Greetings from the Fraternity and Sorority Community!
I am happy to announce that our community is growing! This coming year we are happy to welcome Kappa Alpha Theta and Beta Theta Pi to the University. Both are incredible organizations that will provide new resources to our campus in supporting a community that has already grown to over 27 percent of the undergraduate population. These organizations were carefully selected from among several that were highly interested in coming to Rochester. These groups discovered what we already know—that fraternity and sorority members here are outstanding student leaders who are actively engaged in all aspects of campus life.
We are particularly proud of some of the new leadership initiatives we have been able to enact this year. Our New Member Educators’ Institute has gone through a major revision to provide new member educators better resources to teach valuable skills to their new member classes. Our New Member Orientation program has been enhanced with peer-to-peer facilitated sessions to talk through issues such as sexual violence prevention and intercultural competency with the students joining the community. Thanks to a partnership with the Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center, we have been able to provide new LGBTQ+ and cultural development training with fraternity and sorority leaders. Students have been engaged in these sessions and demonstrated their commitment to social justice and inclusion.
As we move into the summer months, please let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions as we work together to support fraternity and sorority life.
Congratulations to all of our graduating seniors. I look forward to your continued involvement as alumni and hope to see you all for Meliora Weekend!
Director of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs
Rochester Welcomes Two New Organizations
Over the coming year, two new organizations will be joining our campus community. We are excited by this growth to our community and the support these new groups will bring to our existing organizations. In collaboration with the University’s Interfraternity Council, Beta Theta Pi will join the ranks of fraternities at Rochester this fall.
“We are incredibly excited about joining Rochester’s Greek community,” says Judson Horras, administrative secretary from Beta’s Administrative Office in Oxford, Ohio. “We believe the student interest, campus culture, and University support are superb matches for the type of chapter we intend to grow and nurture in the coming years.”
Throughout the 2015-16 academic year, Beta’s expansion team will recruit Founding Fathers who want to excel on campus as gentlemen, leaders, and scholars while building a genuine fraternity experience that will last for generations. Students interested in learning more about becoming a Founding Father can contact Beta’s director of expansion, John Hubbard, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-255-8414.
Beta Theta Pi was founded in 1839 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and consists of over 9,000 undergraduates on 128 campuses throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.beta.org.
Established in 1870, Kappa Alpha Theta was the first Greek letter fraternity founded for women. They pride themselves on being noble and modeling personal excellence, striving to be leaders on their campuses and in their communities in order to effect real change.
“Kappa Alpha Theta is thrilled to join the University of Rochester’s thriving fraternity and sorority community,” says Lindsay Sell, Theta’s director of extension. “We have long known what an outstanding educational experience the institution provides its students, and we look forward to establishing a chapter on campus that supports the tradition of excellence already in existence among fraternities and sororities. We are grateful to be among the new organizations selected to be part of the U of R community and believe a Theta chapter will have a long and sustainable future in Rochester.”
For more information on Kappa Alpha Theta, visit their website at: https://www.kappaalphatheta.org/.
MGC Celebrates 15th Anniversary
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC), the governing body for 13 of Rochester’s fraternities and sororities. During the weekend of April 24-26, the council celebrated the milestone with a Friday night networking social for undergraduates and alumni, a Saturday night party in Douglass, and a Sunday afternoon brunch.
Carola Figueroa ’16, a newly inducted member of Lambda Pi Chi, said she was impressed with her first MGC event.
“I enjoyed the interactions and fellowship amongst other Greek affiliated members and felt welcomed to the family,” she said.
The celebration was also a time for some to reflect on their time with the council.
Sade Richardson ’15, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., noted that the Sunday brunch would be her last event with the council.
“What better way to end a weekend of love amongst organizations that coming together to celebrate our 15 years of hard work,” she said.
Manny Navarro ’15, an outgoing executive board member, said he hopes he’s been able to leave a legacy in working with MGC.
“Leaving a legacy is the most important part of being a member of an MGC organization. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to make my mark.”
Congratulations to all MGC members on achieving this milestone. It is due to the hard work of MGC undergraduates and alumni that culturally based fraternities and sororities have had a strong foundation at the University since 1999.
Award-Winning Organizations: Achievement Reception
Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners, who were recognized at the Fraternity and Sorority Achievement Reception in April. The evening honored the accomplishments of the entire fraternity and sorority community and featured remarks by Richard Feldman, dean of the College, John DiSarro, and senior Alap Patel. The following awards were presented this year:
Award for Overall Excellence in Strategic Planning
The award for Overall Excellence in Strategic Planning is the highest honor a chapter can receive through the Expectations for Excellence awards process. The chapters receiving this award will have incorporated strong, action-oriented goals to achieve success in each area of the Expectations for Excellence, both in the written document and in the chapter’s actions throughout the year.
