Interfraternity Council impresses at conference with seven awards
At the 2011 Southeastern Interfraternity Conference, Auburn's 2010 IFC won seven awards, more than any other college or university.
The SEIFC is an association of fraternity governing councils from schools throughout the Southeast, one of six regional associations in North America.
Established more than 40 years ago, the SEIFC holds more than 100 member councils.
Auburn's IFC received awards for fraternal excellence in outstanding philanthropy, campus and community relations, community service, outstanding educational program, educational programming and an honorable mention for outstanding service project.
Along with these, the IFC won its first award for overall fraternal excellence, given to councils that stand out in every category.
"Out of the 50-plus IFCs that were represented from across the Southeast, they gave out four of those, and we are very proud of that fact," said Will Geeslin, senior in accounting and 2010 IFC administrative vice president. "It's a great representation for Auburn University and the Auburn University fraternity system in general."
Programs recognized by SEIFC for educational programming were Emerging Auburn Greek Leaders, Greek Leadership Summit and Party Done Right, a full-scale band party done according to the rule books and used as a demonstration of how to properly host a band party.
"It shows Auburn is ahead of the curve," said Tyler Sample, 2010 IFC president. "That we got more awards than other systems that are very similar to ours in the Southeast really shows that what we're doing at Auburn is working, that we have a great system--something that we can be proud of."
The outstanding education program award was given to Auburn for the newly implemented Auburn Man Program, a series of speakers and programs designed to instill in new members and pledges what it means to be an Auburn man, focusing on topics like family, scholarship and chivalry.
"Everybody always preaches, 'I'm an Auburn man, I'm an Auburn woman,' but we never really had a definition of what that was," Sample said.
"So, we decided this year and turned it into six sessions for our new members that they come to, and each session we go over one characteristic of what we identify as an Auburn man."
The Philanthropy Challenge, a program benefiting IMPACT, Project Uplift and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lee County, which received more than $10,000 from the IFC, earned Auburn awards in the outstanding philanthropy and community service categories.
"This is the first year that we've won that amount of awards, and it's also the first year that we've won the top award," said Johnny Blankenship, 2010 IFC vice president of public relations and 2011 IFC president.
"Going into it, I didn't expect anything but the best because I truly believe that our fraternity system here at Auburn is one of, if not the top fraternity system in the Southeastern conference."
Improving upon such an outstanding year is going to be a difficult task, but one that has already been addressed, according to Bo Mantooth, IFC adviser and associate director of Greek Life.
"I think they can have a good year," Mantooth said. "We've got to ramp up some programs to help out."
Blankenship, as president of IFC in 2011, has his sights set on making even more improvements for this year's IFC.
"We're very excited about those awards, and it is going to be a very daunting task to top," Blankenship said. "But the upside of it is we've already sat down and seen the awards we didn't win and working on how we can improve in those areas."
Winning an award for overall fraternal excellence is especially important to the IFC and something they feel they have deserved for a long time.
Now, they have the hardware and recognition to prove it, Mantooth said.
"I think what set us apart and the reason we're so successful at SEIFC and received so many awards is a lot of the planning and the detail that we actually put into our programs," said Jeb Sexton, 2010 IFC vice president of risk management.
"It's a lot of the legwork and the hard work that's put into these ideas that really goes above and beyond and really helped us to get recognized this year."