January is the time of year we think about a fresh start, a new year, new goals, a chance to look ahead to all of the possibilities that are before us. As we turn the calendar to 2018, many of you have a new found optmism for what about ourselves must change to get to where we want to be. Maybe we recognize unhealthy habits that are leading us down a path we don’t want to go. Whether we need to eat healthier meals, work out a little more, make better decisions about how we spend our time, money, or just our energy and we start off the month believing that we can finally conquer our problems with the right plan.
On college campuses, this same idea is at play. The spring semester comes with a sense that it is time to focus. Even our newest students now have some experience as college students to draw from to prepare for what is ahead. This semester, I will: stay on top of my classes; get involved in an organization that is in my major; apply for summer internships; work on my admission to grad school; or search for a full time position after college.
For much of our Sorority/Fraternity community, there are new leaders and a fresh optimism for getting the business of our organizations right. New teams of leaders will begin to strategize and plan for how to build a better fraternity or sorority. For others it is a busy season of intake with new faces joining our chapters. This all creates a new found optimism and a breath of life that energizes all of us. What possibilities are out there to get it right, make good decisions and have a positive impact on our members, our campus and our community?
As with well intended set of resolutions, we recognize the vast majority of folks who fill the gyms in January have abandoned those resolutions by Superbowl Sunday. Many students seeking to make a 4.0 in the spring, find themselves stressed and playing catch up in their classes before spring break. So why is that and how do we get to the lasting change we so desire?
Here are a few simple strategies that may help both individuals and organizations:
- Start with a vision… or as Steven Covey, author of Seven Habits for Highly Effective People says “Begin with the end in mind.” What will it look like when I get to where I want to be? How will it make a difference in my life or to others? Some folks use vision boards for personal reminders or create a message/ mantra to communicate the vision with others. Simple steps to remind yourself or your team where you are going and the underlying reason we do what we do. In the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life at UT, we have a vision to be “a premier sorority and fraternity community.” You are all a part of that. At the end of the day, never get so lost in the weeds you lose sight of the bigger picture.
- Make a plan with identifiable, measurable specific goals. Sometimes we want to change the world at once. We may be so dissatisfied by the current state of things that we fail to recognize we didn’t get here overnight and getting where we need to be may take some time. What one thing do I/we need to accomplish today; before the end of the week; by the end of the month: before I/we leave for spring break; or before summer break. The journey will always start with a single step moving in the right direction. The ultimate definition of success is making small decisions/steps in the right direction every single day. Well defined goals and action plans will make sure you are moving in the right direction and not walking in a circle.
- Share the plan. Write your goals and action steps down. Put them where you can see there. Maybe a screensaver on your laptop or printing them out and putting them on a bulletin board or your refrigerator. Talk about the plan. Make it a part of the routine. Make sure you involve others and listen to their insights. Even for personal goals, people are far more likely to achieve their goals if they have communicated their plan and have surrounded themselves with people who are holding them accountable to doing what they said they wanted to do. Whether it is a group of classmate that meets weekly to review for a statistics class or taking a chapter meeting where you connect the events of the week to the goals you established at your retreat, make sure your team of supporters know the road you are on and how they can help get you there.
- Reward the small wins and the big accomplishments. Don’t forget to celebrate the wins. Reward yourself with time with friends for getting the paper done first instead of putting it off until after you get back. In organizations, be gracious with sincere praise and appreciation. Tell people when they do something well, share your own wins with the people around you and give people credit for the support they give to you or the team. Post the Positive on social media, share the good things happening that are making a difference. People enjoy being on a winning team. It is easy to fixate on what is not going well. Remind yourself and your team of all the victories.
- If you stumble, and at some point we all do, don’t give up. Failure is always more common than victory, but learning to persevere is one of failure’s greatest gifts. In fact failure is often the prerequisite for some of life’s victories. Getting back up, and going to work when its seems nothing is going your way is just an opportunity to take a look at what might need extra support, redirection, or an extra try,,,, it’s all a part of the process of getting where you want to be. As a lifelong Tennessee Football fan, some of my favorite memories have been victories after losing streaks against our opponents. No one ever sought the losses, but it made the taste of victory much sweeter.
Wishing all of you in our Rocky Top Sorority and Fraternity Family the best for 2018!
Council and chapter leaders spent the first day of Greek Leadership Summit building community, learning about leadership and values, and talking about issues. They started the day by learning about the purpose of Greek Leadership Summit and how they could make the most of their experience. They then participated in a conversation about values and how they will have to use them in their positions. After this, they were joined by previous leaders who shared their stories about navigating difficult situations and what they learned from the experience. The students were then given the chance to suggest topics that they would like to discuss and have a group conversation about them. During lunch, the students were joined by several campus partners who shared information about their resources and how they could partner with organizations. They then continued the conversation about values by practicing scenarios that helped them understand what is required when making decisions among a group of people who all have different values. The day ended with a conversation about defining your personal leadership vision, as well as an overview of the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life’s vision.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Councils met together in the Haslam College of Business on day two of Greek Leadership Summit. The students began by identifying meaningful ways to foster positive internal and external relationships, and then reviewed the historical origins of fraternities and sororities globally and at the University of Tennessee. Next, they worked to develop a better understanding of their role as cultural-based fraternal organizations, and reviewed the roles and benefits they can receive from the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life. They finished the day by reflecting on the impact and opportunities of their role as new leaders.
