- NIC Foundation
The Laurel Wreath Award is presented to individuals or groups in recognition of their unique programs, community outreach, or influence within the fraternal world. We are pleased to recognize the 2017 Laurel Wreath Award honorees.
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:
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.
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:
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.”
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.”
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.