Leadership conference to bring Greek alumni, leaders together
"Greek life is at a crossroads. We are called upon to be leaders and -- together with Greek student members -- help define and renew fraternity and sorority life for today's generation," says Travis Apgar, the Robert G. Engel Associate Dean of Students.
Apgar and Ralph V. Wilhelm '67, chair of Cornell's Fraternity and Sorority Advisory Council, are inviting Greek and other alumni to register and attend the A.D. White Greek Leadership Annual Summit Feb. 15-17. For the first time, the conference will bring Greek alumni together with student leaders from Cornell's 64 fraternity and sorority chapters. Along with top administrative leaders, participants will learn, connect and share their ideas and perspectives on ways to preserve cherished traditions while identifying the next evolution of Greek life.
The event will feature a "State of the Community" address by Susan Murphy '73, Ph.D. '94, vice president for student and academic services, and other university leaders. Speakers also will include April Thompson, dean of students at Binghamton University, who is leading her campus community in efforts to curb hazing, as well as representatives from Gannett Health Services and CAMPUSPEAK, a national speakers' agency that partners with colleges and universities to address topics in student life and education.
Apgar notes that Cornell's Greek alumni population is among the largest of any university in the nation and that alumni leadership, participation and involvement are key to reshaping Greek life at Cornell and fulfilling President David Skorton's pledge to "end hazing as we know it." Increasing alumni involvement is also one of the recommendations of a task force formed in 2011 in response to the president's challenge.
"It is very important for us to buy in at every level, from Greek student members and chapter leaders to our university leaders and Greek alumni," Apgar says. "We need to unite and join together in important conversations at this pivotal time in the evolution of fraternities and sororities."
The upcoming summit is planned to help meet this aim. At the three-day program, alumni can learn more about today's changing landscape for fraternities and sororities, connect with student leaders, and share ideas for upholding the core values and principles of Cornell's chapters. Alumni are welcome to attend as much of the conference as they are able.
"Cornell has a history of taking the lead nationally in evolving Greek life," Apgar says. "We want to lead now by curbing hazing, promoting new member development programs, and continuing the legacy of our fraternities and sororities in educating young men and women who become leaders."