NGLA Spotlight

NGLA educates leaders from a variety of fraternal experiences to transform and empower their community and align actions with values.

The NGLA Spotlight features fraternity and sorority chapters, councils, communities, and individuals who demonstrate commitment to the fraternal movement and help advance the NGLA Mission and Vision.

 

AUGUST NGLA SPOTLIGHT 

To start the school year, we'd like to recognize the award recipients of the 2019 Amy Vojta Impact Award for Academic Achievement:

Winners

Sigma Phi Epsilon, Stevens Institute of Technology

Sigma Phi Epsilon emphasizes wellness for all of its members. The New Jersey Alpha RLC believes that wellness also includes the academic success of its members. The members of the chapter created a Class Review program to help the academic success of its members by working in a group setting to study for an exam. The program was so successful that they have offered these class reviews to other students across the campus, providing support to over 2,500 students across the last two semesters. These review classes cover introductory courses that are usually taken during a student’s freshman or sophomore year. The reason behind this choice is that some students struggle during the transition from high school to college, and the hope is that these reviews will help the students learn how to succeed on a college campus with a variety of different professors and teaching styles. While the chapter cannot measure success in terms of GPA, they measure their success in terms of attendance and feedback from attendees. Additionally, the chapter partners with their campus’ television organization so that the sessions can be recorded and shared with other students who may not be able to attend to provide additional access to resources and promote overall success. 

Panhellenic Council, University of Vermont

The Panhellenic Council at the University of Vermont believes that small consistent actions yield large results. In addition to workshops and speakers, this council provides positive reinforcement and highlights its members in various aspects throughout the year. The Vice President of Scholarship worked with each chapter’s Academic Chair to create personalized Academic Plans based on each chapter’s individuals needs. The Vice President also held follow up meetings to check in on the progress of each chapter. Additionally, the Vice President partnered with alumni to host workshops and trainings on topics such as time management, resume building, brand identity, and overall wellness and its direct relationship to academics as well as about life and their career after college. One example of these workshops included navigating office culture and being a woman in the workplace. Additionally, students are recognized at the annual Fraternity & Sorority Awards Night with awards such as Most Improved Scholar and Most Outstanding Scholar, along with honor cords for additional recognition. This program allows for the community to see how their academic success can benefit future success through college and after graduation. The Panhellenic Council values academic achievement for not only their community but the Greek community. They strive to promote lifelong learning.

Greek Community, University of Rhode Island

Recent research from Inside Higher Ed reveals that affiliated students do not always have a higher GPA than their non-affiliated peers. Additionally, the student leaders recognize that there can be a struggle to motivate students who fall below individual GPA requirements. Given that information, the Greek Life Community at the University of Rhode Island strives to maintain high academic standards and promote excellence amongst its members. They are driven by the desire to see their community succeed on campus. This community plans training for their chapters to ensure the importance of academic success, and works to make sure that their library is filled with healthy options for snacks while studying. Members of the council’s leadership meet with individual chapter Scholarship Chairs to individually track the growth or decline of a chapter’s academic performance. Additionally, the students partner chapters with the campus’ professional staff in the Academic Enhancement Center and Center for Career and Experiential Education if they feel a chapter is in need of additional resources. Their councils collaborate to positively reinforce the actions of their members through awards at their Annual Banquet such as Most Improved Scholarship. As a result of these efforts, both their Sorority Women and Fraternity Men have reported higher GPAs than their campus’ All Women’s and All Men’s GPAs, respectively.

Honorable Mention

Delta Phi Epsilon, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

One of the advantages to joining a fraternal organization includes the networking benefits during and after college. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Panhellenic has a program entitled S.T.A.R. which partners older students with newer members of the same major/career path. However, this can present a problem if there is not an older member with the same major. To make sure that all their sisters were given tools for success, the chapter’s Vice President of Academic Affairs created a Career Week. During this time, sisters were able to develop and practice skills such as writing cover letters, updating resumes, and practice their networking skills. Additionally, the chapter reached out to their alumnae to compile feedback and advice on how to interact with recruiters and what companies target specific majors, and compiled the information into a “Alumnae Advice” Book. The reason for this preparation is that the chapter recognizes that a GPA is not the sole source in which a student’s success can be measured. By being able to help their sisters be prepared for interviews and grow in their networking skills, they are gaining lifelong professional development. Additionally, this program connected the chapter members with the Career Advising and Professional Development Office which helped students learn about other opportunities offered by the institution for professional development and internships. While the chapter does recognize that these professional staff members are designed to help students with career advisement, the purpose of these Career Week programs is to supplement the work of the professional staff and make the information less intimidating as it comes from a sister rather than a professional staff member.