- Interfraternity Council recipient: Sigma Phi Epsilon
- Panhellenic Association recipient: Delta Gamma
- Honorable Mention: Sigma Delta Tau
- Multicultural Greek Council recipient: Delta Phi Omega
Delta Upsilon Fraternity and Sorority Achievement Award
Awarded by Delta Upsilon fraternity to a student who uses involvement in the fraternity and sorority community to promote a cause he or she is personally passionate about.
- Samantha Lish, Chi Omega
Order of Omega Rising Leader Award
Awarded to a sophomore student who embodies the principles of scholarship, leadership, and service on which the Order of Omega was founded.
- Erinmarie Byrnes, Sigma Delta Tau.
Expectations for Excellence: Leadership & Organizational Management
Awarded to an organization for the thoughtfulness, efficiency, and effectiveness of their internal affairs.
- Honorable Mention: Chi Omega
- Winner: Kappa Delta
Expectations for Excellence: Community Building & Programming
Awarded to an organization for a collaborative approach to community service and philanthropy.
- Winner: Theta Chi
Expectations for Excellence: Character and Values
Awarded to an organization for its strong focus on aligning members’ activities with the chapter’s values.
- Winners: Alpha Phi and Zeta Phi Beta
Expectations for Excellence: Scholarship
Awarded to an organization that strongly supported academic enrichment among its members.
- Honorable Mention: Sigma Delta Tau
- Winner: Alpha Phi
Thank you to all who have supported the organizations in their accomplishing their goals.
Meliora Weekend 2015: Save the Date!
The fraternity and sorority community will host our third annual Meliora Weekend Fraternity and Sorority Tailgate Celebration this year.
All alumni, family, and friends of our chapters are invited to join us on Saturday, October 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. under the tent on the Fraternity Quad.
This event is a great time to reconnect with friends, meet current chapter members, and learn about the exciting growth of our fraternity and sorority community.
A lunch buffet and cash bar will be available. Look out for additional information on this and other Meliora Weekend events in the near future.
Reflections from a Student Leader
Alap Patel ’15 (Delta Upsilon) delivered this year’s student remarks at the Fraternity and Sorority Achievement Reception. In his remarks, Alap delivered insight on the changing direction of fraternity and sorority life in the higher education setting:
On March 10 of this year, the Huffington Post published “[after] a video of SAE members at the University of Oklahoma singing . . . was released, the national headquarters for SAE disbanded the chapter, [and] OU President David Boren ordered fraternity members to vacate their on-campus house.”
On March 17, the New York Times published that the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity at Penn State had a Facebook page with photographs of drugs, hazing and nude, unconscious women, which they never thought would go public—but did.
And on March 19, the Wisconsin State Journal published, “UW-Madison . . . shut down a fraternity for the first time since 2006 after learning of a hazing weekend in December that included a freshman pledge suffering a concussion when an older member hit his head.”
The media portrays fraternities in a horrendous light, focusing on solely the negatives. The three cases I mentioned were all published within a span of just nine days. Though I do believe these events absolutely require media attention to hold these organizations accountable for their actions, unfortunately, it’s all we hear about anymore.
So the question I pose today is: what can we do to combat the stereotypes that portray Greek life so negatively?
Let’s focus on two areas: how can we combat these stereotypes as (a) all of FSA and (b) as individuals.
So first, as all of FSA:
This past year, we’ve made amazing strides. I’ve seen more cosponsored events than ever before; and with our first ever Greek Weekend, it’s clear we’re collaborating more than ever before. But there’s always room for improvement. Too often, cosponsorships turn into slapping another organization’s name on your flyers. But I think the strongest cosponsorships include an element of collaboration before the event.
For example, having leaders of involved organizations come together and express what their goals are for the event. For example, this year the Order of Omega Greek Honors Society and the Multicultural Greek Council members met to create cards for patients at Strong—before the event, Siri Ganti, MGC president, and I met to discuss each group’s goals, before moving forward with the event itself.
When I asked Michaela Cronin, president of SDT, about her experiences with cosponsorships, she said, “SDT’s ‘Tensions in Feminism’ talk was a success because . . . it encouraged and facilitated important conversations about these issues between members of groups from many different corners of campus life. Cosponsors included several other Greek organizations as well as groups such as College Feminists and the Black Students’ Union. By coming together to discuss tensions in feminism openly and honestly . . . it became clear that organizations of all kinds share interest in and opinions on topics that affect us as a collective student body, instead of just as individual groups. This concept fosters a palpable sense of community at our university that is truly unique, showcasing the outstanding nature of our students and making for a very successful cosponsorship.”
