Posts Tagged ‘Community Involvment’

Great awards follow a great year in Greek Life

Monday, May 2nd, 2011


Fraternity members celebrate success in 2010-2011 academic year. (Photo by Daniel M. Reck.)

It’s been a big year for Greek Life at Monmouth College.  Thousands of dollars have been raised for charity, thousands of hours have been given in service, and hundreds of students have enjoyed academic success.

The pinnacle of each year is Greek Week, which recently concluded with the Annual Greek Life Awards.  All seven Greek organizations came together, raised over $1,050 for Haiti earthquake relief, and organized a record-setting blood drive.

“Greek Week this year was a magnificent success!” says Haleigh Turner ’12, Greek Week Chair and President of Pi Beta Phi. “Every chapter came together on multiple occasions to hang out, have a great time, possibly get slimmed, and show campus that no matter our letters we are a unified Greek System.

Through Penny Wars and a Car Bash, Greeks raised $1,054.13, which will go to Lights for Haiti through Citizen Effect. The money raised will help provide solar-powered lanterns to Haitians who are still recovering from the earthquake that devastated the country two years ago.

There were many events during Greek Week, from a Bop-It tournament, Slime-Time, karaoke, trivia, a scavenger hunt, and philanthropies; perhaps one of the most memorable was the All-Greek Candle Pass.

“It really meant a lot to see brothers and sisters from different organizations linked together representing not only our unity during Greek Week but our forever support of one another as we passed a significant item from each chapter as well as sang our songs,” says Turner.

The Greek Week show allowed fraternity members to show off their values, pride, and humor as they put on four 1990s-themed acts. In addition to the shows put on by Greek organizations, the so-called Greek God and Goddess, along with their Demigod and Demigoddess counterparts, competed in talent, questions, and overall participation to win the titles.

The men of Sigma Phi Epsilon and the women of Pi Beta Phi won the Greek Show on Thursday night with their medley of references to 90s television shows and dance numbers. The men of Zeta Beta Tau, teamed up with a mix of women from each women’s fraternity dubbed The Panhellenic Alliance, won the banner contents, which was also announced at the Greek Week show.

Greek Week ended on Friday with the Annual Greek Life Awards banquet. Greeks dressed to impress and to raise awareness for autism. Alpha Xi Delta women handed out blue ribbons for World Autism Awareness Day, which coincided with the awards program.  Outside, Wallace Hall’s famous copula was lit in a brilliant blue as part of the national “Light It up Blue” campaign for Autism Awareness Month. The Empire State Building in New York City, along with many other landmarks, were also awash in blue for the night.

The banquet, held in the specially-decorated cafeteria, brought together fraternity members from every organization to celebrate their successes and the success of their fellow brothers and sisters. The guest list not only included fraternity members, but faculty, advisors, deans, and President Mauri Ditzler.

The women of Alpha Xi Delta won Overall Greek Week for their fourth year running as well as many other chapter and individual awards.

“We have worked hard to better ourselves and to follow our National Fraternity motto, ‘realize your potential,’” says Kim Dwyer ’12, President of Alpha Xi Delta. “It was exciting to see all of our hard work pay off.  Our chapter is more than grateful and proud of one another.”

Although each of the awards are of high honor, the most prestigious award that can be earned at Monmouth College is the award for Outstanding Chapter Operations. This year, Pi Beta Phi earned this award.

Recipients of the 2011 Greek Life Awards were:

