Monday, June 11, 2018

Farewell Corey Gant

 
We're writing to share bittersweet news.  Corey Gant, Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, will be leaving us this month for an incredible opportunity as the Director of Greek Life with Washington and Lee.  In this new position, Corey will provide guidance and support to Washington and Lee’s 20-chapter fraternity and sorority community alongside its three governing councils.  He will also serve as the primary catalyst in facilitating officer transitions, developmental programming, and hazing prevention and risk management initiatives for members of the fraternity and sorority community.   
During Corey’s tenure at Lehigh, he has served as the advisor to the Interfraternity Council alongside 10 fraternities and sororities.  Under his guidance, the Interfraternity Council worked to reconsider its role within the greater Lehigh community; explored opportunities to enhance transparency, responsibility, and accountability; and made a conscious effort to dig into difficult conversations and make unpopular, yet groundbreaking, decisions.  Corey is also the brainchild behind OFSA’s hazing prevention and new member education efforts, and he developed the curriculum for new member orientation sessions targeting 400+ students each spring semester.  Corey’s also challenged himself to better understand hazing behavior and its connection to masculinity, vulnerability, alcohol misuse, and other concepts, and this has greatly informed his work and our office’s signature programs in these areas. Corey’s involvement also extends far beyond the fraternity and sorority community, as he’s worked closely with others across campus via the Pride Center (co-advising Greek Allies), the Spirit Committee, and the Student Affairs Professional Development Committee among others.     
We’re incredibly grateful to have called Corey a colleague, advisor and friend. Please join us in congratulating Corey on this well-deserved opportunity.  His last day will be Friday, June 22, 2018.     ​
Our team will be in touch across the summer as we shift Corey's responsibilities to other staff members.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact Ash Baudouin via email at amb512@lehigh.edu should you require assistance. 
Best,
Team OFSA

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Summer Spotlight: Matt Tracy





IFC President Matt Tracy gives us his take on UIFI....

As I began my trip to UIFI, I was unsure of what to expect. I have attended leadership conferences in the past for AEPi, but I knew this would be vastly different, as it encompassed leaders from across the country, from four different councils, and many many organizations. Also having been a part of the Greek Emerging Leaders program at Lehigh for the past two years, I had assumed that I knew everything there is to know about Greek leadership and that this would be a waste of my time. I’ve never been more wrong in my life.

From almost the instant I got off the plane, I was surrounded by so many passionate individuals who shared my common vision for a more united, values and serviced-based Greek community. The first day our coordinators focused on values; first identifying our personal values, then determining if they aligned with our chapter’s or council’s values. This set the tone for the entire weekend as everything we subsequently learned was based on our core set of values and empowering others to live through their values.

Once we determined what was important to us, we needed to understand how we got that message through to our members, our leadership style. I learned that my biggest strength in leadership is inspiring a shared vision; this is setting a long-term direction for an organization and ensuring that members understand its importance. This is something key that I plan to bring to IFC in the coming year, a long-term vision for what we want our community to look like, as well as getting buy-in from chapter members for this vision. Doing this same exercise, I learned that I need to work more on challenging limiting beliefs. For me, it’s really easy to continue doing something that’s working, instead of asking “is there a better way to do this?” This is an aspect of my leadership style that I must focus on in order to ensure that our community continues its path of positive growth.

Another takeaway that I found extremely valuable was understanding the importance of leadership transition. It is far too easy for leaders to check out once they are done in a job, but it is far more effective for them to leave a blueprint and guidelines for their successors to ensure a continued tradition of excellence for their organization.

Lastly, we moved onto the “why” of our organizations, our ritual. Ritual is the basis upon which all organizations are founded and contains all of the values each member should embody. This is vital to any organization because everyone has a unique ritual, separating what makes each organization special and unique. Leadership expert Simon Sinek explains that at the heart of every successful organization is a driving ideal, a “why.” Our coordinators conveyed to us the need for this why in our chapters and councils, how it impacted our leadership styles, and what values it creates. Starting with why and working our way to how and what creates a foundation for success within our organizations.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to attend UIFI, as I learned a lot about myself and how to better my community. It is my hope to share this knowledge with everyone I encounter at Lehigh.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Kappa Alpha: Loss of Recognition




The Lehigh University chapter of The Kappa Alpha Society (KA in VL) has received a second consecutive rating of Unaccredited by the 2017-18 Accreditation panel. The findings of the Accreditation panel, comprised of student, alumni and staff members were the result of thoughtful and extensive deliberation. These findings were subsequently reviewed and accepted by Vice-Provost for Student Affairs, Dr. Ric Hall. Per policies enacted by the Strengthening Greek Life Task Force in 2003-04, a second consecutive rating of Unaccredited results in a loss of chapter recognition and university group housing being immediately withdrawn. The following is excerpted from the 2017-18 Accreditation report, the full report can be found here.

