On to the Next Chapter

My first day at UCA in 2011.My first day at UCA in 2011.

I have never told a lot of people this, but in the fall of 2010 I was invited to interview at two college campus for similar fraternity/sorority advisor positions.  The interviews were about a week apart and both schools subsequently offered me positions within a few days of each other.  I had a hard decision to make because both schools were fantastic and would offer me a great first step into the professional realm of higher education.  I stressed over which offer to accept for days, calling virtually every person I had ever known to obtain their position, and mulling over the smallest of details before finally reaching a decision.  When I had finally made my mind up, the deciding factor was not pay, benefits, or even the national rankings of the fraternity/sorority community.  The deciding factors for me were the growth potential the school offered to me as a young professional and the people I would share an office with each day.  Rather than accepting the position that would have kept me closer to home and provided me with an opportunity to work with a top-ranked fraternity/sorority community, I moved to a state where I had no friends, family, or alumni chapters within hundreds of miles.  I wanted the challenge and I knew that accepting the offer from the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) would provide me with experiences that would mold me for my future professional career.

Moving down to Arkansas was a pain, but I found myself welcomed into an office that functioned like a family.  Most people outside of the office were wary of me because I was a young Yankee that had an earring.  I knew little of the South beyond what I read in books (I love Southern history), so I did my best to take it all in and listen more than I spoke.  I was a stranger in a strange land, but I had an office family to help guide me along the way.  My first few months were literally a trial by fire because of spring recruitment, investigations, hearings, and step show.  Even so, I survived and prospered.  Time flew by and before I knew it one semester was down, then another, and then one more.  Pretty soon semesters turned into years and the state that I had cautiously moved to in 2011 became a second home.  Bonds grew with coworkers, students, alumni, and members of the community to the extent that I began feeling like a regular member of the UCA and Conway communities.  By 2014, I had faced my fear of the unknown and triumphed as a person and a professional.  I had accomplished what many thought was impossible for a young man from the Midwest in the South.

I'm a pretty lucky guy.I’m a pretty lucky guy.

That same year, I found that I was finally ready to explore and pursue new job opportunities.  I had kicked around the idea before and even taken some interviews, but nothing seemed to click.  Things were different this time around though because I had many years of experience under my belt and the love and support of an amazing young woman.  In 2014 I reconnected with a young woman from my college days, named Smita.  We knew each other somewhat in the past, but for some reason things just clicked this time around.  As the year progressed things became increasingly serious between us and our discussions progressed to planning for the future.  As fun as long distance may be, we both decided that one of us would need to move in order for our relationship to take that next step, so I volunteered as tribute.  I knew this would potentially mean a lot of personal and professional changes for me, but my gut told me to do whatever was necessary to be closer to her, so I let my supervisor know I was looking and hopped head first into a Chicago job search.

Going to live right across the street from this.

My new view.

After many months of searching, things finally started to click towards the end of 2014 and into the new year.  Around the beginning of February I was offered an opportunity with a great company in Chicago and I went into the panic mode I mentioned in the first paragraph.  After phoning all of my friends and consulting with my incredibly patient and kind girlfriend, I accepted the offer.  It was a hard thing to do, especially given the timing in the semester, but after accepting I felt relieved.  I was sad that I would be leaving a wonderful place I have called home for over four years, but I had the opportunity of a lifetime in front of me.  Not only did I have a great job lined up, but I would also have the opportunity to take my relationship with Smita to the next level.  For the first time in a long while, I felt genuinely happy, which lets me know that I made the correct decision.

So where does that leave the IFC/IGC men and our office?  Well, it means that our office will be opening up a national search for my position and the men will have an interim advisor until the new person starts.  No, things will not fall apart and the fraternity system will not turn into Animal House 2015.  Everything will continue on as normal and the current executive boards of IFC and IGC will continue to do fantastic things.  Both are led by amazing individuals that want to make serious improvements and impacts, so be on the lookout for serious advancements by the end of the year.  The only thing that will be different is that I will not be around to offer insights, support, and constructive feedback.  I would not have left if I did not think either council or the Office of Student Life could handle things without me, so please do not be concerned or lose interest in creating positive change.  There is still so much that can be done, so our leaders need the help and support of our entire community, especially during this time of transition.

