University greek students learn new leadership skills

Greek program helps members recognize skills to become better leaders.

Rebecca Bentz

The University’s greek community is taking leadership training one step further for some of its newest members.

The Emerging Greek Leaders Program, launched in late January, will help 12 first-year and 10 second-year fraternity and sorority students discover what they do best and how to develop those talents.

Chad Ellsworth, coordinator for the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University, developed the program so students can get the most out of their University careers, he said.

The program is based on two personal assessments created by the Gallup Organization. The Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment measures a person’s strength in 34 areas, such as empathy and focus, and decides his or her five strongest talents.

The StrengthsQuest program does similar testing and teaches students how to use their strengths to improve their grades, determine a fitting career path and further develop their talents, according to Gallup’s Web site.

First-year finance major and Phi Kappa Psi member John Dumonsau said he is excited to get his results and have more leadership opportunities.

Fellow participant Chad Ries said he thinks the program will help him learn about the Interfraternity Council and his own future.

“It’s a great steppingstone to figure out exactly what your strengths are right now and what your weaknesses are right now, early enough in your greek career so you can become a better leader later,” he said.

Alex Harkness, vice president of public relations for the Panhellenic Council, said the workshop’s participants also get a feel for the greek community as a whole and how all the

chapters work together to better the University and community.

“Every house has a lot of pride in their chapter, but it’s important to be able to come together and work to better the community as a whole,” Harkness said.

“These are the people who are going to be our new presidents, our new Panhellenic exec. members and IFC (Interfraternety Council) exec. members, so it’s really important that they get a good grasp of the huge community they’re a part of.”

Ries expressed similar views.

“Greek life has a certain stigma with a lot of incoming freshmen, especially about the competitive nature between houses. But that’s not at all what greek life is about. It’s about everybody working together, regardless of what your letters are,” he said.

Harkness also said the program will lend fresh perspective to the greek community.

“Normally a lot of people don’t get involved until they’re older, until they know more about how the greek community works and how their chapters work,” she said. “Giving new people this head start will really help; they’ll be able to implement new ideas.”

Program participants were nominated by their chapters’ presidents and by participants in the Tom Burnett Advanced Leadership Program, a nongreek University leadership development program named in honor of a United Airlines Flight 93 passenger and University alumnus who died in the 9-11 terrorism attacks.

Selection for the Emerging Greek Leaders Program is considered “one of the highest honors available to new members of the greek community,” according to the greek community’s Web site.