Every Monday night, representatives from various fraternities meet in the Memorial Union’s Bangor Room, to form the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC). On the surface, it’s easy to believe that Greek Life acts as a separate entity, uninvolved with campus and student affairs. While many campus community members are unaware of the council, the IFC works closely with Campus Activities and Student Engagement (CASE) and the University of Maine administration behind the scenes to help promote and preserve Greek Life, while also helping out with student life in general.
At UMaine, 13 percent of the undergraduate student population, roughly 1,100 students, are involved in Greek Life. Each year, fraternities and sororities participate in some of the largest philanthropic events on campus. Groups like the IFC work to facilitate strong relationships between the Greek system, student life and the university.
“The main purpose of the IFC at UMaine specifically is to both oversee as well as maintain an open line of communication between fraternities and other organizations on campus. It is important to have a level of transparency when it comes to Greek life, in these times the state of Greek life is fragile and the IFC along with the Panhellenic Council are working constantly to improve relationships with non-Greek organizations as well as the administration,” Andrew Arsenault, the current president of the IFC, said.
Both the IFC and the Panhellenic Council serve as a board of executives for fraternity life and sorority life respectively. All fraternities and sororities have their own executive boards that oversee the operations of their chapter; the IFC and Panhellenic Council oversee the operations of all of the chapters on campus.
The IFC is comprised of eight students: President Andrew Arsenault, Executive Vice President Ryan Wilhelm, Vice President of Philanthropy and Service Nathan Bouchard, Vice President of Recruitment Nick Riordan, Vice President of Risk Management and Judicial Affairs Nate Tracy, Vice President of Scholarship Colby Kreider, Vice President of Communications Morgan Ford and Vice President of Academics Matthew Stenger.
“What I enjoy most about the IFC is the opportunity to meet and interact with people from other fraternities and be more in tune with what is going on throughout the entire Greek community and not just what is happening with my chapter,” Arsenault said.
Along with the work that the IFC does with campus activities and university relations, it also functions as a guiding arm for all of the fraternities on campus.
“A lot of our work is about providing guidance for chapters when they need help. Whenever a chapter has questions about something, whether it’s finance, public service, or in my position, risk management, our goal is to come together help them make sure that things are working fluently,” Tracy said.
The IFC also acts as a promotional service for all fraternities and Greek Life. They make sure that all rush schedules and philanthropy events are advertised. This helps to strengthen relations and promote recruitment.
Like any student organization, the IFC has goals for the course of a semester or year.
“My goals as IFC President is to continue the work that the previous President, Cole Lemlin, has laid the groundwork for. This includes an open and clear line of communication between the IFC and the administration, working to grow those ties, for without the administration we would not have the opportunity to be a part of the Greek community. In addition, I hope to grow and strengthen our partnership with the Orono Brewing Company who have been so gracious as to partner with the IFC and the Panhellenic Council to bring trivia to OBC every Wednesday at 8 p.m.,” Arsenault said.
“I think the goals evolve, depending on what challenges are being faced and building off of what the previous group had done, just like a chapter would. It’s sort of a challenge by challenge process, but I think we’re always working towards bettering Greek Life on campus,” Tracy said.
Student groups like the IFC and the Panhellenic Council play a huge role in many areas of life at UMaine. Whether it’s helping out individual chapters, working closely with the Office of Student Life, or promoting Greek Life, these students do their part to make this campus as good as it can be.
For more information about the IFC, the Panhellenic Council and Greek Life at UMaine, please visit the Fraternity and Sorority Life page on the CASE website.