The Laurel Wreath Award is presented to individuals or groups in recognition of their unique programs, community outreach, or influence within the fraternal world.
Congratulations to the 2018 Laurel Wreath Award recipients! Browse below to learn more about each honoree.
ALPHA TAU OMEGA
Now in its second year, Alpha Tau Omega and Talkspace have partnered to provide professional, confidential mental health support to their undergraduate members. With college and university counseling centers overwhelmed by students, resulting in days if not weeks of wait time before an appointment with a professional, ATO recognized the need to provide an alternative solution. Each ATO member receives up to three Talkspace sessions complimentary of the National Fraternity. ATO is also partnering with Talkspace for ongoing mental health presentations. This summer at their biennial convention, a mental health professional from Talkspace will present to undergraduate presidents, vice presidents and other attendees on mental health and ways chapters can support good mental health. The ATO/Talkspace partnership is a first within the interfraternity community.
ASSOCIATE MEMBER EDUCATION PROGRAM
Delta Upsilon’s Associate Member Education Program launched to all chapters in summer 2016 after a year of piloting. The objective of the in-person, eight-week program is to provide growth and development for the fraternity’s newest members (called Associate Members) in alignment with the Delta Upsilon Membership Outcomes. The program includes a foundational base of knowledge about the organization and a basic understanding of Delta Upsilon policy and governance, as well as skills related to understanding self, how to interact with others and how to process information. It is designed to give students tools they can utilize to further their learning and development as they encounter different experiences and issues throughout their membership experience and beyond. Member data shows the program is having positive effects on membership, with member attitudes and behaviors improving in a number of critical areas since implementation. These areas include hazing, alcohol use, belonging, self-esteem and more.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE
PHI KAPPA PSI
Phi Kappa Psi juniors and seniors attend the fraternity’s Professional Development Conference to enhance their professional skills prior to graduation. The vision of Phi Psi’s membership development team was to create a comprehensive three-day experience that prepares undergraduates for a successful career through exploring leadership competencies. Through workshops, networking opportunities, and one-on-one coaching, the conference leaves participants feeling prepared to tackle their post-collegiate career. Specific topics covered by the program include interview skils and resume building, learning how to “dress for success,” stress management and a healthy work-life balance, and using networking skills in both a professional manner and with Phi Psi alumni. Participants also learn how to make good judgments quickly, sell themselves in any interaction and manage conflict and difficult conversations. The first year of the program was an overwhelming success with 138 students and 24 alumni coaches participating. The long-term goal is to identify the funding to establish two to three regional conferences each year beginning in 2019.
PREPARATION FOR BROTHERHOOD
Sigma Chi’s Preparation for Brotherhood Program (P4B) is a first-of-its-kind approach to new member orientation. The program’s goal is to ensure that each member, regardless of chapter, receives the same education about Sigma Chi. Through a blended learning approach, brothers engage one another in person as well as through experiential activities, readings and online modules using the new Sigma Chi U learning management system. Preparation for Brotherhood also goes into the field of whole brain learning. Using all senses that might appeal to various learning styles, P4B sets the student up from day one to understand what the organization they are joining actually stands for and how to apply those values to their lives. By teaching material in a way that resonates with and inspires the student and helps them absorb the materials, the cognitive dissonance gap starts to close. Students become more conscious of their actions and attuned to what the organization espouses, and are more likely to hold each other accountable to the promises and obligations they took to live their lives in a certain way.
The Sigma Nu Mentor Network is an on-demand mentoring platform for career and professional development. Offered in partnership with FirstHand, the network is an online “flash mentoring” platform, which allows advisees (mentees) to choose an advisor (mentor) for a brief one-on-one conversation. Advisees then have the ability to schedule additional consultations with the same or other advisors. Flash mentoring also gives advisees access to Sigma Nu’s entire alumni network. The concept was born out of a 2013 survey Sigma Nu conducted in partnership with 12 other fraternities. Collegiate respondents indicated strong belief in the value of fraternal networking and the benefit an online networking platform would add to their membership. The Sigma Nu Mentor Network initially launched in fall 2016 for a targeted group of active volunteers and top students. It was further launched to new initiates and general alumni during the 2017-18 academic year. The network now boasts over 300 active advisors and 462 active advisees, and still growing.
SUMMIT AGAINST HATE
SIGMA ALPHA MU, ZETA BETA TAU, ALPHA EPSILON PHI, SIGMA DELTA TAU
Sigma Alpha Mu, Zeta Beta Tau, Alpha Epsilon Phi and Sigma Delta Tau designed the Summit Against Hate to help student affairs professionals respond to and prevent hate incidents. In response to a rise in hate incidents on college campuses, the goal of the Summit is to educate on proactively and reactively handling hate issues. On Dec. 3, 2017, the Summit hosted over 30 interfraternal and student affairs professionals and was successful in creating meaningful conversations, providing education and sowing seeds of change. One student panelist said, “The Summit confirmed for me that people are dedicated to these issues [racism and prejudice]. It was also a sad but necessary reminder that Jews can still be targeted. If it wasn’t for the summit I wouldn’t have chosen to dedicate my time to also standing up for other minorities.”