Fraternity hosts administrators
By Alison Hoachlander
A few members of Sigma Phi Epsilon rushed into the house Monday night after a vigorous softball game and raced upstairs to prepare for the evening.
Meanwhile, other members of the house stood dressed in shirts and ties of various colors, anxiously awaiting the arrival of three important guests.
Around 7 p.m., Penn State President Graham Spanier, Dean Christian Brady of the Schreyer Honors College, and Damon Sims, the newly elected vice president of student affairs, made their way into the Sigma Phi Epsilon house to offer answers and guidance to its members.
The brothers had invited the trio to address issues pertaining to the university and student life, Spanier said.
Although discussion touched upon everything from football tickets to enrollment in specific majors, most was appropriately aimed at the greek community, specifically Spanier's suggestions on how to "show off the greek system."
"You're passing up opportunities," he said, encouraging the brothers to get involved with Student Affairs, co-sponsor events, and participate in events outside of their house.
However, Sims had nothing but good things to say about the greek community and it's ability to create a sense of belonging and an environment to thrive in.
"If [greek life is] used well, both by individuals and the collective, it can be a wonderful, wonderful thing," he said.
Brady, who was recently appointed as the fraternity's faculty advisor, commended the brothers for their efforts in the community and said he has high hopes for the chapter.
"Nationally they're really trying to set themselves apart," he said.
Michael Repasky, Sigma Phi Epsilon's regional director for mid-Atlantic states, said that the national mission for the chapter involves three things: perpetuating its members, providing a quality experience for them, and providing a fun environment that offers endless opportunities.
"This chapter can be a flagship for the state," Repasky said. "Here is a fraternity that does everything right and well."
At the dinner, Spanier also addressed the recent talk of lowering the drinking age on college campuses.
"By raising that issue, it had the flavor of an endorsement," Spanier said. "The major problem, if not the single most problem at this university, is excessive consumption of alcohol and high risk drinking."
Despite varied support from other universities across the nation, the lowering of the drinking age is something that Spanier said he would not advocate.
"Until we have more compelling evidence that it's the right thing to do, we shouldn't encourage it," he said. "Our efforts here encourage more responsible behavior of our students."
Sigma Phi Epsilon President David Turk said he was extremely pleased with the outcome of the evening, adding that this event is something that the fraternity will most likely hold in the future.
"There were a lot of intelligent questions and we got a lot of good feedback," he said. "To be on the same page makes all the difference."