UMD Fraternity Takes Home Five Awards
Maija Johnson and Eva Moua
Jul 21, 2021
Tau Kappa Epsilon is Recognized For Remarkable Contributions
UMD’s Upsilon-Gamma Chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE, pronounced “teak”) has once again been recognized as one of the leading national student groups. They have been acknowledged for “making remarkable contributions” to the Duluth community and nation. The fraternity received five awards for 2020/2021: three for Excellence of Achievement (for academic success, education, and an honorable mention from St. Jude Children's Hospital), Excellence in Recruitment (for chapter size), and Excellence in Involvement (for community service).
UMD's TKE was installed as a chapter on March 24, 2001. The current officers are Evan Jones (president), Micah Hjelle (vice president), Trystan Bachman (secretary), Nick Harliep (treasurer), Cody Skwira (educator), Holden Ketchum (chaplain), Jed Olson (historian), and Ben Paschke (sergeant-at-arms).
The Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity has more than 225 active chapters and colonies throughout the United States and Canada. TKE’s slogan is Better Men for a Better World, and they seek “to aid men in their mental, moral, and social development for life.”
Tim Roufs, professor of anthropology and advisor to the organization, says, “Kim, my wife, and I continue to be as proud as can be of this outstanding group of students and their many accomplishments, and literally cherish the opportunity to continue our association with them on both professional and personal levels.”
He continues, “We are proud of the fact that when we walked into the International Headquarters of Tau Kappa Epsilon in Indianapolis, they all know of... UMD's many continuing accomplishments."
The student leaders agree. “Joining TKE during my freshman year at UMD was the most impactful decision that I’ve made in my life," says Micah Hjelle, a marketing analytics major. "Having the opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives along with my closest friends is really special to me. We've worked with organizations like St. Jude and Special Olympics Minnesota. TKE has definitely given my college career greater purpose.”
The Duluth TKE chapter's continuous success as individuals and as a group is an honor to the Duluth community and UMD.
This story was co-written by UMD student Maija Johnson, majoring in journalism, and Eva Moua, majoring in communication. Eva and Maija work with Cheryl Reitan in University Marketing and Public Relations.
This story was originally posted on: https://news.d.umn.edu/articles/tau-kappa-epsilon-2021
This year, I am excited and honored to serve as the Vice President of Recruitment for the Panhellenic Council. I know how important recruitment is to the overall life and well-being of sorority life, so I am super passionate and excited about this position. This year I hope to get our Panhellenic Association back on track with policies, work with all the chapters who are participating in Continuous Open Bidding, and help improve all of the recruitment processes to make it a better experience for both PNMs and the chapters. I am also excited for the new position on the board this year, Recruitment Assistant. In the short time Shayan and I have been working together, we have already come up with so many great ideas we want to implement, and have worked together to split up this huge role and make it more manageable for both of us.
I joined a sorority my first semester of freshman year in 2017. I was really hesitant because I didn't have any friends coming into college and I didn't know what to expect. I always thought I would never join a sorority in high school, but after going through formal recruitment with my dorm neighbor, I learned it was the best decision I have ever made. Throughout formal recruitment I didn't know what to expect, but it was a really fun experience where I was able to talk to new people and make connections! Through the process of recruitment, I was able to find my new home and my support system.
In my organization, I have been able to meet my best friends, roommates, and have had the opportunity of holding a leadership position in my organization as well as on the Panhellenic Council! There are a lot of different reasons for people to stay in their sorority, but for me it has taught me to be more confident and have a voice on campus. My sisters always uplift me and help me when I need it, and this has made a huge impact on my collegiate career.
On Saturday, February 15, Greek Life at UMD participated in the Polar Plunge presented by law enforcement for Special Olympics Minnesota. Greek Life has made a tradition of jumping into the cold waters of Lake Superior in the middle of winter.
"Each year, the Polar Plunge challenges thousands of brave jumpers at numerous locations around the state. It’s a great way for everyone—individuals, organizations and businesses—to get involved in supporting Special Olympics Minnesota. All funds raised go towards programming and events for more than 8,000 athletes statewide" (plungemn.org).
