Friday, February 27, 2009

Northeast Greek Leadership Association

Friday February 20th, 2009

Values Institute Speaker

The first informative event for the conference was a speaker addressing the concept of leadership. She stressed the importance of the whole and leading by example. There was one thing she said that hit a chord with me, she said “A leader is not necessarily a person who holds some formal position of leadership or who is able to affect positive change for the betterment of others, the community, and society. All people, in other words, are potential leaders.” This statement pretty much summed up what the whole day was about; being a true leader by initiating change and setting a positive example.

Values Institute Small Group Work
The small group work that followed the speaker was kind of dry and we often broke into partners and small groups which was more of an ice breaking situation than talking about leadership. One concept they addressed was the idea of ‘servant leadership’ and there is a long, drawn out definition about what it is in the booklet I got the day before but to sum it up briefly: Servant leaders may or may not have official positions of power and choose to lead through their actions and influencing others to be leaders within the community by being a leader. The rest of the day consisted of identifying the traits of a true leaders and how to inspire others to be leaders with your own organization.

Saturday February 21st, 2009
Hazing on Trial – Opening Speaker

The speaker for this day was a highly influential individual who commanded respect with just his presence. He was a ‘no nonsense’ man who connected with all the people in the audience, especially the fraternity members. I pulled a few quotes from his presentation which I found most though provoking. The first quote flashed up on the running slideshow behind him, it said “Take the courage within you and confront the forces that will otherwise destroy your chapter.” As I was thinking about that quote I found myself being increasingly drawn into his speech. I started actually feeling the need to change things, to stand up and say something when I got back to campus, to take that first step. The next quote that stuck in my mind was “Example is not the best form of leadership, it is the only way.” Not only did it reinforce the purpose of yesterday’s speaker and small group discussion but it just made sense. The only way to lead effectively is to portray yourself in the way you want others to act. Leading by example plays a vital role in a true leader. The last quote that summed up the end of his discussion was “you don’t earn your badge once, you earn it every day.” Thinking like that would help a lot of members within organizations find the right path. Every single day you represent your organization from the first day you receive your bid till the day you die, unless you are disaffiliated of course. Membership in Greek organizations is for a lifetime and everyday someone will look at you and associate you with Greek organizations if not, more specifically, your individual chapter. Act as if your letters were tattooed to your forehead because they might as well be in some sense.

The first workshop I went to was entitled ‘Hypnotic Charismatic Communication for Recruitment and Leadership’. This presentation was my first one of the day after the speaker and it was a lot of fun. We moved around a lot and we were practicing the good components of communication such as eye contact, body language, and how to approach a conversation. It was a great time and I even got the chance to but on a sari and a lei and dance where the moves were reinforcing what we should keep in mind. I absolutely loved it!

The second workshop was entitled “Growing a Viable Panhellenic Community through NPC Extension”. This was a highly informative section all about the step to take to pursue adding other organizations on campus and also provided tips and tricks for success. Julie Johnson, the Chairman of the Extension Committee ran the discussion and to sum it up went through step by step describing as much as possible, with the time allotted, and answering any and all questions. I went up to her and asked her about extension with a limited amount of statistics, and she basically said that if the population was growing rapidly, then we should not let the statistics hold us back.

The third workshop was called “Setting Up Success: Best Practices for College Panhellenic Councils”. This session was mostly about informing us about the NPC website and letting us know what resources were available for us on it. We also briefly described how to set up a short term goals to help the success of the organization and to get as much out of your position as possible. MB came with me to this session and we came up with two goals: Effective officer transition materials, and compiling statistics for extension.
After the third workshop Maribeth and I attended the NPC Area Update which is pretty self explanatory. They discussed the changes and updates within our region and they also talked a lot about the new website. One thing they suggested for the betterment of recruitment was to have ‘exit interviews’ where we ask women who decide not to go through with a new member process and collects information as to why they decided not to. Very interesting and I’ll be looking into having that in place for the next recruitment chair for the college NPC.
The fourth workshop, entitled “Where Can We Find Prospective Members”, was focused around a book that was given to the Advisors upon arrival called ‘I Heart Recruitment’. They suggested many creative ways to recruit as well as the most effective ways to recruit. One thing that stuck in my mind was this point: “’We’re about quality not quantity’ – this is said by sororities who are not performing well during recruitment; larger number of women = larger number of joiners”. Effective recruitment involves all members being on the same page and advertising what they want to be known for whether it is GPA/ academic excellence or community service.

