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ATO progress keeps them on campus

January 21, 2011

The Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity has undergone a series of drastic changes in the past year, but according to Jacquelyn Condon, Vice President for Student Life, the fraternity is headed in a “good direction.” While ATO is still undergoing a formal assessment by the college,  Condon was optimistic about the results.

“While they haven’t received a formal response yet, they’ve done some good things,” said Condon. “They have an active alumni advisory board, which they didn’t have last year, and they’re going in a good direction.”

Dean Condon is not the only school official who felt positive about the fraternity’s future.  Daniel Reck, Assistant Director for Greek Life, believes they have bettered their standing as well.

“Nick Flemming, as president last semester, had some big challenges,” said Reck. “However, under his leadership, ATO showed the greatest semester-to-semester GPA increase of any of the seven fraternities on campus.  They jumped more than a quarter of a GPA point, which is nearly unheard of.  Each member of the organization had to work very hard to achieve this, and it demonstrates a high level of responsibility on the part of the individual members and the chapter as a whole.  I respect the tough decisions they’ve had to make to promote academic excellence.”

This GPA progress is important because it is one of the most important factors the school looks at when looking at a Greek organization.  “Good grades equal a good chapter, end of story,” said Condon.  “If grades fall, it’s a sign that things aren’t going well in the chapter.  Students are forgetting why they’re here: academics.  It’s not a whole lot more complicated than that.”

Beyond academics, ATO has worked hard to improve their campus involvement and philanthropy.

“We had all the members sign a contract to meet philanthropy requirements, 10 hours a semester, and everyone has exceeded that,” explained Alpha Tau Omega President Ross Donnan.

However, despite the progress, it doesn’t seem likely that ATO will be getting a house in the very near future.

“I don’t think we would consider putting them back in group housing until we feel they’re back on their feet again and going strong, which means we need to be sure they can make long term progress,” Condon said.  “Moving them out was part of the institution’s choice to help them.  Group housing was part of the problem, and it wasn’t a positive addition to their fraternity life.”

However, Condon was also quick to add that the bottom line is that the college wants good things for ATO, an assertion that was echoed by Dean Michelle Merritt, the Associate Dean of Students, along with Donnan.

“I think a house would be good for us, but we trust the school,” said Donnan. “The school is helping us a lot, and they’ve really stepped up to bat for us.”

Donnan also added that the fraternity has a lot of long term goals they hope to meet.

“We just want to be the best of the best. Right now, unfortunately, we aren’t there yet, but we’re headed in the right direction. It’s not a running start, but we’re moving, and we’re getting there.”

BY SARAH ZAUBI
Assistant News Editor

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