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#WhyUIFI – Immersive, intentional, life-changing

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Jack Kreman
Chief Operating Officer, Delta Tau Delta Fraternity
Past UIFI Facilitator 

I’ve worked for my fraternity since 2004.

In that time, I’ve been a part of many leadership and educational programs. I work with the talented team at DTD to educate our members, I attend conferences and meetings of other organizations to collaborate on interfraternal education, and I partner with other professionals both on- and off-campus to learn how we can provide education that benefits our host institutions. What we all want is for fraternity and sorority members to have the knowledge that makes them great contributors to their communities now and great leaders into the future.

With that common goal in mind, I believe the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) is the best collegiate leadership program available to students today. Throughout my career I’ve served as a UIFI facilitator and watched hundreds of students leave the UIFI experience with a different perspective and desire for change than when they arrived.

I describe UIFI as the premier leadership experience available to students because:

  • It is an intense institute environment free from daily distractions and stress. Once you set foot within the institute you focus entirely on your organization’s values and your place within them. You learn about yourself and your organization more deeply than you could any other way. It is immersive. It is intentional. It is life-changing.
  • Within your institute, you’re part of a small group of about 10 peers where you have the opportunity to exchange ideas with other future leaders of the fraternal movement. Old people like me are not the future of fraternity and sorority life. Young people, such as those attending UIFI, will bear the honor of stewarding our wonderful organizations forward to and for the next generation.
  • You have the opportunity to learn from and be mentored by the best people in the fraternal world. UIFI session leaders and small group facilitators are competitively chosen from 100s of applications. Those mentors stick by you not just for your session, but for your entire life. Just last week I connected a former small group participant of mine with an employer in my area. He was a member of my small group in 2012—the relationships forged and lessons learned really last a lifetime.

I am constantly recommending UIFI to any collegian I meet, whether it be a Delta Tau Delta or a member of another organization, who believes in his or her future as a leader and wants to know how to reach their goals. It is a clear path to making the difference you want to see within your chapter, your organization, and within yourself.


 

 

The early-bird deadline is quickly approaching! UIFI registration costs will increase on Monday, April 23. Learn more about this transformative leadership experience and register at nicfraternity.org/uifi. Hundreds of scholarships are also available – find scholarship details here, including any application deadlines.

 

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#WhyUIFI – There’s never been a better time

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Emily Carney, Pi Beta Phi, Arizona State University
2015 UIFI Participant, 2017 UIFI Student Coordinator 

I had the privilege of attending UIFI in 2015, going into my sophomore year of college. I got increasingly anxious as my session approached, as I had no idea what was in store. As a newer member of my chapter, I was eager to get involved, but was lacking the tools to be an effective servant leader. I was highly intimidated to be around such outstanding leaders, while I had limited experiences. This was especially the case when we discussed the concept of ritual. My post-initiation debrief had not occurred, so I was completely unaware of what my ritual means and why. I was embarrassed that I didn’t know this, and wasn’t able to fully absorb the information. Luckily for me, one of my lead facilitators was also a member of my organization, and I was able to talk with her about it. It was that night that I connected to my organization on a deeper level. I truly understood what my letters mean, and how beautiful my ritual is. UIFI was able to inspire a deeper, lasting love for my organization.

In addition to gaining a greater appreciation for my chapter and organization, I left with a holistic appreciation for my governing council. UIFI introduced me to women in 18 different organizations, and fraternity men from several different organizations. The week in Bloomington gave me the opportunity to better understand the other organizations and appreciate the importance of providing students a home in the fraternity and sorority community. This appreciation led me to pursue a position on my College Panhellenic Council. In the fall following UIFI, I was elected to serve as the Vice President of Internal Affairs for my CPC. The next year, I was elected to serve as Panhellenic President. Not a day in the two years that followed UIFI did I not use the tools this program provided me.

My appreciation of the UIFI program never diminished. This led me to apply to serve as a Student Coordinator in the summer of 2017. Serving in this role was a very rewarding experience. I learned the most that year from the participants – their successes, their struggles, what the norms are on their campuses and how they approach change when it is needed. It assured me that fraternity and sorority life is going to be in good hands for years to come because of students like those who attend UIFI and make a commitment to each other and their communities.

