Taylor Zenz—Graduating Senior

by TAYLOR ZENZ, CSU Public Relations Intern

With an assignment of writing a personal reflection of my past 4 years at MSU, I’m sitting here with a blank page and a million things to say, yet I can’t seem to move my fingers across the keyboard.

Maybe it’s because I’m in denial that I’m graduating. Maybe it’s because I’m excited or actually very sad. Maybe it’s all the above.

I’ll start here – my time here at MSU has been everything that I had ever hoped for and much, much more.

From crying because I didn’t want to leave my mom and sister behind when I moved into the dorms to now tearing up writing this article because I don’t want to leave Mankato, it’s been quite the ride. In high school, I was an incredibly shy and quiet girl who didn’t know her place. When I tell people that now, they don’t believe me for a second. I have MSU to thank for turning me into an independent, enthusiastic, social human being who found a passion for leadership.

Of course, learning these things didn’t come easy, however, I got extremely lucky with my journey.

Being involved with MSU was one of the greatest decisions that I’ve made. Whether my time was being dedicated to my studies, Greek Life, Dance Marathon or the CSU, every long-hour day and sleepless night was worth it. With my involvement, I met the most influential people that this campus has to offer. From their teachings, I have become someone who I, myself, have become proud of.

The most important thing that I’ve learned is that growth only comes from being uncomfortable. From making friends, pursuing relationships and taking on leadership roles, stepping out of my comfort zone gave me my most cherished items and people.

Yes, we’re here in college to get a degree, but our time here is so much more than that. It’s about learning what it takes to succeed. It’s about learning how to get back on our feet after being down. It’s about meeting people we connect with. It’s about finding our lifelong friends and people who will be in our weddings. It’s about meeting those who we want to go into business with or spend the rest of our lives with.

I’d like to thank my freshman dorm neighbor who ultimately was responsible for breaking open my shell. To my squad who took me in as one of the “bros”, thank you for looking out for me the past 4 years. To my sorority best friends and roommates, thank you for being the best dang comedians, therapists and dancers that Mankato EVER saw. Thank you to my mom and sister for always being of constant support. And of course, thank you to my professors, advisors, mentors and co-workers at the CSU – you’ve all taught me so much. But mostly, I’d like to thank myself for the allowance of being open to different opportunities and endeavors.

I hold very high hopes of the future and I know that I can achieve them because of the valuable time that I’ve spent on this campus. When you’re in my shoes, a week shy of graduation, I know that you all will feel the same way.

2018 Greek Week Champions Have Been Named

by TIARA JELLUM, Panhellenic Council Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing

Mankato, Minn.— The Fraternity & Sorority Community’s annual Greek Week officially ended Friday at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The theme of this year’s week was “Farewell to the 90s – Cartoon Edition,” and lasted from Monday, April 9-April 13. The sororities and fraternities competed in events to accumulate points for their respective chapters while giving back to the community.

The events included a coin drive, won by Sigma Nu which resulted in more than $250.00 being donated to Habitat for Humanity. A Salvation Army clothing drive was also held. More than 4,000 items of clothing were donated. A popular event, the Cardboard Boat Regatta forced chapters to race boats made only from cardboard and duct tape across the Highland Center Pool was won by Alpha Chi Omega. The much-anticipated lip sync competition was won by the men of Sigma Nu, and the Greek God and Goddess were Ryan Muenchow from Sigma Nu, and Catherine Miller from Sigma Sigma Sigma. The overall winners of Greek Week were Sigma Nu in first place, Alpha Chi Omega in second place and Sigma Sigma Sigma in third place.

Fraternity & Sorority Awards Presented at Annual Banquet

by TIARA JELLUM, Panhellenic Council Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing

Mankato, Minn.— The Fraternity and Sorority Life Banquet was held in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom Sunday April 15 with attendees braving bad weather to make it to campus for the annual event.

Individual and chapter awards, recognizing organizational and individual excellence, and contributions to both the Fraternity & Sorority Community and the Minnesota State Mankato Community were presented as part of the evening’s program.