The last session I went to was called “Everyone in My Chapter Hates Everyone Else”. This was a pretty straight forward presentation where a former chapter president shared his personal story of trial and tribulation. He identified what can go wrong with a chapter and then discussed the ways one can address those issues. The information was pretty basic and I wish he went more in depth and addressed the chapters who do not have a lot of money in the budget for a full out weekend retreat in the back woods of Maine.

Overall, I am very happy that I had the opportunity to go and am very grateful that I was chosen by my peers to represent BSC along with 2 other phenomenal people. Not only did I receive a lot of useful information, I also met other leaders that I could connect with that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Thank you to all those that made this amazing experience possible for me!

~Melani Gerenia
Phi Sigma Sigma

Monday, February 23, 2009

3 Students, 1 Great Conference!

Northeast Greek Leadership Association
Hartford, CT - 2009

Being chosen to go to NGLA, was both exciting and nerve racking--this was the first time that our school was attending in quite a few years. But as soon as we arrived, I knew it was going to be a great experience. During the first night at Playfair, I realized that there are so many more organizations out there than just the ones that we have on campus but we are all connected by our passion and love for Greek life.

On the second day, the first speaker, Lori Hart Ebert, really set the tone for the whole day. She got me to realize that a leader doesn’t have to hold a position. A leader is just someone who is able to “affect positive change for the betterment of others, the community and society. All people, in other words, are potential leaders.” If all the members of our organizations believed in this, each chapter would be able to strive and continue to grow to be the best it can be. Lori also stressed the importance of our core values. We all joined an organization, not just because we liked the people, but because we believe in the values that those organizations upheld. She wants us to go back to our chapters and pick out those few members that are just on the roster and tell them they stink and hope that it puts a fire under their butt to either get more involved, or get out.

The rest of the day we spent time talking about the core values of all organizations—scholarship, service, and leadership. I was able to listen to what other organizations around the northeast do with their organizations, which gave me ideas to bring back to Bridgewater in hopes of making our chapters better and stronger. During this time we got to know the people in our break out groups and discuss the successes of our organizations. I turned the girl next to me and sure enough, not only was she in Gamma Phi Beta at Colgate, but she was Ashley Kirby’s cousin. That was something that meant so much to me. It made me aware of the fact that we are all more connected to each other than we think.

The last day was the one that impacted me the most. The speaker that morning, Dave Westol, told a chilling and eye opening story about the hazing that he had to endure when he pledged. He now goes around to different schools and puts “Hazing on Trial.” Whether you had to endure hazing or not when you new membered your organization, his speech really hit home for everyone in that room. We were all silent and his words made us angry. We never wanted anyone ever to go through an experience like that ever again.

We then proceeded to go to different seminars for the rest of the day. Each seminar was one that I felt our Greek life, and more importantly my chapter, would be able to gain knowledge from. I first learned how to bring a sense of class back to all our sorority women. I then learned all about transitions and how important it is to do them correctly and efficiently. After that was one about people who sometimes hated their chapter, because let’s be honest, we all have had that time when we felt that way.

After the third seminar, I went to another speaker—Dave Stollman. He was by far the best part of the day. He spoke of his experience in Greek life and taught about how you are wearing your letters at all times, whether they are worn on your clothing or not. When you stood there and got initiated, you were promising to uphold the values of your organization at all times. And if those values are not where your heart lies, then get out! We do not want people in our organizations if your heart is not really there. So hopefully, Dave will be coming to Bridgewater to impact all the organizations.

I then attended a heartfelt and eye opening seminar about drinking and driving. I know that by me retelling the story it will not have the same effect, but I hope I can at least change the lives of a few people. His presentation about how he killed his 3 best friends is one I will carry with me forever and made me never want to drink again.