As my days left at UCA wind down, I am sure that some are sad that I am leaving, others are happy, and the vast majority will probably not notice much difference in their lives.  I am not trying to downplay my impact at UCA, but I am also not going to claim that I moved mountains.  It is not my place to comment on how good or bad of a job I did while in my position because those comments are left for individual opinions and history texts.  I could end this and say that I changed a lot within IFC and IGC, but I know that is not the truth.  Why?  Because I did not do anything alone while I have been at UCA.  I have worked tirelessly alongside amazing staff, students, alumni, national representatives, and local stakeholders to enact change in the UCA fraternity/sorority community since 2011.  Together we have accomplished a great deal and set the community up for incredible future successes.  We kept each other accountable, adjusted plans as needed, and supported one another during those dark days.  The journey has never been, nor ever will be, easy.  In fact, our work has been a pain in the ass most days, but we kept at it because our goal has always been to offer one of the best values-based, developmental, and enjoyable fraternity/sorority experiences in the state of Arkansas and the region.  Without a doubt, I know that we have succeeded and will continue to improve over the coming years.

The work we have done has been amazing, but it is not even close to being over.  Our councils are continuing to grow and diversify, leadership opportunities are more prevalent than ever, new member education services and programs are improving, and Greek Village will open just in time for the fall 2015 semester.  Big things are on the horizon for UCA fraternity/sorority life, so please keep modernizing, innovating, and improving.  Now, more than ever before, is the time to step up and take that leadership role or be the voice of reason in a chapter or council meeting.  Our community is 100 year old and on the precipice of another century, so please make sure that you are helping to push the community forward in a positive direction rather than hold everyone back by being uninformed, negative, or resistant.  As individuals we are weak; as chapters we are strong; and as a community we are powerful.  Without the help of all community members, the UCA fraternity/sorority community cannot create a shared vision and achieve excellence.  Remember that as you help create and shape the vision for the next 100 years of the UCA fraternity/sorority community.

It's been a blast.

It’s been a blast.

Thank you to everyone that has helped and challenged me along the way since I came to Arkansas in 2011.  There are too many of you to thank individually, but please know that each of you has a special place in my heart.  Without all of you, I would not be the person I am today.

Take care,

Scott

Two UCA Students Awarded Undergraduate Order of Omega Scholarships

IMG_1489The Iota Zeta chapter of Order of Omega at the University of Central Arkansas is proud to announce two scholarship recipients.  John Patterson (pictured right), a member of Beta Upsilon Chi, has received the Parker F. Enright scholarship in the amount of $750.  Jacob Wickliffe (left), a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, received the Patrick W. Halloran scholarship in the amount of $500.  These scholarships are given to students with outstanding achievements in their organizations/councils, communities, and classroom.

John is a junior from Jonesboro, Arkansas and majors in Biology/Pre-Med. He is the President of Independent Greek Council, a member of the President’s Leadership Fellows, a UCA Presidential Scholar and currently conducts undergraduate biology research. In the past, he has been a member of IDEAL Freshman Leadership team, Student Government Association, and Student Orientation Staff.

Jacob is a junior from North Little Rock, Arkansas majoring in Business Management with an emphasis in supply chains.  Currently, Jacob serves as the President of UCA’s Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and as Vice President of Public Relations for UCA’s spirit organization, The Bear Den. In the past, Jacob has served as both Executive Vice President of Recruitment and the Balanced Man Banquet/Scholarship Director within Sigma Phi Epsilon. He has also been a member of Student Orientation Staff, Student Government Association, and the Debate Club.  During the spring semester of 2013, he was awarded the title of Greek Rookie of the Year.

Order of Omega is an honor society for men and women within the Greek community that show exemplary service to their organizations, council, and university.  They are recognized for their service, inter-fraternity activities, and academic achievement.  These men and women are part of the top three percent of the fraternity/sorority community on UCA’s campus.  The Iota Zeta chapter was rechartered in spring 2014 and currently boasts 58 active members from all fraternity/sorority councils at UCA. Order of Omega plans to induct 15 more in during the spring 2015 semester.  Applications are available now through February 20, 2015.  Any sorority or fraternity member can apply that has a 3.0 or greater GPA, is an active member in their organization, and has completed at least 60 credit hours.

Story submitted by: Jaclyn Austin, Iota Zeta Chapter Advisor

Greek Village Open House – Homecoming 2014

NPHC SORORITY WING-LOCAL-MOSES copy75On October 25, 2014, an Open House will be held for the UCA Greek Village Project.  The Open House will take place from 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM at the future Sigma Sigma Sigma (Tri Sigma) house (located on the corner of Donaghey and College).  Each sorority will have a table in the Tri Sigma house with the renderings of their future homes.  Guests will also be able to view the interior of the Tri Sigma house in it’s current phase of construction.  The NPHC Sorority Complex will also be viewable from a distance.  Office of Student Life staff members will also be available to answer any questions that guests may have.  Complimentary parking is available in all UCA lots near the Greek Village site.