Now secondly, how to combat stereotypes as individuals of our community. I get it. That’s a tough question to ask. I don’t even have an answer, so I asked around. I posed questions to peers in our community. When I asked Sade Richardson, a senior and sister of Alpha Kappa Alpha, “What areas require more programming attention from Greek Organizations & why?” she said, “I think more programming needs to be done in the community instead of spending time just make money for a cause. I think it’s important for us to go out and help people.
“If we want to combat sexual assault, why not volunteer for a hotline? If we want to combat racism, why not work on increasing our attendance at community conversations on race?”
When I asked Michael Gulston from Sigma Beta Rho, “What can an individual do to represent Greek Life in a more positive light?” he said, “by setting a good example and be a leader in my own community. The more leaders promote and instill positive values in their members, the less likely their members are to promote a negative image.”
Emily Fusco, a senior Delta Gamma, said, “Members of the Greek community need to continue to promote their values and work towards positive changes on campus and within the greater Rochester community, the stereotype will begin to shift, and Greeks will be seen in a more positive light.”
Rishi Sharma, a senior of Sig Ep said, “Collaborative programming is key. Events and initiatives like It’s On Us or Walk a Mile have proven successful in starting these conversations both in the Greek community and between student in and not in Greek organizations to bring attention and action towards different social issues.”
For me, it all comes down to reaching out to those around us. Our organizations by nature are exclusively inclusive. But we can still reach out. Maybe it’s reaching out to those who may not have gotten bids from our organizations. Or introducing yourself to people you don’t know. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true because at the end of the day we’re all Yellowjackets together—Greek or not.
And of course, don’t forget the support of your own chapters. My freshman and sophomore year, I danced for Rochester Bhangra, and I always remember my DU brothers coming out to support my send off performances before big competitions. Though it was small, I appreciated it.
Though we attend each other’s philanthropic events, I think we can do more. I see this “step further” in social media when organizations post in support of each other’s events. We have to have each other’s backs. During Rush and Recruitment, there is unfortunately a lot of trash talk that takes place. But don’t forget to recognize the merits of all organizations. Going back to the media, there is a time for PR to help fight the stereotypes, but it can and should start with genuine conversations with our chapters about how we can work to better align ourselves with our own principles.
With all that we do, and how we support one another, don’t forget the power of a simple “thank you.” Thank everyone: professors, advisors, friends, and family. Think of a specific time where you’ve truly and genuinely appreciated something that you mentor as done for you—perhaps something so big that you might not be where you are today without them.
So Greek Life in the United States is in a tough position. But we can’t let that bring us down. We have to continue to do our part in best representing our organizations and community and highlighting the amazing things we continue to do for our campus, for our Rochester community, and most importantly, for each other.
Connecting with Alumni Advisors
Looking to get in touch with your organization? Contacting your chapter’s Alumni Advisor is a great way to get direct information about current events and membership.
|Alpha Delta Phi||Alvin Lomibaoemail@example.com|
|Alpha Epsilon Pi||Adin Reisnerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Alpha Phi||Andi Wellesemail@example.com|
|Chi Omega||Mary Borgognonifirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Chi Phi||Mike Zimmermanemail@example.com|
|Delta Gamma||Melissa Kelleyfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Delta Kappa Epsilon||Bob Hartz; Rich Kingemail@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Delta Phi Omega||Harini Morisettyemail@example.com|
|Delta Sigma Theta||Akua Kankam||Akua.Kankam@rcsdk12.org|
|Delta Upsilon||Nick Delahanty; Dan Stalofffirstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com|
|Gamma Phi Beta||Sue Blochfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Kappa Delta||Andrea Galati; Michelle Conlonemail@example.com|
|Omega Phi Beta||Denisse Garciafirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Phi Kappa Tau||Pat Wahlemail@example.com|
|Phi Sigma Sigma||Melissa Russfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Phi Iota Alpha||Victor Ramirezemail@example.com|
|Psi Upsilon||Dick Rasmussenfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sigma Alpha Mu||Ken Tomaszewskiemail@example.com|
|Sigma Beta Rho||Alex David, Kevin Brownfirstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com|
|Sigma Chi||Patrick Zinterfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sigma Delta Tau||Jill Gallagher, Lizzy Sieverding||jillianLgallagher@gmail.com; email@example.com|
|Sigma Lambda Upsilon||Maria Richardtfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sigma Nu||Phil Stratigis; Rob Snyderemail@example.com|
|Sigma Phi Epsilon||Scott Rudder||Srudder@innovativephotonics.com|
|Sigma Psi Zeta||Priscilla Lamfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Theta Chi||Mike DeMarcoemail@example.com|
|Zeta Phi Beta||Tanishia Johnson; Alexis Lesliefirstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com|