  • Academic Excellence Award – Alpha Xi Delta
  • Excellence in Campus Involvement and Leadership – Phi Delta Theta
  • Outstanding Chapter Program – Xi Man, Alpha Xi Delta
  • Award for Excellence in Community Service and Philanthropy – Phi Delta Theta
  • Outstanding Advisor – Denise Turnbull, Pi Beta Phi
  • Emerging Female Leader – Lydia Butler, Alpha Xi Delta
  • Emerging Male Leader – Jeff Skalon, Alpha Tau Omega
  • Outstanding Greek President – Leah Statler, Pi Beta Phi
  • Greek Woman of the Year – Kristen Wyse, Alpha Xi Delta
  • Greek Man of the Year (Cy Reagan Award) – John Cayton, Phi Delta Theta
  • The Richard “Doc” Kieft Award – Rodney Clayton, Phi Delta Theta
  • Outstanding Chapter Operations – Pi Beta Phi
  • Greek Week Spirit Award – Alpha Xi Delta
  • Greek God and Goddess – Andrew Farraher, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Ashley May, Alpha Xi Delta
  • Greek Demi-God and Demi-Goddess – Alex Mackley, Zeta Beta Tau and Courtney Jonsson, Alpha Xi Delta
  • Overall Greek Week Winners – Alpha Xi Delta

“Winning the Chapter Operations Award is a true honor”, said Turner. “Leah, as President, and our executive board, worked hard to excel our chapter to one that adheres not only to a loving sisterhood but one with high standards for our sisters.” μ

Michelle Bruce ‘12

Also of Interest

$1,650 raised for autism research in Xi Man competition

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Kyle Vancil ’12, representing Phi Delta Theta, was crowned Xi Man 2011, impressing judges and the audience alike with a chemistry-comedy talent, SCUBA sportswear, an impressive formalwear round, and raising over $500. “I felt like I was helping a great cause, while having a blast with the other contestants,” said Vancil.

Men like Vancil came from across the Monmouth College campus to support Autism Speaks in Alpha Xi Delta’s male pageant philanthropy, Xi Man, on Feb 25.

Alpha Xi  collected $1,650.13 to benefit the charity, which is Alpha Xi’s national philanthropy partner and all of the money raised from Xi Man went to the organization. 1,650.13oooo Autism Speaks works to increase awareness of autism and is an advocate for the needs of those suffering from autism and their families. Autism refers to several disorders which interfere with the mental development of children, causing lifelong disability.

Fundraising began two weeks before the event with a table outside of the cafeteria.  Some participants and their coaches visited residence halls to ask students for money. The Xi Man competitor who raised the most money won the full 50 points for their fundraising score, making up half of their overall score.

Participants in Xi Man competed in five categories: Group dance, talent, sportswear, formalwear, and a quiz about Alpha Xi. The men were also asked two questions during the formalwear round, one serious and one not-so-serious.

“It is so important to our chapter to not only raise money for Autism Speaks but to educate the campus about the severity of autism,” said Annie Soto ’12, Philanthropy Chair of Alpha Xi Delta. “Xi Man is a great way to accomplish both.”

Autism Speaks funds research to find preventions, causes, treatments for autism, and works to support the search for a cure for the disorder, which affects an estimated 1.5 million individuals in the United States.

Alpha Xi Delta not only raised money for Autism Speaks, but brought together men from all over campus. Represented in Xi Man 2011 were Zeta Beta Tau, Alpha Tau Omega, Phi Delta Theta, ASAP, Scotsmen, WMCR, SOUP, and Football.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of the pageant and I only hope everyone who attended and participated enjoyed it as much as I did,” said Soto. μ

Michelle Bruce ‘12

Also of Interest:

Student Commentary: What about

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Several years ago, a website called came onto the scene.  It allows students to anonymously grade their professors in a public forum.  The idea is that the students, with their identities hidden and protected, are free to give honest reviews.

A small group of professors decided to turn the tables by creating, as detailed by W.T. Pfefferle in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

As the title of the website implies, professors would rate the performance of students.  Educators anonymously sent e-mail to the website describing experiences and stories ranging from student excuses for not turning in assignments, to complaints about class attendance, to simple disgust about student behavior.  Unlike the free-for-all students’ ratings of professors, these ratings were moderated by a panel.

While anonymity can theoretically bring honesty, it can also lead to some hurt feelings.  Some students began to complain about, saying that they were “misunderstood” and that the ratings were “unfair” because they were already being judged by the grading system.   

