New group unites greeks, will focus on U relations

by Neil Munshi

University greek students have a new voice on campus.

The Minnesota Greek Alumni Partnership was officially formed in September and will focus on relations with alumni and the University, as well as housing and recruitment issues, said partnership President Lorna Fox.

Six University greek groups are currently dues-paying members of the partnership, as well as two alumni groups that have had chapters on campus in the past, Fox said.

Fox said they are working toward including the approximately 30 greek organizations on campus, focusing for now on those involved with the Panhellenic Council and Interfraternity Council.

Though there have been alumni groups in the past, they were not focused entirely on the University and were split between men’s and women’s groups, Fox said.

“What we tried to do when we created this group is to expand the greek alum groups to include both fraternities and sororities,” Fox said. “Also, to include students so we can stay in touch with their needs as they’re going through college.”

Students in the group will have an equal voice with alumni, but only alumni can be in officer positions, Panhellenic Council President Abby Weinandt said.

Weinandt said she was optimistic and excited about the new group.

“I think for our community, alumni have been an untapped resource for the last few years,” she said. “(The partnership) is really working to revitalize that and kind of play a bigger role in the community.”

Part of that involves increased interaction with the University, Fox said.

Jerry Rinehart, the University’s associate vice provost for student affairs, said, “I do think the partnership group represents a very positive movement for both the greek alumni and the University as a broadly representative group … who are really interested in what they can do to enhance the student experience on our campus.”

To further enhance the experience of greek students, the group plans to compile an internship and job network database, secretary Paul DeBettignies said.

“Students have so many more opportunities now,” he said. “There are so many more programs, so many more connections with the business community, so we’re Ö seeing what doors we may have to open up.”

While most individual chapters have their own networking database, this will be the first time the entire greek community will be able to access the alumni and workforce connections of other chapters, he said.

Along with creating an all-access greek job database, the group plans to help greek students with their recruitment process by providing a sense of continuity as students graduate, Fox said.

“One of the challenges we find is that there are new officers each year,” she said. “We can be that memory of what’s happened in years past and be able to provide resources (for recruitment).”

The group will act as a voice for the students and offer help when the greek student community finds itself overwhelmed and unable to fully commit itself to particular causes, Fox said.