2014 Leadership Launch Registration is Open!

The Office of Greek Life and the National Pan-Hellenic Council at the University of Central Arkansas is excited to host the 2014 “Leadership Launch”. This is a dynamic one day conference that focuses on the holistic development of students by exposing them to leadership, while helping them grow and develop as a student, young man/woman, and potential member of the Greek community. We take pride in educating students on a variety of topics including: Creating Your Brand & Image, Campus Involvement, Academic Excellence, Making a Difference in Your Community, Resume Building, Financial Management, Dressing For Success, and the list goes on and on.

Registration begins Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 through September 19th, 2014 on Orgsync. There is a $25.00 registration fee for the Leadership Launch and once you get to the end of the form it will say, “Pay Now”. Click that link and it will take you to Paypal to submit your payment.  If you have a Paypal account you can login to pay, and if not you can click, pay as a guest, and enter all of the required information.  Once you fill out the form and pay you should receive an e-mail from pay pal saying that you have submitted a payment. (Link is not compatible with cell phones, please purchase using a desktop/laptop).

The conference will be held at 8:00am Saturday, September 20, 2014 in the Student Center Ballroom. The attire for the Leadership Launch is business casual (no jeans), and both breakfast and lunch will be provided.

The Leadership Launch is open to all students who want to sharpen their leadership skills, but participation is required for students interested in joining an NPHC organization. You must attend the Leadership Launch before going through intake and once you participate in the conference you have met your Leadership Launch requirement for the rest of your undergraduate career. For more information on the Leadership Launch please contact the Office of Student Life at (501) 450-3137 or you can e-mail our NPHC Advisor, Kaylon Bradford at kaylonb@uca.edu.

 

Important Upcoming August 2014 Dates

Below are a list of important upcoming dates for UCA fraternity/sorority life for the remainder of the month of August:

August 21 - Classes Begin for Day and Evening classes for Fall Semester 2014

August 21 - Greek 101, x-period, COB Auditorium

August 21 - Social Events/Party Monitor Training, 4pm, COB Auditorium

August 23 - Saturday Classes Begin

August 24 - Panhellenic Recruitment Orientation for PNMs, 6pm, SC Ballroom

August 24 - Greek 101, 7pm, 205A Student Center

August 26 - NPHC Transitions Step Show, Ida Waldran, Doors open 5pm, Show starts 6pm

August 26 - First Council Meetings

August 28-31 – Panhellenic Recruitment

August 30 - UCA Football vs Texas Tech @ Lubbock, TX

August 31 - Sorority Bid Day, 2:30pm

You can find more campus dates on the OrgSync community calendar!

UCA Delta Zeta alumna receives national science scholarship

My Pic

Yvon Cobian

Scholarship. A word that can change the world of students pursuing higher education goals. This is especially true for Yvon Cobian, a 2013 graduate of UCA and the Episilon Xi chapter of Delta Zeta, who has received the Charline Chilson Scholarship from Delta Zeta National Foundation. When applying for this award to help benefit her in studying Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Cobian stated that, “I had to carve my own path, make my own decisions, and figure out my own solutions. I am so happy for every experience I’ve been through because I am very proud of who I am today. I’ve learned to work hard, especially academically, which has resulted in many blessings like this scholarship. Thank you for reminding me that my work, and my parent’s hard work, is recognized.” The scholarship is specialized for graduate students whose focus is in the science field. The donor of the scholarship wanted to help provide future Delta Zetas with scholarships because she was unable to further her education in science. But while Charline Chilson was unable to chase her dream, she has helped many Delta Zeta’s like Yvon Cobian.

Greek Village Groundbreaking Ceremony

On April 25, 2014, the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) broke ground for the future Greek Village project.  Students, faculty, staff, administration, media, community members, and Board of Trustees members gathered to commemorate the start of this new housing project at UCA.  The ceremony included brief remarks from UCA administration and Greek council leadership, golden shovels with sorority letters, and a
ceremonial “digging of the dirt” for project stakeholders.   A fantastic  recap video of the event is available below and additional pictures from the event can be viewed on the UCAGreeks Greek Village Groundbreaking Flickr album. Thank you to all of the individuals who have continued to support this important project.  Our UCA fraternity/sorority community thanks each of you for helping our Greek system grow and prosper.

 

 

 

 

2014 All Greek Step Show Recap

The Show

The 2014 All Greek Step Show took place on April 17 and it was a huge success! This year, at least 1,700 people joined the UCA fraternity/sorority community in the Farris Center for the largest mixed-Greek step show in the state of Arkansas! Every team did an amazing job and it was a close race for the top spot! A big thank you goes out to all of the NPHC organizations that participated in the step show and allowed the larger UCA fraternity/sorority community experience your histories and traditions. Below you will find the top three standings for the step show:

IMG_4427First Place Team: Delta Sigma Theta, Sigma Sigma Sigma, Phi Sigma Kappa, and Sigma Phi Epsilon

Second Place Team: Phi Beta Sigma, Delta Zeta, and Sigma Tau Gamma

Third Place Team: Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Sigma Alpha, and Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji)

Congratulations to these groups for winning top honors and to all of the other teams that participated! Also, thank you to the All Greek Council for coordinating and managing the entire show!

