University of Arizona fraternity and sorority members earned dozens of local, national and international awards this year.
Johanne Ives, the UA assistant dean of students, said many of the approximately 4,000 Greek life members on campus and their chapters consistently earn awards for service, outreach, recruiting, philanthropy, academic excellence and financial management, among other accolades.
Ives, who also directs the UA's Fraternity and Sorority Programs, said fraternities and sororities engage members in programming, both on and off campus.
One UA sorority, the Zeta Omicron chapter of Sigma Kappa, earned the Three Star Standards of Excellence Award, the highest rating a chapter can receive from its national organization. The award is based on criteria relating to personal growth, friendship, loyalty and service.
Robin Wilt, the chapter president, said the Three Star award is indicative of the chapter members' dedication, leadership, sense of accountability and maintenance of sorority values.
"It really is a prestigious award, and it is very hard to get," said Wilt, a UA physiology senior. "Many chapters only meet minimum standards, and our chapter worked hard to go above and beyond what was expected of us. Previously, we had just been meeting standards."
The chapter then implemented a committee system, dispersing leadership activities toward specific goals, particularly around event planning, fundraising and member accountability. "So it's not a one-person job to get these awards. It's a chapter achievement," Wilt said.
The UA chapter also received the Academic Achievement Award and Platinum Circle Giving Award for being among those with the highest donation amounts to the Sigma Kappa Foundation.
Among the other national and international awards UA chapters and students took this year are:
- The UA Phi Gamma Delta chapter earned second place for the William S. Zerman Trophy, awarded each year to chapters that are most involved in promoting the involvement of members in leadership and extracurricular activities.
- The Pi Kappa Alpha chapter swept international convention awards, taking seven awards for programming, recruitment initiatives, attendance and participation, among other efforts.
- Alpha Phi sorority received four awards during its national convention, including recognition for outstanding recruitment.
- The Phi Delta Theta chapter received the Risk Management Citation Award and Hayward S. Biggers Ritual Award, which is for demonstrated adherence to the laws of the fraternity.
- Delta Sigma Phi's chapter president, Chandler Reinagel, who is studying marketing at UA, earned the Order of Syphinx Award, a national award that is granted each year to undergraduates who make the strongest contributions to their chapter and campus.
- The Delta Lambda Phi chapter earned the Chapter of the Year designation from its national office. The fraternity also earned the Excellence in Community Service and Excellence in Campus Involvement awards.
Delta Lambda Phi also earned local awards. Among the UA awards, the fraternity was awarded the Most Outstanding Community Service Program, Most Outstanding Collaborative Program, Most Outstanding Social Justice Advocate and the chapter also received the President Award for Servant Leadership.
"These awards mean the world to our chapter as it shows that we are living out our fraternity motto to 'make our presence make a difference,'" said Sean Rhude, vice president of Delta Lambda Phi, the Omega Chapter, who also is a UA business management junior.
"We are thrilled to see that our efforts are garnering attention and support from both our international office and our local campus community," Rhude also said. "It drives our brothers to continue to try and make a difference as well as shows them that we can accomplish anything to which we set our minds."
The chapter, which was founded at the UA six years ago, has 12 active members and more than 80 past members, Rhude said. He noted that the organization supports the Southern Arizona Aids Foundation, Wingspan, the Eon Youth lounge and the UA Office of LGBTQ Affairs.
"Our priorities as a chapter are to develop dignified and purposeful activities for all men irrespective of sexual orientation, as well as to lead in determining the rights of individuals in society, through respect and the promotion of a positive and strong image," Rhude said.
And while the fraternity targets men who identify as gay, bisexual and transgender, it is open to all men.
"Our organization prizes our dedication to inclusivity and diversity. For our chapter, it is not simply enough to know that oppression exists," Rhude said.
"Without the support and work of all of our brothers (including the work and support of our allied heterosexual brothers), our chapter would not be where it is today," he added. "For our chapter, awareness must be followed up with action and words must be back up with initiative. In essence, when it comes to combating systems of power and oppression, Delta Lambda Phi-Omega chapter puts its money where its mouth is."