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Fraternity and Sorority KC Representative

March 15, 2020 Laura Anderton University of South Dakota

Fraternity & Sorority Affairs Knowledge Community

I was recently asked the age old question “how does this volunteer role fit into your professional goals?” and for a short moment panicked – thinking professional goals… what the heck are my professional goals?!?!?

To frame this response, one must understand that in 2013, when I graduated from my master’s program, my professional goal was to become the Director of Sorority and Fraternity Life at what one could call a “goldilocks” school. Not to large, not too small with some issues to work through, but nothing headline news worthy. I had amazing mentors that showed me how rewarding Greek Life advising could be when you are able to build meaningful personal relationships with students (re: the small school argument) in a place where there is enough people and resources to make an impact (re: the big school argument).

By 2015, I had achieved that goal – in becoming the Director of Sorority & Fraternity Life at the University of South Dakota. I held the Coordinator of Sorority and Fraternity Life position for 2 years, and when my boss of the time (the Director) left, I threw my name in the hat for the Director position.

Each year since - particularly during my yearly evaluation - my supervisor and I discuss “what’s next” for me. And each year I debate if it is time to start a doctoral degree, if it’s time to start looking for a different position, if it’s time to move schools, what’s next… And typically I decide to try to find new professional development opportunities or new projects to work on to keep developing myself, in lieu of the other options my peers seem to be pursuing.

As I reflect on my outcomes of the “what’s next” question, I have to say- while it’s not like my peers, it hasn’t been bad things. Professional development wise, I have pushed myself to volunteer for NASPA, the Harm Prevention Team for my sorority, our local young professionals group and become a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. Programmatically, I have developed and honed multiple leadership development institutes/workshops for students, re-designed risk reduction education for SFL to be student centered and student run, and reinvigorated the process of hiring, training and developing my staff of 7. I know I have been able to make actionable changes to Sorority & Fraternity Life at USD, and have been here long enough to see those changes play out.

So, I guess, it’s from this vantage point that I now can answer clearly the question of “what are your professional goals?” To stay here- in this role, at this university, in this community- and continue to grow, develop, stretch and push this community forward. Cultural lore would say that this is unheard of, and not necessarily a professional goal; but for me, it is about continuing to grow in my own backyard. Putting in the time, investment and nutrients in the ground I am given, rather than trying to find the best plot of land. (Sorry for the garden reference… it’s almost spring!) Don’t get me wrong, I can totally understand why people burn out, leave positions and move around; but in a generation of transient workers, I want to be a lifer.

The Fraternity and Sorority Knowledge Community (FSKC) provides a forum for organizations and professionals working with fraternities and sororities for the exchange of ideas, knowledge dissemination and collaboration among the fraternal movement. The individuals within our KC are committed to seeing fraternities and sororities provide a “value-added” experience to our students at our host institutions, and can mark our claim to fame as one of the largest KC’s in NASPA with nearly 1,400 members and growing.

There are a lot of big things happening in the Fraternal community and our Fraternity and Sorority Knowledge Community. So no matter if you are a FSA, Headquarters staffer, alumni of an organization, or a student affairs professional that wants to know more about Sorority & Fraternity Life, we invite you to connect with us! Follow us on Twitter @NASPA_FSKC or Facebook Sorority & Fraternity Affairs KC Facebook.

Laura Anderton


Fraternity and Sorority KC Rep.