside in the chapter house effective Fall 2021.


What is to come from OFSA & Housing Services…
  • Survey from Housing Services to individual students
  • OFSA Chapter Coaching Calls with each chapter (6/18-6/30)
    • Invitation will be extended to Chapter President, Recruitment Chair(s), New Member Educator, Risk Manager, House Manager (if applicable), Advisor and Headquarters Partner
  • Reopening Resource Toolkit 
  • Webinars for Advisors (6/18) & Parents (TBD, early July)

Sincerely,

Chloe Abshire
Assistant Dean and Director
Fraternity and Sorority Affairs


Ozzie Breiner
Director
Housing Services

Monday, June 1, 2020

A Message from OFSA on Confronting Racism

Silence is not an option. The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs at Lehigh University condemns racism in any and all forms. Our hearts are broken for the families of George Floyd, Ahmed Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the endless list of Black people who have lost their lives to police brutality. Fraternities and sororities have a long and deep history of racism based upon power, privilege, and exclusion that have contributed to the collective trauma we are seeing across the country. It is our responsibility to be an active part of systemic change. As an office, we are committed to supporting all of our students, especially students of color, and join you in saying Black Lives Matter. Now is the time for action. We encourage all councils, chapters, and members to live out their personal and organizational values; use your platform for good, help one another, love one another, show kindness, listen. Whether it is protesting peacefully, donating, signing petitions, or uplifting the voices of Black people, we must confront racism together. Resources will be made available. We are here for you.

Chloe Abshire, Assistant Dean/Director
Andrew Dorriere, Assistant Director
Devore McIntosh, Assistant Director
Olivia Miller, Assistant Director
Ashley Strause, Coordinator


We see you. We hear you. We stand with you. #BlackLivesMatter
Instagram: @lehighofsa


Friday, May 29, 2020

Greek House Lease Update

This morning, the update below was sent on behalf of Housing Services and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs to Fraternity and Sorority Chapter Presidents and Alumni Corporation Leaders informing them that the lease agreement between the University and the University-owned chapter houses would not be automatically renewed for a one-year term.

The short FAQ below addresses some of the questions we’ve received. As the University continues to plan for the fall, OFSA and Housing Services are working together to prepare to support the chapters and residents who will reside in chapter facilities.
  1. Why did Lehigh send this message today without knowing what the plans for Fall 2020 would be?
    • The current Lease Agreement between the University and each fraternity or sorority chapter occupying a University-owned chapter house provides for a one-year term. Previously, the Lease Agreement automatically renewed from year to year on the same terms and conditions, unless it is terminated by sixty (60) days written notice prior to the end of the current one-year term. As planning for the fall is still in progress, it was necessary to notify the chapters prior to June 1, 2020, to meet this condition. 
  2. Does Lehigh anticipate offering fraternity and sorority housing in the fall? 
    • Yes. Lehigh expects that fraternity and sorority members will continue to be on the hill. Chapters and residents should expect changes based on CDC guidelines and federal, state and local health and safety requirements in response to the pandemic. We have asked for support from all fraternity and sorority chapters to assess, both immediately and on a continuing basis, their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and plans for the future. At the University-level, we are establishing protocols that incorporate appropriate social distancing and health guidelines for all on-campus housing and will keep the campus community informed of our plans for the fall.
  3. Due to the chapter facility lease not automatically renewing at this time, does this mean residents need to find alternate housing?
    • No. Chapter members will not need to identify alternate housing. 
  4. Is fraternity and sorority housing going to be the same as it has always been? 
    • The University is still determining the number of occupants that can be in each Greek house and in the other residential houses.More information will be made available through the summer as planning progresses.

TO: Fraternity and Sorority Chapter Presidents and Alumni Corporation Leaders

FROM: Ozzie Breiner, Director of Housing Services, Chloe Abshire, Assistant Dean and Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs

DATE: May 29, 2020

RE: Greek Leases

Dear Fraternity and Sorority Chapter Presidents and Alumni Corporation Leaders,

We are writing to you as the undergraduate and alumni leadership of fraternities and sororities that occupy University-owned chapter houses on Lehigh’s campus.  We need to bring to your attention important information about the University’s planning for the fall semester in view of possible scenarios as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.    

