The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Leadership in Greek Houses Training (LIGHT) Event a Success!

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Read a recap about a student-led initiative below called LIGHT, an idea conceptualized and promoted in Fall 2012 through the Management and Leadership Development Program that earned funding and support from the Rockefeller Center as a part of a “Call for Proposals” competitive application process.  This panel discussion and workshop was carried out on February 18, 2013.  The LIGHT planning team was made up of MLDP participants in Fall 2012: Lucas Katler ‘15, Nikita Sachdeva ‘15, Meredith Sweeney ‘14, Tianhao Xu ‘14, and Eric Yang ‘14. For more information, about MLDP, click here.
LIGHT was co-sponsored by Kappa Kappa Gamma, Sigma Delt, SAE, AXA, Sig Nu, Phi Tau, IFC, The Panhellenic Council, the Greek Leadership Council, and the Rockefeller Center. As a student-led initiative offered by participants of the Fall 2012 Management and Leadership Development Program, LIGHT illuminated the rewards and challenges of a path to leadership in the Greek community.  

LIGHT featured a student panel discussion coupled with a breakout activity session over a catered dinner. The experiences of the five student panelists ran the gamut from unexpected to life-changing. The powerhouse group panelists included outgoing President Sarah Wildes ’13 and incoming President Eliana Piper ’14 of the Panhellenic Council, Moderator Duncan Hall ’13 of the Greek Leadership Council, Programming Chair of his fraternity, Chris Rhoades ’13, and President of his co-ed fraternity, Pavel Bacovsky ’13. The panelists hail from various sectors of campus, allowing for a representative cross-section of the Greek community and Dartmouth.

Participants were left with a realistic yet extremely positive impression of taking on leadership roles and bolstering student engagement in the Greek community. The panelists advised aspiring leaders to familiarize themselves with the needs of their houses and the Greek community as a whole. They spoke of the distinction between tradition and precedent and encouraged students to make waves if they are passionate about positive change. Each panelist emphasized that new members of Greek houses should strive to leave their houses in a better state than before. Most importantly, the panelists made clear that formal leadership positions are not necessary in order to effectuate change within the Greek community; however, if an aspiring leader seeks an official position, he or she must have a significant, compelling reason as to why they desire that role. 

In the subsequent Q&A session, panelists discussed beneficial leadership skills, such as speaking up, having a sense of humor, keeping an open mind, dealing with alumni and traditions, taking criticism and feedback, and being the ultimate driver of action. Panelists cautioned new members not to define themselves by their Greek houses and the accompanying stereotypes; rather, membership in a Greek house should open up opportunities for students to connect and engage with diverse people, interests and ideas.

In the breakout activity session, students and panelists discussed best practices for pitching a new event to the existing leadership and discussed how to plan and orchestrate an event as a new member. The panelists envision more cross-house communication and collaboration in addition to more events outside the realm of late-night socializing.

The Rockefeller Center and MLDP are proud to have sponsored such an informative, inspiring event. Equipped with the wisdom of current Greek leaders, aspiring leaders and new members have now ignited the spark to make change!

A free tip sheet based upon advice and guidance provided by LIGHT panel members is now available. To view the tip sheet and save your own copy for reference, please click here.

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences