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Ten minutes with Michael Dick and Megan Hamilton

Greek alumni, actives and university staff have been working hard for the past year to implement the numerous Strengthening Greek Life (SGL) Task Force recommendations.

Outgoing IFC and Panhel presidents Michael Dick and Megan Hamilton have been heavily involved in the implementation process and many people credit them for providing important student input. As their presidential terms wind down, both Michael and Megan recently sat down with Sarah Cooke to reflect on their tenure as IFC and Panhel president during this transitional time in Greek life.

What has Greek life meant to you during your years at Lehigh?

Michael: I had high expectations of Greek life coming in to Lehigh. I would say that Greek life has met, if not exceeded, all of my expectations from the friendships I’ve made to leadership opportunities I have experienced. I am going to miss it a lot.

Megan: I love Greek life. I come from a small, predominantly Catholic suburb in Connecticut and the opportunities that Greek life has provided me—meeting new and diverse people, and satisfying my needs for being involved at Lehigh—has made me more open minded. Through Greek life, I have made life-long friends—friends I probably would not have met through just my classes alone. It also makes me feel like I have made an impact on our community and it has made school a lot more fun overall.

What motivated you to run for IFC president?

Michael Dick

Michael: The leadership positions I held in the past motivated me to run for IFC president. I held a lot of roles in my house—I was assistant treasurer, then treasurer and I have held executive board positions in the house up until the spring 2005 semester. The role of treasurer is a complex responsibility, and I put a lot of time into it because I wanted to make a positive impact on the house. Consequently, I learned so much from the job and about the Greek system that I knew I wanted to hold a Greek presidential position of some sort. At the time, I was also accounting club president and the idea of running an executive board was appealing to me. I think my approach to the accounting club president position also translated well into the role of president of IFC—attention to detail, working hard and being honest.

What did you both hope to accomplish during your time in office and were you successful?

Michael: IFC put out a set of objectives at the beginning of our term, such as getting our improved Web site up and running, making our judicial board more active and increasing IFC marketing. We also strived for a successful rush, to increase the flow of communications, and to better unify the Greek community. I think we have done a great job with all of our goals. There is always room for improvement, but we definitely made great progress. Megan and I also had a lot of involvement with the SGL implementation and the one thing we really pushed for was heavy student input. And that was well received by the administration—I think they felt better having students there and involved.

Megan Hamilton

Megan: When we sat down as an executive board and we drafted up a list of goals, one of our major goals was improving intersorority relations, as well as strengthening the Greek community as a whole. We also wanted to improve the Greek reputation on campus, integrate with the faculty, and increase sorority involvement with other student groups, community service and scholarship. I think we have also been very successful in accomplishing all of our goals. The Greek system has changed in so many ways, and I think that we have made a difference because we wanted to be an open minded and welcoming executive board that listened to other people’s points of view and communicated those thoughts to the larger groups around campus. There is always room for improvement, and one thing we would like to focus on for next year is to better utilize the Panhellenic Judicial Board.

What was it like to be in your positions during a pivotal year of transition for the Greek system?

Michael: I look back on it and I feel so fortunate that we went through it, because the way Megan and I work, we were able to build a lot of credibility for ourselves, IFC and Panhel. It was nonstop work, but it was great to talk to people and students about the changes and get their feedback. It made it a lot easier to represent Greek students, because my input was a compilation of many, many, many Greek students’ thoughts and opinions.

Megan: I enjoyed every minute of it. I think Michelle Sushner, the prior Panhellenic president had the tougher job—she was in office when all the rules were changed and had to deal with the resentment of the community towards the SGL Task Force. When I came into office, the rules were set; our job was to begin to implement them. Between the Panhel and IFC boards, we really had to have a positive outlook about the changes and understand that it was important that we relay the information back to the houses in an upbeat way. It was also important for us to relay what a helpful impact these changes were going to have on the Greek system as a whole, looking at the big picture, rather than at any particular semester. It was important for us to change our way of thinking because in the past, I even remember as a sophomore, the mindset was very much “here is what is happening now and enjoy your time.” And I think people now have much more respect for the Greek system as a whole and realize that it has to last at Lehigh not just for their four years, but for a long time in the future as well.

How do you think the SGL initiative will help Greek life now and in the future?

Michael: I think the SGL initiative is going to hold the system stable and the recommendations won’t die out in the future. It is a long-term plan and I think people now realize that it’s pretty serious.

What does Panhel need to do for the future?

Megan: Continue to improve our Greek reputation and give the sororities and sisters the recognition they deserve. The women are oftentimes overlooked; the men have been here longer, have a stronger presence, and a stronger alumni base. So I think it’s important to make sure the women’s strengths and accomplishments get highlighted.

What lessons has being IFC and Panhel president given you that you can use beyond Lehigh?

Michael: When I interview for jobs, I always talk about what I learned from being IFC president and treasurer for Sigma Chi. The leadership experiences were incredible and being president has taught me more about myself and what it takes to succeed. I also learned valuable time management skills and realized what my boundaries are and the level of work I can handle at a given moment.

Megan: Greek life has helped me grow as a person. I owe a lot to being on Panhel. The leadership skills and the experience of working with key decision makers at Lehigh has helped me on my job interviews and has taught me to have confidence in myself. I have also learned so much about Lehigh itself, and Greek life has made college more of a community to me and has helped me to find my niche.

What advice would you have for the next IFC and Panhel presidents?

Michael: My advice is to not be resistant to change. You need to watch out for the students, but you also need to work with the university.

Megan: What Lehigh has to offer is completely unique compared with what other colleges can offer, and I think we need to emphasize that more. People have come to Lehigh with such a negative preconception of Greek life and we need to make them realize that Greek life is an opportunity to experience a great living environment and to meet wonderful people who are involved in different things. I think Greek life will continue to improve and thrive at Lehigh.

What are your plans for after graduation?

Michael: I accepted a position with Lehman Brothers in NYC in sales and trading.

Megan: I accepted a position at KPMG in NYC in information risk management.

Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2005

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