Friday, November 18, 2016

Feature Friday: Breezy Maravich, Gamma Phi Beta

Our first Greek student-athlete Feature Friday, Breezy Maravich of Gamma Phi Beta!

As a student-athlete on the women’s tennis team and member of the Greek community, I have been lucky to gain life experiences and knowledge through multiple outlets. Despite having their own unique challenges and rewards, my participation in both groups on campus has given me the ability to be well rounded and learn from many different types of people. There are important skills that I have garnered from being in a sorority that have been beneficial in enhancing my career as an athlete. There are also many ways that my role on a division one team has helped me bring a different perspective to my chapter. One of the most important skills that I have received from being on a sports team is leadership and being able to interact with and get along with differing personalities. My team is very diverse and being with them daily through challenges and successes has taught me how to be inclusive of everyone and find ways to connect with every person on my team. This has allowed me to be able to forge connections with the girls in my chapter, despite having different schedules, interests, and personalities.
            Greek life has been influential in showing me the importance of philanthropy. Being a part of many of these philanthropic events has encouraged me to try to use my position as an athlete to access a range of different people and get them involved in giving back to our community. I have supported Lehigh athletics by being on the Adopt-a-family committee to help with fundraising for underprivileged families to provide them gifts and essentials for the holiday season. I also try to find ways to have my team show its support for other important causes like raising awareness for Breast Cancer.

Most importantly, being a member of both of these influential organizations has pushed me to go outside of my comfort zone. I have strengthened my ability to be vocal and communicate with others. I have also grown from hearing ideas from other people and strive to make the most out of my four years here at Lehigh.   

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

Feature Friday: Joe Mitri, Sigma Phi Epsilon

Another outstanding Feature Friday post from Joe Mitri, Sigma Phi Epsilon

As I’m going through my last year at Lehigh, I’m trying to take everything as slowly as possible. That’s not to say I’m not ready to move on, but it’s more that I’m so appreciative of the people I’ve met on campus and the experiences I have had that I want to make sure it comes with me as I leave. After I joined my fraternity and completed my first year, I knew I wanted to meet as many people as I could on campus. I wanted to make myself a well-rounded and experienced student who would be ready for anything after college.

I found myself joining student senate and being elected as the treasurer after sophomore year. Joining senate was a big commitment and being treasurer allowed me to develop myself as a leader. During this time, I lived in the chapter house and part of the reason I enjoyed working on senate was it gave me a chance to meet and work with so many other people. I developed some very valuable relationships with people outside, as well as inside, my chapter during that time. The commitment of senate was challenging and finding that balance between Greek Life and my extracurriculars was difficult, but I wouldn’t trade that experience, and what I learned from it, for anything. 

Right before the start of my senior year, I was chosen to be an orientation leader. I can wholeheartedly say that this experience changed my college perspective and my outlook on life. I learned so much about other people and their experiences throughout life, that it changed who I was for the better. Our days were filled with fun, random activities and evenings often included intense discussions that reflected on the hardships people go through every day. Being an orientation leader allowed me to get closer to other people by letting myself go. I’ve never felt more free than when I went through training; free from social pressures, free from judgement, free from the stereotypes that I think Lehigh student create too often.

I try to bring these two main experiences back to my fraternity. I learned how to become an effective, open minded, and inclusive leader through my experiences outside of Greek Life and it was, and still is, difficult to bring it to my chapter, but its not impossible. I think it’s necessary for a better college experience for students to branch out. People are always talking about the Greek bubble and exclusive social atmosphere, but it all starts with people becoming more open to the opportunities that are happening on campus and all around them.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Important Accreditation Information for 2016-2017

History & Background of Accreditation

The Accreditation process is designed to review and assess all facets of chapter operations and is a key process in the development and maintenance of chapter standards.  Accreditation evaluates the contributions that each chapter makes to the campus and local communities.  

During the 2002-03 academic year, the decision was made to undertake a comprehensive plan to recommit and strengthen the fraternity and sorority community at Lehigh University. This plan, known as the Strengthening Greek Life Initiative, was the result of a task force commissioned by University President Gregory Farrington.  The original Accreditation process commenced during the 2004-2005 academic year.  In 2010, the “Next Steps for the Fraternity & Sorority Community” report was released.  One sub-committee was tasked with developing what is now known as the Lehigh University Accreditation process for fraternities and sororities.  

In 2014, a re-visioning committee of staff, students, and alumni was charged with evaluating the Accreditation process and identifying areas of change including metrics, requirements, ratings and timing.  At the conclusion of the re-visioning process, the committee identified common themes derived from focus group data, student assessment results, and committee discussion which led to the changes outlined below.  Many thanks to the individuals who served on the re-visioning committee as well as the numerous students who provided valuable input.

Goal of Revisions

Based on the themes identified by the re-visioning committee, the following changes have been made to the Accreditation process for the 2016-2017 academic year.  The goal of these changes is threefold:

  1.  To provide chapters increased clarity on metrics and reports
  2.  To increase transparency in the evaluation and ratings process
  3.  To incentivize improved performance year to year  

What’s changed?

Chapters will be evaluated on four or five metrics.  The metrics are the following:
Leadership & Member Development
Organizational Operations
Community Service & Engagement
Academic & Intellectual Advancement
Facilities Management (as applicable)
The metrics largely consider the same criteria as in previous years, but have been reorganized and renamed to create clearer areas of focus.  Additional criteria that has been added at the recommendation of the committee: brotherhood/sisterhood activities, exploration of post-graduate opportunities, and professional/career development activities.  Additionally, there is also an overall rating that considers additional performance indicators.  This rating focuses on the overall performance of the chapter throughout the year.  This is not an average of the ratings received in previous metrics.  Chapters are measured against themselves each year and are encouraged to demonstrate growth and development in each metric.  Full descriptions can be found here

An extensive guiding rubric has been created that all chapters are encouraged to use.  The rubric covers each metric and rating.  The rubric is not meant as an exhaustive “checklist” but should be used for examples and items to consider when preparing reports and presentations.  Chapters are still encouraged to use organizational values, priorities and requirements in crafting their Accreditation submissions.  To view the rubric, click here

Chapters will be evaluated and given one of the four possible ratings:
Accredited with Excellence (previously Gold)
Unaccredited (previously Poor)
Unacceptable (remains the same)
For a full description of the Accreditation ratings, click here.   

Chapters receiving an Accredited with Excellence rating will be recognized in several ways across the Lehigh community.  Chapters Accredited with Excellence will receive preference when scheduling Accreditation presentations for the following year.  Additionally, chapters Accredited with Excellence may select from one of the following options: An Accreditation presentation “bye” year meaning that a chapter may choose to opt-out of presenting the year following their Accredited with Excellence rating OR $250 towards a chapter need.  Full details regarding these options can be found here

Report submissions should not exceed 50 pages total.  The recommend length is between 25-35 pages.  Appendices should be limited and used only if absolutely necessary as supporting documentation.

Next steps

Elizabeth Shayler, Associate Director, OFSA will be attending the following council meetings to provide an overview and answer questions.  Chapters are encouraged to review all the Accreditation information in advance and bring anyone involved with Accreditation to these meetings.
  • IFC: TODAY November 7th at 4:10pm in MG 111
  • MGC: TODAY November 7th at 7:00pm in UC, B025
  • Panhellenic: November 10th at 4:10pm in MG 101

Workshops and programs addressing Accreditation preparation will be offered throughout the spring semester in collaboration with the Assistant Director of Greek Leadership, Carter Gilbert.  More details regarding dates, times, and topics will be available in January 2017. 

Finally, chapters are encouraged to work closely with their Assistant Director to discuss the revisions and begin planning for the 2016-2017 process.  

Friday, November 4, 2016

Feature Friday: Sidney Ro, Alpha Gamma Delta

Sidney Ro, Alpha Gamma Delta, shares her thoughts this week...

My first day on campus was the day I began my Lehigh experience in the prelusion program, OAP (Outdoor Adventure Program). I was far from being an outdoorsy person at the time but thought a trip to meet my peers before actual school started would be helpful in navigating my first experiences at college. I walked into Lamberton late to discover hoards of students in different colored t-shirts sitting in circles and eating bagged lunches together. I was overwhelmed but knew that I wasn't alone in my fear so I sat and mingled. Doing OAP became one of the things throughout my Lehigh experience that I know I'll never forget or regret in any way. I met my best friends and several other amazing individuals through this program and had the opportunity to become a leader for the next two years, and ultimately a coordinator this past August. Aside from being a participant in the program, being a leader has allowed me to make countless connections with other leaders who come from different circles all over campus. Working with such different individuals who want to provide the best transition and unbiased information for first-year students has been an experience that can never be replicated. The passion and diversity of each individual leader in OAP, in my opinion, has had positive and influential lasting effects on the students we have led. I've learned invaluable collaborative and leadership skills while gaining the friendships of some of the most incredible individuals on our campus. 

In the same way, my employment at Lamberton has given me a similar opportunity. I joined the staff my sophomore year and have been working there ever since. The employees at Lamberton Hall, like OAP leaders, come from extremely different spaces on our campus and I've created relationships with individuals that I most likely would not have had if I had not worked at Lamberton. Communication, collaboration, and initiative are essential at Lamberton and these skills combined with the ones I've learned over the course of the four years through OAP have helped me in my leadership in my Greek chapter whether it was as social coordinator or a new member coordinator. 

My Lehigh experience has been a perfect combination of participation not only in my Greek chapter's activities but also activities outside of the Greek sphere here at Lehigh. I think this experience has been extremely formative and critical in my development as a student here at Lehigh and is something from which others would definitely benefit.