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Blueprint plan maps out Greek Life leadership opportunities

Beyond the important tools they pick up in accounting, chemistry, and philosophy classes, Lehigh students learn how to become effective leaders. Leadership development is a core value at Lehigh, and it is encouraged in both academic and Greek life.

Now, thanks to the Blueprint Plan for Greek Life Leadership Development, Greek Life is an even more effective catalyst for students to grow and develop as leaders and to become productive and accomplished adults.

The Blueprint Plan for Greek Life Leadership Development is a strategic planning document developed in collaboration with the Offices of Student Leadership Development and Fraternity and Sorority Affairs to help intentionally guide the leadership development of Greek community members.

The Blueprint plan was developed after the Task Force on Strengthening Greek Life recognized a need for more intentional leadership development opportunities for Greek life. “Through further research, we determined that our chapters and community members needed leadership development on the individual, chapter and community level,” says Jess Manno, Greek Life Leadership Coordinator. Plus, leadership is a key tenant of the Greek chapter accreditation process, and there was a need to help Lehigh Greek chapters grow in this area.

In response, a core group of key university administration: John Smeaton, Sharon Basso, Tom Dubreuil, Michelle Samuels, Allison Gulati and Beth Greenberg (former Greek Life Leadership Coordinator) convened to discuss options for providing the best leadership resources to Greek students (who make up 35 percent of Lehigh’s campus community) in a way that would help them develop comprehensively and holistically. After much research, the group decided that the “Blueprint Plan,” based on The Blueprint Workshop for Designing a Leadership Program in Any Industry developed by Ainsley Carry, Ed.D., was a good model.

Setting leadership trends in Greek Life

Specific features of the Blueprint Plan for Greek Life Leadership Development include interactive workshops for all chapters based on their leadership needs, the GEM (short for Greek Emerging) Leaders Program, in which senior students mentor newly initiated chapter members, and Senior L.E.A.D., which presents an opportunity for seniors in the Greek community to interact with each other, prominent alumni, and private and public sector executives.

Beyond that, the Blueprint plan provides Greek students with a variety of other chapter and community-based leadership training programs. “The more opportunities we provide these students to become educated on leadership concepts, the more agile these students will become as they move forward from their undergraduate Greek experience toward any future career or life path,” Manno says.

Compared with other universities across the country, Lehigh’s Blueprint plan for Greek Leadership is unique in its focused efforts on leadership development for Greek students. “Through the external audit phase of the Blueprint planning model, we were unable to find any other university that had a specific staff position dedicated to the fulltime leadership development of Greek students or that collaborated so fully as to have resources and support of an Office of Students Leadership behind it,” Manno says. “That’s what makes Lehigh’s Greek Life Leadership Development initiative unique and trend setting.”

Overall, the Blueprint plan will not only benefit the Greek community, but Lehigh University as a whole. “As the students grow and develop as effective leaders, they become more capable of and committed to developing a healthy and positive Greek experience for others, and they will be working to make Greek life an even better partner with the university,” Manno says. “Through our growing efforts to provide intentional and educational development opportunities for the students in this community, it is our hope that what they are learning will translate to other involvements across campus, in the classroom and beyond Lehigh as they interview and prepare for internships, co-ops and full time jobs.”

--Elizabeth Shimer

Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2007

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