Posts Tagged ‘Daniel M. Reck’

“Guilty by association”

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Have you heard about the “bad crowd” and the advice to stay away from it?  After all, you would not want to be guilty by association!  Those members of the bad crowd are so easy to spot.  Aren’t they?  All members of men’s and women’s fraternities, with those letters on their chests. 

Those sloths of academia, those irresponsible brats, it’s about time they had their due.  One day they will loose the shielded environment of college and just have to slug it out in the real world.  Let’s just see how they do:

Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity
Al Bowman, president of Illinois State University
Forrest Sawyer, ABC News Anchor
Christopher A. Sinclair, retired CEO of PepsiCo

Alpha Xi Delta Fraternity
Jan Davis, astronaut
Karen Tumulty, national correspondent for Time magazine
Diane Wood, federal judge in the Seventh Circuit Court

Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity
Phyllis McGinley, Pullitzer Prize-winning poet
Edith Clarke, first female electrical engineering M.S. from MIT
Margaret Hillis, conductor of the Chicago Symphony Choir

Phi Delta Theta Fraternity
Neil Armstrong, astronaut
Robert Khayat, chancellor of the University of Mississippi
Frank Lloyd Wright, architect

Pi Beta Phi Fraternity
Nancy Hogshead, triple Olympic gold medalist in swimming
Barbara Bush, first lady
Patricia MacLachlan, Newbery Medalist children’s author

Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity
Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Laureate in economics
Jessie H. Ruiz, chair of the Illinois Board of Education
General James T. Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps

Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity
George Macy, founder of Macy’s
William S. Paley, founder and chairman of CBS
Arthur Goldberg, United States Supreme Court Justice

Yes, these people and their Fortune 500 CEO hoodlums, eighty-five percent of which are also members of “frats.”  What a crowd… And they all came from organizations with chapters right here at Monmouth College.

Sounds like the kind of crowd I wouldn’t mind associating
with!  μ

Daniel M. Reck, MSEd, is the Assistant Director of Greek Life, Leadership, and Involvement at Monmouth College.  He is affiliated with Sigma Nu Fraternity.

Advising: More heads are better than one

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

There is a long time tradition at colleges and universities requiring student organizations to have an advisor who is a member of the faculty or administration.  The responsibilities of this person vary widely from institution to institution, and indeed from organization to organization.  Generally, the advisor’s job was to be aware of the activities of the organization, keep them from getting into trouble, and utter the occasional nugget of wisdom.

This arrangement may suffice for a simple, small campus organization, but complex groups such as activities boards, governing organizations, major community service groups, and men’s and women’s fraternities have greater advisory needs.

Such organizations have concerns many orders of magnitude greater than the average student club.  Men’s and women’s fraternities, for instance, exist perpetually on a campus for decades.  They have an affiliation with a national organization comprising thousands of members.  These groups often have physical facilities to maintain, significant liability risks to manage, and financial ledgers which make my wallet look like its full of Monopoly money.  All the while, they are expected to provide solid academic support, teach fundamental and advanced skills of leadership, conduct regular and significant philanthropic and service events, and maybe have a safe, entertaining, and—let’s face it—non-lame party in the process.

This is a lot to do.  It is much like running a full time business (have to keep that bottom line!) while at the same time balancing an entire extended family, complete with the obligatory family reunions (read: homecoming weekend).

Many readers of this publication are parents, and all of them are career professionals in education.  However, we are all specialized:  I am trained in student affairs, computer science, and music.  Each reader’s background and experience will be different, and this qualifies us to advise student groups in different ways.  While I might be proficient in helping an organization set up a good annual plan, Colonel Bloomer is probably a better person to advise in the area of developing relationships with chapter alumni.

Given the complexity of these large organizations, with their many facets, why do we only insist they have one advisor?

Two of our chapters have thought they could do better:  Phi Delta Theta has a Chapter Advisory Board.  Alpha Tau Omega created a Board of Trustees.  In both instances, they engage about a half dozen college administrators, faculty members, and alumni to advise them in different aspects of their chapters’ operation.

