Fraternity, sorority leaders attend conference

Vadim Lavrusik

University fraternity and sorority leaders hoped to return to the University today from an annual leaders’ conference in Chicago, bringing back with them new strategies for the campus.

The students were supposed to return Sunday, but O’Hare Airport was closed due to severe weather conditions.

Interfraternity and Panhellenic Council officers spent four days at the Mid-American Greek Council Association’s 2007 Conference, which featured speakers on various greek life subjects, such as recruitment, and gave the officers an opportunity to collaborate with leaders from other schools.

PHC President Kristin Gast said the conference not only gave all the attendees ideas but also taught them how to put their goals into action.

Both Gast and IFC President Alec Catsuros said they want to improve recruitment numbers and make the greek community more inclusive by collaborating with other student groups on campus.

Gast said she wants to focus on improving recruitment for the entire greek community and not just individual chapters.

“For me the big focus is to build a sense of greek community,” she said.

By having casual events such as barbecues at the superblock during the off week of fall recruitment, the greek community would be more visible to new students and build that sense of community, Gast said.

PHC presidents from other Big Ten schools shared issues their greek organizations dealt with and how they approach them.

“Being able to work together was one of the best parts,” she said.

Catsuros, who met with all of the IFC presidents from other Big Ten schools, said he agreed.

He and all of the other presidents plan to have monthly conference calls and continue to work together.

This will decrease rivalry, he said. For example, if there is a sporting event, the presidents from corresponding universities can communicate and offer safety tips to consider while on campus.

He said he hopes to make the community more inclusive, one that partners with many different student groups on campus, not just chapters.

Gast said this will help create a more welcoming greek community that reaches out to the University.

Chad Ellsworth, University adviser to the greek community who also attended the conference, said the conference was helpful for the new presidents to “get their feet wet.”

He said the conference provides one of the only times leaders from small and large schools can collaborate.

Leaders can usually give each other ideas that the other wouldn’t have thought of, Ellsworth said.

He said he attended the conference for as long as he has been an adviser, and each year the leaders apply many of the ideas they picked up from the speakers or other schools’ leaders.