I am now an alumna member of my organization. Starting in my career, I wasn’t sure how my fraternity and sorority life experience would be useful. What I have found, however, is that the lessons and tools UIFI gave me are incredibly relevant in my work. I emphasize to my students the importance of leadership. We’ve done activities in my classroom that utilize the concepts from UIFI. This is the reality of this program: UIFI impacts your life in your college career and beyond, as well as the lives of those around you.

If you’ve never held a leadership position, or you’ve held twenty, UIFI is for you. The program is continuously being developed to ensure it is relevant and useful in the lives of collegiate fraternity and sorority members each year. UIFI gives you the opportunity to meet students from across the country, who may have vastly different experiences than you. You get plenty of time to talk with one another about what difficulties may be unfolding in your chapters and communities, with some helpful brainstorming to solve problems you’re facing. You’ll also get to share your successes to help others experiencing issues you’ve solved or improved on.

There’s never been a better time to attend UIFI, don’t let the opportunity pass you by!

 


 

Early-bird registration for UIFI ends April 23! Learn more about this transformative leadership experience and register at nicfraternity.org/uifi. Hundreds of scholarships are also available – find scholarship details here, including any application deadlines.

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#WhyUIFI – Learning begins at the end of your comfort zone

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Brett Polen, Manager of Chapter Development, Sigma Alpha Epsilon
UIFI Small Group Facilitator, 2017 & 2018

Last year, a coworker told me about a leadership development program that brings together men and women from different fraternities and sororities to challenge the current way they see Greek life. Summer 2017 was my first experience being a part of the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI). I trusted the process and have become a very proud advocate for the program and the opportunities it can provide collegiate Greek members.

I believe a lot of Greek members fail to take advantage of the opportunity to work with other organizations for the betterment of their community on campus and to change the perception of Greek life as a whole. The Greek community is being challenged right now. Many of us can relate to the issue of a few members’ behaviors misrepresenting the organization as a whole, and now this is happening at the national level. We are all impacted by the actions of a few, even if they aren’t in our own organization; to an outsider, all of our letters look the same. We as a community need to look past our individual letters, come together, and be willing to make a change and ensure the correct perception of fraternities and sororities is being represented in the news.

I decided to continue as a facilitator for UIFI this year because I learned just as much from the curriculum and participants as the members of my group did. I learned from members of Theta Chi, Kappa Sigma, and Sigma Tau Gamma to name a few, which has helped me better develop the chapters of SAE when I visit with outside ideas and new perspectives. The participants at UIFI are eager to learn and make an impact on their campus and in their chapter. Seeing members that want to develop themselves and make their chapter better is very inspirational. Stripping away the letters and specific rituals, which make each of our organizations unique, and focusing on the values we all share is one of the major impacts this program has on its participants.

Learning begins at the end of your comfort zone and UIFI will push you to that limit. It will challenge you to think differently about not only your impact in your chapter, but also the impact you can make in your Greek and campus community. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and attend a leadership program different from what your own organization may offer. Come to UIFI this summer and let it change the way you see Greek life for the rest of your college career.


 

Early-bird registration for UIFI ends April 23! Learn more about this transformative leadership experience and register at nicfraternity.org/uifi. Hundreds of scholarships are also available – find scholarship details here, including any application deadlines.

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Student Coordinators bring skills and experience to UIFI

The 2017 Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) is underway! Session 1 began on May 13 and Session 2 kicks off on May 17, with nine more sessions throughout the summer months. We wouldn’t be able to make this program happen without the support of a special group of collegiate fraternity and sorority members—our Student Coordinators!

Student Coordinators for UIFI 2017 were selected from a pool of more than 130 applicants and are all graduates of UIFI. They were chosen based upon their leadership experiences as well as their ability to inspire and create lasting change in their own chapters and communities. Each Student Coordinator plays a critical role at UIFI—from managing much of the logistical support for sessions, to delivering testimonials during the program, which is consistently viewed as a UIFI highlight.

UIFI is a five-day institute sponsored by the NIC that brings together fraternity and sorority members from across North America to create opportunities for exploring, defining and enhancing their leadership skills. Participants also increase their personal awareness and commitment to their fraternity or sorority, and grow to expect values-based action from themselves and those they lead. Learn more about UIFI and register for one of this summer’s 11 sessions here.