This arrangement has many benefits.  First and foremost, it reduces the load on any one of these volunteer advisors.  The other benefits are also significant.  Chapter officers can arrange for dedicated one-on-one mentoring about their operational area.  The variety of volunteers gives a deeper diversity opinion and advice.  The organization’s advising is not endangered if an advisor retires.

Why not extend these benefits to our other Greek organizations?  They contribute greatly to our campus, providing educational programs, practical leadership opportunities, and frankly, they help our retention statistics.

As educational professionals, I encourage you to consider joining one of these advisory teams.  No previous Greek experience required.  Just bring your smarts and your love of students.   I promise, you’ll enjoy the ride.

Daniel M. Reck MSEd, is the Assistant Director of Greek Life, Involvement and Service at Monmouth College. He is affiliated with the Sigma Nu Fraternity.

Water polo victorious over cancer

Friday, May 1st, 2009

The Monmouth College water polo had a case of insomnia last in March.  The team stayed up for twenty-four hours playing water polo, starting on Saturday, March 21, through Sunday, March 22, in efforts to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF).

The foundation was started by Janelle Hail, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 34 and is now the CEO of the NBCF. The twenty-four hour charity event began at 10 AM in the Pepper Natatorium, as an attempt to set a world record for the Monmouth College water polo team.

Donations kept rolling in for weeks after the main event. In total, the team raised $1,437.75, all of which was donated to the NBCF. The team mainly consisted of players from Monmouth College, but there were a number of athletes who participated from various Midwestern teams.

The event was broken down into five-hour quarters with one-hour rest times in between each quarter. Water polo was not the only activity for the students to enjoy. Movies were played throughout the duration of the event, as well as a raffle, which in itself helped raise $454, and no one went hungry thanks to food donations such as pizza, pasta and salad.

Ultimately, when all the hours of play were over, it was the “red team” who defeated the “white team,” with a final score of 465-375. “My favorite part about the event was how hard our team worked, and how much of an effort was put in for a great cause,” said Joe Moran ‘10, a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.

The water polo team enlisted the help of several of the college’s sororities, who helped set up decorations, and keep score throughout the event. Athletic coach George Perry III, and Daniel M. Reck, the assistant director of Greek Life, Involvement and Service also helped out with the event.

Members from three of the men’s fraternities competed during the event.  “This was not the work of one person, but a situation where everyone worked together,” said Moran. μ

Adam Kinigson ‘11

“What are we doing with Greek Week?”

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Well, I have to ask, “What are we doing with Greek Week?”

By many accounts, Greek Week 2009 was a great success.  Fine leaders and chapters were recognized with awards (see page 3), the banquet impressed faculty members, and donations of food and funds were given to the Jameson Center.

Why, then, have I had so many people in my office complaining about Greek Week?

Administrators and faculty members are not the complainants.  In fact, they have been mute.  It has been a steady stream of students expressing concerns to me about Greek Week.

Some of the concerns were incidental, such as “the rehearsal time we have sucks.”  However, there was a recurring theme of concerns which needs to be out in the open:

Too much competition, not enough fraternal value.  Men and women were both upset that most Greek Week activities revolved around competition rather than cooperation or service.  One organization has promised not to participate next year if Greek Week doesn’t reflect fraternal values.

The pairing system.  Pairing four men’s organizations with three women’s groups doesn’t work.  It’s unfair to the “odd” group.  It’s unfair to the women who must disassociate from their chapters.  Surely there is a more interfraternal approach.

Cheating and badmouthing.  Chapters shouldn’t be insulting one another during competition.  There is positively no reason a fraternity man should call a woman a “bitch” during show rehearsals (or any other time.)  Stealing from one other’s penny wars pitchers is just lame. 