Highlights of the evening included the recognition of the Marie Bruce Fraternity Man and Sorority Woman of the Year. This award is the highest honor members of the Fraternity & Sorority Community can individually achieve. This year’s honorees were Alex Beck of Phi Delta Theta and Emily Sweeny of Gamma Phi Beta. Beck, a graduating senior majoring in Sport Management served Phi Delta Theta as both President and Recruitment Chairman. He later served the Interfraternity Council as its Vice President of Conduct Review. He worked as an intern with Minnesota State Athletics and will continue at MSU as a graduate student in the Sport Management program.

Sweeny is graduating with a major in Dance and Sport Management. She served both Gamma Phi Beta Vice President and Panhellenic Council President. She plans to attend Mankato YMCA as a sports camp intern.

John and Kristy Buck Leadership Scholarship Matt McDavid, Phi Kappa Psi, Katelind Keating, Alpha Chi Omega

Reichert Family Leadership Scholarship Kole Kleinschmidt, Phi Delta Theta, Austin Hassebroek, Phi Delta Theta

Stephen C. Jensen Scholarship Sam Hovick Phi Delta Theta Wallace Pope, Phi Delta Theta

Awards for the 2017 Calendar Year Award Period Order of Omega Faculty/Staff Member of the Year

Greg Wilkins, Associate Director of Student Activities

Gea Stanger Memorial Woman of Influence Award Thea Rief, Alumna of Sigma Sigma Sigma

Public Relations & Marketing Award Gamma Phi Beta

Scholars of the Year Brennah McCorkell, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Luke Camden, Sigma Chi

Vawracz Award for Community Service Jolene Fadden, Sigma Sigma Sigma

Humanitarian Chapter of the Year Alpha Chi Omega, Phi Delta Theta

Outstanding Alumnus Volunteer Tim Randolph, Phi Kappa Psi

Sorority & Fraternity President of the Year Mariah Stein, Sigma Sigma Sigma, Joe Zrucky, Sigma Chi

Rissa Amen-Reif Award for Advocacy and Awareness Zoe Schaefer, Alpha Chi Omega, Courtney Kranz, Alpha Sigma Alpha

PHC & IFC Executive Board Members of the Year Charlotte Pfingsten, 2017 PHC VP of Recruitment Alex Beck, 2017 IFC VP of Conduct Review

Outstanding New Members Kate Schmit, Sigma Sigma Sigma Joel Rains, Lambda Chi Alpha

Marie Bruce Sorority Woman & Fraternity Man of the Year Emily Sweeny, Gamma Phi Beta Alex Beck, Phi Delta Theta

Brotherhood and Sisterhood Awards Gamma Phi Beta Phi Kappa Psi

Most Improved Chapter Award Sigma Chi

Chapter Achievement Awards Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Gamma Phi Beta, Sigma Sigma Sigma Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Chi

Chapter of the Year Alpha Chi Omega Phi Delta Theta

2018 Greek Week Winners 1st Place – Sigma Nu 2nd Place – Alpha Chi Omega 3rd Place – Sigma Sigma Sigma

For the prestigious title of Chapter of the Year, each chapter was evaluated on different criteria. The categories include Campus Involvement, Community Service and Philanthropy, Greek Community Involvement, Membership Recruitment and Retention, Risk Management, Scholarship, and Membership Education and Development. This award was given to the Phi Delta Theta and the Alpha Chi Omega.

The Minnesota State University, Mankato, Greek Community has been present on campus for more than 50 years and is comprised of approximately 400 students from six fraternities and four sororities. The Community’s core values are leadership

MSU Dance Marathon Continues to Make Miracles

More Than $30,000 Raised For Gillette Specialty Healthcare

By BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Intern

After a record-breaking fundraising effort, MSU Dance Marathon is already starting to prepare for next year’s Mavathon.

MSU Dance Marathon set a Minnesota record by raising over $30,000 for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare between April 2017 and February 2018. The efforts were celebrated Feb. 24 with the group’s featured “Mavathon” event.

The 11-hour event included testimonials from families benefitting from money Dance Marathon raises, mini fundraisers, games, free food, karaoke, bowling, billiards, Zumba, capture the flag, cosmic bingo and more. The event was a huge success, despite some unfriendly weather.

“We had a snowstorm the day of Mavathon, which proved to be challenging at some points, but overall the event went awesome,” said Sarah McClain, one of the 2018-2019 Dance Marathon co-presidents.

