Wow! What a wonderful day to visit Miami University in Oxford, OH to speak with the Fraternity and Sorority Life student leaders! As the keynote speaker at Miami’s ADVANCE Retreat, I was able to speak with chapter and council presidents affiliated with IFC, Panhellenic, and NPHC about what it means to lead with purpose.
One of the many strengths of the Miami University FSL community is its historical significance. A community that is 183 years rich in tradition, Miami is also home to five Greek-letter organizations who were founded at Miami University. These organizations are Beta Theta Pi (1839), Phi Delta Theta (1848), Sigma Chi (1855), Delta Zeta (1902), and Phi Kappa Tau (1906). Today, there are over fifty fraternity and sorority chapters who represent one-third of the undergraduate student population (about 5,000 students).
Today, we tackled many of the challenges Greek leaders across the country face every day.
How do we practice accountability and self-governance while preserving our cherished traditions? How do we transition from a culture of maintaining the status quo to one that guides positive social change?
Student leaders at Miami did not shy away from this conversation. Instead, they were transparent and honest to first identify areas of immediate improvement within their own community. This acceptance is something many communities (and persons) struggle to name, which ultimately delays unified success. Cam, IFC President, and Annie, Panhellenic President, then took the lead and acknowledged that there is work to be done and will doing anything to ensure their leadership creates positive social change.
Contrary to popular (the media’s) belief, this change is not going to happen overnight. This is the space between no longer and not yet, and the process is often more important than the net result. However, we should not confuse patience with complacency, and stunt our own personal, chapter, and council growth.
So, how do we practice accountability and self-governance while preserving our cherished traditions? How do we transition from a culture of maintaining the status quo to one that guides positive social change?
Sam reminded us to be authentic, while others reiterated the importance of trust. Add some transparent communication, some moral courage, and a little bit of shared responsibility and mutual accountability and we have ourselves a recipe for success.
This work is not easy and luckily, we are not doing it alone. Anything worth having is going to require a dedicated commitment to the vision and relentless pursuit of excellence. It was a blessing to spend time with the student-leaders at Miami University. I firmly believe they are the ones they’ve been waiting for and will ultimately become the change they wish to see in their community and beyond.
Encourage somebody to be great today!