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Award-winning run continues for Lehigh's Greek community

Lehigh University’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the university’s Greek community continue to be recognized as three Lehigh chapters—the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, and the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity—recently won chapter of the year honors from their international headquarters.

At their respective summer conventions, Alpha Omicron Pi was awarded the Jessie Wallace Hughan Cup (chapter of the year), while Kappa Alpha Psi was the undergraduate chapter of the year and Sigma Phi Epsilon took home the Buchanan Cup (chapter of the biennium).

These recent recognitions mean that over the past two-and-a half years, six Lehigh chapters have now earned national or international chapter of the year honors.

“Our chapters are effectively using Accreditation as a tool to improve their overall operations and it’s nice for their efforts to be recognized,” said Tim Wilkinson, director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. “Greek life is really flourishing here, thanks to the efforts of many, many people—including active chapter members, alumni and administrators.”

These latest recognitions are further evidence that the Strengthening Greek Life Initiative, adopted by the university’s board of trustees back in February, 2004, continues to bear fruit. The five-year-old initiative outlined a series of tactics that would improve the Greek community.

“We undertook the Strengthening Greek Life Initiative to improve the quality of the Greek experience for our students. I am extremely proud of how the Greek community has risen to the challenge,” says John Smeaton, vice provost of Student Affairs. “The dramatic improvement in Accreditation results demonstrate what can happen at Lehigh when we work together toward a common goal. That our students and colleagues have been recognized nationally is a fitting tribute to their exemplary efforts and a wonderful reflection on Lehigh.”

The three recent Chapter of the Year awards continue an award-winning run for Lehigh’s Greek community. Back in July, the Greek Accreditation Committee indicated that fraternity and sorority chapters on campus had earned more gold rankings than in any year since the Accreditation process was implemented. Of the 27 fraternities and sororities reviewed during the 2008-09 academic year, nine earned gold chapter status, 12 earned silver and five earned a bronze ranking. There was only one chapter ranked “poor.” For a full list of the chapters receiving national or international recognition this past summer, click here.

The recent accolades aren’t limited to Lehigh’s Greek chapters themselves. Over the summer, Wilkinson was named Executive Director of the Northeast Greek Leadership Association, while Veronica Hunter was awarded the 2008/2009 CAMPUSPEAK Facilitator of the Year. CAMPUSPEAK is an organization that represents speakers and performers that specialize in higher education topics.

“We are very proud of Tim and Veronica’s recognition,” said Tom Dubreuil, associate dean of students. “It is very well deserved and a great example of the fact that we have staff members who are widely regarded as leaders and experts in their field.”

For the latest updates on Lehigh’s Greek community, visit their blog and Twitter page.

--Bill Doherty

Posted on Wednesday, September 09, 2009

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