10 Questions With IFC-President Elect Dan Combs
Beginning next semester, Penn State Greeks will have a new leader. Dan Combs, a brother of Phi Kappa Psi, will succeed Chip Ray as Interfraternity Council president in the coming weeks. We caught up with Combs to see how the transition is going and what’s in store for his term (and of course, dinosaurs).
Onward State: What was that moment like when you found out you were officially elected president?
Dan Combs: When I was told I had been elected president, I re-entered the room to an enormous round of applause, and even observed some presidents of the fraternities giving me a standing ovation. People were texting me, tweeting at me, emailing me, all to say congratulations. Needless to say I felt very proud and overjoyed, and it was one of the happiest nights of my life.
OS:. How do you think you will differ from your predecessor, Chip Ray?
DC: I respect Chip tremendously as a leader and I think he has had an overwhelmingly successful term. I think it is interesting that he was Executive Vice President of the IFC before being elected president, and I was Administrative Vice President of the IFC before being elected. Both positions provide a large amount of insight into the workings of the entire organization, but I think we will differ due to having two unique experiences.
OS: What is your biggest initiative for the IFC during your term?
DC: One thing I would really like to see addressed is the lack of unity and respect among our fraternity men for members of other chapters. I also think our bylaws have become outdated and need a lot of revisions. To address both issues, I want to start my term but setting aside a day for the presidents of the fraternities to get together and revise our bylaws. This will help our bylaws reflect where we are now as a fraternity community and also provide a networking opportunity for the presidents. I also would like to increase the sense of community for all our members through events like IFC-sponsored golf tournaments and Greek athletic competitions. Just having the chance to spend time with members from other fraternities will allow our individuals to realize that we all face the same problems among our chapters, and it will provide a greater sense of community.
OS: What is your favorite part about Greek life?
DC: My brothers. There are so many aspects to love about Greek life, but my college experience and my entire life would not be the same had I not joined my fraternity and made the friends I have made. My brothers have truly become like family to me.
OS: I know the IFC, in particular, has taken a hard stance against State Patty’s Day in recent years. Do you expect that to be the case again?
DC: Yes. I hope that one day we do not have to ask our fraternities to close their doors on this “holiday” and we can treat it as a normal weekend; however, due to the nature of State Patty’s Day, I would like to see our fraternities be regarded as the leaders in preventing the issue rather than being seen as the cause. By taking a stand against State Patty’s Day and refusing to host events that Saturday, the fraternities are given a lot of admiration and respect from the community and the university. Holding events on this day would cause more problems for our chapters than it is worth, and though it is sometimes hard for the average college student to understand, there are a lot of ramifications for partaking in this event that make events on this day too much of a liability.
OS: You’re taking over right before the spring semester — a semester which means only one thing to Greeks (and their lucky GDI friends): daylongs. Or not. A lot was made about the IFC’s daylong policy last year. Can you shed some light on what the policy might be this year?
DC: This year our Executive Board created a bylaw specifically to govern how these “daylongs”, or outdoor day parties, are run. I would like to see daylongs continue at Penn State, but I warn that these events are privileges. The bylaw we created is meant to reward the fraternities that have exemplified excellent behavior and are therefore the chapters we believe can responsibly host one of these events. I do think that with proper risk management procedures these functions can continue to exist at Penn State, but it only takes one fraternity abusing this privilege to ruin everyone’s fun.
OS: If the Phi Kappa Psi cook was forced to make only one entré for the rest of your time as a student, what do you hope it would be?
DC: This is hard to say, because my chef (shout out to Walt Anderson) makes a lot of amazing food. If I had to choose my favorite dish, it would probably be his tangy pineapple chicken with coconut milk rice dish. It is an entré I never had before coming to school but I like it because it combines a lot of awesome flavors and is different than the norm.
OS: What do you think the biggest/most important thing non-Greeks don’t know about the IFC or Greek life?
DC: There is often this stigma that fraternities serve only to party. While Penn State fraternities do have a strong social scene, there are many other components to being involved in Greek life. A few of these other facets of Greek life include meeting higher standards for philanthropy, community service, and academic achievement. The IFC is often seen as the enforcer for monitoring social events, but the majority of what we do is actually directed toward strengthening our chapters in the aforementioned areas. In doing so, we help develop the character and integrity of our members.
OS: If someone was playing you in a movie about your life, who would it be and why?
DC: Leonardo DiCaprio. Leo’s the man and I like all the movies he makes.
OS: If you could be any dinosaur, which would you be and why?
DC: I would be a velociraptor. Even though they are one of the smaller dinosaurs, they are fast and ferocious. Also, they have a cool name and just like with any position, the title is important.