U brings national fraternity institute to Minnesota

The five-day institute will help 80 fraternity and sorority students attain leadership skills.

The University of Minnesota will be the second school ever to host the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute a five-day leadership development program for fraternity and sorority members, which starts Monday. The institute will be held almost two hours north of Minneapolis at One Heartland Center in Willow River , and is intended to give participants the opportunity to learn and develop values based on leadership. For the last 25 years, the North American Interfraternity Conference , formerly known as the National Interfraternity Conference , has been hosting the institutes about 10 times every summer, but that changed when Purdue University played host to an institute last May. Five of the University student fraternity and sorority leaders attended national sessions last year, Chad Ellsworth , coordinator at the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life , said. Ellsworth said the campus decided to host UIFI this year to extend the leadership development opportunity to more students. âÄúIt will be a great opportunity to impact a much greater number of students, instead of impacting four or five students. We have 80 students who will get that experience,âÄù he said. Panhellenic Council President Sarah Shook said the application was open to all members. Eighty of the current fraternity and sorority leaders who registered to attend the institute will interact with peers from throughout North America and mentors that work in fraternity and sorority life. Each dayâÄôs activities will build upon the previous as the participants learn about resolving complex issues and enhancing critical thinking. Ellsworth said the Office for Student Affairs, Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life, Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council were each able to give some money to help fund the program. These funds allowed students who were accepted into the institute to attend for five times less money than they would for the national sessions, Ellsworth said. âÄúWe were able to offer the opportunity to students here for a $100 registration fee, and all of their meals and lodging were part of that,âÄù he said. Ellsworth said two of the five students who were sponsored last year for the national sessions will be interns for the upcoming five-day program. âÄúThey actually have a pretty big role in terms of shaping the experience,âÄù he said. âÄúThey will be given the opportunity to talk about their leadership journey and will talk to peers about what they learned last year.âÄù Interfraternity Council President Chris Hodge said he is excited for the institute and particularly for the people who havenâÄôt had the opportunity to attend such programs. Megan Hines , vice president of programming for the Panhellenic Council, said this will be her first time attending the institute, and she thinks it will provide a good perspective for the greek community as a whole, and not just on the individual chapter level. Ellsworth said 16 facilitators who have experience working with fraternities or sororities on a daily basis will come from around the country to help with the institute.