Strengthening Greek Life Alumni Update
Dear Greek alumni,
As we wind down the fall semester and look forward to the holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to share the positive progress we are continuing to see from our Greek chapters at Lehigh. As we position our Greek system to become one of the finest in the country, continuing the strong partnerships we have developed has helped us towards our shared commitment to excellence.
Last year, as we began implementing the recommendations of the Greek Life Task Force, it was agreed that transparency was a crucial element of our approach. By doing so, everyone with a vested interest in the Greek system would be fully informed of our efforts and results.
In keeping with this spirit of openness, this update is to keep you apprised of our progress in strengthening Greek life at Lehigh. Please take a few minutes to review the activity and result highlights during these past few months.
Integral to our current and future success is the collaboration among our key partners -- dubbed the triple A -- of actives, alumni and administration. We have built strong working relationships and look forward to the continued cooperation and progress that is sure to make Lehigh's Greek system a model for others to emulate.
If you have any questions or suggestions for achieving our goals, feel free to contact me at 610-758-4157 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season.
Assistant Dean for Fraternity and Sorority Affairs
Letter from Joe King, GAC president
Dear Greek alumni,
Over the past several years, the Greek Alumni Council (GAC) has partnered with Greek actives and university administration in the Strengthening Greek Life Task Force (SGLTF) initiative, from the formation of the task force recommendations to the current implementation.
With the approval of the SGLTF recommendations by the Board of Trustees in 2004, the GAC's collaboration continued with membership on the Greek Life Implementation Group, which eventually evolved into the current Greek Partnership Council. The Greek Partnership Council - made up of alumni, actives and administrators - works to sustain the positive momentum of strengthening Greek life and strives to make our Greek system a standard of excellence across the country.
Many Greek alumni who have become involved in these efforts have expressed to me their appreciation of the cooperative efforts of active chapter members, administration and alumni to strengthen and renew Lehigh's Greek system. We have also received favorable comments from other institutions about Lehigh's approach and the significant financial commitment and investment in personnel and facilities. GAC members also participated in interviews to select each member of the current Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA) staff and nearly every candidate told us they applied because they wanted to be a part of Lehigh's proactive approach to Greek Life.
Along with these efforts, the GAC has also been very busy this year with council initiatives and planning. Highlights include:
- New GAC by-laws were adopted in April 2005 to strengthen Greek alumni efforts. The new by-laws recognize the need to maintain better contact among the GAC, the OFSA, and individual chapter alumni organizations and strengthen focus on sorority issues.
- Four Liaison Officers on the GAC Executive Committee (GAC EC) were assigned to the same set of chapters as the Greek Life Coordinators in OFSA. They serve as a communication conduit for the chapters to which they are assigned. Another member of the GAC EC serves as a liaison to the Greek Leadership Development efforts.
- The GAC officers now include a Vice President for Sororities as well as a Liaison Officer to maintain contact with the advisors to individual chapters who are not Lehigh alumni; this situation is much more prevalent with sorority advisory organizations. A Vice President for Fraternities serves a similar function for fraternity issues.
- A Liaison Officer to chapters that are not currently active at Lehigh was added to the GAC EC in order to provide representation to these alumni.
- The GAC EC also includes the current President and the immediate past President. It meets by teleconference at least once a month during the academic year and plans/executes general meetings for Greek alumni in the fall and spring semesters. Each alumni organization is requested to send two voting representatives to these meetings.
Also, currently the GAC is working towards three main objectives:
1. Assist chapters in meeting accreditation and occupancy standards
- GAC EC met with OFSA staff in August and November 2005 to coordinate assistance to chapters with low accreditation or occupancy ratings.
- Sent letters to alumni leaders of each of these chapters in September, emphasizing the need to support their active chapter.
- Was a part of the effort to inform the general alumni members of their chapter status with an October 2005 e-mail.
- The general GAC meeting agenda in October included emphasis on this issue in presentations, breakout sessions and Q&A opportunities.
- From comments of individual alumni as a result of these communications, it is clear that many alumni do not yet understand the need for the new Greek approach at Lehigh and some do not support these changes. The GAC will continue its efforts to broaden the understanding of and support for these changes approved by the Board of Trustees.
2. Participate in the implementation of the SGLTF recommendations
- Continue participation on the Greek Partnership Council
- Continue committee involvement related to Greek policy issues at Lehigh including the accreditation panel. In the first accreditation experience in April 2005, the members of each panel were in excellent agreement in regard to accreditation ratings and recommendations for improvement provided in the accreditation report to each chapter
3. Improve GAC and chapter alumni organization, governance and participation
- Develop the GAC website to be more helpful to Greek alumni.
- A survey of all the alumni organizations was conducted in the past few months to identify key members of the alumni organization for each chapter.
- A Greek alumni handbook is under development.
- While the by-laws adopted in April 2005 have strengthened the GAC considerably, several amendments for further improvement were adopted at the October 2005 GAC meeting and additional amendments will be proposed at the April 2006 GAC meeting.
I, along with my fellow GAC EC members, urge Greek alumni to become familiar with the improved Greek life approach at Lehigh and to support their active chapter through their chapter alumni organization. We believe the Greek system has been improved greatly.