It may be a fair complaint from students, because there was little to no way for those students to defend themselves on the website run by educators.  

“We will rate our students here,” said the first post on, “And we will do it without compunction. Then we’ll just see where we’re at. We’ll still be poor academics. But at least those callous and ignorant ‘customers’ of ours will know what it’s like.”

The goal of this was to let teachers get the weight off their shoulders and let the world know their true opinions about their students and their profession.   

This now brings up the question: What if there was a similar website that applied to Greek Life?  A of sorts.  Visitors and contributors could be advisors, chapter presidents, Greek members, or even non-Greeks. 

While was seen by students as a mudslinging website, there is no reason why could not be used for positive reasons and constructive criticism.  It does not have to pick out individual members and judge them, but it can be used to pick out flaws in the system. allowed professors to get the metaphorical weight off their shoulders by voicing their complaints on a worldwide forum.  A similar system for Greek Life could be helpful, but only as long as it did not become a venue for gossip.

It could be used to improve the system by offering comments to make the Greek community better with constructive ideas by the right kind of people.  Anonymity might be helpful in this situation because it might avoid the discomfort of holding Greek brothers and sisters accountable. 

While the original concept of rating students was a short lived project, the concept of rating Greeks could be used for the overall improvement of Greek Life.  μ

Alexander Woods ‘12

Also of interest:

Fat Talk Free Week starts today

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Today kicks off Fat Talk Free Week, a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of “fat talk” among women and its effect on body image.

“Fat Talk” is commonly used every day and includes statements that support the idea that thin is beautiful idea and lead women to feel insecure with their bodies.  Low self-esteem, which can be caused by fat talk, is a major problem among women in the U.S. with 10 million women suffering from eating disorders.

The campaign beginning this week stems from Reflections: Body Image Program, started by the women of Delta Delta Delta Fraternity for women in 1988. The program helped women of Tri Delta maintain a positive body image.  Other campuses around the country are also participating in Fat Talk Free Week.

“I think it’s important to end fat talk,” says Samantha Sprouse, a Delta Delta Delta at Illinois State University and former body image leader for the program.  “So many women are affected by what others think of them and it often leads to extreme measures of unhealthy dieting!”

Illinois State University will be hosting an events throughout the week to end fat talk, from “Trash your Fat Talk” to writing “you are beautiful” on their bathroom mirrors in their house.

“Girls need to be confident about their bodies,” says Sprouse, who also says the program will help them achieve that confidence.

Sprouse and other affiliated with the movement say the media portrayal of what body type is ideal has hurt many women across the world, from Monmouth to China. Models appearing in magazines and on television do not resemble the majority of women in this world. Women come in all different shapes and sizes, different backgrounds and genetics. Just as women come in different varieties, so does beauty. The Fat Talk Free Week activities hope to teach that there is no one ideal of beauty.

National Love Your Body Day also takes place during Fat Talk Free Week. Here at Monmouth College, Crimson Masque will be performing The Vagina Monologues, opening Tuesday.

Jennifer Erbes, director of The Vagina Monologues and member of Alpha Xi Delta, says the play is “opening the day after Love Your Body Day, which I think is fabulous—simply for the fact that it is a part of the whole movement about becoming comfortable with ourselves.”

While National Love Your Body Day and Fat Talk Free Week only come around once a year, organizers hope that participants will remember the campaigns all year. They say that maintaining a strong positive body image can make you feel better about yourself and can improve your life. Tri Delta’s Body Image Program provides women with things they can use throughout the year to promote a positive body image:

1. Choose one friend or family member and discuss one thing you like about yourselves.

2. Keep a journal of all the good things your body allows you to do (e.g., sleep well and wake up rested, play tennis, etc.).

3. Pick one friend to make a pact with to avoid negative body talk. When you catch your friend talking negatively about their body, remind them of the pact.

4. Make a pledge to end complaints about your body, such as “I’m so flat-chested” or “I hate my legs.” When you catch yourself doing this, make a correction by saying something positive about that body part, such as, “I’m so glad my legs got me through soccer practice today”.

