10 Questions with IFC President Dan Florencio
With the beginning of the spring semester comes a new class of Greek leaders. We caught up with Interfraternity Council President Dan Florencio, asked him the tough questions, and heard about his plans for the year.
Onward State: So how have your first two official weeks as IFC president been? Is it what you expected?
Dan Florencio: I can’t believe it’s only been two weeks! The Interfraternity Council is in a great place right now. In just two weeks, our team eliminated the $25 recruitment fee, increased our online presence and announced Greek Week pairings. And trust me, we’re working hard on some awesome ideas.
It’s honestly felt like a month, though, with all the early mornings and late nights. Finding balance has been challenging but fun at the same time. I always like to keep busy.
Being from State College, I was able to get a head start during break. I grabbed lunch with Police Chief Tom King, members of the Lion Fraternity Alumni Association, and met frequently with my new executive board — all before classes started.
OS: You’ve mentioned several times that you want to foster more communication and better relationships among greeks and between greeks and the rest of the community. What plans do you have for improving these relationships?
DF: Accessibility is the key to improving communication. We want our message to reach our audience. And the IFC wants to build relationships with stakeholders.
Internally, we’ll do this through our IFC Officer Liaison Program. It’ll bridge the gap between the Executive Board and chapter members. Each IFC executive will be the designated liaison to about five chapters. These officers will be a resource to the chapters — beginning with the president and then the general membership. We have an exceptional team of chapter presidents and IFC executives. And if the past two weeks are any indication, we’ll achieve great things.
To build a better relationship with the community, we’re continuing to collaborate on a variety of projects. But you’ll find out about them later. Greeks are continuing to bring solutions to the table. Community leaders are beginning to take notice.
OS: Speaking of communication, Max Wendkos recently tweeted his excitement about the IFC’s use of their website and social media. Do you plan on utilizing these resources more fully throughout the semester? Do you think they’ll help foster that sense of community you’ve been talking about?
DF: We will absolutely continue to increase our communication efforts online. Vice President for Communications Kevin Cirilli had done an unprecedented amount of work in terms of establishing our online presence.
OS: Another big thing that’s recently been enacted, as you mentioned before, is the elimination of the $25 recruitment fee. Did you support that decision and what was the motivation behind it?
DF: Our goal is to minimize the cost barriers to recruitment. We thought that the $25 recruitment fee might deter prospective greeks from giving fraternities a chance. The National Interfraternity Conference — virtually an IFC of most of the national fraternities (though it does not govern the IFCs at college campuses) — strongly recommends that there be no barriers to recruitment. We’ll reassess after the semester to see if it worked.
OS: What effect do you think that will have on greek life this semester?
DF: There hasn’t always been a fee, so this isn’t anything unheard of. But I think it’ll attract more guys to the greek community and give them the chance to hear what we’re all about: brotherhood, tradition and service. Plus, we’re all college students. We all know the importance of 25 bucks!
OS: You’ve also said recently that several IFC positions still need to be filled, including VP of Greek Week and Greek Sing, and committe and Judicial Board positions. Do you think those will be filled soon and is anything being done to motivate members to apply?
DF: Tanner Fitzgerald from Tau Kappa Epsilon is our guy for Vice President for Greek Week/Greek Sing. He’s an incredibly hard-working and dedicated individual. He also serves as the president for Men Against Violence, a group that works with the Center for Women Students to oppose violence in all forms against women. He’s a guy who embodies what a fraternity man ought to be.
We’ve received many applications for the Judicial Board and committee positions are beginning to take shape. The application pool is deep and there are many qualified candidates. Penn State greek life offers many leadership opportunities. We’re excited to have even more great leaders work with our team.
OS: What other changes do you plan to make during your term as president?
DF: During the past two years, we’ve made many changes in the way we govern ourselves. We are at a point where we can focus less on policy changes and more on educating new members.
Former IFC President Luke Pierce laid the foundation of IFC culture for the future. My predecessor, Max Wendkos, ironed out the major kinks and solidified the direction. Now it’s time to really educate on a grassroots level. I want to increase educational programming and bring the programming directly to our chapter houses.
OS: What do you think of some of the social policy changes that were made during the terms of Luke Pierce and Max Wendkos? Do you plan on relaxing some of the more unpopular ones, making any other changes or simply leaving them as they are?
DF: As we progress through the semester, we will find out what is working and what isn’t, and we will make changes accordingly. But this year we are at a great place. I was a chapter president during Luke’s term and the executive vice president under Max. The changes were necessary and pointed the IFC in the right direction. We proudly represent 47 chapters, and all the chapters were in on the decision-making process.
OS: What are your thoughts on the Death to Greek Life video and other critics of IFC?
DF: The video’s creators are not members of the Interfraternity Council, and they clearly did not check their facts. In the past two years, only one fraternity — not three — had its charter revoked/recognition removed. That’s an amazing feat, especially when you consider that the IFC has nearly 50 chapters at Penn State. We humbly pride ourselves on holding each other accountable and living to a higher standard.
But look, we’re stronger than a video. If anything, it’s motivated us to work harder. This year we’re going to remind the community about the positive impact we’ve made — and continue to make — at Penn State.
OS: Boxers or briefs? (You didn’t think you were getting away without at least one extra fun question, did you?)
So there you have it. That’s the direction Dan hopes to take greek life this semester, with a little insight into what kind of leader he will be (especially since I’ve always thought that a man’s choice in undergarment speaks volumes about his personality and leadership style). It looks like it’ll be another productive year for IFC. Let us know what you think about Dan’s plans in the comments section below.