While the University remains in an assessment and planning phase with respect to the fall semester, two decisions have been made that impact University-owned Greek chapter houses on campus. 

First, Fall 2020 was planned for the implementation of an important element of the 10-Point Plan for Greek Life Excellence: the requirement that live-in Graduate Assistants reside in each chapter house. As communicated in the original announcement, a decision has been made to delay implementation of this requirement, so it will not go into effect for the 2020-21 academic year. The primary reason for the delay was the inability to construct GA suites during the COVID-19 construction stoppage. 

Second, due to the current uncertainties concerning COVID-19 and the University’s plans for the fall semester, it is unknown at this time whether or to what extent on-campus and University-owned housing, including fraternity and sorority chapter houses, will be occupied this fall and, if so, how many students will be able to reside in chapter houses with respect to health and safety requirements.  

As you know, the current Lease Agreement between the University and your chapter for your University-owned chapter house provides for a one-year term and the Lease automatically renews from year to year on the same terms and conditions unless it is terminated by sixty (60) days written notice prior to the end of the current one-year term. 

In consultation with the Office of General Counsel, it has been deemed necessary to give each chapter notice now that the current Lease Agreement between the University and your chapter will not be automatically renewed for the 2020-21 academic year.  

If conditions permit and the Lease Agreement can be renewed, it will not be on the same terms and conditions as the 2019-2020 Lease Agreement due to changes that may be necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, social distancing requirements that may preclude full occupancy or alter regular configurations of chapter houses. 

While we do not yet know what the fall semester will look like, it is necessary to plan for every possibility. It should be noted that currently our second-year housing process for all students has also been temporarily suspended for these planning purposes. We will continue to keep the campus community informed of how our housing processes are impacted.

For the reasons provided, this constitutes notice to your chapter that your current chapter house Lease Agreement shall terminate at the end of the current one-year term and will NOT automatically renew.  The University will be determining in the near future whether a revised Lease Agreement will be issued to your chapter for fall 2020 and, if so, what the terms of the Lease Agreement will be in view of the challenges of providing safe student housing under the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In closing, we would like to emphasize that the health and safety of all Lehigh students is paramount.  The University urges all fraternity and sorority chapters to assess, both immediately and on a continuing basis, their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and plans for the future. Thank you for your support. 

Sincerely,






Ozzie Breiner
Director
Housing Services





Chloe Abshire
Assistant Dean and Director
Fraternity and Sorority Affairs

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Congratulations to the 2019-2020 Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Award Recipients!


The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs is proud to recognize individuals and organizations on their outstanding accomplishments during the 2019-2020 academic year. Though the past year has certainly posed unexpected obstacles and challenges, our community has shown true leadership and demonstrated what it means to be members of Greek letter organizations.

Though we could not celebrate in person, OFSA moved forward with Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Awards in our first ever virtual celebration! We are proud to recognize the following individual and organizational award recipients.

Individual Awards
Greek Leader of the Year
This award recognizes individuals for their achievements and contributions to the fraternity and sorority community and larger campus community. Leadership is not limited to those holding positions, therefore consideration will be given to individuals who exemplify many, if not all, of the values of brotherhood or sisterhood, strong character, leadership, scholarship, and service in their daily lives.
Aisha Abdulkarimu, Mu Sigma Upsilon
Julius Wibisono, Kappa Alpha Psi

Outstanding IFC/Panhellenic/CGC President of the Year
Awarded to the chapter president who has demonstrated superior leadership and service to his/her chapter, as well as to the fraternity and sorority community. This leader is one who consistently represents their organizational values, communicates a clear vision for success, and leaves their organization in a better place than when they took office.
CGC - Gabriela Montes, Lambda Theta Alpha
Panhellenic - Carolyn Simmet, Kappa Delta
IFC - Kenny Warman, Delta Upsilon

Emerging Leader of the Year
Awarded to a newer member of the fraternity and sorority community who has shown leadership characteristics within their peer group, fraternity and sorority community, and greater Lehigh community. These members are enthusiastic about their experience as new members and are eager to pursue leadership opportunities and bring about positive change to the fraternity and sorority community.
Jenna Perricelli, Kappa Alpha Theta