Kappa Alpha worked to establish a foundation for the fraternity through the creation of a mission statement and bylaws and basic facilities management, among other things. However, much of their efforts were the result of required sanctions and the committee feels strongly that the chapter did not demonstrate enough growth to indicate that they deserve to continue as a recognized organization on this campus. Most notably, the chapter’s conduct record has continued to increase, despite efforts to develop a comprehensive risk management plan and establish cultural changes. The chapter has failed at holding members accountable and making difficult unpopular decisions about who should hold membership within the chapter. When Kappa Alpha was required to conduct a membership review, a true opportunity for some immediate culture change and renewed expectation setting, the chapter did not follow recommendations and failed to fairly and effectively evaluate every member of the organization. This is a blatant disregard of the severity of their situation and is just the most recent example of their inability to follow through on feedback and recommendations.

The following statement made by the 2016-2017 Accreditation committee continues to remain true, “Kappa Alpha has remained stagnant and has continued to ignore repeated recommendations made by the committee across all metrics.” The chapter has been consistently reminded by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Expectations, Accreditation committees, their alumni, and other stakeholders that they needed to show improvement around general member accountability, their impact as an organization on the community around them, garnering member buy-in, and academic performance. The lacking sense of urgency from the chapter leadership combined with the deep-seated general member apathy has prevented Kappa Alpha from creating sustained cultural change. Kappa Alpha has been rated Unaccredited for 2017-2018, a second consecutive year, thus immediately losing chapter recognition and rights to group housing.


The fraternity and sorority experience is at a critical crossroads--nationally and locally--as many call into question its relevancy and continued existence on the American college campus. Now more than ever, fraternal organizations need radical vision, leadership, and courage to realign the experience we all value so deeply. There exists boundless potential for fraternal organizations to promote a culture of excellence, advocate for social change, champion inclusion and equity, engage in controversy with civilly, and develop globally-minded and conscientious leaders.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Summer Spotlight: Eliza Dent at UIFI






Eliza Dent, sister of Mu Sigma Upsilon, tells us what she learned during her time at UIFI...

Over the course of my year in the Greek community, I have participated in a variety of experiences that are meant to teach me how to truly be an effective leader. However, I would say that the previous experiences do not compare to the UIFI in the way we were expected to critically think about issues in our community. We took the general conversations in the Greek community about our issues and took them to a deeper level than I had ever experienced before.      
To begin, one of the ways we discuss general issues is by breaking down problems from the surface level to their root. First you must identify the true problem, then the symptoms of a problem. They compared this to a person having the flu. The actual problem is that the person is sick, and the symptoms are the physical signs of that problem, such as a fever. Then, there’s the apparent cause. The apparent cause is what you think the reason for the cause is. We often misinterpret these as the root cause, address them, and get caught up in cycles of the same problem and apparent causes. However, to fully analyze a problem, we must look at the root of it. If the root cause is addressed, then a problem can actually be solved for good. We used this way of think when analyzing problems in our own communities and how exactly to go about fixing them. Personally, I focused on the fact that Greeks on our campus don’t realize the difference between philanthropy and service. Therefore, a counselor and I discussed that there should be a point to educate people on these differences and work to implement more service into our plans.

During UIFI, we also took a look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We applied it from a chapter point of view, and truly asked ourselves if our chapters fulfill each need. Personally, I believe my chapter could do a better job with making sure members’ basic needs are filled first. For instance, some sisters put chapter work before getting a full night’s rest or eating three meals a day. In order for our chapter to run effectively, we must fulfill our basic needs first and then move forward. I think every chapter could work on this, and we should put more emphasis on the self-care of members throughout the year.

These lessons along with others have motivated me to make even better change in my chapter, council, and overall Greek community to rebuild our reputations, values, and relationships with the greater community.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Congratulations to Student Life Leadership Award winners!

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An amazing 14 individuals (23 awards!) of these recipients (italicized) are members of the Greek community, so be sure to give a big congrats next time you see them!  For the full story, click here.
University Service Award
Yuan Gao
Matthew Rothberg
Michael Schwab
Bosey Reiter Leadership Cup
Ian Davis
Divya Sirdeshpande
Lindsay Wilson
Deborah Pearsall Prize
Anne Henry
Lauren Fosbenner
Lauren Schlegel
John W. Smeaton Pillar of Integrity
Liyala Dickens
Contribution to Student Life Award
Lidia Breen
Victoria Campbell
Jamal Connelly
Cole Geryak
Maura Henderson
Karlynn Miller
Stacie Nadel
Mary Newport
Angelene Rizzo
Katie Teitelbaum
Weijing Wei
James J. Duane III Student Life Leadership Award
Molly Bankuti
Alison Bergin
Ryan Bonshak
Daniel Colville
Ian Davis
Liyala Dickens

Benjamin Hamblett
Quinci Mann
Taj Blount-Oden
Anastassiya Perevezentseva
Alyssa Riporti
Matthew Rothberg
Samantha Scaccia

