Lehigh University
Lehigh University

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Enriching student life

Greg and Jean Farrington

Fall has arrived on South Mountain, and the backhoes have finally receded, leaving behind a transformed campus.

For those of you who are parents of first-year students, I hope you are getting good reports from your son or daughter. One of the choices they may face shortly is whether to join a fraternity or sorority. If your child is considering our Greek system (just over one in three Lehigh students joins a fraternity or sorority, so obviously not everyone does), you should be aware of the new accreditation process for Greek chapters that was one of the major recommendations made by our Strengthening Greek Life Task Force.

Transparency is the key word. As of Aug. 1, fundamental data about the state of every Greek chapter is now available online. The new process engages chapters in an honest, comprehensive and constructive review of the chapter’s strengths and weaknesses. The goal is to assist chapters in their effort to provide a living and learning experience that complements and enriches student life on campus.

So if you want to review the accreditation report of a fraternity or sorority that your son or daughter is considering, you can now read it online. We want our students and their parents to be informed consumers about the student life choices they enjoy here.

For those of you who dropped your sons and daughters off at the start of the school year, or have been here to visit since, you know that we are nowhere near done with construction around campus. There are three major projects we’d like to highlight that will enhance the sense of community for our students as well as for those of us who are fortunate enough to work with them.

The first is the closing of University Drive in front of Packer Memorial Church to create a pedestrian walkway. This change has already made getting around campus on foot a more pleasant experience. And we haven’t even added the fall foliage yet!

The second project is the renovation of Lamberton Hall into a diner that will open for the second semester. This project came about directly as a consequence of students taking me to lunch. A group of students came up with the idea of having a diner on campus, and asked me to join them to discuss it over lunch at the Asa Packer Dining Room.

When they showed up with a computer and Power Point presentation, I knew what I was in for. By the end of lunch, they had made their case. Talk about no free lunch! I wound up paying for lunch that day, and Lamberton is going to cost a whole lot more. But it will be worth it. Students have played the leading role in almost every aspect of the project, including coming up with the menu, which will feature such healthy fare as cheeseburgers and fries. (I like to say that it’s food no parent should ever eat.)

The third project, and one that is particularly near to Jean’s heart, is the renovation of Linderman Library into a 21st century intellectual center and home to the humanities. We regret having to close Linderman until its rebirth a year from now, but how else do you renovate a library? Especially one that first opened its doors in 1878!

In the end, once again, it will be well worth it. The result will be new classrooms and seminar rooms, more study space, a humanities commons, and climate control systems to preserve our collections. For more information on the Linderman renovation project, visit our Linderman Unbound Web site.

And to keep up with progress on all of the improvement projects on campus, check out our Campus Enhancements site.

Continuing to enhance the student experience at Lehigh is one of our top priorities. This fall, we will begin a planning process focusing on student life that will include alumni, faculty, staff, and students.

So stayed tuned. Many (not all!) of the backhoes may be gone, but there is still more change to come. Change that will continue to make the Lehigh of today and tomorrow even better.

Greg and Jean Farrington
Lehigh University President’s Office

October 2005

Posted on Friday, September 30, 2005

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