The Interfraternity Council used day two of Greek Leadership Summit as a Risk Summit that discussed issues relevant to their council. They began with an overview of the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life and set ground rules for the day. After, Amanda Samsel from Student Conduct and Community Standards joined them and presented an overview of the conduct process, explained the amnesty policy in relation to organizations, and told them about resources available to them. Next, Rebecca Juarez from the Center for Health Education and Wellness led a conversation about prevention and planning principles, bystander intervention, problem identification, and consent. The students spend the rest of the day learning about self-governance and accountability, community problem solving, and wrapped up with a recruitment meeting.
Panhellenic Council began day two of Greek Leadership Summit by learning about the purpose of the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life and of Panhellenic Council. They then had a discussion about Panhellenic’s Strategic Priorities and what is being done to address them. Next, the students identified issues that the entire community faces and what can be done to change them. They then divided up into groups with other officers who held their same position and talked about one issue that would be relevant to their position, how it aligns with the Strategic Priorities, and the actions they could take to make improvements. They also discussed how they can best support other officers. They ended the day by dividing up into groups by chapter and talking about how they could work together to integrate the plans they came up with into chapter goals.
Several years ago when I was on my first walk through advising Sorority and Fraternity Life at UT, I had the honor of teaching a leadership class using Pat Summitt’s book, “Reach for the Summit” (Summitt,1999) with the Head Recruitment Counselor at the time, UT & Alpha Chi Omega Alumna, Drue Hackney Allison. Throughout the class, we explored Pat’s philosophy on leadership as she outlined it in the Definite Dozen and we saw how applicable these leadership principles were to sororities and fraternity leadership, not to mention a success-filled life.
On the last class, Pat joined us and spoke about her own experience as a sorority woman in Chi Omega at UT Martin and the journey of her life’s work through women’s basketball. One of the comments she made that day stood out to me. She told the group that she was often asked, “Would you ever consider coaching the men?” On a campus that longed for success on the men’s court the way she had dominated the women’s game, that seemed like a decent question. Pat said, what always puzzled her when asked this question was “why people considered that a promotion.” Pat provided focused uncommon thinking to common assumptions in this world. It is that kind of thinking that changed the face of women’s basketball, sports and some might argue, the role of women in the world.
Each morning as I arrive on campus, I pass by Pat’s Statue. Many mornings when the sun hits her bronze face, it catches my attention and I reflect on her legacy….1098 wins, 8 national championships, 100% graduation rate for ALL of her players, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Arthur Ashe Award for Courage in her battle against Alzheimer’s and the many powerful gifts she gave to our great University as a leader in women’s basketball. I humbly hope that tucked inside of this place her legacy of uncommon thought is a gift that is alive and well on Rocky Top.
As you finish this semester, I encourage you to pull inspiration from Pat’s Definite Dozen and I would challenge you to lead the way in our community and all the spheres of influence you have in the world around you.
- Respect Yourself and Others
- Take Full Responsibility
- Develop and Demonstrate Loyalty
- Learn to Be a Great Communicator
- Discipline Yourself So No One Else Has To
- Make Hard Work Your Passion
- Don’t Just Work Hard, Work Smart
- Put the Team Before Yourself
- Make Winning an Attitude
- Be a Competitor
- Change is a Must
- Handle Success Like You Handle Failure
Finish Strong and Go Vols!
Sigma Sigma Rho would like to welcome their Lambda Class to Greek life at The University of Tennessee! They have crossed 4 distinguished ladies into their organization and are so excited to see how they continue their legacy here. Congratulations ladies!
World AIDS Day
Friday, December 1, 2017 10:00am – 2:00pm
Mary Greer Room in Hodges Library
The Center for Health Education & Wellness, Knox County Health Department, NAACP, and the Pride Center are partnering to offer free HIV testing in honor of World AIDS Day. HIV is still around. The CDC recommends that everyone should get tested at least once. Testing is confidential, results are available the same day, and there are no needles involved. Information on how to prevent HIV will also be available. Testing is available for students, faculty, and staff. Bring your books or a laptop – it takes about 20-30 minutes to receive your results.
Congratulations to Zamir Turner on being crowned the 2017-2018 Mr. ZQ! In addition, congratulations to Mr. Pi Epsilon (1st runner up) and Dove Award recipient, Jonathan Chaffen; Mr. 1920, Daniel Shelton; and Finer Gentlemen recipient, George Johnson. Thanks to everyone who helped make this night a great success. A big thank you to all contestants, whose hard work and dedication really showed the night of the show. The organization would also like to thank everyone who donated and purchased ads and tickets. This money helped them raise over $600 for March of Dimes!
October was a big month for Alpha Delta Pi. After hours of practice, their new members competed in Junior Panhellenic’s Lip Sync in mid-October. Their hard work paid off, as Alpha Delta Pi placed third overall! They also had Chancellor Beverly Davenport, an alumna of Alpha Delta Pi at Western Kentucky University, come speak to their chapter. Chancellor Davenport encouraged the women to use their Greek experience to accomplish their goals. She further expressed how she has used her leadership experience gained during her time as chapter president in every position she has held in her professional career.