Michael Schwab
Divya Sirdeshpande
Emma Strong
John Tolbert
Lindsay Wilson
Outstanding Educational Programming Award
The Be Your Own program
Excellence in Entertainment Programming Award
The Latin Carnival (in collaboration with Lambda Theta Alpha)
Exemplary Cultural Programming Award
The FUSION program
Student Club/Organization of the Year Award
International Voices
Student Club/Organization Advisor of the Year Award
Dr. Emory Zimmers, advisor for the Lehigh National Society of Leadership and Success
Student Senate Leadership Award
Gary Schick
Residence Hall Association Character Award
Katie Teitelbaum
Ujima Award
Jamal Connelly
Jamir Connelly
Anastassiya Perevezentseva
Service Above Self Award
Dalyan Kosar
Linette Caudillo Zavala
Allegiance Award
Daniel Beadle
Harrison Birabaharan
Ryan Bonshak
Taj Blount-Oden
Matthew Rothberg
Mae Williams
Lindsay Wilson
Alumni Association Undergraduate Merit Awards
Klaudia Jazwinska
Rachel Okun
Matthew Rothberg
Samantha Scaccia

Friday, May 4, 2018

Feature Friday: Joe Guzikowski, Theta Chi




Check out Joe's reflection on starting a new philanthropic event in the community!

Coming into the second semester of my sophomore year, I came to the realization that I hadn't really done anything besides programming, hitting the gym, and playing Fortnite. Though I always had the feeling that I wanted to engage the community in some way, nothing ever held my attention long enough to get me to stay interested. After this realization, I knew I wanted to create something brand new for both myself and the Lehigh community.

St. Baldrick's, a non-profit organization, provides monetary support for childhood cancer research through a fundraising campaign, which raises money off the promise of people going bald. Participants, namely 'shavees', pledge to shave their heads completely, and get monetary donations from friends and family to support their decision to go bald.

Through St. Baldrick's, I aimed to branch away from the status quo of Lehigh philanthropy and give an outlet for students at Lehigh and locals within the Bethlehem community to give something that was truly and entirely theirs; their hair. I had participated in the event in middle school so I figured I'd give it a shot on a college campus.

As a general member of my chapter it was initially intimidating to propose a new event for the chapter, as most of our philanthropy events are proposed and executed by members of our Executive Board, however, with the help of a handful of brothers the event was an overwhelming success. Despite my small initial goal of $5,000 and 8 participants, the event garnered 14 participants, as well as being the highest-grossing philanthropy event in recent chapter history, raising over $13,000 total. This was also the highest grossing philanthropy event out of any IFC chapter this year. This result not only exceeded my expectations, but has helped me realize what sort of things can be accomplished when you have a distinct goal in mind.

The biggest takeaway I had from organizing this event is that what's most important about inspiring change is believing in what you’re doing. While I wasn't always completely sure of what I was doing, believing in myself and accepting the support I received from brothers who shared my vision is what lead the event to its success.

We couldn't have made this event possible without the support from those outside the chapter. Thank you to all of those who participated in the event, it was truly a pleasure to see so much joy and positivity in a single room. I'd also like to give a special thanks to the Behind-the-scenes crew: Nick Christy with the office of Student Engagement, David & Lexi at Sodexo, and the LU Sound crew.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Congratulations to the 2017-2018 Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Award Winners!


We celebrated the following award recipients at the annual Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Awards dinner on Tuesday May 1, 2018.

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

Distinguished Service Award
Anne-Marie Anderson, Ph.D.

Advisor of the Year
Josh Greenberg, Alpha Epsilon Pi

Emerging Leader of the Year
Gaby Montes. Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc.

Emerging Leader of the Year
Christy Cullen, Zeta Tau Alpha

Greek Leader of the Year
Molly Bankuti, Zeta Tau Alpha

Greek Leader of the Year
Ian Davis, Alpha Epsilon Pi

Outstanding President of the Year
Arianna Pineiro, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc.

Outstanding President of the Year
Matthew Tracy, Alpha Epsilon Pi

Traditional of Excellence 
Erin Garrity, Pi Beta Phi
Empowering Others

Erin Hank, Zeta Tau Alpha
Inclusive Leadership

Nick Furgason, Phi Sigma Kappa
Living the Ritual

Djenne Dickens, Mu Sigma Upsilon
Inclusive Leadership

Dana Teach, Kappa Alpha Theta
Inclusive Leadership

Malini Ray, Zeta Tau Alpha
Living the Ritual

Emily Brown, Alpha Omicron Pi
Inspiring Change

ORGANIZATIONAL AWARDS

Outstanding Philanthropic Effort
Phi Sigma Kappa

Commitment to Service
Alpha Epsilon Pi

Program of Distinction
Lambda Theta Alpha
Appropriation ≠ Appreciation

Most Improved Chapter 
Kappa Alpha Theta

Tradition of Excellence
Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, Inc.
Empowering Others

Zeta Tau Alpha
Inclusive Leadership