February 14, 2005

Greeks Gather for Leadership Conference

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Members of the Greek community met on Saturday at the Statler Hotel to attend the 8th annual A.D. White Greek Leadership Conference.

The day-long conference held workshops for chapter officers, covering topics such as leadership skills, managing chapter finance, and anti-hazing policies.

The Panhellenic Association, InterFraternity Council, and Multicultural Greek Letter Council, along with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, sponsored the day’s activities.

Workshops were run by student leaders, alumni, staff and faculty members.

All incoming officers from the three councils were in attendance.

The student co-chairs of the conference were Katie Button ’05, a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, Devan Musser ’05 a member of the Sigma Pi fraternity, and Jason Lee ’05 a member of the Pi Delta Psi fraternity.

Members of the Greek community met for a continental breakfast before the first “breakout” session.

The keynote speakers, Dr. Ken Blanchard, a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, and Dr. Marjorie Blanchard, a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority spoke to the group about their leadership experiences in creating their international management training and consulting firm.

“The couple addressed the students about what it means to be a leader and how the [students] are fortunate to have leadership positions in the Greek community,” Button said. Marjorie Blanchard also reflected upon Cornell’s beauty, suggesting that students take the time to appreciate their experiences on this campus.

The John. S. Dyson ’65 Citizenship Award was presented at the conference to an established senior who had demonstrated exceptional leadership within the Greek community.

Alderperson Michael Taylor ’05 (D – 4th ward), a member of the Sigma Pi fraternity received the award for showing a strong commitment to community service, scholarship, and citizenship. Anna Butrymowicz ’05, of the Pi Beta Phi sorority and Ryan Colbert, of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity also received honorable mention.

The conference was well-received by those in attendence.

“I went to the ‘Building Inclusive Organizations’ session where we discussed the different definitions and interpretations of diversity. The discussion was very interesting. We talked about different personal identities and our ideas about diversity,” commented Courtney Silver ’07, vice president of scholarship for the Sigma Delta Tau sorority.

Silver also attended a session about the importance of faculty relations within the Greek community.

“I learned that faculty can serve a variety of purposes depending on the chapter’s needs and interests, from an extra academic advisor to someone who can provide another interesting perspective on life in Ithaca,” Silver said.

“Cornell is strongly supporting the notion of faculty involvement with students outside of the classroom. For example, the Alice Cook House on West Campus is one of Cornell’s attempts at satisfying this goal because the program is based on faculty involvement in residential life. Hopefully the Greek system will be able to use the same ideas to create stronger bonds with Cornell’s faculty,” Silver said.

Alexandra Rukin ’07, vice president of risk management for the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, explained that the leadership conference taught her about the possible risks involved with social events.

“I thought the conference was very successful because I learned a ton of information about my position that will be helpful for my entire chapter,” Rukin said.

“The people running the sessions spoke to us on our level and were well prepared to answer any questions we had,” Rukin added.

More than just the information imparted, attendees liked spending the day with members of other chapters on campus.

“It was a good bonding experience for all of the chapters because there was a mixture at each session which helped us formulate ideas and create solutions to problems that are common in every chapter,” Rukin said.

Organizers were satisfied with the conference.

“I am pleased with how the activities went throughout the day. We worked hard to bring together a great group of facilitators for each of the sessions and I know that the students learned a lot during each breakout” Button said.

Overall, “over 350 chapter officers, alumni, faculty, and friends of the community attended the conference,” and “everybody that I spoke to had generally good feedback about each of the sessions. The conference is supposed to inspire the chapter officers for their upcoming year and hopefully we did just that,” Button said.

Archived article by Allison Markowitz
Sun Staff Writer