We recognize some alumni are not familiar with and/or don't agree with the changes that the multiple stakeholders who have been working on Lehigh Greek System improvement since 2003 have crafted. We will continue our communication efforts to ensure that the reasons for the changes and the details of these changes are understood.
We welcome your questions and comments.
Joe King ‘61
Greek Alumni Council President
Letter from Meredith Anderson & Matt Diana
Panhel & IFC president
Dear Greek alumni,
The Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils (IFC and Panhel) would like to thank all of our alumni who attended the first annual IFC - Panhel Young Alumni Tailgate as well as the Greek Alumni Council meeting on Young Alumni weekend. Your participation and input were much appreciated.
The Young Alumni Tailgate was one of several successful events and programs sponsored by IFC and Panhel this past semester. The tailgate kicked off our initiative to generate a stronger interest in alumni programs. Volunteers collected contact information which was distributed to the chapters to begin to create an alumni database. IFC and Panhel have remained committed to aiding chapters with their accreditation reports through a series of workshops in the areas of scholarship, leadership, citizenship, stewardship, and partnership. Both men and women participated in fall recruitment for the first time and 39 new sophomores were added to various chapters this semester. Additionally, IFC, Panhel, and the Multicultural Affairs office cosponsored the inaugural “Lehigh University World Cup,” where members of the Greek community played in a soccer tournament with members of various multicultural clubs. Panhel sponsored a “Pink Day” to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. More than 2,200 “Pink Day” T-shirts were sold and worn on October 27.
Our vibrant and active chapters have made a remarkable impression on the Lehigh community. Many groups participated in fundraisers to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Alpha Phi, Pi Beta Phi, Sigma Alpha Mu, and Theta Chi sponsored a “Chow Down for Katrina,” a midnight munchies event. Kappa Alpha and Chi Psi hosted a beach volleyball tournament and basketball tournament, respectively, to benefit the victims of the hurricane and Chi Psi's chef. Theta Xi and Phi Kappa Theta both sponsored bands at their chapter house to raise support for hurricane relief. Sigma Phi Epsilon and their alumni sponsored a black tie event at an alumnus' home to raise money for Katrina. To generate awareness and support for international disasters, Beta Theta Pi sponsored a “Pool for Pakistan ” event to generate support for the victims of the earthquake.
To benefit local charities, Alpha Chi Rho participated in the “Particle for the People” national canned food drive and won a free concert as a result of their donation to the South Bethlehem Food Bank. Delta Sigma Phi partnered with the Bethlehem Historical Society to sponsor a dinner for senior citizens. Delta Gamma, Delta Tau Delta, Delta Upsilon, and Pi Beta Phi sponsored a backpack and school supplies drive to benefit local children. Psi Upsilon and Alpha Gamma Delta participated in “Spooktacular” an annual event by the Community Service office to provide a safe and fun Halloween alternative for Bethlehem children. Lastly, the brothers of Alpha Tau Omega participated in the “Tutoring and Bowling” program for South Bethlehem children.
As always, chapters remain dedicated to national philanthropies. Lambda Chi Alpha continued its tradition of participating in the “ Great American Food Drive ” while Alpha Chi Omega sponsored their annual luminary sale to raise money and awareness for domestic violence. Alpha Omicron Pi and Sigma Chi continued their see-saw marathon event to raise money for juvenile arthritis research and Kappa Alpha Theta sponsored a jewelry sale to benefit Adopt-a-Family. Delta Phi and Alpha Phi cosponsored a walk to support breast cancer research as well.
Finally, chapters continue to sponsor events to bring the Greek community together. Chi Phi, FIGI, Phi Sigma Kappa, and Sigma Chi sponsored a pig roast as a way to bring all of the chapters together socially. Kappa Sigma partnered with University Productions to bring Guster, a popular band, to Stabler arena in late November. Finally, Gamma Phi Beta sponsored a powder puff football tournament to generate the entire community's support and to raise money for a paraplegic friend of the house.
We are proud of everything IFC, Panhel, and the chapters have accomplished this semester and look forward to an active spring semester. As always, we encourage any participation and support on the part of all alumni to further contribute to the growth and strength of our Greek community.
Matt Diana & Meredith Anderson
Interfraternity Council President & Panhellenic President
The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs held five, one-hour accreditation workshops this past fall semester, each focusing on one of the five main evaluation areas of accreditation. Every chapter participated and each session was led by a Lehigh staff member with specialized experience in each area. Feedback was positive and these sessions provided a great opportunity for chapters to get a jump start in preparing for accreditation this spring.
Kappa Alpha Theta
On November 2, 2005, Lehigh University offered building number 106, formerly occupied by Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, to Kappa Alpha Theta sorority for use as their chapter house beginning fall 2006. The women accepted the offer and have visited the house with various members of their Alumni Advisory Board to discuss future renovations and remodeling of the building.
Currently, the building has a total occupancy of 30. Following a thorough examination by Facilities staff, Lehigh University will fund renovations to increase occupancy to 37, the maximum total occupancy of this house.
