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Improvements in Lehigh’s Greek life recognized in accreditation reports

A recently released report of the Greek Accreditation Committee indicates further progression in Lehigh’s efforts to improve and strengthen the university’s Greek system.

Of the 29 fraternities and sororities reviewed, four sororities and three fraternities attained a gold chapter status—as compared to two sororities and two fraternities the previous year. Eleven fraternities received a silver status (an increase from five last year), and the four remaining sororities received a silver ranking.

Five fraternities received a bronze ranking (compared to 12 last year), and only two fraternities received any designation lower than a bronze.

“This recent accreditation report is further evidence that the process is continuing, and that it is working,” says John Smeaton, vice provost for Student Affairs. “The chapters are doing better than ever before, and we are moving in a very positive direction.”

His comments were affirmed by Timothy S. Wilkinson, director of Fraternity and Sorority affairs.

“As chapters have learned how to use accreditation as a tool to improve overall operations, the results have been remarkable,” said Wilkinson. “Chapters are having successes that are not only being noticed at Lehigh, but around the country as more and more chapters are winning regional and national awards though their headquarters.”

The fraternity chapters receiving a gold status this year are Phi Sigma Kappa, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Theta Chi. The sororities receiving a gold status this year are Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Phi and Pi Beta Phi.

Fraternities that earned silver status were Alpha Tau Omega, Beta Theta Pi, Chi Phi, Delta Upsilon, Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Kappa Theta, Psi Upsilon, Sigma Alpha Mu and Sigma Chi.

Sororities that earned silver status were Alpha Chi Omega, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta and Kappa Alpha Theta.

Fraternities in the bronze category were Chi Psi, Delta Phi, Delta Tau Delta, Phi Gamma Delta and Theta Xi.

Alpha Chi Rho was rated “unacceptable” and Delta Sigma Phi received a “poor” rating for a second year in a row. Chapters that are determined to be an "unacceptable chapter" for one year or a "poor chapter" for two years in a row lose recognition and university group housing immediately, as outlined by the Strengthening Greek Life Task Force Report that was issued in January, 2004.

Kappa Sigma was not formally reviewed this year due to their recolonization.

Formally adopted by the university’s board of trustees in February, 2004, the Strengthening Greek Life initiative outlined a series of tactics that would improve the Greek system and outline its future viability, Wilkinson says.

“Three years into this process, we’ve already achieved tremendous success and have engaged actives, alumni and administrators in this process,” he says.

The accreditation committee is comprised of a dedicated group of Greek actives, Greek alumni and Lehigh staff who meet at the conclusion of the spring semester to review and finalize the accreditation results for all of the university’s fraternities and sororities. The results are based on chapter-specific efforts and performance through the previous academic year, Wilkinson explains.

Permanent Accreditation Committee members included Wilkinson, Associate Dean of Students Tom Dubureil, and Assistant Dean of Students Jess Manno. Active and alumni panelists included: Jess Cohen, Alpha Phi active; Kathy Duggan-Trimble, Kappa Alpha Theta alumna; Asher Edwards, Phi Kappa Theta alumnus; Jeff Eggert, Phi Gamma Delta alumnus; Eric Feinstein, Theta Chi active; Greg Feldman, Phi Gamma Delta active; Eric Kennedy, Phi Kappa Theta alumnus; Martha Miller, Pi Beta Phi active; Jennifer Olenik, Alpha Gamma Delta active; Courtney Ronan, Delta Gamma active; Seth Rubenstein, Theta Chi alumnus; Kim Smith, Alpha Omicron Pi alumna; Peter Wolle, Kappa Alpha alumnus; and Fred Zamparelle, Sigma Phi Epsilon active.

“The process,” says Wilkinson, “was designed for chapters to be active members of an educational approach that allows them to take an introspective look at their group’s efforts throughout the year, and to measure themselves in the five areas that the Greek system is built upon: scholarship, leadership, citizenship, partnership and stewardship.” It’s designed to take a multi-faceted look into what it means to be a Greek at Lehigh.”

All chapters that receive a gold or silver rating receive cash awards and additional benefits to recognize their hard work and dedication to the ideals of the Lehigh University Greek System, Wilkinson adds.

--Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Tuesday, August 21, 2007

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