Greek membership lasts a lifetime. Thats why the involvement of Greek alumni in chapters plays a key role in the continued existence of fraternities and sororities. Chapter houses, for example, often are maintained by a group of volunteer alumni, while other alumni serve as advisers.
The Alumni Inter-Greek Council (AIGC), a subcommittee of the Rensselaer Alumni Association, is another vehicle for alumni involvement. AIGC is charged with assisting the mutual welfare of all of the Greek organizations on campus. Mark Anderson 79, a brother of the Rensselaer Society of Engineers, serves as president of the AIGC.
Here at RPI, were looking to ensure that success is our path, Anderson says. Greek alumni are developing a positive relationship with the university, and are always looking for ways to work together to further the Greek community cooperatively.
AIGC hopes to build a dynamic relationship with the university. Anderson envisions a vertically integrated Greek community, where the AIGC communicates with undergraduate Greek councils and can produce a consistent message.
We know that the Greek connection is very strong; for example, the majority of the Rensselaer Alumni Association board is made up of Greek alumni, he says.
Apgar encourages alumni who are interested in becoming involved with their chapters to contact the Dean of Students Office. Well help you get in touch with the chapter and the national organization, because we want alumni to be involved, he says. Even an alumnus or alumna who has no formal fraternity or sorority advising experience can be a benefit to a chapter.
A new person, even with no advisory background, can be very positive, says Apgar. They may be more open to new ideas and trends, and that can be uplifting for the chapter.
Dean Smith says alumni play an important role in developing chapter leadership. They can help create better transitions from one year to another, from one president to the next, says Smith. They can also provide moral and physical support to the chapter leadership, so that if there are problems, the alumni can be proactive. Strong chapter advisers are those who have become involved and have sustained positive working relationships with undergraduate officers and are able to help them to meet future challenges, Smith says.
Grice agrees. Over the years, he has helped the brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha deal with life crises, career planning, and academics, in addition to the day-to-day challenges of living in a fraternity. Its a key way, he says, of continuing and strengthening the legacy of Greek life at Rensselaer. I wanted to help out and pay back for all the things that Ive gotten from my fraternity over the years.
|Rensselaer Magazine: June 2003|
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