The Association of Fraternity Advisors (AFA) presented Dartmouth with the Outstanding Change Initiative award during a conference in New Orleans on Dec. 1. The award is given annually to an institution that has made "tremendous progress and improvement in their fraternity/sorority community within the past year," according to the AFA, an international organization with over 1,400 members. The AFA exists to provide resources, recognition, and support for professionals who advise students in Greek letter organizations.
"I'm delighted to know that the AFA chose this distinguished award to recognize the sustained hard work of my colleagues in the Office of Residential Life, the student leadership of the Coed, Fraternity and Sorority (CFS) system, and the many committed alumni advisors and other volunteers," says Dan Nelson '75, acting dean of the College. "We've come a long way in the past few years because of this kind of effort and commitment to the positive values that characterize our CFS community at its best."
Deborah Carney, assistant dean of residential life and director of CFS administration, says Dartmouth received the award in large part because of the strength of action plans, which are developed every year by each Greek letter organization. "The plans include clear, measurable goals in areas relating to the organizations' six guiding principles: scholarship, brotherhood/sisterhood, service, inclusiveness, accountability, and leadership," says Carney. "These principles and the action plans help students manage by objectives, which is so important."
This award follows the 2005 decision by the Dartmouth Board of Trustees to end the moratorium on the creation of new Greek letter organizations because of improvements in the CFS system. This highlight was noted in the application for the award, as well as other positive trends, such as CFS students' high grade point averages; their increased hours of community service, and a growth in students joining CFS organizations. "The dedication of so many CFS students to seek greatness and to challenge the status quo is at an all time high," read a portion of the application.
Also at the conference, Zachary Nicolazzo, a residential life community director for the Russell Sage Cluster and a CFS advisor, received an Outstanding Volunteer award. Nicolazzo was honored for his work as a member of the editorial board that oversees Essentials, the newsletter of the AFA. In this role, Nicolazzo contributed articles on creating a positive culture around Greek life and oversaw the production of a newsletter issue focused on men and masculinity.
Greek letter organizations have been an integral component of Dartmouth's residential and social life for over 160 years. From two Greek letter societies in 1842, the system has grown in numbers and diversity over the years. There are currently 16 fraternities, nine sororities, and three coed organizations on campus.
By STEVEN J. SMITH
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Last Updated: 12/17/08