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EMPOWER Retreat Impacts Greek Life New Members Participants gain valuable leadership skills to improve LSU’s Greek Community 03/21/2014 03:02 PM BATON ROUGE - The LSU Greek Board of Directors hosted the 11th annual EMPOWER retreat at the Judson Baptist Retreat Center in St. Francisville, La., from Friday, March 7, to Sunday, March 9. EMPOWER is one of GBOD’s main programming initiatives that serves as an educational forum for participants to learn the history and culture of Greek Life at LSU. A group of 144 fraternity and sorority new members representing each of the 39 Greek organizations at LSU were immersed in a weekend of leadership and team building activities. These activities were designed to help new members develop leadership skills to use in their own organization, the Greek community and the greater LSU community.   Prior to EMPOWER weekend GBOD hosted EMPOWER “Phase One,” a day-long retreat where participants had the opportunity to meet their facilitators and fellow group members.   Upon arrival at Judson Baptist Retreat Center, participants were separated into 14 small groups led by 28 of the Greek community’s most outstanding leaders. This unique experience provides participants a forum for discussion regarding their personal chapters, diversity, respective councils, the Greek community and personal development.   EMPOWER allows participants to open up and formulate ideas on how to improve various aspects of the LSU Greek experience. Older chapter members serving as facilitators gain mentorship skills and further experience leading others.   “EMPOWER made me feel very connected to the rest of the Greek community. It helped me put myself out there while getting to know a ton of great leaders surrounding me,” said Hannah Sensenbrenner, a freshman Delta Delta Delta participant. “EMPOWER also assured me that although I am a new member in my sorority, I have the potential to make a huge difference in my chapter.”   Sensenbrenner went on about her favorite experience at EMPOWER.   “I loved all of the games and the quality time we all spent with each other while sitting around the campfire every night, playing volleyball and talking in small groups,” she said. “EMPOWER is different than the average college weekend. You will remember every single game you played and every single friend you made for a very long time; the next day, when you see those friends on campus, you will run across campus just to give them a huge hug. The memories and the fun of EMPOWER are absolutely priceless.”   In addition to team building activities, Director of Education for Pi Kappa Phi fraternity Lori Hart presented her speech about “Making Greek Great,” which focused on challenging Greeks to raise their own expectations of fraternity and sorority life, to recruit the best students on campus and to become the role models of leadership they were intended to be.   “Attending EMPOWER was easily one of the most influential and effective experiences of my life. I was able to tap into my leadership skills and learn how to utilize them in order to improve my chapter and improve the Greek community at LSU. I met so many people from different chapters on campus, which opened doors to other activities for involvement,” said GBOD Assistant Director of EMPOWER Jane Ashley Raborn. “Participants leave Empower with a new skill set enabling them to look at the Greek experience in a new light. Motivation, inspiration, and excitement are the biggest takeaways for these new members.” The Greek Board of Directors is established for the expressed purpose of ensuring the welfare and continued growth and development of the Greek community and to promote Greek activities for the benefit and enhancement of the Greek community at LSU.  The Greek Board of Directors exists to unify Greek organizations through programs and to serve as an advisory council to the Greek Life Office in a visionary role to move the Greek community forward. For more information about EMPOWER or the Greek Board of Directors, contact LSU Greek Board of Directors President Caroline Darwin at 318-294-6768 or email

Ernie Ballard  LSU Media Relations 225-578-5685 Posted on Friday, March 21, 2014 Media Center Communications & University Relations Louisiana State University 3960 West Lakeshore Drive Baton Rouge, LA 70803 Telephone: 225-578-8654 Fax: 225-578-3860 E-mail:[4/1/2014 2:35:50 PM]

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