Overall NGLA was one of the best experiences of my life. I got the chance to not only meet many Gamma Phi Betas, but I was also able to make lifelong friendships with students from all over the northeast from different organizations. Every seminar that I went to enabled me to acquire different tactics and ideas to bring back to my chapter in hopes of changing for the better. My only hope is that our organizations accept the ideas that all three of us are bringing back. I know that whoever goes to this conference in the future will have an amazing time.

~Janelle Howard
Gamma Phi Beta

Monday Morning!

This past Friday was M.I.B.s (Men Integrated in Brotherhood) Valentine’s Rewind Party! The event was a dance party, and all cans collected went to My Brother’s Keeper. Attendance was off the charts! There was a steady flow of people coming in, but no one was leaving. Amazingly, the doors didn’t have to close before midnight but the dance floor was full. If you were there, like I was, then you know it was an fantastic event… if you weren’t there you need to make sure you keep up with M.I.B. and go to their next event!These men are a great group of guys dedicated to promoting brotherhood and education. They are always looking for new members, if you’re interested stop by OSIL.

I’d like to warn everybody who is thinking about becoming an Orientation Leader for summer 2009 to fill out your application! Time is Running Out! Applications are due March 5th, but it’s better to get them done early so you don’t forget! Also, if you have any questions stop by The Open House. It is tomorrow, February 24th, 2-4 in the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership; Campus Center, room 103. There will be music, free food and OLs to answer any questions you have. This is also a great opportunity to get to know some of the past OLs and this summers Student Orientation Coordinators.

One last thing I’d like to mention for today, WOW. What’s on Wednesdays. Every Wednesday afternoon from 3:30 – 4:30 in OSIL, something is going on! This Wednesday it’s free chips and salsa! Last week it was milk and cookies! Can’t really get any better than that. So, stop by OSIL this Wednesday for some free food! And maybe meet a few new people.

Student Announcements are your friend! Keep an eye out and stay involved!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Looongg Weekend!

Welcome back from the long weekend!! I hope everyone enjoyed their extra day, and I also hope that everyone was not able to catch up on sleep... But also homework!! This is the time of the semester when things really start to pick up and if you're not careful, these things can really sneak up on you!

The first thing I want to point out is that circulating is a National Leadership Survey! If you are one of the lucky students to get this email in your inbox, Fill It Out! It is extremely important for the college, not just as a study, but as a way for the administration to get to know the students better in an attempt to better serve us in the future. And, this isn’t just at Bridgewater; this study is being done across the country! So, if you think about it, it’s pretty cool that we get to be a part of this! The email looks like it’s coming from Cindy Kane, Director of the Office of Student Leadership, so don’t be afraid of it!

Next, for all you Seniors! There are a couple of really cool events coming up! This Saturday night the Seniors are going on a trip to Dave and Busters in Providence! If you haven’t been there, let me tell you a little about it. Not only is it a great restaurant, but it’s an arcade too! And not just those silly, old school, pacman type games (although those are certainly fun) there is a whole room full of games!! The cost is $20, but this includes transportation, a game card, appetizers and free soda! On March 28th there will be a Foxwoods trip (for those of you who missed it last semester) and on April 20th there will be a New York trip, both these trips each cost $15. If you aren’t a senior, don’t worry, you can sign up for the New York trip through Program Committee. Just stop by OSIL and get your tickets! If you purchase two tickets, you save $10, and if you purchase three tickets you save $15! So sign up today, because these deals are for a limited time only!

Lastly, congratulations to all the Greek Organizations for an amazing and successful recruitment!

Stay Involved Bridgewater!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Campus Activites Connecting International Students and American Students

A few weeks ago the International Culture Club sponsored an Indian Dinner Event on campus through the support of SGA. It was truly a wonderful event that brought together many international student and some american students centered around the idea of sharing an international meal together. As I walked around the room it was so wonderful to see different students connecting with each other; asking questions, discussing the food, or just relaxing next to one another. There were a few students that I gently encouraged to walk around and meet new people and they did, that doesn't usually happen, this was so wonderful for me :) For years I have been at events or even hosted events for international students with american students involved and it is always a challenge to get people to try to make connections....Why do you think this is so difficult?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Preference Night

A potential new member blogs about her experiences at BSC sorority recruitment...