5. The next time someone gives you a compliment, rather than objecting (“No, I’m so fat”), practice taking a deep breath and saying “thank you.” μ

Michelle Bruce ‘12

Family is more than just biology

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

“Your brothers in your fraternity are just like your family,” says Phi Delta Theta member Matt Verner ’11.

After new Greek members chose fraternity families during recruitment, they were joined by their biological families during Monmouth College’s Family Weekend, September 24-25, 2010. The weekend featured a number of activities for students and their families including a mentalist, a 5K run/walk, and inflatables.

Some Greek organizations on campus hosted their own Family Weekend activities as well. Kappa Kappa Gamma held a breakfast for parents and family. Pi Beta Phi invited families to take part in Monmouth’s Family Weekend activities as a collective group. In addition to Monmouth Family Weekend, many Greek organizations host special family weekends, moms’ weekends, and dads’ weekends throughout the year.

For Greeks, Family Weekend is more than just hanging out with their own families. It’s about connecting two families together: biological and fraternal. Fraternity members are often families away from home.

“During family weekend, my biological family got to meet the family of my little sister in Pi Phi,” says Katie Argentine ’12, a member of Pi Beta Phi.  “I liked seeing how similar my real family and my sorority family are.”

According to Verner, Greek members develop an understanding of why fraternal brothers and sisters fit into the Greek Organization.  This understanding comes from meeting the biological families and seeing where they came from.

“Everyone’s family helps mold the type of person they are,” says Verner.

Meeting the families of Greek brothers or sisters is only part of the experience. Biological families are able to learn about the meaning a particular organization has for its members as well as the benefits one can receive.

Many students on campus are distanced from home. Becoming a part of an organization, like Greek Life, can help students cope with the feeling of being homesick.

Annie Soto ’12 says, “Choosing a school four hours from home was a hard decision for me to make but once I got to campus and joined Alpha Xi, I found the same kinds of bonds in my sisterhood as I could find at home with my family.”

Greek organizations can offer a home away from home. “Whenever I miss my life at home I know that I can always go to my sisters for that home feeling of love and comfort to help me get through the rough times,” says Soto. “I mean, there is a reason why they call it sisterhood, right?” μ

Michelle Bruce ’12 and Jennifer Wheeler ’12

Also of interest:

ATO and Pi Phi’s Halloween treat

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Halloween, to some, is known as a time to dress up in scary, ghoulish costumes, and to try and scare the holy heck out of your friends.  But there is the softer side of the holiday; the treats to the younger generations.  With the help of Alpha Tau Omega and Pi Beta Phi, the treat of fun and good will were passed along. 

This was all made possible by the Monmouth Chamber of Commerce Halloween Party.  Both ATO and Pi Phi helped set up the event by decorating, running the craft and games table, and cleaning up the venue after all the games and fun were finished.  The interaction that both the Greeks and the children got will be memories that will last a lifetime. 

This was not only a great way for ATO and Pi Phi to give back to the community, but also a great way to show Greek unity.  Zach Parkes, ATO’s philanthropy chair, said of the event, “the [event] went very well, and I’m glad to see that two different Greek organizations can come together and make a positive impact on the community.”  Without the combined effort of both fraternities, there is no doubt that the party would not have been the success it was.  Haleigh Turner, Pi Phi’s philanthropy chair, shared the same sentiment saying that giving service is “always a great way to give back to the community, but being able to work with another organization that is just as compassionate as us makes the experience a fun time for all.”  When asked about working with ATO, Turner said “I would enjoy working with the men of ATO in the future,” a huge complement to the fraternity. 

Service events like this are the things that make Greeks stand out as a system.  Giving back to the community is what separates Greeks from most of the campus. These are memories that will be remembered by the children and Greeks that worked with them. More than just candy and costumes, the joy that the kids got from being around outstanding Greeks and better role models, is a treat that will last beyond Halloween for both sides. μ

Alex Woods ‘12