From the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs
Fraternities and sororities have a long history at Colgate, going back more than 150 years. These organizations help create lifelong bonds between thousands of alumni; provide service and philanthropy to the community; and positively impact the culture on campus.
During the past year and a half the Dean of the College division has worked to coordinate the transition of all management functions of fraternity and sorority life to a single new entity – the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA).
OFSA helps Greek-letter members achieve success under goals outlined in the 2013 Student Organization Relationship Statement
. These goals serve to enhance campus life, create opportunities for social interaction, and foster personal growth.
A healthy and vibrant fraternity and sorority community requires a strong partnership between the undergraduate members, the alumni board, and the institution. For OFSA, this partnership is the foundation for all of our shared success. This webpage highlights some of the many successes of Colgate’s fraternities and sororities during the past year. We are very proud of these achievements and I hope you will take pride in them, as well.
Fouad Saleet, assistant dean for campus life
Suzie Meres, program coordinator, office of fraternity and sorority affairs
Fraternity and Sorority GPA
Fraternity and sorority scholarship officers worked with OFSA and their alumni foundations, as well as the Colgate community, to gather application data, letters of reference and GPAs, as they successfully engaged in their annual scholarship award recognition events and initiatives.
Coordinating an academic goal setting program, with individualized goals for each member, pledge/new member, and holdover. Monitoring progress in attaining those goals, and recognizing those who meet or exceed their goals.
Establishing and arranging for the presentation of chapter awards and incentives for scholastic excellence.
Informing the chapter about other awards, scholarship, and financial assistance available from the university and the national/international fraternity (e.g., loan programs, alumni-funded scholarships, awards programs, etc.).
Maintaining a chapter scholarship bulletin board. Posting such items as the chapter's academic standards, information on scholarships and awards, campus academic policies, study tips, academic achievements and honors, graduate testing dates, campus fraternity/sorority grade point average rankings, etc.
Being familiar with campus resources, including offices providing counseling, career exploration and placement, study skills development, financial aid, and academic advising. Letting members know about the services that are available, and make referrals when appropriate.
Arranging for chapter presentations with campus officials and/or alumni speaking on educationally related matters such as time management, study skills, career development, etc.
As per usual, Colgate's fraternity and sorority organizations demonstrated their hard work with direct/indirect and charitable fundraising this year, along with special events and involvement in local charities and collaborating with other organizations.
Beta Theta Pi
(Beta) had two independent charity events: a Parents' Weekend charity auction and an Alzheimer’s awareness basketball game. The chapter was also involved in the Huntsman Cup, Colgate’s Greek Week, and the Make-A-Wish club at Colgate. Additionally, the Beta Relay for Life team raised $1,118 for the American Cancer Society.
Through generous donations and the silent auction, this chapter raised $8,235 for the Madison County Day Camp, which receives the majority of its budget from such donations. Make-A-Wish co-sponsored the Colgate men’s hockey game against Dartmouth on March 1. They raised $1,700 and brought a "Wish Kid" to the event.
They will continue to actively support the club, with members holding key positions in the future. Overall, they believe 2013-2014 was a successful restructuring year, because Beta is very confident that they will expand their philanthropic endeavors in the fall of 2014.
Delta Delta Delta
(Tri Delta) sisters have continued their annual philanthropy “Sincerely Yours” letter campaign and Charity Bowl silent auction in the fall, which together grossed $43,759 in donations for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. They also hosted a Valentine’s Day Card Making Festival, co-sponsored by the Blue Diamond Society and the Philanthropists at Colgate, wherein the Colgate and greater Hamilton communities were invited to make Valentine’s Day cards for children at St. Jude. This event raised $1,048 for the hospital.
Other philanthropy events included Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society; and a 5K Color Run for St. Jude. Tri Delta also assisted with a tea party at Madison Lane Senior Home, sponsored a children’s matinee at the Hamilton Theater, participated in Greek Week at the Earlville Opera House, and finished off the year with an Easter Egg Hunt for kids in the COVE group Sidekicks (an event co-sponsored by Phi Delta Theta).
Overall, Tri Delta has raised $46,202 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and $46,717 total for the 2013-2014 year.
(DU) participated in and was a strong advocate of Uplifting Athletes. They hosted an ependymoma patient, Colin Hayward, and they raised more than $2,500 for the pursuit of a cure for cancer. They also collaborated with other organizations for Relay for Life and raised $3,000 with eight hours of direct and five hours of indirect service.