Please join us in congratulating (and thanking) the following individuals who will serve as UIFI Student Coordinators this summer:

  • Bethe Bell, Hofstra University, Phi Sigma Sigma
  • Graham Bellairs, Hofstra University, Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity
  • Andie Brunk, California State University Northridge, Kappa Kappa Gamma
  • Justin Cancel, Denison University, Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
  • Faith Chamness, Millsaps College, Delta Delta Delta
  • Alex Champagne, Iowa State University, Phi Gamma Delta
  • Dean Del Rio, Texas Christian University, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia
  • Karthik Dhanireddy, Virginia Tech, Sigma Phi Epsilon
  • Camz Garcia, Florida International University, Phi Mu
  • Shelby Gerwin, University of Mount Union, Alpha Delta Pi
  • Hannah Green, University of Montana, Kappa Kappa Gamma
  • Jenna Grimes, Bowling Green State University, Pi Beta Phi
  • David Gudiel, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, Nu Alpha Kappa Fraternity Inc.
  • Malayna Hasmanis, Grand Valley State University, Phi Mu
  • Sarah Johnson, The Ohio State University, Kappa Delta
  • Cassie Little, Arizona State University, Sigma Kappa
  • Brandon Lucas, University of Mount Union, Phi Kappa Tau
  • Joshua Manning, University of Texas at Dallas, Phi Gamma Delta
  • Natasha Martinez, Washburn University, Alpha Phi
  • Eric Pansick, Indiana University-Bloomington, Delta Chi Fraternity
  • Tess Phillips, DePaul University, Alpha Xi Delta
  • Christian Richmond, University of Toledo, Kappa Delta Rho
  • Ari Ruiz, Austin Peay State University, Kappa Alpha Order
  • Kaelan Saley, Emory University, Sigma Phi Epsilon
  • John Sowards, Marshall University, Alpha Sigma Phi
  • Fernando Tovar, Denison University, Lambda Chi Alpha
  • Darrius Veazia, Texas Christian University, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
  • Patrick Wright, Florida International University, Sigma Alpha Mu

Measuring Success: UIFI Continues to be “An Experience Unlike Any Other”

The Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) finished its final of 14 sessions in mid-July. Each year, the program sets out to push students to define the challenges in their fraternity and sorority communities and excite them for how to create change. In 2016, the program showed significant gains in drawing diverse student populations as well as in personal development of participants.

Almost 1,000 students went through UIFI this year, including Annina Plummer, a sister of Alpha Gamma Delta, who attends the University of Alberta. She is just one of many who were positively affected by the experience.

“UIFI has changed me as a leader and has inspired me to make positive changes in my life, my chapter and in the communities I am placed,” Plummer said. “The outstanding individuals here have inspired me to continue to live with purpose and take risks for the betterment of society, and that is a lesson I’ll never forget.”

The North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) is proud of the development students like Plummer made this summer, as well as the program’s improvement and success this year. Here’s a complete breakdown of what UIFI accomplished in 2016.

 

Enhancements to the Program

  • Updated curriculum to include exploration of personal identities and privilege.
  • Added a session on the fraternal movement, which highlighted the change process and priorities of NIC 2.0.
  • Increased diversity of attendees to create a truly interfraternal experience by offering 80 UIFI registration scholarships to students from diverse backgrounds through funding by the Richard G. Miller Memorial Foundation.
  • Increased participation of students from culturally-based organizations by 14%.
  • Saw an increase in both intern (15%) and facilitator (3%) applications.

 

UIFI’s Reach: By the Numbers

  • 943 students from 298 colleges and universities attended.
  • Members from 118 fraternities and sororities attended.
  • 168 fraternities, sororities, campuses or chapters provided UIFI scholarships.
  • 198 facilitators and 27 interns helped put on the program.
  • Participants completed 2,282 hours of community service to help 24 local agencies.

 

Students Show Growth and Gains

In a pre/post assessment of the program, as a result of attending UIFI, students showed double-digit growth in all areas measured. Undergraduates also reported positive gains in leadership skills, commitment, and confidence to make an impact in their chapters and communities.

  • 97.37% reported they are a better leader because of UIFI.
  • 97.65% reported that as a result of UIFI, they are going to positively impact their chapter.
  • 96.78% reported that as a result of UIFI, they are going to positively impact their community.

“UIFI has been an experience unlike any other that I have been a part of previously,” said Joshua Whiting, a member of Phi Kappa Psi at Rowan University. “I have learned countless things that I cannot wait to take back to my chapter.”

As for facilitators, they reported the program is innovative and “the best of its kind,” and 100% said they would encourage students to attend.

 

For additional highlights from the program evaluation, read our one-pager.

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