So, first off, let’s praise these upstanding men and women for bringing these issues to our attention.  Next, let’s get back to our fraternal values and do something about it.  Send your best ideas to greeklife@monm.edu and we’ll make sure next year’s Greek Week steering committee sees them. μ

Daniel M. Reck, MSEd, is the Assistant
Director of Greek Life, Leadership, and
Involvement at Monmouth College. He is
affiliated with Sigma Nu Fraternity.

Onward and upward with new student leaders

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

As we saw last month, all of our women’s and men’s fraternities have elected new officers for 2009. The Panhellenic Council, governing the women’s fraternities, has new officers, too. The men’s governing body, the Interfraternity Council, will have elections on March 3.

So many fresh faces. So many great ideas.

Earlier this month, the Office of Greek Life, Involvement, and Service hosted a retreat for all these new officers and lead roundtable discussions about fraternal values, social event planning, new member education and recruitment, risk management, and philanthropy. I was pleasantly surprised with what students had to say.

The discussion was lively, well-informed, and thoughtful. More importantly, it was collaborative, with concerns voiced in a spirit of communal welfare rather than in accusation, self-defense, or competition.

Student leaders Kimberleigh Morris, Matthew Bentley, and DeMarkco Butler each read quotes from President Obama’s inauguration address (see last issue), applying the President’s call for change and service to others to the current situation found here on campus. Hope and devotion abound, it seems. Already, the presidents of all of our men’s and women’s chapters have established a regular time to meet face-to-face to discuss the issues affecting their community and plan for the coming weeks, months, and years. This sort of synergistic energy is a new phenomenon at Monmouth College.

Now, as the complexities, complications,and challenges mount in our society, I still find a sense of calm and confidence. Our future is secure. We will be okay.

I quoted one of those sappy motivational posters during the retreat: “One hundred years from now, no one will care what car you drove or how much money you had, but the world will be a better place for the difference you make in a young person’s life.” These young men and women, our student leaders, are our future. They are practicing their skills of problem solving, diplomacy, advocacy, and management right here, right now.

100 years from now—or even 100 days from now—the world will be a better place for the work of these student leaders. μ

Daniel M. Reck, MSEd, is the Assistant Director of Greek Life, Leadership, and Involvement at Monmouth College. He is affiliated with Sigma Nu Fraternity.

“Govern each act by a high sense of honor”

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Students who know me will recognize the heading of this article.  It is a phrase I often invoke when discussing the conduct of students involved in fraternities and sororities, and it happens to be a quote from my own fraternal oath which I have sworn to live by.

Greek students occasionally complain that they are held to a different standard.  I have always found this interesting, since they have asked to be held to that higher standard by taking the oaths of membership in their respective organizations. 
Indeed, this higher standard is
precisely what the founders of every
national sorority and fraternity sought for all of their brothers and sisters, for now and forever.

Of course, each organization’s oath is different.  Some are called “promises,” others are called “bonds.”  Whatever the name, they are a personal commitment to the brotherhood or sisterhood, to alma mater, and to oneself.  The language used varies widely, from ones written in heraldic-style English to others in Latin, but the meaning is always basically the same: I promise to do my best for myself, my brothers and sisters, my college, and the world.

Almost anyone can recount episodes when a Greek student has not lived up to this promise.  There have been three fraternity deaths in the United States since August as a result of failure of brothers to live by their fraternal values.  However, these tragic events—and even run of the mill incidents—are relatively few and far between.  In fact, members of sororities and fraternities at Monmouth College earn higher GPAs than their non-affiliated colleagues and they are more likely to graduate.  Something must be going right.

So, what is it?  Simply, brothers and sisters are looking out for one another and our community.  Just read through this issue of The Mu for a few examples.  These men and women want to do the right thing, and usually they do.

Many of our nation’s most successful people became Greeks while in college.  They probably goofed up a few times, too.  Rather than focus on the occasional gaffe, let us act with honor, be educational in our discipline, and support these students who have promised to do well. μ

Daniel M. Reck, MSEd, is the Assistant
Director of Greek Life, Leadership, and
Involvement at Monmouth College.  He is
affiliated with Sigma Nu Fraternity