These renovations do not include changes to common area spaces, however, which will be the responsibility of the chapter. Kappa Alpha Theta will spend the next few months working with various university offices, as well as their Alumni Board, to complete additional alterations of the house in preparation for their move next fall.
System-wide Assessment Committee
The System-wide Assessment Committee is a campus-wide committee comprised of various university staff, as well as, representatives from the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council and Greek Alumni Council. The committee is charged with measuring progress towards realizing the vision of Greek life, as well as, to identify emerging needs and opportunities to strengthen Greek life. The committee has been reviewing every factor of chapter progress, including occupancy, accreditation scores, and overall chapter progress. As the committee continues to complete the framework of its efforts, a report on current progress is scheduled to be released in early spring 2006.
Recruitment and Occupancy Updates
The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA) has partnered with the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils (IFC and Panhel) over the past semester to help chapters recruit new members and to help them towards achieving 90% occupancy standards.
Early in the semester, IFC and Panhel opened up a fall upperclassmen student recruitment period which gave chapters an opportunity to recruit, extend bids, and welcome upperclassmen students. Several chapters took advantage of this opportunity and in total, there were 34 fraternity bids and seven sorority bids accepted. Five fraternities and one sorority were able to take advantage of this opportunity and have now reached the 90% occupancy mark. Currently, all sororities and fifteen fraternities have achieved or exceeded the 90% occupancy standards. The OFSA, along with IFC & Panhel, also outlined a new member education timeframe for these chapters, and as of late November, each new member has now been initiated into their respective chapters.
In addition to the fall upperclassmen student recruitment initiative, IFC and Panhel brought Recruitment Boot Camp to campus to help Greek chapters prepare to address occupancy standards. In mid-November, chapters sent their recruitment chairs to attend the 12-hour session of Recruitment Boot Camp; students participated in both large lectures and in small group reflection sessions. Throughout the day, students discussed and engaged in conversations ranging from: moving from the term “rush” to a year-round process referred to as “recruitment,” and how to positively market their chapters year-round, establish a values-driven brand, effectively communicate as a chapter throughout the recruitment process, and other valuable tactics for improving their recruitment numbers and quality of new members.
Panhel has also been gearing up for the women's spring formal recruitment, which will take place January 11-16. This year, the OFSA and Panhel will use an on-line bid matching and tracking system called Interactive Collegiate Solutions (ICS); sorority recruitment chairs and Panhel leaders have been training on how to use the software in preparation for a successful recruitment period.
The IFC has also been preparing for spring formal recruitment and have implemented some proactive changes as well. In early December, IFC sponsored a convocation which allowed prospective new members and first-year students the opportunity to meet and greet with all 22 fraternities. The IFC's goal was to attract 300 potential new members to attend this function and they were proud to report that more than 350 potential new members attended and pledged their interest in formal recruitment.
In addition to the convocation, IFC has prepared a formal letter which will be mailed home over the semester break. These letters will be sent to potential new members' parents as a recruitment reminder and will highlight the merits of the Greek community, particularly what makes Lehigh's Greek community stand apart from the rest. Men's formal recruitment will take place January 16 – February 12.
If you would like more information on the women's or men's formal recruitment periods, please feel free to visit the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs website or contact us at 610.758.4157
Facilities Services was very busy this past summer renovating Lehigh's 22 fraternity houses. More than $3.5 million was dedicated to replacing old flooring, removing damaged built-in furniture, as well as patching and painting of bedroom walls, ceilings and university provided furniture. Numerous houses also received upgraded kitchen fixtures, electrical work and new bedroom doors. Sprinkler systems were installed in Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Kappa Theta, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Theta Xi; rooms in Lambda Chi Alpha, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Kappa Alpha were restructured in order to add single bedrooms. Chi Psi, closed for the past two years due to interior issues, was re-opened in August after a $1.3 million renovation.
The Offices of Residential Services and Facilities Services have conducted an assessment and prioritization of common area renovation needs in each Greek chapter house. Chapter members and Alumni House Corporation members were asked for their list of chapter common area priorities in November; Residential Services will work with each chapter and their alumni in December to create a collaborative list of priorities for the summer renovation.
To learn more about the fraternity renovations, please contact Ozzie Breiner, Director of Residential Services at 610.758.3500.
The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA)
Sayre Park Lodge
Bethlehem , PA 18015-3064
Tim Wilkinson, Assistant Dean of Students
Beth Greenberg, Leadership Coordinator for Greek Life
Ryan Lovell, Greek Life Coordinator
Housing and Facilities
Alpha Chi Rho
Alpha Gamma Delta
Alpha Tau Omega
Lambda Chi Alpha
Sigma Alpha Mu
Justin McKay, Greek Life Coordinator
Delta Sigma Phi
Delta Tau Delta
Pi Beta Phi
Tiffany Showalter, Greek Life Coordinator
Communications and Event/Tailgate Registration
Alpha Omicron Pi
Kappa Alpha Theta
Phi Kappa Theta
Phi Sigma Kappa
Sigma Phi Epsilon
Andrea Weber, Greek Life Coordinator
Alpha Chi Omega
Beta Theta Pi
Kappa Alpha Psi
Gamma Phi Beta
Phi Gamma Delta