Being president of greek house no easy task, must relish challenge

Being a Greek House Chapter President takes a lot time management skills such as mixing presidential responsibilities and making time to be a "sister" or "brother" to another chapter member in need of help, advice or a shoulder to cry on. Makenzie Hrabik, junior in economics and president of Sigma Kappa, makes a quick announcement to a few chapter members after dinner. (Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

Getting involved on campus is an important aspect of college life. Being part of a club or organization teaches students how to communicate, lead and work with others and also gives them a sense of belonging. The greek community on campus is one such organization that has fostered academics, leadership and membership since 1913. Those who go greek are given numerous opportunities to lead and serve, but no one knows this better than the presidents who lead each chapter.

“When I joined Sigma Kappa, I told myself that I would never be president,” Makenzie Hrabik, junior in economics and president of Sigma Kappa sorority, said. “It was too big of a position and I didn’t think I was confident or strong enough to do it. What really pushed me to run for president was the support of my peers.”

Chapter presidents are in charge of almost everything. They have executive council members to help them but are still kept extremely busy. They handle all the phone calls, emails, paperwork and official business regarding their chapter, and still manage to make time to be the go to “sister” or “brother” when a fellow member needs help, advice or a shoulder to lean on.

“My favorite part about being president is that I get to listen to other people,” Hrabik said. “Those little moments make it worth it. There are days when you ask yourself why you volunteered for such a difficult position, but then there are days when you have a member talk to you for hours about why she joined and how it’s made a difference in her life. I love being able to help people realize their potential and give them the opportunities they need to grow.”

Sometimes, being the president and being a friend are two conflicting roles for these men and women. Hrabik said one main problem is getting members to be open with the officer team and sometimes the lack of communication causes issues. There are things that must get done and requirements that must be made, and it’s not easy for the presidents to get dozens of people on the same page.

“Follow through is key,” Ross Allen, senior in philosophy and president of Acacia fraternity, said. “When you say something, you need to mean it and deliver. Sometimes you have to feel comfortable being the bad guy. Different people go greek for different reasons and the fraternity is constantly evolving, so it can be a challenge to coordinate long-term strategic planning.”

While being the president comes with more responsibilities as both a member and a leader in the chapter, these men and women cannot forget their other commitments. Many of them have leadership roles in other groups, as well as busy academic schedules and professors that don’t want to hear that they had a greek issue and couldn’t get their homework done.

“The drawbacks are the stress and the busy schedules, but honestly that is just part of life sometimes and this experience helped me learn how to deal with my stress and balance my schedule,” Laila Sammur, senior in apparel and textiles marketing and president of Delta Delta Delta sorority, said. “I am capable of more than I ever thought. Being president has taught me how to be there and how to aid 184 women, as well as how to be both a friend and a leader at the same time.”

Being involved in greek life teaches valuable lessons to the many men and women involved, but those who chose to take up officer positions get an inside perspective unlike that of any of the other members. MaryLynn Griebel, senior in industrial engineering and president of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, said being the president of her chapter has taught her that taking a step back from a difficult situation can put things into perspective and brings clarity to the situation.

“My favorite part of the position was getting to learn all that it had to offer, and to come out with an amazing appreciation for my sisters and chapter,” Sammur said. “I am a better and stronger woman because of them and because of this experience.”