On September 7th, Jeff Sprague, with the assistance of Greg Kortina, organized a canoeing mixer with the Sigma Delta Tau sorority. These two brothers serve as the social chairs under the Vice President of Programming, Pujan Shah. Mixers are events hosted to help create relationships between different members of greek life. These events are meant to be situations that place brothers in a relaxed situation to try new experiences and meet new people.
Greg and I spoke about the mixer recently. I asked him to give me a brief overview of the event.
“This mixer took place at the Hoboken Community Boathouse located on Sinatra Drive. As this was a new venue for us, Jeff conducted a considerable amount of research on the venue as well as their rules and regulations regarding kayaking/canoeing/paddle boarding/etc.”
He then went on to explain the lessons he learned from organizing this mixer in a different style than the established norm him and Jeff had worked with.
“Since I have been social chair, I have always thought that my goal was to organize an event where everyone involved would be actively participating in an activity. The idea being that if everyone was busy and there was no down time then no one could get bored. However, after the success of this mixer I realize the benefit in some circumstances of having a loosely structured event where participants are allowed to make their own fun in whatever way they see fit.”
To close, I asked Greg about his favorite part of planning mixers for our fraternity:
“Every mixer I plan myself or aid in planning, I always find that I grow closer with the brothers who helped plan it. We all want to see our chapter put on great events that everyone enjoys and when we succeed at that goal then everyone is rewarded and bonds are strengthened.”
While Greg assisted Jeff in the planning of the event, Jeff took the reins on this mixer. He is going to discuss his experiences as the social chair. Also, he will also explain the lessons that he took away from the planning of this mixer.
In the nearly three years I have spent as a brother in NJ Alpha, I’ve had the pleasure of serving on several committees both in designated roles and as a general aid to those in their own roles. Of these, acting as our chapter’s social chair has been one of the most exciting and one of the most rewarding. When a chapter maintains such high levels of campus involvement, philanthropy, physical & mental prowess, and professional development as ours, it is always a pleasure to participate in events that are solely in place for relaxation and social connections. As the social chair for our chapter, I have been able to plan various mixers for our members and witness firsthand the positive impacts they have on brotherhood morale.
Since we are such a diverse chapter, the types of events and atmospheres preferred by brothers varies widely. This opens the door to equally varied mixers so that each brother may participate in mixers that pique their interests, and so each one is memorable in its own way. In my time as social chair, we have held mixers based around ice skating, karaoke, competitive mini games, and even began holding them with sororities from non-Stevens universities. Albeit different, all of these had an upbeat and exciting vibe to them. After this series of mixers, the programming committee received more requests to hold ones that were more mellow and allowed for more personal connections with the sororities we interact with.
This was a new approach for me because I personally prefer exciting events that involve music and more involved activities. However as social chair, it is my responsibility to view events from the perspective of every brother, the result of this was the kayaking mixer just held on September 7th with the Sigma Delta Tau sorority here at Stevens. After hearing chapter feedback, myself and their social chair, Mira Mikhael, looked into more mellow themes and came across the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse, which holds free kayaking and canoeing sessions throughout the summer. After a bit of discussion and planning we held signups and encouraged participants to have group brunches with those from the other Greek organization prior to the event. Ultimately, we had over 40 total participants and received a lot of positive feedback on the changed atmosphere from previous mixers.
From a leadership standpoint, this experience left me with a new realization that I need to view situations from all voices and assure that each one is catered to properly. This is a mindset that I have carried back to the programming committee and it has helped reframe my approach to the social chair position. In our chapter, the ability to view situations from perspectives besides my own is a critical quality and one that I now feel will help me better exemplify our third cardinal principle; brotherly love.
We have heard from Greg and Jeff about this mixer which was a new approach to planning events between SigEp and sororities. They both learned lessons about their friendship as they worked together and about using a different approach to create meaningful memories. Next week we will here about our next big event, Bid Night!