They also put in five direct hours through an afternoon of service. Some of the DU brothers went to a local home for the elderly and did gardening and yard work. They were also part of the Greeks Go Green – Climate Action program with the sustainability office and helped out with the Mid York Pop Warner team.
Next semester they plan to continue mentoring the Pop Warner team and also would like to assist with Greek Week.
Gamma Phi Beta
(Gamma Phi) participated in the Crescent Classic Flag Football Tournament, for Madison County Children’s Camp. The goal was to raise $1,000 and the event yielded more than $1,200. This will send girls to the summer camp who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend.
The chapter also co-sponsored the breast cancer awareness women’s basketball game. In advance of the game there were GPB women at the Coop and Frank tables to promote the event, and they also ran a raffle at the event to raise funds. GPB also co-sponsored Relay for Life and assisted in advertising the event.
The chapter was present at many other service events such as the MLK Day of Service and the Sigma Chi St. Baldrick’s head shaving event (to raise money for childhood cancer). They also worked with BSA and co-sponsored a free food event to raise money for the Gate Way to India club, which raises money to fund surgeries in India.
Kappa Kappa Gamma
(Kappa) held their Kappa Kisses event to raise money for their Birthday Klub, which holds a birthday party for foster children living in the Madison and Hamilton areas. They read the book: “If you give a Mouse a Cookie;” served pizza and cake; supervised a piñata and board games; did face painting; played outdoor games like hula hooping; and gave the foster kids gifts.
They held a sale at a local clothing store called Steph Boutique featuring 10 percent off clothes with 10 percent of proceeds donated to “Reading is Fundamental.” The event raised $225. The chapter also donated four hours to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) awareness, and another 10 hours of volunteer work to Relay for Life, and supported the National Marrow Donor Program.
Local community service projects included Make-A-Wish Tea at Madison Family and Children Services, and an afternoon of service at the Hamilton Public Library. They also had a 5K walk/run for the Alopecia Areata Foundation. KKG assisted in planning a successful 5K Run/Walk for Alopecia Areata, which is a hair loss autoimmune disease. KKG also donated books to Head Start.
Other volunteer activities in which the chapter participated were Kappa Kickball, which raised money for the Hamilton Food Cupboard; supporting the Climate Action Plan for Sustainability; and donating to the Konosioni Auction.
Phi Delta Theta
(Phi Delt) brings the American Red Cross's blood drives to Colgate all year. They hosted four successful blood drives this year. The chapter also partnered with Gamma Phi Beta to sponsor a pumpkin-carving event for Sidekicks and local children.
They also rallied together with the Colgate 13 to put on a benefit concert to help provide hurricane relief for the Philippines, and they were part of the Sidekick’s Christmas party where chapter brothers created and ran a station for kids to build gingerbread houses and gingerbread men.
PDT participated in both the Relay for Life and with PAC house’s Kids' Activity Day. Many brothers attended the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” to raise awareness about sexual assault. They also co-sponsored an Easter egg hunt with Tri Delta. This was a revival of the old Phi Delt philanthropic event and they are hoping to expand upon it as they continue with it in future years.
Other events included: Konosioni, PDT Relief Concert, and Greeks Go Green for the Climate Actions of Sustainability.
Phi Kappa Tau
(Phi Tau) brothers hosted several philanthropic events during the fiscal year. They started with a T basketball tournament in the fall semester in which registered teams donated to the International Thyroid Oncology Group. This chapter raised $200. In December 2013 they held a Christmas party where attendants donated toys for children in need, an effort that collected 120 toys. They co-sponsored with BCAS to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research.
They also were part of the Greek Week “walk a mile in her shoes” event, in which several members wore red high heel shoes to raise awareness about sexual assault. Members were also part of the Greek Week Afternoon of Service where they cleaned recycled bicycles going to impoverished communities that lack transportation. The chapter also sponsored T-shirts for a 5K color run, an event that involved many in the community. They were able to top off the fundraising for the Thyroid Oncology Group through an alumni event featuring the band Rubik’s Cube. The event raised more than $2,000.
They participated in the COVE’s 9/11 Day of Service as five members collected groceries at a Utica grocery store for Abraham House (an assisted living facility for the terminally ill) and five others played bingo with senior citizens at Eastern Starr Nursing Home. They also made regular, weekly trips to either mentor or tutor refugee children at multiple centers in Utica.
