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Chapter Advisor Monthly Fall 2012, Issue 2

Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life Update Fall Quarter is well under way at Northwestern; it has been about a month since the start of classes and students have certainly been busy! Northwestern’s 19 sororities held a Sorority Recruitment th Kickoff for the first time on Sunday, October 14 . Women from MGC, NPHC, and Panhellenic chapters were invited to set up a table at the Kickoff event, open to all unaffiliated women interested in joining a sorority. Panhellenic provided an opportunity for women to register for formal recruitment. Mid-October also marked the end of Freshmen Freeze, the three-week period which prohibits contact between Greek organizations and first-year students. There were no major Freeze violations this fall. OFSL looks forward to the rest of fall quarter! In this issue:  IFC and Panhellenic Elections  Greek Week Update  Helping Student in Distress  Homecoming 2012  Social Media  Important Dates and Upcoming Events If you have suggestions for future articles or topics, please contact Maggie Heffernan at

Council Elections The Interfraternity Council (IFC) is holding executive board th th elections on November 13 and November 27 . Men interested in holding a position on the IFC Executive Board should contact the current VP Standards, Jake Bodner by email at Applications were emailed to chapter presidents for st distribution and are due on Thursday, November 1 . The Panhellenic Association (PHA) will hold elections on th November 13 . Women interested in holding a position on the PHA Executive Board should contact the current VP Standards, Becca Flamm by email at Applications have been emailed to chapter presidents and PHA delegates for th distribution and were due on Monday, October 29 . Please encourage qualified and interested students to apply! MGC and NPHC will hold their council elections in January 2013 so please look forward to announcements regarding those applications for qualified and interested students.

Members of Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, Inc. at this year’s MGC and NPHC Yardshow. The Yardshow took place on October 6th, 11 chapters performed at the event.

Greek Week th


Greek Week 2012 concluded on October 11 with the 3 annual stroll competition. Other Greek Week events included the Day of Service, Letter at the Library, a photo “tag-a-long”, Top Chef: Greek Edition, Four Square, and check-in locations across campus for students wearing their letters. Congratulations to our winning teams! 1st place- Delta Chi, Gamma Phi Beta, and Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. 2nd place– Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 3rd place–Chi Omega, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Phi Mu Alpha, and Theta Chi A special thanks for Janelle Henney, John Castellanos, and Colin LaBran-Boyd for their hard work in coordinating this year’s Greek Week. We look forward to Greek Week 2013!

Day of Service IFC, MGC, NPHC, and Panhellenic collaborated to host an extremely successful Day of Service for the community. One hundred students from all four councils came together on th Sunday, October 7 to perform service around the Evanston community. Volunteers spent the morning at the Evanston Ecology Center, Evanston Public Library, Senior Connections, and Evanston TV. Volunteers also collected food for a Campus Kitchen’s food drive- collecting 763 pounds of non-perishable food items. Students are encouraged to continue to volunteer in the Evanston and Chicago communities as service is a founding principle of all fraternities and sororities.

Helping Student in Distress The Division of Student Affairs has developed an information guide to aid faculty, staff, and University personnel in assisting students experiencing difficulties. The referral process differs depending on the state of the student. Please use the following information to help you make an informed decision on when intervention, referral, and follow-up are most appropriate. It is important that chapter advisors are aware of University resources and protocol for your conversations and interactions with students. If you have a concern about a student’s well-being or mental health, please utilize the following information or reach out to Fraternity and Sorority Life for additional assistance. Dangerous Student: Safety is an immediate concern; verbal or physical threats to harm others; active threats of suicide and resists help If student is dangerous or threatening harm to self or others, CALL 911. Disruptive Student: Safety is not an immediate concern; threatens harm to self or others, but will accept help; demonstrates bizarre behavior or communications; disruptive to the living/learning environment. For mental health consultation or referral, call CAPS (847) 491-2151 For Student Affairs Consultation, call Dean of Students Office (847) 491-8430, after office hours, request Dean on-call staff (847) 491-3456 Troubled Students: Troubled, confused, very sad, highly anxious, irritable, lacks motivation and/or concentration; has thoughts about not wanting to live; difficulties in interactions with others. For mental health consultation or referral, call CAPS (847) 491-2151 For Student Affairs Consultation, call Dean of Students Office (847) 491-8430, after office hours, request Dean on-call staff (847) 491-3456 Frequently Asked Questions What are warning signs of disruptive student behavior? Disruptive or disturbing students exhibit behaviors that signify an obvious crisis and necessitate more immediate intervention. Examples include:  Highly disruptive behavior (verbal hostility, aggression, disregard for classroom decorum and expected conduct, etc.); failure to comply with corrective feedback  Inability to communicate clearly (garbled, pressured speech; disorganized, confused, or rambling thoughts)  Loss of contact with reality (seeing or hearing things that others cannot see or hear; irrational beliefs or fears that others may be conspiring against them)  Stalking behaviors and inappropriate communications (including threatening letters, email messages, and harassment)  Suicidal thoughts and/or threats to harm others (may be communicated orally or in written formats through email, assignments, or on social networking or academic sites) How should I respond to a disruptive or disturbing student?  If immediate safety is a concern or the person acts in a highly irrational or disruptive way, call 911  If safety is not a concern, attempt to de-escalate the situation; offer to find someone to assist in problem-solving; meet and work on a solution  Contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life for additional assistance and input  Notify the Dean of Students Office  Consult with CAPS or University Police

