Former Union Program Council guru reflects after first semester leading greeks

After 10 years of working as the K-State Student Union program advisor, Ben Hopper changes roles as the director of Greek Affairs. As director, Hopper and his team go above and beyond for the Greek Community. (Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

After 10 years of working as the K-State Student Union program adviser, Ben Hopper changed roles as the director of Greek Affairs at the start of this semester.

Hopper grew up only 30 miles from Manhattan in Leonardville, Kansas, which fueled his passion and decision to go to K-State. He was involved in the marching band, Ag Communicators of Tomorrow and with the board for the K-State Student Union, among others.

Following graduation, Hopper worked as a lobbyist in Topeka, but eventually drifted back to the Manhattan. On his return, Hopper joined K-State’s Union Programming Council as the program’s adviser. Many students may know him as the man who sent out emails every week about upcoming shows and concerts put on by the UPC.

“Before I knew him, ‘Ben Hopper’ was just a name on a weekly email from the Union, but after becoming friends with Ben through UPC, he has become a life-long friend,” Hannah Henning, K-State alumna and social media manager for Acme Global and former UPC colleague, said.

Hopper and Henning worked closely together with UPC bringing comedy acts to K-State including Aziz Ansari, Brian Regan and Tig Notaro.

“Working with UPC was a lot of fun, I was able to meet awesome people and bring cool events to K-State,” said Hopper, who shared that he had the opportunity to hang out with Joel McHale from “The Soup” when he came to K-State. “We still keep in touch and I was able to go to his show when I was in (Los Angeles) with friends.”

After 10 years of working for UPC, however, Hopper decided he needed a change.

“I struggled with applying for the Greek Affairs job because I had such a great experience with UPC,” Hopper said.

Hopper saw this new opportunity as a way to grow and experience something that would push him out of his comfort zone.

As director of Greek Affairs, he heads the team that goes above and beyond for the greek students. Though the office is short staffed considering how large K-State’s greek community is, Hopper said the staff does an incredible job.

Although Hopper wasn’t a member of a fraternity in college, he did join the fraternity Delta Sigma Phi as an alumni initiate at the age of 30 in 2010.

“I was never really recruited to join, that’s why I believe now it’s important for chapters to reach out to people even if they never considered being in a greek house,” Hopper said.

Before joining as an alumni initiate, Hopper was brought on as Delta Sig’s standards board adviser in 2009. According to Hopper, he learned so much about the men and the chapter during his time as adviser that they wanted him to join them as a member of the house.

“I would say the best part of my job is working with students and the worst part is working with students,” Hopper joked.

He said being around students all day is fun and they keep him young, but it gets difficult handling all the rumors going around on social media about different chapters.

“One of my favorite things about Ben is that he says he has ‘FOMO’ which is ‘fear of missing out,’” Henning said. “This is classic Ben because he loves people.”

To Hopper, learning a new career and new area of student life has been a challenge, but he has learned a great deal so far. Since he was involved in so many K-State organizations during his time as a student he said he wanted to give back and help students they way that others had helped him.

“Whether through his time as Delta Sig’s adviser, working with UPC or in current position with Greek Affairs, it’s evident Ben is personally invested in his work and in the students with whom he interact,” said Cole Grieves, New Student Services campus visit coordinator and Hopper’s fraternity brother.

Grieves and Hopper met when he was a member of Delta Sigma Phi and Hopper was an adviser. He said Hopper helped him grow personally and professionally through their work together on campus.

Though Hopper is the director, he said the students are running the meetings and facilitating recruitment.

“They are doing some incredible work and it’s very empowering to see students get to shine like that,” Hopper said.

Hopper works hard to make sure students are getting the most out of their experience at K-State.

“He is good at finding people’s strengths and utilizing them. You can easily tell he is passionate about students,” alumna Lyndi Stucky, who also worked with Hopper at UPC, said.

K-State’s greek community is made up of 4,000 students who, according to Hopper, are a part of something that is bigger than themselves. He thinks that if these students let the greek organizations develop them into better men and women, then the effect they can make on K-State and the world will be incredible.

“Our goal this year is to defy stereotypes and exceed standards,” Hopper said. “We hope our students live up to their full potential, maximize their relationships and be the best they can be.”

Although Hopper said he likes to focus on work and doing selfless acts for the people around him, his efforts do not go unnoticed.

“He is just the most friendly and kindhearted man on the planet and there is no other Ben Hopper out there in the world,” Henning said. “No one even comes close.”