Reaching the end of his one-year position at the University, Greek Life Coordinator (GLC) Zack Pfeifer will seek work elsewhere as the future role of Greek life on campus remains in flux. His reason for departure relates to the unprecedented drop in Greek housing options since the time he was hired and thus fewer opportunities for event organization and coordination.
The position, which received University funding this year, was denied financial support for the upcoming academic year due to the changing landscape of Greek life on campus and a shift in institutional priorities.
“[Pfeifer] has done a wonderful job in the role and has been a great addition to the Student Affairs team,” wrote Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Whaley in an email to The Argus. “Given that we have fewer Greek houses than when we first conceptualized this position, various options for reallocating or redesigning the position are being explored.”
The GLC position consists of collaborating with all Greek organizations on campus, both with and without housing. Regarding Greek spaces, the GLC is present to help mitigate the unique obstacles associated with residential status.
Associate Dean of Students Scott Backer further explained the wide range of efforts with which the GLC is engaged.
“The Coordinator of Greek Life position was envisioned as somebody who could both more intentionally support students who are involved in Greek life and support the organizations we have on campus in every aspect of their organizational development,” Backer said. “That goes from the macro level of broad-based community development, which has been focused on working with the IGC [IntraGreek Council] to foster the development of a Greek community, down to the more chapter-specific issues such as working with the presidents of the individual organizations on their leadership skills.”
Though support for the University’s Greek organizations will continue, the plan to do so remains a work in progress as other ventures are considered. Whaley also mentioned that the current funding for the GLC position might be deployed to support plans for an Equity Center, though nothing has yet been decided.
“There are some variables up in the air right now,” Whaley said. “For example, there’s a task force working on the Is This Why demands and looking at the possibility of establishing an Equity Center…[and] if they decide to move in the direction. So this is a centrally funded position, so it’s not technically in the student affairs budget…. It could be that if we move in the direction of a Center, then this position might be recalibrated, and maybe it would include support for Greeks or maybe not, but it might have some responsibility for working with the staff at that Equity Center.”
From now until the end of his employment at the University, Pfeifer will continue to play a role in shaping the future development of Greek life.
“Zack has done a number of really great things that we’re going to work hard to continue to support,” Backer said. “In particular I would note the work he’s done with the IGC. He has worked hard to reestablish that group of students as a representative body of the Greek community and establish some authority within the Greek community to hold themselves accountable to their own unique values….He’s done a remarkable job helping the IGC reestablish itself by providing some structure around what that organization is and helping them create opportunities to promote Greek life on campus.”
Backer cited new member education as one of the year’s most important Greek projects promoted by Pfeifer, which aims to familiarize newly initiated members of Greek life on campus with the core values of their chosen organization. The goal was that the leadership bodies of each chapter would then be able to come up with individualized plans to continue the effort for future initiates.
Backer and Whaley both mentioned that one of the next steps in the process of maintaining the coordination of Greek life will directly involve current members of all University chapters.
“Dean Culliton and Dean Backer are working with Zack first, and then the logical next step would be to meet with the Greek leadership with whom Zack has been meeting while he’s been with us for just over a year, and talk it through with them and see if they have other suggestions,” Whaley said. “Then we can do some more fine tuning.”
Isaac Gould ’18, a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), expressed concern about the impending vacancy, saying that the interim period may make the relationship between Greek life and the administration tenser. He explained how Pfeifer’s role as the middle man between fraternities and the administration helped strengthen Greek life on campus for the better.
“We really liked [Zack], and we thought it was really helpful, the work that he did,” Gould said. “He was only hired for one year, so it feels like they just put him there because things got a little heated at the moment between the school and the frats….We’re better off than before relationship-wise, but now that he’s [leaving], I could easily see how things could just get tense again.”