MGC and NPHC Retreat Northwestern and DePaul University collaborated efforts this October to host a joint retreat for members of culturally-based fraternities and sororities. All members of MGC and NPHC organizations were invited to attend the retreat, held on Friday, th October 19 . Twenty Northwestern students and 25 DePaul students spent the day in Chicago discussing values, membership selection, the foundation of the organizations, time management, academics, collaborations within and outside of the councils, and engagement in the University communities. The retreat was led by Zach Thomas, Associate Director of Greek Life and Leadership at Queens University of Charlotte and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Staff members from Northwestern and DePaul University led portions of the retreat, facilitating discussions with students around relevant topics. The retreat was a success and we hope to collaborate with DePaul again next fall and provide the opportunity to more students!

Helping Students in Distress How can I recognize and help the person who has thoughts about not wanting to live? House Directors sometimes find themselves talking to a student who appears to be very sad, hopeless, and in despair. If the person’s conversation or behaviors suggest suicide might be a concern, here are some suggestions for how to help:  Listen and allow time to understand the scope of his or her concerns  Ask the question: “Based on what you are saying about how things are for you, I am wondering… Are you thinking about not wanting to live? Are you thinking about killing yourself?”  Be persistent; if after further conversation you are still concerned, ask again.  Offer hope and promote the idea of getting help  Refer to campus and community mental health resources o CAPS (847) 491-2151 o Northshore University Health System in Evanston (847) 570-2500 o Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago (312) 926-8100  For emergency appointments during CAPS office hours, offer to walk the student to CAPS located on the second floor of Searle Hall at 633 Emerson Street or call (847) 491-2151 and ask for an emergency consultation.  Consult with CAPS for additional support  Notify the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and consult with OFSL staff for potential resources  Notify the Dean of Students Office What are some signs a student may be troubled? Students in distress may not be disruptive to others but may exhibit behaviors that indicate something is problematic. They may also be reluctant or unable to acknowledge a need for personal help. Behaviors may include:  Marked changes in academic performance  Tardiness and excessive absences inconsistent with prior history  Withdrawal and/or avoidance from participation, increased anxiety around exams or deadlines, difficulty working in teams  Changes in emotional states (sadness, crying, lethargy, irritability, rapid speech, preoccupied, increased and more intense disagreement with peers or leaders, sense of confusion)  Changes in physical well-being (swollen eyes from crying, increased illnesses, poor self-hygiene, rapid weight loss/gain)  Repeated requests for special consideration or changes in requirements  Behaviors which may interfere with effective management of the living/learning environment (outbursts of anger, domination of discussion, derailing the focus of a meeting)  Communication in either oral, written, or electronic formats that may suggest a threat to one’s self or others How should I respond to a student who is troubled? For students who are mildly or moderately troubled:  Address the situation on an individual level; consider having someone meet with you and the student  Consult with CAPS and/or the Dean of Students Office for assistance  Avoid offering confidentiality to the student should he/she wish to talk  Deal directly with the behavior according to chapter protocol; provide corrective feedback and offer to help  Encourage the student to use campus and community helping resources; offer to walk the student to assistance or call and make an appointment  Inform and consult with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life How do I make a referral? Your exposure to students increases the likelihood you will identify signs of distress in a student. What can you do?  Recommend campus services to the student. Remind the student that campus counseling services are confidential  Reassure the student that it is an act of strength to seek help  Offer to help make the initial contact with the helping resource  If the student rejects referral, consult with OFSL, CAPS or the Dean of Students Office For more information on how to help a student in distress, please visit the Dean of Students website. Last spring, the Dean of Students compiled all of this information regarding student wellness on a file folder for professional staff or advisors who work with students regularly to store in their file cabinets. It is a quick way to access information and find relevant help. Copies of the file folder are available in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