McClain and her co-president, Reggie Evenson, aren’t sitting back on the success of the event. They’ve already started accepting applications for the next executive board, which is responsible for planning Mavathon and coordinating the various fundraisers throughout the year. McClain said she’s excited for what’s to come because being a part of the executive team has been a great experience.

“Being on exec was extremely rewarding and taught me a lot about leadership,” she said. “It’s a great way to get involved and it also looks very good on a resume.”

Graduate advisor for the exec team, Travis Higgs, said Dance Marathon has made him feel like he’s made a difference in the world.

“I have an extreme soft spot for philanthropy and giving back to the community. We are directly impacting our local Gillette Children’s Specialty Heathcare,” he said. “The wonderful feeling of working hard and seeing the event come to life is extremely rewarding.”

The executive board needs a wide variety of people as the positions cover everything from event planning to recruiting to marketing to donations and fundraising. Positions on the executive board include the following chairs: operations, entertainment and events, catering, marketing and media, finance, fundraising, corporate donations and sponsorships, family relations and morale captain.

Applications can be found on MSU Dance Marathon’s Orgsync page at https://orgsync.com/65960/forms/99860. A valid Minnesota State University Star ID and password is required to apply.

Dance Marathon is a nationwide organization that raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network and its affiliates. Marathons, like Mavathon, are student-planned events at colleges and high schools all across the nation. Collectively, dance marathons have raised $5 billion for the Children’s Miracle Network. Mavathon is Minnesota’s largest dance marathon and has raised more than $100,000 for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare dating back to 2009 when it started at MSU.

Brother & Sisterhood Spikes GPA

by TAYLOR ZENZ, CSU Public Relations Intern

Semester after semester, MSU fraternity men and sorority women set the bar high for academic standards. During fall semester, the Greek community on campus maintained a 3.13 grade point average surpassing the university’s accumulative average GPA of 3.03.

Each fraternity and sorority member has to maintain a GPA requirement for membership. However, if a particular GPA goal is reached on an individual level, chapters give incentives and rewards to those who go above and beyond.

The Fraternity & Sorority Life community also likes to reward their members with an event called “Pie for Pi,” in which members who reach a 3.14 GPA or higher are rewarded with a piece of pie at the first “All-Greek” meeting of the semester. Also, they receive recognition in the MSU newspaper, The Reporter.

“Fraternities and sororities become a mini support system for studying and are great motivators,” said Jordan Schindler, VP of Member Development and Education for Fraternity & Sorority Life. “You step into a network of diverse students on our campus and are most likely to find someone in the same major or classes as yourself and they are more than willing to help you out.”

With leadership and scholarship being two of their four core values, the Greek community is always raising their goal to set a higher GPA. This year, they hope to maintain an All Greek Average GPA of 3.14.

“I believe this goal will be reached by our amazing fraternity men and sorority women,” Schindler said. “Greek Life is life training that helps people learn how to set and reach goals on a deadline, take on leadership positions for a group of people and are always striving to improve the community around us.”

For fraternity and sorority members, maintaining good grades comes before anything else. Some chapters even require midterm checks—a required meeting with their professors about their grades halfway through the semester. This not only helps with seeing where they stand in class, but it also offers facetime with their professor, which can be a rare opportunity for students. Schindler says that midterm checks are beneficial because “executive members are able to catch problems before it is too late to help members be more successful in their classes.”

She mentions that members are motivated to get good grades because if the standards aren’t met, the opportunities and friendships that come with Fraternity & Sorority Life are in jeopardy.

“Having others look out for your success helps in the end,” Schindler added.

To learn more about Fraternity & Sorority life on campus, visit www.maverickgreeks.com

57-Year History: Traditions Old and New Help Greek Community Flourish

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

Marie Bruce, “The First Lady of Mankato State”

Despite periods of unrest and uncertainty, Fraternity and Society Life at Minnesota State Mankato continues to evolve and preserve values as new generations take the baton.

To propel the Greek community and their initiatives into the future, members are resurrecting traditions from the past.

Mavathon, a fun-filled day of dance, games and food, was revived in 2011 after an 8-year hiatus and has been held annually ever since raising over $100,000 in charity for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

This year was state record-breaking with around $30,000 raised.