This year seven of UMD's ten organization's participated with 112 members registered to jump. They raised $21,897 for the event. The University of Minnesota Duluth raised $25,191 for the Polar Plunge and is the national leader for funds raised for the College/University group.
Coming Back From AFLV
The Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values or AFLV is a four day long all greek conference that hosts over 3,500 students and advisors. Three UMD students attended the conference for the first time this year. This was their biggest take aways from the conference.
Ally Cuabo (GLC President) - After my time at AFLV, I have learned many things! This conference has really pushed me out of my comfort zone. From talking and participating in with large groups, being around many people(I’m a little claustrophobic), to navigating a city I have never been to before. I think one of the greatest things that I will be taking back with me, is how I can make a difference in my chapter and hopefully on our campus. A lot of the speakers I went to see talked about how to retain members and how to keep them engaged. Another speaker that stood out to me talked about things successful chapters are doing and what unsuccessful chapters are doing. These were two of my favorite because not only did I learn a lot of great tips, the speakers were amazing to listen to. Another speaker there helped me realized what we can do to be not only better sisters, but be better friends and women in our daily lives. What I hope to implement on our campus and within my own chapter are efforts to market to potential new members what our organizations are really about and not just the aesthetics. I want to showcase our philanthropies and the people those impact and what it looks and feels like to have a Greek family and the love and support we feel.
Max Walker (IFC President) - What I learned from ALFV was a massive amount of greek culture. From learning things like what stepping is and African American students taking back tradition and learning that tradition isn’t always correct and if we want to continue to exist as greek life we need to consistently make changes and improve for the better and continuing to hold tradition because it’s the way we’ve always done things isn’t the correct way to improve or better our greek community.An awesome thing about this conference that we’re lacking here is the diversity of people and events that other campuses have and use to their advantage. A prime example of this was the University of Mississippi where most of their student population is greek and they are then in turn able to use that to improve their community and campus.
Something I’m bringing back to campus is a better understanding of nationals and how to communicate with our nationals for campus issues here. Aforementioned another great thing about this conference was being added to a group chat of nearly 200 IFC presidents where I can pose questions to them and solve our campus issues with what did and didn’t work on their campuses.
I would highly recommend this conference for up and coming leaders within the community to learn effective leadership styles for accomplishing as much as they can in their time at UMD.
Faith Mumphrey (Gamma Sigma Sigma Vice President of Recruitment) - I was lucky enough to get nominated to go to the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values conference in Indianapolis this past January. The conference was a big jump for me as there were around 4,000 other college students there from all over the country and I am a very introverted person. So as you can imagine, it was a little overwhelming at times. Though by the end of the trip, moving through large crowds and talking to other students seemed to come with ease. I learned a lot while at the conference as I attended several informational sessions. Many sessions that I went to revolved around recruitment of new members as I am Vice President of Recruitment for Gamma Sigma Sigma. An interesting take which can sometimes be overlooked should be focusing on our own members before we can improve our recruitment efforts. When we are leading our general members, we should be leading by example and keeping each other accountable. We can’t be better unless we do better. When our new members join our organizations they are educated about our organizations and why we were founded, but often that educational value can get lost as we become older members. Continuing education about the reasons we joined, policy changes, and new opportunities for our members helps to keep all of our members informed and up to date.
A question we should be asking ourselves and discussing in our executive boards and even with the general members is the question of why our members leave? There are 3 main reasons I learned about that I would like to share with all of you and encourage you to think about.
The first is misaligned expectations.
