Emerging Leaders Conference should encourage Greek life participation in HuskyTHON

After working all year to fundraise, with a final push towards the end of the event, the grand total raised for 2018’s HuskyTHON was $1,021,485.37. (Nicholas Hampton/The Daily Campus)

HuskyTHON is one of the biggest events that takes place at UConn, with almost all on-campus organizations participating and raising money for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Greek Life in particular brought a great deal of enthusiasm to HuskyTHON this year, raising  over $100,000 before the event even began. Organizations within the Greek community dedicated most of their philanthropic efforts toward raising money For The Kids. Rather than each organization focusing solely on its own philanthropy, HuskyTHON promotes campus-wide unity in pursuing a common goal of raising $1 million for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

One of the leaders of the Emerging Leaders Conference and Interfraternity Council (IFC) advisor, Bridget Conaway, criticized Greek Life’s contribution to the community off-campus.

“Conaway started out the final presentation by asking, ‘If we take HuskyTHON out of the equation, how much do you think Greek life contributes to the community?’,”Jackie Duran, an Alpha Omicron Pi sister who attended this conference, said. Discounting the philanthropic efforts put into HuskyTHON by the Greek community induces a sense of discouragement among its members rather than providing them with tools to run their organizations.

When asked why HuskyTHON was being disregarded, Conaway responded, “Something along the lines of HuskyTHON not being part of anyone’s philanthropy...Greek Life cannot use HuskyTHON as part of their ‘identity or accomplishments’ since there are unaffiliated students that participate in HuskyTHON,” according to Duran.

It is unreasonable for presenters to belittle the contributions Greek Life has made toward HuskyTHON since they are disregarding all of the Late Nights and events put on by fraternities and sororities on campus which raise thousands of dollars for very important causes.

The purpose of the Emerging Leaders Conference is to enhance the leadership skills of delegates from each organization in the Greek Community and to encourage philanthropic efforts on campus. In trying to incentivize external philanthropic outreach, presenters and leaders of the conference discouraged the work already being put into philanthropy events, like HuskyTHON.

Duran claims she “didn’t feel that (she) learned anything about how to be a better leader from the Greek Emerging leaders Conference.  (OFSL) didn’t teach (participants) how to become better leaders, how to communicate better with our chapters, or how to bring back these important topics to our organizations.”

The approach taken by Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL) was ineffective in helping develop fraternities and sororities on campus.

Instead of taking an offensive approach to convince Greek organizations to improve their community outreach philanthropies, OFSL should have encouraged the enthusiasm toward HuskyTHON and motivated organizations to contribute more to their individual philanthropic pursuits. A positive approach would have been much more effective in incentivizing more community outreach, since Greek Life has already shown very active involvement in HuskyTHON and their own philanthropies.

With so many on-campus organizations participating and raising money for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, HuskyTHON has promoted a united atmosphere for the UConn student body. Every organization’s contribution is crucial to continuing this important tradition.

Keren Blaunstein is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus.  She can be reached via email at keren.blaunstein@uconn.edu.