laurel wreath award

The Laurel Wreath Award is presented to individuals or groups in recognition of their unique programs, community outreach, or influence within the fraternal world.

2018 Honorees

Congratulations to our 2018 Laurel Wreath Award-winning programs! Click the name below to learn more. 

?

Alpha Tau Omega

Talkspace Partnership

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.

delta upsilon

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.

phi kappa psi

professional development conference

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.

sigma chi 

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.

sigma nu

Sigma Nu Mentor Network

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.

Sigma Alpha Mu, Zeta Beta Tau,
Alpha Epsilon Phi, Sigma Delta Tau

Summit against hate

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.”

Laurel Wreath Awards

The Laurel Wreath Award is presented to individuals or groups in recognition of their unique programs, community outreach, or influence within the fraternal world.

award criteria & nomination form

A potential Laurel Wreath Award recipient is:

    • An individual or group who has designed and implemented a unique program, collaboration or outreach effort that advanced the mission of fraternity.
    • A program or effort that was implemented between April 1, 2017, and April 1, 2018.

    To be considered, nomination must include:

      • Application
      • Fraternity/sorority endorsement
      • Supporting documentation

2017 laurel wreath award recipients

DELTA UPSILON fraternity

Membership Outcomes Assessment 
In 2009, Delta Upsilon’s Presidents Task Force strengthened the fraternity’s focus on Building Better Men by aiming to create a premier 21st Century fraternity experience for today’s college student. They identified membership assessment as a critical piece to creating a modern fraternity experience that truly adds value to the overall collegiate experience.

As a result, Delta Upsilon partnered with Dyad Strategies to create its Membership Outcomes Assessment. In this four-year partnership, the fraternity utilizes statistical analysis of its impact on a member’s personal development throughout his college experience. The goals of the assessment are to:

  • Measure student behaviors, values and attitudes
  • Gauge member growth in a range of areas, including problem solving, social justice, ethical decision-making and conscientiousness
  • Create an understanding of how members experience brotherhood at the chapter level
  • Map individual and chapter growth
  • Provide custom reports to each chapter on their membership
  • Enhance chapter servicing to meet the specific needs of each chapter
  • Measure the impact of Delta Upsilon’s Men of Merit standards program

Delta Upsilon conducts the assessment annually with undergraduates. As of April 2017, the assessment has been administered twice with an extraordinarily high 79 percent response rate each time. Data from the assessment drives conversations and strategy across all operational areas of the Fraternity, allowing staff and key volunteers/leaders to create an experience based on member needs and better articulate the purpose of Delta Upsilon. The process and its outcomes allow the fraternity to fulfill its promise of providing an invaluable, modern fraternity experience.

“As a chapter president, the assessment data has been an extremely useful tool to help plan the direction of my chapter,” one collegiate member wrote. “It gives me insight into the areas that the chapter needs to improve on, tells me what areas we’ve been doing well in, and what areas we need to make changes in. By continuing to do it each year, we’ll be able to track the progress of our chapter and find areas that we can improve on to make the chapter the best that it can be.”

Delta Upsilon is also partnering with Zeta Tau Alpha and Kappa Alpha Theta, who are utilizing a similar assessment initiative and will jointly host a two-day summit among the three organizations to share best practices.

phi kappa psi fraternity

ELEVATE
In order to address men’s health concerns and other wellness issues that may be of special interest to members, Phi Kappa Psi packaged a comprehensive program to meet those needs. ELEVATE is a health and wellness initiative consisting of several individual components:

  • Awareness campaigns focused on specific health topics
  • Customized resource guides for enhanced use of health and wellness opportunities on each campus
  • Educational modules for facilitating chapter conversations about men’s health
  • GreekLifeEdu for further education on critical issues like alcohol abuse and sexual assault
  • Programming that educates chapter members on the basics of the fraternity’s risk management policy and creates conversation about planning safe social events
  • Participation in Movember to raise awareness and funds for critical men’s health topics
  • Social Strengths, a program created by Prevention Culture, focused on sexual violence and healthy relationships, delivered to each chapter by fraternity staff
  • Wellness Wednesdays, a weekly health and wellness tip distributed via social media

The fraternity has plans to expand the program with focused mental health initiatives, health and wellness training for advisors, and potential collaboration and partnerships with national organizations. The program currently utilizes various social media platforms, the fraternity’s online and print publications, and various targeted email communication to reach and impact its audiences.

“I think ELEVATE was integral in how I was able to connect so deeply with my chapters and really begin the conversations around health and wellness for college men,” one chapter consultant wrote of his experience taking ELEVATE on the road. “Through two educational programs, Ladder of Risk and Social Strengths, I was able to educate undergraduate men on risk management policy and sexual violence prevention in a way that was engaging and provoked personal connection with the audience.”

SIGMA ALPHA MU FRATERNITY

Developing Leaders Initiative
The Developing Leaders Initiative (DLI) is a biennial program designed to provide an immersive experience in cultural competency, organizational governance, professional leadership and peer mentorship. In each cycle, a class of 10 to 12 undergraduate members is selected for an 8-month period facilitated by program faculty, who are leaders within the fraternity/sorority community and higher education. 

The students and faculty meet for the first time in January to start the program year with a 3-day meeting, where they discuss the state of fraternities, the importance of post-collegiate community involvement and an overview of Sigma Alpha Mu governance and structure. For the remainder of the program period, the cohort develops and ultimately presents a session at Sigma Alpha Mu’s biennial Leadership Conference. Each cohort is also tasked with identifying areas of Sigma Alpha Mu they would like to improve and creating a proposal for a new program or policy as a solution. They present their proposal to the Fraternity Board in a Shark Tank-like setting, and if approved, the new program is adopted and implemented within the fraternity.

Surveys report that 86 percent of DLI program graduates go on to serve their communities after college. Program alumni also report that they have a deeper understanding of what motivates leaders and they can translate what they learned from DLI into their personal and professional lives. The creators of the program write, “While many programs look at the outcomes and development of students, we have forged a team of student leaders that takes a critical look at issues affecting the health and success of the fraternity. This has created more significant buy-in to programming on subjects like hazing and mental health. Framing these conversations as issues that our current leaders are concerned about and see as a challenge on their respective campuses has been successful.”

Zeta Beta Tau fraternity

Green Light: Go!
Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity’s “Green Light: Go!” is an endeavor with the organization’s philanthropic partner Jewish Women International (JWI) created to “raise awareness and change attitudes regarding relationships, consent and respecting signals.” Using the theme of the popular childhood game red light/green light, it prompts participants to think about questions that are often not—but should be—asked in a relationship.

The goals of the program are to promote healthy relationships, increase bystander intervention in situations that may involve sexual assault or misconduct, and ultimately engage the men of ZBT as leaders in changing the culture around sexual misconduct on campus. The content of the program focuses on consent communication with common signals that may be given by a partner corresponding to red, yellow and green lights – red means stop, yellow means that you should pause and talk, and green means that you can keep communicating with a partner about their intentions or move forward.

To launch the program and ignite interest and enthusiasm around its message, ZBT’s chapters at George Washington University, Towson University, American University and The University of Maryland spread the word of their intent to host a record-breaking game of red light/green light at GWU and break the Guinness World Record of largest number of participants in a single game. Not only did this gather students from several different campuses and communities to participate, but it also garnered media attention and allowed ZBT to put its message of teaching and promoting consent in headlines across the region. The program has also resulted in support from nationally-known sexual assault awareness and prevention organizations like It’s On Us, No More, Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment (PAVE), and Men Can Stop Rape.