It’s Greek council election season! As is Onward State tradition, we sat down to chat with newly-elected Interfraternity Council President John Lord. Lord, who was elected by the 47 chapter presidents Tuesday night, is a brother of Pi Kappa Alpha and the current IFC Vice President for Community Relations.
Here’s what he had to say:
Onward State: What made you initially interested in joining Greek life at Penn State?
John Lord: As a freshman, coming to Penn State and seeing how large and connected the Greek community was definitely got me interested. I think the fact that Greek life offers students a “home away from home” and a plethora of leadership opportunities also interested me. Going Greek was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and the experiences I’ve had have been amazing. As IFC President, I hope to pay it forward and strive to give all students the opportunity to have some of the rewarding experiences that I have had.
OS: The IFC President is a position that comes with a lot of hard work and a more public life. What made you want to run for this position?
JL: I see an opportunity for our community to grow and develop. I intend on leading the growth of our community into a new era of Greek life. I understand that being IFC President is demanding and public, but I believe our community can do great things in the future and I believe the work will be well worth it.
OS: This year you served as the IFC’s Vice President of Community Relations. What did you learn in this position that you think will help you in the upcoming year?
JL: Having worked alongside the IFC Executive Board, the Borough, and the Highlands Civic Association, I think I learned the importance of involving and considering all stakeholders when making decisions. As VP for Community Relations, I was fortunate enough to establish relationships with many important leaders and stakeholders in our community and the insight that they have provided to me has been an invaluable tool in expanding my perspective.
OS: Hazing has been a widespread problem not only at Penn State but at universities around the country. What do you see as the IFC’s role in combatting this problem?
JL: As Penn State, we are looked at to be national leaders. In academics, research, athletics, etc… Our Greek system should be no different. Because of the size of our community, Greek systems across the country are looking to us to lead the growth into the new era of Greek life. What happens at Penn State sets a precedent for Greek communities across the nation. That puts an even bigger call to action on us and it is an exciting opportunity to lead the nation as we fight the plague of hazing. As the IFC, we recognize hazing has absolutely no place in the modern fraternity experience and we will take every measure we can to eliminate it. We believe it is our obligation to drive the change towards a better and safer Greek system.
OS: If your house cook could only make one dinner for the rest of eternity, what would it be?
JL: I would say ravioli and meatballs, but no one’s meatballs are better than my Mommom’s. I’m going to have to say shrimp scampi.
OS: Penn State’s currently searching for a new director of fraternity and sorority life. What traits or experiences do you think make an ideal candidate for this position?
JL: I currently sit on the screening committee for the new OFSL Director and I can say that we think an ideal candidate is one that has had extensive education, experience in Greek-letter organizations, experience advising student groups, leadership programming experience, and the ability to foster a collaborative and supportive environment. Most importantly, the ideal candidate will be a strong leader who inspires trust and support from students.
OS: Penn State Greek life has an intense spotlight on it right now. How are you preparing to serve as a national spokesperson for the Greek community this year?
JL: I believe in the inherent good of fraternities and in the inherent good of our Penn State community. I understand some may see Greek life differently, but the most important thing is keeping an open mind and respecting the views of others. I strive to amplify the great things that Penn State Greeks do (tens of thousands of dollars raised for philanthropy, thousands of hours of community service, THON, provide brotherhood and sisterhood to others, etc.) and eliminate the root causes of the negative things.
OS: Let’s talk about frat dogs. What’s the rule here? We’ve been trying to tell the story of the secret life of frat dogs for year but to no avail.
JL: Haha, I wish I could lend some insight here, but my chapter hasn’t had a house dog since the 90s. I couldn’t think of a better addition to my house than a golden retriever puppy.
OS: You’ll have a significant impact on shaping the community in your role this year. What do you see as the ideal future for Penn State Greek life?
JL: I believe our Greek community has an opportunity to be the change we want to see. I think everyone realizes we need to progress and I believe unity and student buy in are the most important factors in that change. I intend on implementing new institutional framework into the IFC to ensure there is continuous improvement, to mitigate and eliminate complacency, and to promote innovation. An ideal future for Penn State Greek life is one where every member is safe, supported, and a part of the community. I want to come back to Penn State 5, 10, and 20 years from now and know I helped make a difference.
OS: Per Onward State tradition, if you could be any dinosaur, what would you be and why?
JL: T-rex. The lion of dinosaurs, king of the jungle.