“The students at MSU, Mankato are making an investment in the children treated at Gillette, because often times they have to be seen throughout their lifetimes,” said Becky DeRosia, Development Associate for Gillette in Our Chapter: Celebrating 50 years of Leadership, Scholarship, Service and Friendship by Ashley Portra. “MSU, Mankato has not only brought back a tradition on their campus but is also giving the children at Gillette a brighter future.”

‘MSU, Mankato has not only brought back a tradition on their campus but is also giving the children at Gillette a brighter future.’

– Becky DeRosia, Gillette Children’s Speciality Healthcare

Charity events like Mavathon have been crucial to Greek societies’ success and purpose. The 50-year anniversary of Greek life at MSU was monumental because it showed that persistence in fellowship and camaraderie can keep a dream alive even through a rough patch.

With the majority of young people in the 1960s and ’70s opposed to the Vietnam War, a wall was built between some of the nation’s youth and their pro-war elders. Political movements and disagreement between students and administration during the 1970s nearly brought an end to MSU’s Greek Life as we know it today. Club members weren’t displaying their letters and mostly operated behind the scenes. With time things began to recuperate and the growth is still ongoing.

“When arriving on campus in 2007, I did not know there were fraternities and sororities,” said Erik Heller, Lambda Chi Alpha alumnus in Our Chapter: Celebrating 50 years. “Now it’s hard to go around campus without seeing Greek letters, members, events, or posters.”

On its 50th birthday in 2011, the Greek community reached 400 members for the first time with help from John Bulcock, assistant director of Student Activities for Greek Life and Off-Campus Housing. His contribution has helped to boost community size and enthusiasm with members and non-members. Bulcock’s success in growing Greek interest parallels one of his predecessors—Marie Bruce.

Bruce, “The First Lady of Mankato State,” acted as the main driving force behind Greek development and pride at MSU. As Dean of Women, she worked to gain accreditation from the American Association of University Women and established a strong interest in Greek life on campus with help from Dr. Margaret Preska and Dr. Clarence Crawford.

“In 1957, 13 men founded Alpha Beta Mu, the first social fraternity on the Mankato State College campus, under the ideals of brotherhood, scholarship, service, and development of leadership and social qualities,” Portra writes in Our Chapter: Celebrating 50 years. “Originally students and administration opposed officially recognizing the group as an organization however because of their persistence and interest in community service, Alpha Beta Mu was granted recognition as MSC’s first local fraternity on campus by the Student Senate on February 4, 1959.”

Bruce’s vision for a more cohesive campus and Alpha Beta Mu’s determination to be recognized as an accredited entity paved the road for a total of 10 nationally recognized fraternities and sororities at MSU today. Tens of thousands of Mankato brothers and sisters have had the opportunity to develop leadership, friendship, scholarship and service skills with help from their peers and alums.

As Bruce said, “to be Greek is to be involved and to learn the necessity of cooperation.”

 

 

Shining Light on the Reality of Greek Life

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

Movies like Animal House and American Pie paint a fictitious picture of what it means to be in a fraternity. There is no shortage of fun in fraternities and sororities, but togas, hazing and chapter houses overflowing with empty beer bottles are traits of a fantastical Greek lifestyle.

Black robes and candles and chants might lead an uninformed citizen (like myself before this column) to think of this society as some type of witchy cult. Knowing that there was more to the story, I made a quick google search and had a chat with some members at MSU to get educated.

“We are the same as any other college kid,” said Brett Marshall, Phi Delta Theta member. “We hang out at peoples’ houses, play and watch sports, play video games and go out on the weekends. But on top of that, we like to host and coordinate events that get us involved in the community and with charities of causes we’re passionate about.”

Sports? Video games? They really do sound like any other twenty-something, so why are there so many stereotypes surrounding Greek Life?

“Most of these stereotypes exists because of movies and the media,” Marshall explained. “On the fraternity side, there’s often a connotation that we don’t treat women with respect. There’s also just the generic ‘Brad the Frat Guy’ stereotype, which is usually someone who drinks all the time, isn’t respectful and coasts through everything. The problem is the only time we get press coverage is when something bad happens, which obviously that needs to be heard, but they never cover the good things.”

Fraternity and Sorority Life’s MSU Dance Marathon had a record-breaking year as the event raised $30,000 for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. In addition, the Greek community will have raised nearly $10,000 for other charities including: Huntsman Cancer Research, Live Like Lou Foundation and CADA (Committee Against Domestic Abuse).