Tonight was a nerve racking wait to see what sorority invited me back to view their ritual. I was one of the lucky few people to be invited to both rituals and both were completely different, but both very meaningful. Many of the girls expressed what it was like to be apart of their particular organization. A few of the sisters even got emotional because of the impact sorority life has had upon their college career. After seeing how much each sorority wanted us to be a part of them, it made me appreciate my decision to rush this spring. I hope I get to be apart of it to experience the same feelings many of the sisters shared with me tonight.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Philanthropy Night

A potential new member blogs about her experience during BSC sorority recruitment...

After attending all of the other events this week, I was sooo excited to be attending Philanthropy night. I love volunteering and doing community service, so I know we would have fun. Both organizations had us create valentine cards for the veterans and for Hasbro children's hospital. I especially loved this because it was my favorite hobby, arts and crafts. I feel like tonight was alot easier to connect to the girls in both sororities and the gamma rho chi's after all our ice breakers yesterday. I found out alot of information about many of the girls, and connected with them on so many levels. I can definately see my self fitting in as a member of Greek life. I especially loved how all of the sorority members were extremely open about their personal lives and why they chose Greek life and even their soroity. Besides connecting with the members I also made many new friends within my rush group. After tonight I feel like I have a good idea of what sorority I would choose based on my connection I had in their rooms on both nights. Hopefully I will get invited back to their ritual ceremony on preference night tomorrow!!!

Recruitment- Night 2- Time to meet the chapters!

A potential new member at BSC blogs about her experience at formal recruitment...

Meeting the chapters!

After a day cancellation because of the snow storm, I couldn't wait to return to Rush Week activities. Tonight was the biggest one of all.....meeting the chapters. I was so nervous and excited about meeting them. I really hoped all the girls were nice, and that I wouldn't feel awkward asking questions. When all the potential new members arrived, we all waited anxioiusly while we were put into teams to meet each sorority. We did a few ice breakers within the team and everyone seemed so laid back and relaxed, and got really pumped to go to meet our future sisters. Each sorority greeted us with chants and cheers and girls came right up to you and introduced themselves. I felt so comfortable asking all my questions while they even shared extra info that I didn't know about each chapter. We went to stations and learned about all aspects of each chapter. Both chapters had alot of admirable qualities and everyone seemed very happy with both of them. After a tiring night of games and getting to know people we all returned back to one room to discuss the night. All the new potential members had similar feelings about already feeling accepted into each chapter and feeling comfortable to ask or talk about anything with the girls. Can't wait to finish out the week, now the real fun begins and the connections are made!

Through the eyes of a potential new member! Sorority Recruitment- Spring 2009

The Panhellenic Association facilitates recruitment week each spring for the 2 International Sororities at BSC. This year the Panhellenic Association asked a potential new member to blog about her experience through the week so we can see what recruitment is like through the eyes of a BSC potential new member. We hope you enjoy reading about her experience!

Monday, February 2, 2009
Information Night

Hey everyone!

I was really excited to go to sorority rush week this week, and had no idea what to expect. I just wanted to get involved on campus, while also giving back and meeting alot of new friends.When i first walked into the info room, i was a little intimidated by having to go through what seemed like background checks and registration, but later found out its just to make sure we keep school first. All of the gamma rho chis introduced themselves as our group leaders that will help us make a decison of whether we want to join Gamma Phi Beta, or Phi Sigma Sigma. After introductions they made everyone well aware of what to expect for the week, and what fun events we would be attending. When they mentioned such things like the preference night being invite only, alot of girls seemed a little uneasy, but we were then reassured that usually almost everyone will get at least one invite back. After feeling relieved I couldn't wait to come back for the rest of rush week, and finally see what it's like to be Greek!