Leaders of the Greek system from all over the Northeastern region came together two weekends ago for the annual Northeast Greek Leadership Association (NGLA) conference in Philadelphia, PA, held at the Adam’s Mark Hotel.
The executive members of the three governing boards of Cornell’s Greek system, the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic Association (PanHel) and the Multicultural Greek Letter Council (MGLC) went on the four-day retreat accompanied by two assistant deans of fraternity & sorority affairs, Adria Nobles and Nicole Letawsky.
Although Cornell University held its annual A.D. White Leadership Conference at the beginning of the spring semester, its conference was different.
The A.D. White conference focuses more on preparing the newly-elected officers of each chapter on campus for their terms, whereas the NGLA’s purpose was “to prepare the councils and provide a good opportunity for our student [board members] to get to know each other off campus and network with other schools” Nobles said.
“Getting to know and working with the members from PanHel and MGLC was pretty much the highlight of the retreat. I’m new to my position and it’s the first time I’ve gotten to work with them,” said Ty Whilden ’04, a member of the Sigma Pi fraternity and IFC vice president of communications.
Greek system leaders of over 30 Northeastern colleges and universities were in attendance.
“At the conference, we participated in a number of ‘break out sessions’ where we interacted with hundreds of other Greek leaders from campuses from Washington DC to Maine,” said Jason Conn ’03, IFC president and member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.
Each year, the conference has a keynote and this year the focus was on the diversity workshop, “Journey to a Hate Free Millennium.”
The conference’s workshops also concentrated on a number of different issues which “included negatives like alcohol abuse, discrimination and hazing but also focused on positive programming like community service, chapter development and system-wide programming,” Conn said. “We hope to bring some of the programs we heard about back to Cornell, including a Dance Marathon and Greek Week.”
“Many of the lectures brought up great new ideas and helped us think outside the box,” said Maurice Ducoing ’03, IFC vice president of recruitment and member of the Zeta Psi fraternity.
Besides getting the opportunity to work with other members of the Greek governing board, Cornell’s Greek leaders got to look at their own Greek system against the example of other university campuses.
“The conference gave our councils in particular a chance to see how what we do compares to other universities,” said Lauren Bleich ’03, member of the Chi Omega sorority and PanHel vice president of communications.
With over 50 Greek organizations on campus, Cornell’s “Greek system is much stronger and a lot larger then the Greek systems on other campuses. We have more university support than many of our counterparts,” Whilden said.
“As one of the largest systems in the Northeast, students asked us a great deal of questions about how our system functions. Students at Cornell often do not realize how lucky we are to have such a strong system and Greek presence on campus,” Conn said.
Some of the major accomplishments of the conference came in the form of NGLA awards for Cornell’s Panhellenic Association.
It “was awarded seven of the nine awards given out during the conference to recognize truly outstanding accomplishments,” said PanHel President Lindsay Williams ’03, member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.
Among the awards PanHel received were Public Relations Programming Excellence, Recruitment Programming and Philanthropy and Community Service Programming awards.
“In our division we received these awards over such outstanding schools such as University of Pennsylvania, University of Maryland and Syracuse University,” Williams said. “The Greek system [strives] to achieve and does indeed achieve its goals of promoting excellence in leadership, academics, responsibility, philanthropy and the like.”
“IFC did not apply for the Fraternity Awards this year but we plan on submitting an awards packet next year,” Conn said. “The only award the men came back with was a personal honor I received. I won the ‘Greek Leader of Distinction Award’ from the NGLA, [which] is the highest individual award given to fraternity men at the conference,” Conn said.
This award, according to the NGLA website, seeks to recognize outstanding members of the Northeastern Greek community who exemplify the ideals of sorority and/or fraternity membership in their daily lives.
Archived article by Veronika Belenkaya