Greek houses search for advisors

by Noah Goldstein | 4/19/15 7:49pm

Greek houses are in the process of searching for one male and one female faculty advisor, as required by College President Phil Hanlon’s “Moving Dartmouth Forward” policy initiative. Greek Letter Organizations and Societies director Wes Schaub said the goal is to have the advisors in place by this fall, though there is no official deadline.

Each house is conducting its own search. Schaub said the GLOS is offering assistance, though this assistance has its limits considering that each house will be looking for advisors who have a connection to their respective organization.

Schaub said he trusts each house to choose the best advisor for them. Some houses, such as Sigma Delta sorority, have already solidified plans for their advisors.

Assistance from GLOS will include helping to facilitate meetings between faculty members and house members and creating guidelines to help officers in each house discuss the role of the position along with expectations for the role.

“The faculty advisor needs to want to be involved with the organization and want to build that relationship with students outside of the classroom,” Schaub said. “There is going to have to be some desire to help young people develop, because really that is what we are about in fraternities and sororities.”

Schaub said that his office will advise that a faculty member sign on for one year, then decide whether they want to continue as an advisor for that house in consequent years. The time limit suggestion is meant to ensure that the relationship does not stagnate or the faculty member has to step down due to personal issues.

The way in which each faculty advisor will interact with the house will partially depend on the agreement made between the advisor and the house, Schaub said. The advisors could still be expected to meet with individuals within the house, attend programs with them, help officers with a variety of tasks and develop connections between house members and that faculty member’s department, Schaub said. The inclusion of faculty advisors will help houses make better decisions due to the extra input from the professors, Schaub said, adding that some faculty members have positively reacted to the proposal, Schaub said.

Once advisors have been decided, faculty members, presidents and alumni advisors will have a lunch meeting to discuss how the initiative is going, Schaub said. The idea of having one male and one female advisor for each house was proposed to the “Moving Dartmouth Forward” presidential steering committee by fraternity and sorority presidents. Having one male and one female advisor will add the experiences of the opposite sex to each house along with more adult presence, Schaub said.

Beta Alpha Omega fraternity president Joseph Geller ’16 said while his house already has a male advisor, several female faculty members have declined an offer for the advisor position. Geller said that in Beta, the executives of the house decide which professors to ask to fulfill the role based on the strength of members’ relationships with particular professors. Members of the house are in favor of the process, as it would both add a female perspective to the house and bring faculty members and Greek houses closer, Geller said.

“I also think it is a good thing to get more faculty involved in Greek houses so they can see some of the positives and so that they can become more informed about us,” Geller said.

Beta’s male advisor is history professor George Trumbull. Geller said that Trumbull answers questions for students, comes by the house and gives general advice. When looking for an advisor, Geller said he wants a professor who wishes to be involved and impact the lives of the house members and who has good goals and values and could help move the house in a positive direction.

Sigma Delta sorority scholarship chair Katie Papa ’16 said that her house already decided upon its two advisors, after polling members to determine which professors they admired. Papa declined to give the names of the advisors. The advisors have met with the members, but will soon meet more often.

Specific roles have not been decided at Sigma Delt, Papa said, citing a lack of guidelines and expectations from the College so far. Papa said she expects a general involvement from advisors with the house. Members of Sigma Delt have not made any negative comments in regards to the requirement, as they are excited by the prospect of interacting with the professors they recommended, Papa added.

She also noted that the professors will provide mentorship to the members while being exposed to what students do outside of the classroom. Papa said that the time period for the tenure of the advisors was undecided, but that she hopes it would end up being a long-term relationship.

Most presidents of Greek house contacted for this story did not respond to requests for comment. Theta Delta Chi fraternity president Curtis Oberg ’16 and Chi Heorot fraternity president Adam Charnin-Aker ’16 declined to comment.

Geller is a former member of The Dartmouth opinion staff.