Advisor of the Year
This award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of an advisor who has helped to positively shape the experiences of fraternity/sorority members. Advisors willingly, often without receiving anything in return, give of themselves to contribute to overall chapter experience, daily operations, university and headquarters relations, and role modeling through leadership, and thus we encourage nominations for any advisor whom you feel is worthy of this distinction. Nominators should indicate whether the nominee advisor is an alumni or faculty/staff advisor, so we can recognize and thank the advisors for their contributions from these distinct roles.
Ashley Sciora, Kappa Alpha Theta

Tradition of Excellence
This award is presented to one or more individuals who consistently exceed expectations in one or more of the following focus areas for college students and active fraternity/sorority members. This award is intended to affirm the efforts an individual can make in one area that was deserving of significant focus, or in several areas that showcase their ability to impact a community in several ways. Nominators should identify the appropriate focus areas for which they believe the nominee should be recognized (listing is appropriate), and provide examples for each area of, to ensure recognition is given for all selected areas:
Living the Ritual; Inclusive Leadership; Empowering Others; Inspiring Change.
Aisha Abdulkarimu, Mu Sigma Upsilon - Inclusive Leadership
Gabriela Montes, Lambda Theta Alpha - Empowering Others
Kenny Warman, Delta Upsilon - Inspiring Change
Taylor Pistone, Alpha Gamma Delta - Inspiring Change
Lisa Sanquini, Kappa Delta - Living the Ritual


Organizational Awards
Fraternity/Sorority Chapter of the Year
This award is given to a chapter that excels in all of the following areas: Leadership and Member Development, Organizational Operations, Community Service and Engagement, and Academic and Intellectual Advancement. In addition, this chapter has positively contributed to both fraternity and sorority life as well as the Lehigh community. This chapter served as a role model for their fellow members and led by example.
Alpha Gamma Delta
Theta Chi

Outstanding Philanthropic Effort
This award is given to an organization that has gone above and beyond in supporting a cause, effort, or agency in a sustainable and meaningful way. This is typically represented by groups who recognize the nature of philanthropy as efforts to raise both awareness and support (e.g. financial, goods, time, and energy), while collaborating with others for a shared purpose. Efforts that are distinguished in this category can be either ongoing or one-time programs.
Zeta Tau Alpha

Commitment to Service
This award recognizes meaningful service efforts and action where participants gain exposure, develop an understanding, and respond to the needs of the community voice. This typically including building and developing positive relationships, developing active citizens, and incorporating reflection. These criteria, when established and achieved, are indicative of dedicated efforts to create and inspire sustainable change. Efforts that are distinguished in this category can either ongoing or one-time programs.
Alpha Epsilon Pi

Program of Distinction
This award is given to an organization that is proud of a particularly successful event, program, or effort they executed in the past academic year. Consideration will be given to those efforts that incorporated collaboration, innovation, and/or education components as well as addressed a program and/or met a need.
Being A Woman in a Male Dominated World - Lambda Theta Alpha

Most Improved
This award is given in recognition of the efforts an organization has taken to address a substantial challenge or issues they were/are facing. Change can be hard and waiting for the effects can feel slow, so this award was established with that in mind; this award is meant to affirm the actions an organization has taken and remind them that all the hard work is worth it. Nominations for this award should include identification of the particular need to be addressed, examples of action taken to create change, and reflection on the improvement that has been observed.
Delta Upsilon

Tradition of Excellence
This award is presented to an organization that excels in one or more of the foundation areas of success for fraternities and sororities. This award is intended to affirm the efforts an organization can make in one area that is deserving of significant focus, or in several areas that showcase their ability to multitask, delegate, and impact a community in a significant way. Nominators should identify the appropriate focus areas for which they believe the nominee organization(s) should be recognized (listing is appropriate), and provide examples for each area of, to ensure recognition is given for all selected areas:
Living the Ritual; Inclusive Leadership; Empowering Others; Inspiring Change.
Mu Sigma Upsilon - Inspiring Change
Lambda Theta Alpha - Inclusive Leadership
Kappa Alpha Theta - Empowering Others
Kappa Alpha Theta - Living the Ritual

We would also like to recognize and thank the numerous staff, alumni, and students that served on the Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Awards Selection Committee - this is possible because of you!