The 2018 Interfraternity Council President Gavin McGettigan said the year’s agenda will focus on breeding collaboration and respectful, meaningful relationships throughout Greek system to greater benefit the Auburn community.
McGettigan, junior in business analytics, took office as this year’s IFC president on Nov. 26 and has begun working hard to serve the IFC organization and the 27 fraternities it oversees. However, McGettigan said IFC serves more than just its sphere of influence.
“We’re there to promote the highest standard of integrity from fraternity members, whether that’s personal, social, civic, academic or in leadership,” McGettigan said. “The biggest misconception is that we’re the bad guys, that we want to take away social events and the fun. But in reality, we’re fraternity men too, and we have a responsibility to protect and educate the chapters. We are not out to prosecute fraternities, we are there to protect them.”
This year, McGettigan is working hard to ensure fraternity chapters perform to their highest potential and provide ample support for their members to grow as Auburn men and serve as useful members of society. He hopes this effort can rid the organizations of the stigma that comes with fraternal association.
“I want people to realize that being an Auburn fraternity man isn’t simply drinking and partying,” McGettigan said. “It’s someone who learns how to be a gentleman and cares about treating other people right. I think it’s a common sentiment among fraternity guys that they want to help Auburn be the best it can be.”
In the last year alone, Auburn IFC, with the help from members of the 27 fraternities on campus, raised $4,300 for the Tuberville Foundation in support of Auburn veterans from a bowling event. IFC’s annual Spring Skeet Shoot, which also garners participation from most fraternities across campus, made a hefty donation to the Make-A-Wish foundation in memory of an Auburn worker’s son. The council hosts luncheons for the fire and police departments throughout the year at different fraternities as well.
“Those are the things that a lot of people don’t see,” McGettigan said. “Our guys do so much and want to do it all. It’s a unique leadership opportunity to work with men of similar minds that want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”
McGettigan believes Auburn has one of the best Interfraternity Councils in the country, giving credit to the court processes, which brought some of the largest changes for the upcoming year.
“I think the strength of our IFC Court has made guys aware that a negative new member process does not breed brotherhood or good members,” he said. “If anything, it’s resentment. The fraternity men at Auburn are starting to understand that. They recognize the freshman are going through a lot, why add unnecessary stress and anxiety? We want to build them up and be what we, as fraternity men, stand for.”
The number of court cases brought to IFC this last year increased substantially, but McGettigan found that some fraternities brought forward faced similar low-level charges.
“The thing that really was interesting was that we justweren’t communicating well enough what was wrong. We saw three or four cases from different fraternities all for the same, simple mistakes. They might not have even realized they were doing anything wrong. It was unfortunate, but it also needed to happen. It was a wake-up call for us.”
McGettigan said many of the rules enacted this year by the IFC court existed previously; IFC merely created a better way of educating fraternities about them and enforcing them to protect the fraternities themselves as well as the people attending their social events.
“I want to educate the fraternities so presidents know, ‘What we were doing is wrong. Let’s be proactive and stop it,’ rather than it coming to a point where someone’s safety is in question and IFC has to step in,” McGettigan said.
McGettigan believes creating a more candid dialogue about issues faced by fraternities as well as pushing for more respectful relations among the fraternity leadership can solve the problem.
“I want the Council of Presidents to feel more comfortable with each other, even if it means simply knowing everyone’s names. We need to work together for the common good. We need to be more willing to share and talk about problems. There’re things to be learned from everyone’s vulnerability.”
Presidents from each fraternity compose the Council of Presidents, the legislative body of IFC, which votes on rules and regulations. McGettigan plans on hosting a president’s retreat in the spring for the newly elected officials to facilitate cooperation and brotherhood.
McGettigan has also strived to foster stronger relationships with the other Greek life systems, NHPC and Panhellenic, to build support for academic, service and leadership success across campus.
“One thing I’ve noticed is that we call ourselves a ‘Greek Community,’ but we don’t utilize one another’s knowledge or experiences like we should,” he said. “We need to communicate, be vulnerable and feel comfortable enough to reach out to other’s presidents and ask for help. That’s one of my biggest efforts – to try to better the community aspect.”
McGettigan particularly plans to push for more cooperation regarding Greek philanthropic efforts with an “inter-council” support within Greek life. He hopes the dialogue between IFC, NPHC and Panhellenic will foster positive relations within the organizations themselves and, more importantly, across Auburn’s campus and the local community to create a larger impact.
“Greek life means giving back and relentlessly serving the community,” McGettigan said. “We all have the same goal. What better way to do it than collaborating and pushing forward together.”
McGettigan wants to work on bringing back something similar to “Greek Week” and create a week-long philanthropic effort with participation from all Greek organizations.
“I think it’d be a really great way to showcase a different aspect of Greek life’s presence in Auburn, and it is a way to give back to the community as much as we can,” McGettigan said. “We can have an incredible impact, especially if we work together.”
McGettigan offered a preview of his goals at Greek Summit, a retreat he organized for all the presidents of the Greek organizations.
McGettigan said that at the event, most of the executive members were “on board” with a more inclusive community. Now he’s hoping he can see that same support from the general members.
“I would love to see a Greek Philanthropy Week become a reality,” he said. “The goal is to form relationships. If I can see the relationships improve over the course of the year, I will be extremely happy.”