Social Media Adapted from, a worldwide social media news blog Social Media has become a regular part of life for many people today, particularly the undergraduate students we work with on the college campus. Students use social media to communicate with one another, keep up with international news, and learn about upcoming events and programs. Social Media is a great way to communicate with potential new members and to provide updates to active members and chapter constituents (advisors, parents, families, administrators, etc.). The positive effects of social media are many, but the use of social media does come with great responsibility. Social Media is a very relevant topic for chapter advisors to talk with chapter members about as we head into recruitment and intake season. recently published a list of 12 things that students should never do on Social Media; many are relevant to the fraternity and sorority experience. The full article is available here: The last thing young people want is another set of rules. But these days, social media comes with great responsibility. The fact is, irresponsible social media conduct could potentially ruin a student’s education and negatively impact their current or future career, not to mention hurt others in the process. One student’s use of social media can also have a negative effect on an entire organization, depending on content. Most of these consequences are preventable, often with just a little foresight. It is important as a chapter advisor to serve as a mentor around these topics and work with students to make smart decisions with social media. Mashable has pinpointed 12 social media mistakes that students should avoid at all costs, because after all, it’s never as simple as “be responsible.” Social media circumstances are nuanced and vary by situation, school and user; ten are described here. Post Illegal Activities College students experiment with many activities and substances. But the second you post a video of last weekend’s adventure, you become vulnerable not only for school expulsion but also for criminal prosecution; in other words, consequences that affect the rest of your life. Even if your profile is set to private, a friend can always download and save incriminating photos that he or the authorities can use against you in the future. Once or twice per year, perform a thorough review of the information and content accessible on your social media profiles. Bullying Bullying is one of the most serious problems in schools today. Vicious treatment and hateful words between students often lead to violence, suicide, depression and discrimination among the student body. When a student turns to social media, blogs or virtually any online space as a forum for hurtful speech, the risks are not measurable. Bullying can include any verbal, written or physical conduct. Talk with students about the consequences of speaking negatively not only about other students but also other organizations on campus, especially during fall quarter as organizations prepare for recruitment and intake. Trash your advisors, administrators, etc. Bullying doesn’t just apply to student-to-student interactions. Students who speak poorly of their professors, advisors, or administrators (or post embarrassing photos of them) run a huge risk, too. After all, instructors, advisors, administrators, and University staff have a right to privacy and respect. Post Confidential Information This piece of advice goes for every social media user, not just students. But young people are especially vulnerable to online predators and identity thieves. Think about how easy it is to share content on Facebook; if a single person shared a photo with confidential information (date of birth, student ID number, social security number, etc.) to his public profile that sensitive information would be accessible by anyone, no hacking required. Identity stolen — just like that. Overly Specific Location Check-Ins Similar to protecting one’s identity, students should try not to get too specific with your social check-ins. Although parents or friends may appreciate the heads-up, posts like these make it easy for predators to locate someone. People should be especially careful not to check in on social media when he/she is alone and/or in a remote location. Social media analyst Brad Hines advises, “It is usually wise to do little sharing of where you are if you are by yourself, or have left your home by itself.” Lie/Cheat/Plagiarize Picture this: A student convinces his/her professor to give him/her an extension on a term paper so he/she can visit their “sick” grandmother. Only instead, that student blows off the paper to attend a concert — and he/she proceeds to post a status update to Facebook, check in on Foursquare and upload a photo of the performance to Instagram. The student shouldn’t be surprised when he/she returns to an “F” and an academic investigation. Student should also be aware of the possible consequences if they choose to skip chapter events or University programs. The same goes for lying about professional/academic achievements when applying to a college or an internship. People will investigate.