These service efforts continued in the second semester when 12 members returned to Eastern Starr Nursing Home for the MLK Jr. Day of Service and later when nine brothers volunteered at Wanderers’ Rest Humane Society for the Greek Week Day of Service. They sent a representative to Brothers’ Bachelor Auction, multiple teams to Gamma Phi Beta’s crescent classic, and more than a dozen brothers for the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event to combat sexual abuse. They were also very active in the Kick Cancer Kickball Tournament earlier in the fall headed by Kappa Kappa Gamma’s.
In Colgate’s Relay for Life event, they raised close to $5,000. The very next day, they were able to raise around $5,000 more through the annual Huntsman Cup charity hockey game. This game, the most successful in recent history by expanding to four fraternities, attracted around 20 percent of Colgate’s student body. Most recently, a St. Baldrick’s childhood cancer head-shaving event raised an additional $9,800 thanks to the generous shavers, three of which are members of Sigma Chi (as well as a Hamilton community member and her son).
Hosted an event called Party for the Brave, where they had free food and a few events geared toward raising more than $4,729. All 71 members of the chapter supported the event, which had more than 400 people in attendance.
This chapter also worked with refugees in Utica, teaching them various skills and simply spending time with them. This was an event called Students for Students Direct Service. Members also volunteer for local agencies such as Madison Lane Apartments, Madison County Camp for Girls, Camp Fiver, Break Cancer Awareness, Hamilton Theater Children's Series, Children's Bookstore Program, and Broad Street Clean-Up.
Partnering to Improve Accountability
Some people have a negative profile of Greek-letter organizations. OFSA works to address the realities of where organizations struggle and where they are improving, and the office implements initiatives to improve the organizations' standing on campus and in the community.
Fraternity and sorority leaders and members have made a commitment to eradicate hazing from their new-member processes. To that end they have participated in anti-hazing summits over the last two years; submitted transparent new-member education plans; and educated new members on the university’s anti-hazing policy. Additionally, the OFSA requires all organization new-member educators to go through an orientation on university requirements and how to identify and eliminate hazing practices; conducts an orientation session for all new members to ensure they are aware of their rights as new members; and conduct outreach to parents so that they can also speak with their student about expectations for joining a fraternity or sorority.
Another large issue that rose to the surface this year within the Greek community was the desire to address sexual assault on campus. Students and administrators worked together to raise awareness of the issue; establish fraternity and sorority support in ending sexual assault on campus; and initiating training for students on bystander intervention. The cornerstone event at Greek Week this year, with more than 200 participants, was the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event that raised awareness of sexual-assault issues and raiseed money to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence. Additionally, during Greek Week, all houses raised a banner on their property saying “Sexual Assault Stops Here.” All fraternities and sororities required their members to attend an amazing training event on understanding consent arranged by our associate provost for equity and diversity, Marilyn Rugg; and presented by Scott Lewis, a representative of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management. Finally, many of our sorority members have been instrumental in getting the Prevent, Act, Challenge, Teach (PACT) bystander training program off the ground.
This year marked the return of the traditional “house manager” position to OFSA. These house managers worked as employees of both OFSA and major officers within their chapters to help educate more members of the campus policies towards housing and residential life. With their help we were able to reduce damage in chapter houses by almost 60 percent from the previous year. It is clear this new program is off to a great start and we hope to continue improving.
Annual Greek Life Awards
The Greek life awards have been an annual tradition at Colgate for years. The event is student-produced and student-run. It serves to highlight the major successes of the fraternity and sorority community at Colgate.
The major group highlights for the past year include combined philanthropic donations of close to $150,000, an "all-Greek" GPA that exceeds the "all-university" GPA, and the return of Greek Week to campus. Each organization recognized their "Scholars of the Year" (most of whom had a 4.0 GPA) and their "New Members of the Year," highlighting the future leaders of their chapters.
There were also several major organization and individual designations awarded by the the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council, which are listed below.
- Outstanding Sorority President of the Year - Kayla Ponturo (DDD)
- Outstanding Fraternity President of the Year - Mike Kastner - DU
- Greek Woman of the Year - Lindsey Skerker (GPB)
- Greek Man of the Year - James Speight (TC)
- Outstanding Collaborative Project - Broad Street Challenge: Greeks Go Green (DDD, KKG, PDT, Beta, Sigma, Theta Chi, PKT, DU)
- Outstanding Chapter of the Year - Kappa Kappa Gamma
- Outstanding Chapter Initiative - Sincerely Yours Letter Writing Campaign (DDD)
- Outstanding Adviser of the Year - Gretchen Oostenink (GPB)