By Courtney McKenna
Assistant Director of Student Center and Campus Life
As a Greek Life adviser, between wrapping up loose ends from the past year and planning for the next, I look forward to the summer because it allows me to give back to the profession that has offered me so much.
This summer, I’ve spent a lot of time volunteering as a part of the various roles I hold within the profession, yet there’s something about the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (conducted by the North American Interfraternity Conference) that reenergizes me like nothing else can.
UIFI is the premiere leadership institute that brings together more than 800 undergraduate fraternity men and sorority women from across North America throughout 10 sessions each summer. It focuses on shared fraternal values and provides students with the opportunity to create action plans for being courageous and ethical leaders in their Greek communities and beyond.
This is the second year I have served as a facilitator for the five-day institute. While the students I directly worked with might tell you that I helped them to grow and develop as leaders, I would argue that they have helped me far more.
Watching students dive into the issues that often negatively plague fraternities and sororities in an honest and authentic way shows me that I can also do the same.
Additionally, reconnecting with colleagues who serve on campuses and at headquarters offices helps me to grow my personal and professional support network — something that is so important for someone in my profession.
Knowing that everyone in attendance is there for the purpose of promoting and elevating the Greek experience is pretty awe–inspiring.
Currently the Quinnipiac University Greek community boasts eight chapters and nearly 1,000 members, which accounts for approximately 20 percent of the student body, and is continuing to grow.
Anecdotal evidence as well as formal studies demonstrate that membership in a fraternity or sorority can be the greatest vehicle for leadership and personal development during one’s college career – and I want to be sure that Quinnipiac University positively adds to the evidence base.
As sorority woman, I am privileged to live my life constantly aspiring to represent the values of Alpha Chi Omega — to raise the bar every day on what it means to be a Real Strong Woman – and Quinnipiac University has helped me to do just that.
Since my arrival at the university in 2008, I have been given invaluable gifts – the gift of finding a career that I believe in with all my heart – one that keeps me young at heart and challenges me every day, the gift of having campus administrators who believe in my vision and trust the path that I have forged ahead on with our students, and the gift of encouragement to participate in opportunities like UIFI which push me to be the best Greek professional I can be.
Some people take vacations to recharge – but I’ve found that reconnecting with colleagues and working with students from various campuses provides me with all the recharging I need.
Each summer, I go away for a week – and come back to Quinnipiac with a renewed passion for the work I do and a pledge to ensure that the Quinnipiac Greek community is a model for those in the interfraternal world – a community built on values and sustained on the shared commitment to them.