Social Media Threaten Violence or Post Emotionally Threatening a person or group of people in any situation is unbelievably serious. Even posting an anonymous, empty threat to an obscure online forum full of strangers will raise red flags. And as soon as authorities have located a threat, they have the right to investigate — and they will. Social media is not the place to vent frustrations and violent thoughts; advisors should encourage students to speak with a counselor or the Dean of Students about their concerns. We’ve all said and done things we regret. It’s human nature to react without thinking through the consequences. However, whenever possible, people should take a moment to imagine how their social media posts affect the feelings, safety and wellbeing of those around them — even their worst enemies. Posting an angry tweet in the heat of the moment may feel cathartic, but the momentary pleasure from writing it isn’t worth the potential harm it could create. Take a moment to breathe, think and reboot. Ignore School- Specific Policies School policies vary widely, according to religious affiliation, type of school (public vs. private), geographical location, district, gender (co-ed vs. single-gender), etc. Therefore, technology and social media policies are different for nearly every school. Students should look into specific social-media policies for Northwestern University, their specific school, the companies they work or intern for, and their (inter)national organizations. Unprofessional Public Profiles Regardless of year in school or plans after college, a student’s social media presence needs to reflect responsibility. Whether it’s a Google search or a social media examination, chances are a company is looking into an applicant’s history. And sometimes, even a completely private social media profile sets off red flags for employers. In today’s age of transparency, a professional (albeit public) profile is the ideal. Never Rely on Privacy Settings 100% Although most major social networks update users with privacy improvements, the changes are often too frequent to follow and can get complicated. However diligently one protects their social media identity, it’s best to assume anything that is posted is fair game — potentially seen by other students, advisors, University administrators, parents, or strangers.

A group of students outside of the DePaul Center in Chicago after the MGC and NPHC Retreat on October 19th. Members from eight of the 14 organizations (including two interest groups) attended the Retreat.

The second phase of the cross-council “…And I am Greek” campaign launched at the start of October. Groups of students are featured on each poster showcasing values and ideals of fraternity and sorority life.

2012-2013 Student Spotlights Each year, we feature one student from each council on our website and ask them to tell their story about Fraternity & Sorority Life. The student testimonials are a resource for potential members interested in learning more about the student experience in our community and the learning that comes from membership. This year’s testimonials feature Andrew Christy (Phi Delta Theta), Lucy Liu (Kappa Phi Lambda), Kira Hooks (Delta Sigma Theta), and Monika Buska (Kappa Alpha Theta). Check out this year’s featured students on the Fraternity & Sorority Life website.

Important Dates and Events Month DayUpcoming Year It is important that chapter advisors are aware of what is going on within the fraternity and sorority community and the greater Northwestern campus community. Please encourage chapter members to participate in community events and attend relevant campus programming. If you have questions about a specific event, please contact an OFSL staff member or speak with your chapter president. As changes are made to this schedule, we will be sure to update advisors via future newsletters or email correspondence. 

November 1- Panhellenic Recruitment Counselor Training

November 5- Rho Lambda Initiation

November 7- Order of Omega Initiation

November 5-9- MGC Week

November 8- Panhellenic Recruitment Counselor Training

Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. performing at this year’s Yardshow. The Yardshow was a joint initiative between MGC and NPHC to showcase their organizations on campus. The Yardshow was free and open to the public.

Northwestern Homecoming

November 11- Panhellenic Recruitment Preview

November 13- IFC Elections (I)

November 13- Panhellenic Elections

November 14- Omega Experience Dinner

November 15- Panhellenic Recruitment Counselor Training

November 22-23- Thanksgiving (University Closed)

November 27- IFC Elections (II)

December 12- Quadrangles Meeting

Last week was Homecoming Week at Northwestern University, culminating in the Wildcat’s win against University of Iowa. The Homecoming committee had a week full of events planned, including the Homecoming parade on Friday night and the Homecoming Pep Rally where this year’s King and Queen were announced. Many chapters from all four councils participated in Friday’s parade, demonstrating school spirit and chapter pride along Sheridan Road. Congratulations to the eleven fraternity and sorority members on this year’s Homecoming Court; and a special congratulations to Kirk Vaclavik and Kyra Woods, Northwestern’s 2012 Homecoming King and Queen. Andrew Brugman, Delta Chi Kirk Vaclavik, Sigma Chi Jon Gobrial, Phi Delta Theta Yando Lopez, Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, Inc. Kameron Dodge, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Brad Stewart, Delta Upsilon Amalia Namath, Pi Beta Phi Emily Jordan, Zeta Tau Alpha Sophie Friedman, Gamma Phi Beta Kyra Woods, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Kate Mattax, Kappa Alpha Theta

Many chapters also held events this weekend to welcome their alumni back to campus! If you are a Northwestern alumnus, we hope you had a happy homecoming! Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. at this year’s MGC and NPHC Yardshow.

Chapter Advisor Monthly 601 University Place – Scott Hall, Rm. 35 – Evanston Il 60208 - 847-491-4522

Chapter Advisors' Monthly_October 2012  

Chapter Advisors' Monthly_October 2012

Chapter Advisors' Monthly_October 2012  

Chapter Advisors' Monthly_October 2012