Greek community welcomes Levine

Levine will help connect the greek community and the University.

Program Director for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life Matt Levine discusses his previous experience and upcoming plans Tuesday for his new role at the University.

Marisa Wojcik

Program Director for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life Matt Levine discusses his previous experience and upcoming plans Tuesday for his new role at the University.

Aaron DuBois

Matt Levine  sat tall at his new desk in his Appleby Hall  office early Tuesday morning. He had just begun his first day as the new program director for the University of MinnesotaâÄôs Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life.

LevineâÄôs new job will include advising a community of roughly 2,000 students and acting as the direct liaison between the greeks and the University.

Levine was chosen over three other candidates from across the nation. A search committee headed by Amelious Whyte, chief of staff at the Office for Student Affairs, held a series of public forums during which the members of the community were able to ask each applicant questions. The applicants also had separate meetings with greek leadership and alumni.

But Whyte had the final say on LevineâÄôs hiring.

âÄú[There was] very good feedback from a variety of different people including alumni, people on the search committee, students, etc.,âÄù Whyte said.

Levine comes from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where he advised 250 to 350 greek students and about 165 organizations while fulfilling the billet of Student Organizations and Greek Life Coordinator.

A greek alumnus of the Theta Chi fraternity at Drake University, Levine said he âÄúbleed[s] the fraternity experience at times.âÄù

âÄúI get grief from people as well because sometimes itâÄôs too much for others.âÄù

On Tuesday morning, Levine had only been on the job for an hour, but said he was ready to get the community together to figure out communication issues.

Abdul Abdirahman,  president of the multicultural Sigma Lambda Beta  fraternity, said the communication between the Interfraternity Council  and the Multicultural Greek Council âÄî which was formed early last year âÄìâÄì needs improvement.

âÄúItâÄôs pretty much nonexistent right now from what IâÄôve seen,âÄù Abdirahman said.

LevineâÄôs other goals include helping the community complete a three-year strategic plan which focuses on multicultural inclusion, governance and growth.

Membership for the UniversityâÄôs greek organizations gradually declined from 1998 to 2005, according to data available through the OFSL website. But membership has increased every year since Chad Ellsworth, LevineâÄôs predesscor, became program director in 2005.

Still, the schoolâÄôs greek community remains the smallest in the Big Ten.

âÄúI think a stable greek adviser [has] a direct relationship between the recruitment of all greeks and the performance of that office,âÄù said Pi Kappa Alpha President Ross Gebauer. 

Meanwhile, Levine is just excited to get started.

âÄúOne of my friends asked me âÄòWhat do you do?âÄô And I say I go to college every day,âÄù he said. âÄúI think thatâÄôs pretty great. I donâÄôt think many people get to say that, but everybody wishes they could.âÄù