Well we all believe that when we recruit that we are telling our PNM’s everything they should know about our org, that is what new member education is about. Though maybe we aren’t being as transparent as we think. Do our social media platforms reflect how we actually run as an organization? Do we just post the best pictures and make our feeds look trendy? Yes that may get new freshman PNM’s attention, but that does not keep our members. It’s a reality check for some people when we actually aren’t happy go lucky, we love each other every time we see each other, and we definitely do not always dress up in matching outfits. Clearly defining what it is we do and WHY we do it can be harder than you think. Why does it matter to our org and how can they be impactful when apart of our organization? What do they receive by being an active member? Explain to PNM’s how our values show up in our day to day lives. If one of your values is service then what does that look like? How do you achieve the value of service? New members want to know how their lives will change by being in our organizations. Explaining to them how much time it will take out of their week or even day and being honest about that can avoid the differences in expectations versus the reality of being in our orgs.
The second is discord or drama.
If there is drama happening within our organizations then there is a deficiency in our communication. To lessen this, we should practice conflict management within our organizations.
Teach your members about “I” messaging:
If you have a conflict arise
“I feel....(tell the other person how you feel)
....when.......(describe the event that caused your feelings, be specific)
....because.....(explain to them why the event made you feel that way)
....please....”(tell them how you would like the event to be different or what you would like to happen)
How to respond to this:
“I heard you say you felt.....(repeat to them what they felt)
.....when....(repeat the event that caused them to feel that way)
.....Next time, I......(say what you will or will not do)
But why is “I” messaging important? It teaches people how to explain their emotions and how they are feeling in an effective way while also letting people feel heard and understood. If there are continuous issues within the sorority with rules, then explain and keep explaining risk management. Explain all the rules and regulations in terms that they understand. Not only should we explain the rules and regulations but explain WHY we have them in place and WHY we follow them. This can alleviate confusion and hard feelings if and when individuals get brought to the executive board for an issue.
The third is competition.
Members join because they feel as though our organizations will bring something impactful to their lives. You wouldn’t want to play a sport if you do not have fun playing sports, just like you wouldn’t want to join an organization if you do not have fun while in it. Members leave because they are finding value in something other than our organization. If this is the case then we need to work on providing value up front. Infuse new member lessons with skill lessons, make things affordable and worth it to them. Keep our current members by continuously instilling our values into weekly meetings, make meetings fun and interesting. Your members should not dread going to meeting, if they do, then change up how things are done. Show our members why we are valuable and worth staying for.
Now all of these things that I have learned sounds easier said than done and that is true. Enforcing some of these things will take time and effort to plan and get done but you should start now. The effects of what you begin instilling now will likely not be immediate but it will benefit our organizations in the long run. We need to WORK TOGETHER to improve our organizations and community. Meet with other executive boards and ask what issues they are having, brainstorm ideas on how to fix them. Keeping your organization closed off will not benefit yourselves or anyone else. Being open with other organizations and keeping up communication helps to build bridges to community.
Preparing for AFLV
Three members from the UMD Greek Life community will be attending the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values (AFLV) Central conference this upcoming weekend. They will join over 1,000 of their peers to learn how to better their campus. This is what they hope to learn:
Ally Cuabo (Greek Life Council President) - As I prepare for the American Fraternal Values and Leadership conference, I am feeling many emotions. I am excited, yet nervous, but mostly excited. I have many things I am looking forward to doing and learning. I am really excited to use this experience to bring back new and hopefully helpful information for my chapter and fellow chapters of our Greek Life. Some of the education slots I am looking forward to are on how to keep new members and to keep them engaged. I am also attending a couple of sessions on delivering impactful new member education and strengthening bonds between sisters and fellow women in our Greek community. I feel all of these sessions will be great and hopefully useful for organizations to use besides my own. I hope to bring back great tips and strategies that we can use going forward. I feel that the areas I would like to help are in keeping members engaged and boosting our morale. I think the session on being better friends, better women, and better sisters will be great for that. Also supply me with strategies to create an open and welcoming space for active and incoming members.
