While new guidelines and safety measures will change the way students engage within campus spaces, the chapter facility remains a place for meaningful, albeit socially distant, connection. The Ohio Eta Alumni and Volunteer Corporation at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio (Ohio Eta) is well positioned to make its chapter facility the focal point of a strong SigEp experience for undergraduates this year. Volunteers helped launch the chapter’s resident scholar program last year and expect even better results in its second year.
The resident scholar program is a locally implemented program for housed chapters to better align a chapter’s facility with the ideals of the SigEp Learning Community program. Having a strong resident scholar has resulted in chapters increasing their GPAs; improving transparency between the university, volunteers and undergraduates; and building a culture of inclusion within the facility.
The Ohio Eta chapter saw these benefits and more during its first year (2019-2020) implementing the program. This spring, the chapter worked closely with SigEp National Housing staff to improve the resident scholar application process and create clearer guidelines for success. After reading applications and conducting interviews, the AVC selected Autumn Jager, a graduate student in higher education administration, to be this year’s resident scholar.
Jager, a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority and alumnus of Grand Valley State, has always had a passion for fraternity and sorority life. She is getting her master’s in higher education at Miami University, and when she learned of the role from a chapter volunteer, she was excited for the opportunity. Jager shared, “It sounded like an interesting thing I could add to my resume and provide me more hands-on experience as an advisor, which I was looking for.”
She added, “The opportunity to be a graduate student [living] in the facility allows me to be accessible and relatable to the members.” Autumn started the fall semester by laying out clear expectations with the executive board and said honesty was the key to a successful relationship.
Alumni and Volunteer Corporation President Joe Hornsby knows the resident scholar role is just one of the ways the chapter is building connection and becoming a true SigEp Learning Community. He said, “We believe, with the changes that we are making, that we are building a stronger, more cohesive community.” As a student herself with close ties to university staff and faculty, Autumn plays a key role in continuing to connect the chapter with the university. Hornsby stressed, “The more we can tie in and leverage the university, the better our relationship will be and that can have a drastic impact on everything we do.”
Here are some tips from Ohio Eta that you can use to recruit a resident scholar for your own chapter:
- Recruit a resident scholar of any gender, affiliated with a Greek chapter or not.
- “Actually having someone from outside of SigEp will help the chapter to see the opportunities to advance their value and do things differently,” Hornsby said.
- Create a clear job description that shows the graduate student the value they’ll get from the role, too.
- Check out Ohio Eta’s job description.
- Ask your fraternity and sorority life office (or other university office) to share and post your job description and application.
- Track the success of your program and share that success widely with other alumni and university staff.
- Hornsby’s ultimate goal is to fully endow the resident scholar program with a graduate scholarship so that the support can exist in the Ohio Eta facility for perpetuity.
- Reach out to SigEp Headquarters staff to support your process of recruiting, training and leveraging your resident scholar.
- For more information about SigEp’s Property Management Program (Ohio Eta has been a part of the program for four+ years) reach out to SENH Managing Director Ben Hutto at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For more information on the ways that SigEp staff can support your chapter, email email@example.com.