Hartford, Conn. saw the fresh and eager faces of five Greek Geneseo representatives over the weekend of Feb. 19 for the Northeast Greek Leadership Association Conference.
Juniors Kevin Mongan of Alpha Chi Rho, Elizabeth Riley of Alpha Kappa Phi, Megan Cosgrove of Sigma Delta Tau, and Christopher Hinton and Patrick Tulley of Sigma Nu Chi were all in attendance at the conference, which aimed to invigorate and further improve Greek life among college campuses.
According to Mongan, the conference offered various opportunities to improve Greek life. Through an assortment of workshops and captivating speaker presentations, along with the opportunity to interact with assorted Greek members of other campuses, the students that participated said they were able to gain new perspectives and ideas.
"We have a very unique Greek life here," Mongan said. "In the late '80s and early '90s, the SUNY system banned national fraternities and sororities on all SUNY campuses. Everyone became local, but eventually Crows, DPhiE, SDT and Sig Kap were reinstated," Mongan said. He said that much larger schools are lucky to have two national fraternities or sororities on campus.
Over the weekend, 40 or more workshops were offered to enrich attendees' outlooks. The workshops varied from sorority and fraternity life to multicultural Greek organizations.
"For most of the speakers, this is something they've always been passionate about, so it's awesome we get this opportunity," Mongan said.
Hinton said he attended a mixture of speakers' presentations including one that discussed the image of Greek organizations. According to Hinton, the speaker said that many non-Greeks see Greeks as individuals who pay for friends, party all the time and skip class and it's hard for those people because they don't share that aspect of college.
"[He said that] Greek Life is the greatest thing college campuses have to offer," Hinton explained. "It offers support, community service opportunities, academic scholarship opportunities and the chance to be a leader."
The speaker also acknowledged that Greek organizations often ruin their own image by demeaning others, yet they also have the power to change their outward appearance back to a positive light.
Mongan said he was able to reap the most benefits from a confrontation workshop he attended. "It taught you how to [deal] if someone's not doing something right or breaking the rules," he said. "It's beneficial for us and in turn it's beneficial for the school. The better we look, the better the campus looks."
One positive outcome that will result from attending the conference is an iGive account that Sig Nu has set up. iGive is a nonprofit search engine that donates money for philanthropy purposes.
"Sig Nu is going to raise money for a local children's hospital," Hinton said. "To support our cause, go to iGive.com/SigNu and register. All money raised from iGive will be donated to the children's hospital. I urge everyone to use the site regardless of which cause they support, but all held is appreciated," Hinton said.
Although Greek life has a controversial image among some of the Geneseo community, Mongan acknowledged it is unfortunate because members of the Greek community work extremely hard to improve themselves. Attendees have reaped the benefits from the conference and are making strides to advance their image on campus.