Leaders of the Greek life community attended a conference on leadership and community building last weekend.
Between Feb. 10 and 12, about 84 Greek life members attended the first UCLA Greek Organizations Leadership and Development Academy in 15 years. The conference was held in Lake Arrowhead with the help of a donation by an anonymous Greek life alumnus.
At the event, attendees listened to presentations and discussed in large groups the role of Greek life on campus. Then, facilitators from California State University, Northridge, University of Southern California, Pepperdine University and UCLA broke students into small groups to discuss action plans for the future.
“We wanted them to come back to something, and so each student had an action plan with specific steps for relationships and knowledge sharing,” said Kevin Dougherty, the director of UCLA’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
Dougherty said the academy aimed to develop community among the students in leadership positions across UCLA’s different Greek chapters and councils.
“This was an academy intentionally dedicated toward developing our leaders, inside their organization and outside, but this was an opportunity for us to showcase our organizations to one another, to showcase how similar they are to one another,” Dougherty said.
Leaders of the Asian Greek Council, UCLA Interfraternity Council, the Latino Greek Council, the Multi-Interest Greek Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Panhellenic Council were invited.
Lindsey Goldstein, assistant director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said the academy allowed students to connect with each other in ways that were previously not possible because of the large size of the Greek life community.
The academy was reintroduced this year through coordination between the UCLA administration, Greek life alumni, and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Doughtery said.
Dougherty said he hopes the academy model will be expanded and adopted by other organizations on campus in the future.
“We are working with our first- and second-year students, the emerging leaders, to see what their vision is for the UCLA community,” Goldstein said.
Adriana Bolds, who works in the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life as a graduate intern and advisor, said the program was effective in helping introduce members of different councils to each other.
“It was a great time for us to realize that the negative stereotypes surrounding Greek life are not real,” said Gabriela Perez, the Latino Greek Council president. “It’s a way for us to combat those the negative stereotypes and show unity.”
Perez said the academy motivated her to host more events with other councils in the future.
“We brought them together to celebrate the similarities, but also to celebrate the diversity, to see what it means to be Greek at UCLA,” Bolds said.