“Within the community, we support the CADA house downtown, which is the domestic violence shelter in Mankato,” said Taylor Zenz, Alpha Chi Omega member. “In supporting them, we make monthly donations of basic necessities, such as soap, toothpaste and deodorant for victims.”

Self-indulgence isn’t a common characteristic of the community—in fact, it’s the polar opposite. Zenz helped drive the point home by citing the four core values of Greek members:

  • Friendship
  • Leadership
  • Scholarship
  • Service

While there have been cases of illegal hazing and sexual misconduct in some fraternities and sororities throughout the country, that behavior has no place in a bona fide Greek society. After peeling away the societal misconceptions built by Hollywood and other media, I was able to see that this community’s focus is on being the best you can be through personal and communal achievement.

Greek Week April 9-13 Goes Beyond Fun Events

By BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Intern

 

Next week’s Greek Week is more than just fun competition among chapters. Rather, the tradition stretching back to 1966 holds a special place in the hearts of the Fraternity and Sorority Life at Minnesota State Mankato.

For many, the week is starting to take on a new meaning.

“Greek Week is so important to our community because it’s the one week a year that we get to come together to celebrate each other and the hard work that we do throughout the year,” said Emma Thole, Panhellenic Council president.

While the week focuses on traditions and unity, it also spotlights the community’s values of friendship, leadership and service. Events during the week include a clothing drive where all donations collected go to the Salvation Army. In past years, over 1,000 items were collected. Other events include a cardboard boat regatta, a cookout, a lip sync competition and a Greek God/Goddess competition.

These are all events that have long been a part of Greek Week — traditions that will continue to live on in the spirit of togetherness.

“Traditions bring people together. They create a sense of unity and accomplishment between the organizations involved,” said Christian Brollier, vice president of Public Relations and Marketing for the Interfraternity Council.

Brollier says much of the community’s accomplishment comes from leadership.

“Fraternity and sorority life has many opportunities for you to get involved and become an effective leader—not just within our community, but also on campus,” he added.

That campus leadership is prominent as fraternities and sororities are one of the most involved groups on campus. Each year, they raise thousands of dollars for charity, complete over 5,000 hours of community service and achieve a GPA higher than the undergraduate average. Many of them are involved in other prominent campus organizations like dance marathon, student government and residential life.

Greek Week begins Monday, April 9 and concludes Friday, April 13. All of the week’s events are free and open to the public. For a full schedule of events and updates throughout Greek Week, follow @MaverickGreeks on Twitter and Instagram.

5 College Student Horror Stories from a Snow Day

Brett Marshall is a Public Relations Intern with the Centennial Student Union Communications Office.

by Brett Marshall

Snow days are usually days when students celebrate and rejoice, but sometimes they don’t play out that way. Here are five horror stories college students have had on a snow day.

1. I forgot to check my email and ended up going to school.

A truly horrifying realization. You put in the effort to get ready for the day and make your way to campus only to realize it was a ghost town. Now you must trek back through a blizzard and crawl back into your warm bed that you could’ve stayed in in the first place.

2. I still had to go to work.

No school is great, but some people are unfortunate enough to have to go work. And aside from the extra cash in your bank account, it’s four to eight hours of maybe one to two customers coming through the door.

3. My snow blower didn’t work.

There’s nothing worse than having a snow day and having the one thing you need to clear the snow break down. Usually a snow day means copious amounts of white fluff piling on up on your driveway or in your parking lot. You can’t ignore it, so instead, you have to  invest all of your energy in shoveling in hopes that you’re able to get your car out, which leads me to the next horror.

4. Chipotle had BOGO, but my car was buried.

The Madison Ave Chipotle had a BOGO Snow Day Special, but many students missed out on it due to their cars being buried under 13.5 inches of snow and treacherous road conditions. It was a rare occasion where Chipotle just wasn’t quite worth it.

5. I went into a ditch.

Yep, it can happen to anyone. Sometimes you think you’re superman or you really wanted that BOGO Chipotle or had to slump your way into work. Whatever the reason, you found yourself in the wrath of Mother Nature’s blizzard. You’re taking extreme caution, but your car doesn’t care. You start to go around a curve and the next thing you know your car is in the ditch. You sob softly wishing you had just stayed home today wondering why you live in a place that gets so much snow.