My name is Faith Mumphrey and I am the Vice President of Recruitment for Gamma Sigma Sigma’s National Sorority here at UMD. I was lucky enough to be chosen to go along to the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values Conference! As soon as the opportunity arose to apply to go along I submitted my application after an hour of the form being posted. When I heard of the conference I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity not only for my organization but also for all of Greek Life! I joined GSS in the Spring of 2018 at the end of my sophomore year. I was extremely involved with my organization but quickly noticed the lack of community that there was between ALL Greek Life members. I wanted the chance to go to this conference to bring back knowledge about new recruitment methods and how other organizations run around the country. I am excited to gain leadership skills and bring them back to educate others on the information that I learn! Although I am very nervous to meet new people, I am also very excited! Hopefully the weather will be a tad bit warmer as well, that would be a plus!
Max Walker (Interfraternity Council President) - What I’m looking for from this is a way to make a culture shift within our greek life. I believe big changes have to start on a small level and for far too long a stigma has been created around greek life around sexual assault, binge-drinking, and hazing.
Unfortunately that is our stigma, but that doesn’t have to be our reputation. I’m attending informational “sessions”, (like little classes except specifically regarding IFC) and looking to find the little steps to we as a community need to take to in order for us to move forward and eliminate the stigma and ensure that isn’t our reputation.
The other thing I hope to learn from AFLV is how we can communicate more effectively with school leadership. The leadership I want to create relationships with and communicate more effectively with are deans, chancellors department heads, and local law enforcement. As an IFC president I feel this was something in the first half of my term I failed to do.
The reason these relationships matter is to create a symbiotic relationship not only within greek life, but our local community.
Hopefully this is what I learn!
College Panhellenic Academy has come and gone. The three women who attended learned a lot about their respective areas and are excited to share their new found knowledge with the community.
Annabelle Paquin (PHC VP Recruitment) - My past weekend at the National Panhellenic Academy was a great weekend, filled with a lot of learning opportunities and the chance to meet a lot of Panhellenic Women from all over the country. Throughout this weekend, I learned a lot of different tips and tricks on promoting Fraternity and Sorority life and increasing the number of women who sign up to go through the recruitment process. I also learned a lot about Rho Gammas and how to use them more effectively, as well as some advice on how to keep chapters happy during the recruitment process. Additionally, we covered a lot of policies and unanimous agreements, so I am well versed in the recruitment rules. I plan on using this information to ramp up our marketing efforts for primary recruitment in the fall, and improving the overall experience for both Potential New Members and chapters themselves. I am very grateful for my Panhellenic community for allowing me the opportunity to attend this conference, and I am excited to bring back what I've learned to our own community.
Sophia Johnson (PHC President) - I was fortunate to be able to attend the College Panhellenic Academy to learn more about my roles and duties as president of College Panhellenic here on campus. The conference spent a lot of time going over policies and procedures, which is always beneficial. The biggest takeaways I had were from two different speakers. The first speaker spoke about the difference between power and empowerment. Sometimes we tend to overpower people instead of being them the empowerment to make the correct decisions and to strengthen their skills. I hope we can continue to give our members the empowerment they need to make the correct choices while here at the University of Minnesota Duluth. The next speaker spoke about how as women if we want to move ahead in the workplace, we need to use their elbows. She encouraged us to be strong and do not be afraid to speak our minds. but lastly, she wanted all of us to be bosses instead of girl bosses. she wanted us to have power instead of girl power.
I want to encourage members to be the best versions of themselves and to encourage others in our community. I am working towards women acknowledging the success of others to build each other up. After this conference, I have a bunch of ideas and I can not wait to start working on them to better our community.
Lexi Tschida (PHC VP Judicial) - During the College Panhellenic Academy I learned about how my position as Vice President of Judicial works and why we have this position on the council. Along with learning about why we have Panhellenic on our campus and what the meaning behind having our governing documents are. This opportunity allowed me to speak with other members from 26 different sororities that are apart of the National Panhellenic Conference this was a great opportunity to get some ideas of things we can do on our campus to make our Panhellenic community stronger than it already is. How I plan to bring the items that I learned to our community is trying some of the events that other sisters shared with me when at the conference, as well as updating the bylaws, code of ethics, and recruitment rules documents that we have. My position also has a Judicial board and I am excited to start teaching the members that will be on this board what their job is and why it is apart of my position. This entire trip was very knowledgeable from understanding what my position does as well as connecting with not only other Alpha Sigma Tau members across the country but members from other organizations.
