Q&A with new Greek life director Josh Gamse

Gamse discussed his interest in pursuing a career overseeing Greek life, building relationships with students and his goals for his time at Dartmouth.

by Ben Korkowski | 5/17/22 5:00am

5-16-22-joshheadshot-courtesy
Source: Courtesy of Josh Gamse

Assistant dean of residential life and Greek life director Josh Gamse came to Dartmouth this spring after working for five years as the assistant director of sorority and fraternity life at Emory University in Atlanta. Previously, the Office of Greek Life remained without leadership for seven months and had been temporarily filled by associate dean of residential life Mike Wooten after the former OGL director, Brian Joyce, departed in July. The Dartmouth sat down with Gamse to discuss all things Greek life, including the role of OGLas a support system, upcoming Greek-related events and the office’s relationship with the students.

You spent five years at Emory as assistant director of sorority and fraternity life and have now assumed the role of assistant dean of residential life and director of Greek life at Dartmouth. Where does your interest in pursuing an administrative role within college Greek life come from?

JG: I had an amazing experience as an undergraduate participating in Greek life. Greek life really helped me find my home away from home and a community that I felt like I belonged in. Because of that, it is still my heart, and to this day is something that I’m really passionate about. As for my time at Emory in the role of assistant director of sorority and fraternity life, I oversaw all the residential spaces for all the fraternity houses and sorority lodges. I also directly advised the Interfraternity Council.

What led you to Dartmouth? What drew you to joining the Dartmouth community? 

JG: I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed working with students who are really driven and I think Dartmouth has a lot of those students. I think Dartmouth is an amazing community with a lot of people who really want to further themselves and further the communities they’re from, or the communities that they’re going to be a part of. That is what really came forward in the job interviews. On top of that, the chance to work with amazing campus partners, who seem really competent and amazing, excited me. 

What does your day-to-day work as assistant dean of residential life and director of Greek life entail?

JG: My primary responsibility is leading the Office of Greek Life. I also report directly to the associate dean of residential life, Mike Wooten, and I am a part of Residential Life’s meetings regarding the strategic path forward for our residential communities. Right now, my main focus involves a lot of meetings and having a lot of conversations with people to get to know the community. 

Beyond your connection to the Dartmouth administration, how do you interact with the many students involved in Greek Life here on campus?

JG: While I am having a lot of conversations with administrators, I am also having conversations with students. I actually utilize a Microsoft booking platform, and I sent it out to all the Greek house presidents and encouraged them to send it out to their general members so that anyone can schedule a meeting with me. From this outreach, I’ve had numerous student meetings so far, including one-on-ones with all of the presidents of the Interfraternity Council, the Inter-Sorority Council, the Gender-Inclusive Greek Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council and it has been wonderful. As for how our office intersects with the individual sub-councils, I am also the direct advisor to the Greek Leadership Council, which is made up of the presidents of all four of the sub-councils.

What defines your approach to your position working with Greek life?

JG: I think that my major philosophy when it comes to Greek life is really just around transparency and support. I truly see myself here as an advocate for our communities. That’s something that I’ve learned over time — people appreciate communication. I want to make sure that I’m here, that I’m present and that people feel comfortable coming in to talk to me. 

With major events such as Green Key, spring rush events and IVY Week all occurring around this time of year, could you speak about the role your office plays in each of these areas?

JG: Starting off with Green Key, I am really excited — as I imagine most students are — at this effort to get back to normal after the pandemic. Being that I am new here, this will be my first Green Key, and I am looking forward to seeing one of the many Dartmouth traditions. In terms of recruitment, I’m here to support the students, and so when they have questions specifically about reserving spaces or utilizing recruitment software or anything like that, I assist them. And then the last one: IVY Week, which stands for intention, values and you. I am so proud of the students who have led and created the week of activities. IVY Week really reminds us about the important values of being in one of our organizations, whether it’s a fraternity or a sorority or a gender-inclusive space. I think that’s really beautiful. 

Looking forward to the upcoming summer and fall term, what are some of your main goals you’d like to accomplish and what are you looking forward to?

JG: It goes back to what I’ve been talking to students about, and that is support. It’s about being present, especially when it comes to training and the upcoming group of summer term Greek house officers. For instance, there are various things within training like risk management training, leadership development, accountability and diversity, equity and inclusion conversations that I assist in. I think this office has a lot of potential and that our community has a lot of potential. I think that Greek life is such an amazing institution, especially at a school like Dartmouth where 67% of eligible students are part of the community. I think that’s incredible. What I’m really excited about is continuing to develop those relationships and making sure that we’re moving forward in a positive direction.

This article has been edited for clarity.

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