The Awards

In addition to the step show competition, yearly awards of excellence were also handed out at the 2014 All Greek Step Show. The awards handed out recognize groups and individuals for outstanding achievements in academics, leadership, service, and philanthropy. Awards for Outstanding Greeks and Man/Woman of the Year are also handed out to recognize the most influential and amazing members of the UCA fraternity/sorority community. Congratulations to all of the individuals and groups that won awards this year! Below is a listing of all of the awards and recipients:

IMG_4410Greek Man of the Year: Steven Shook

Outstanding Greek Men:

  • An’Reckas Daniels
  • Dylan Doughty
  • Connor Nowotny
  • Aaron Owen

Greek Woman of the Year: Daley JohnstonIMG_4538

Outstanding Greek Women:

  • Sally Adlong
  • Timia Watson
  • Michelle Kerr
  • Lindsey Dacus

Rookies of the Year:IMG_4489

  • Rachel Parker
  • Jacob Wickliffe

Highest Overall 2013 GPA:

  • Panhellenic: Alpha Sigma Alpha
  • IFC: Sigma Phi Epsilon
  • IGC: Sigma Phi Lambda
  • NPHC: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.IMG_4606

Most Community Service Hours Donated (2013-2014):

  • Panhellenic: Delta Zeta
  • IFC: Sigma Phi Epsilon
  • NPHC: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • IGC: Beta Upsilon ChiIMG_4378

Most Community Service Money Raised (2013-2014):

  • Panhellenic: Delta Zeta
  • IFC: Kappa Sigma
  • NPHC: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • IGC: Sigma Phi Lambda

Largest Campus Involvement (2013-2014): IMG_4653

  • Panhellenic: Alpha Sigma Tau
  • IFC: Sigma Phi Epsilon
  • NPHC: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
  • IGC: Beta Upsilon Chi

2014 Greek Wars Winners: Sigma Sigma Sigma, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, Phi Sigma Kappa, Sigma Phi EpsilonIMG_3902

2013 Panhellenic Woman of Integrity: Abigail Strickland

2014 Step Show Banner Competition Winner 2014: Phi Beta Sigma, Delta Zeta, and Sigma Tau Gamma

Recognition for Academic Excellence – Overall GPA above 3.0 (2013):IMG_4416

  • Phi Gamma Delta
  • Beta Upsilon Chi
  • Alpha Sigma Tau
  • Delta Zeta
  • Sigma Kappa
  • Sigma Sigma Sigma
  • Alpha Sigma Alpha
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc
  • Sigma Phi Lambda
  • Sigma Phi Epsilon
  • Sigma Tau Gamma

Recognition of Significant Contribution of Community Service 2013-2014:

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Alpha Sigma Alpha
  • Alpha Sigma Tau
  • Sigma Sigma Sigma
  • Phi Sigma Kappa
  • Sigma Nu
  • Sigma Tau Gamma

 

New Banners!

A tradition in the Office of Student Life is to order banners for all new, recognized fraternities and sororities at UCA.  This past week we added two (2) new banners to our collection as welcomed Sigma Gamma Rho back to campus and Alpha Sigma Phi to UCA for the first time.  It is great to see our UCA fraternity/sorority growing with the addition of such awesome organizations!

Sigma Gamma Rho Banner

IMG_4772

Alpha Sigma Phi Banner

IMG_4771

Congratulations to both of these organizations!

 

 

 

 

Sigma Gamma Rho Returns to UCA

1557688_10152707231595031_825763808_nThree young women who dared to be different and truly follow their hearts by showing extraordinary leadership recently reactivated Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated on the campus the University of Central Arkansas. Bre Brunson, given the name Pure Gold, Shaquille Patton as Golden Storm and Sequoia Snowden also known as Golden pRHOfection are the current members of the undergraduate Lambda Xi chapter.

s1“Words cannot describe how much we love being prissy poodles! For our neophyte presentation, we can say that we were not nervous at all but ready! We were ready to shine, ready to be different, ready to bring a breath of fresh air back to campus! It has been nothing but love shown from everyone since we have RHOturned! Cameras constantly swarm us when we are on the yard! We love one another very much and will never forget the impact we made the night of March 16, 2014! EEE-YIP!!!”

Story submitted by: s3

Bre Brunson

Vice President

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated

Lambda Xi undergrad chapter