For the second year in a row, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has been nationally recognized for its innovative approach to Greek Life, bringing home several awards – including the highest honor – this month at a national fraternal organization’s conference that lauds its chapters for excellence in academic performance, community service, and leadership, among other areas.
Out of more than 50 chapters across the United States, WPI’s Phi Kappa Theta chapter was the sole recipient of the Founder's Cup at this month's annual Phi Kappa Theta Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. The award – the highest honor a Phi Kappa Theta chapter can receive – is based on five developmental areas: fraternal, intellectual, leadership, social, and spiritual. WPI's chapter won the prize last year and in 1981, 1976, 1975, and 1973.
In addition to the Founder's Cup, WPI's chapter won first place for intellectual development and alumni engagement; second place for fraternal and social development; and received honorable mentions for leadership and membership development.
"WPI's fraternities and sororities represent some of the strongest chapters of their 16 international organizations (13 fraternities and three sororities)," said Emily Perlow, director of student activities and Greek life programs. "We challenge chapters to exceed their organizational best each year, and it is this push for continual improvement, reinforced by dedicated alumni volunteers who work with the chapters, that makes the WPI fraternal community one of the most solid in the country.
"The number of awards that WPI chapters bring home from fraternity and sorority conventions each year, is a testament to their strength," Perlow added, "having risen to the top, in comparison with chapters of their respective organization from all over the country."
Last year, WPI's Greek Life program was honored by the national Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA) with the Outstanding Change Initiative Award for making tremendous progress and improvement in the university's fraternity and sorority community. In addition, Perlow won the prestigious "Volunteer of the Year" award from the AFA.
Also in 2009, for the first time in its history, the WPI Greek community surpassed the 1,000-member mark, thanks to a record number of new members. The community comprises 31.5 percent of the student population, up from 28.5 percent in 2004.