When going to the College Panhellenic Community I want to achieve learning what my new position does and bring back information to our chapters that we may have not known about. As well as building my communication skills through the notes that are taken at Executive Board meeting as well as Delegate meeting. Note taking while at the academy will help me to be a better note taker during meetings as well as how the notes should be updated and posted for others to see when they are not able to make it to a meeting. Another one of my big goals is to learn how to share information that is important for chapters to know and how to do it in a timely manner as well as how to word those emails.
Three PHC officers are on their way to the College Panhellenic Academy, hosted by the National Panhellenic Conference. Here is what each officer is hoping to gain from this weekend's training.
Sophia (PHC President) - I look forward to traveling to Indianapolis this weekend for CPA with my fellow executive board. During the conference, I hope to learn how to strengthen my leadership skills and find out how other campuses are improving their sense of community on campus. Our greek community is tight because it is small, but I would love for it to extend past our campus and give us more opportunities to strengthen our community in Duluth with our resources. I look forward to meeting with the rest of the PHC presidents see what they are doing to improve their college community.
Annabelle (PHC VP Recruitment) - This weekend, I am so excited to attend College Panhellenic Academy in Indianapolis. I think this weekend is going to be so much fun and will be a great experience for me to learn more about Panhellenic Recruitment, and I am so grateful to have this opportunity. I hope to gain more knowledge on recruitment, learn some helpful tips and tricks, and to network with other women who serve on Panhellenic at other universities. It'll be interesting to see how Panhellenic communities at schools where greek life is huge approach and handle recruitment, and I'm excited to meet other women who I can ask for advice later on in the process, and share what I learn with the rest of the board back home!
Lexi (PHC VP Judicial) - When going to the College Panhellenic Community I want to achieve learning what my new position does and bring back information to our chapters that we may have not known about. As well as building my communication skills through the notes that are taken at Executive Board meeting as well as Delegate meeting. Note taking while at the academy will help me to be a better note taker during meetings as well as how the notes should be updated and posted for others to see when they are not able to make it to a meeting. Another one of my big goals is to learn how to share information that is important for chapters to know and how to do it in a timely manner as well as how to word those emails.
I didn't expect myself to join greek life. I was a transfer student from a community college in the cities where it was hard to connect with others because everyone was so busy. I came to college and was thrilled to be able to feel a sense of community by living in the dorms. Sadly, I did not connect with my roommate and really struggled feeling like I belonged at UMD. I was walking around Kirby Commons seeing what everyone was tabling for to hopefully find a club that I would be interested in. That is when I spotted Alpha Sigma Tau. Headquarters was actually tabling instead of UMD students and they started to explain the process of being an organization on campus and I was fascinated. I wanted to join something bigger than myself and wanted to start something that affects others' lives. I had a meeting with the staff to find out more and accepted my bid the next day. I connected with so many women and had growth in leadership, personal, and educational skills. I stayed in AST because of the connections and leadership opportunities. I even became President. I never saw myself in that role, but then I loved watching everyone grow as individuals and strengthen their amazing characteristics. I believe that all brought me to where I am now, President of Panhellenic Council here on campus. I want to see all the organizations grow and see members grow themselves. I look forward to my term and the fact we will all grow together.
I was finishing up my term as AST President when Tori (our Greek Life Advisor) suggested to me that I ran for Panhellenic President. I remember freezing in her office and thinking "wait, that actually sounds fun". It would be a huge, new, and intimidating role that I could try for, but the outcome would be amazing. I would be able to help all organizations besides my own and strength sororities ties on campus. I believe our campus already has a really tight Greek Life, but there is always room for improvement. I look forward to the day that women can name nearly every other woman in different organizations besides their own. Yes, this is a much larger scale than my last position, but I look forward to that challenge and am excited for our greek life to become closer as a family.
A handful of stories by various members of the Greek Community offering a "Greek Life at a Glance".