We spoke with Shante Hearst, associate director of student life at Eastern Kentucky University, about her IFI experience. Here's what she had to say!
As a 2015 graduate of IFI, tell us about your experience:
I had a great experience with IFI as I was able to connect to colleagues from all across the country. As a member of a NPHC member organization, learning more about NPC and NIC was helpful. IFI helped me to communicate with my chapter advisors on campus. I was able to better understand the process and the flow more so when dealing with judicial incidents. Understanding who I needed to talk with on the headquarters side, and the chain of command, was helpful as well.
I loved my DOT group (Blue DOTs!). It was a great way to break down the content delivered in the large group sessions. We built a rapport with each other and became a family. Even after IFI, utilizing my DOT group has been a great way to ask questions. I know they won't judge me for asking "bad" questions because we became each other's supporters.
IFI helped me grow as a professional because it gave me insight into my own skills, what I need to work on and what I bring to the field.
What bits of information have stuck with you?
One of the biggest take aways for me concerns communicating with headquarters staff. It is important to remember that we are all on the same team - we just go about doing things differently sometimes. It is imperative that campus and HQ staff work together to resolve issues for we all have the same goal. We all want our students to be better men and women. There are so many policies we need to navigate together to make sure that fraternity and sorority life impacts our students in a positive way.
Another is that no matter how old or new you are in the profession, there is always something to learn. You have to do what’s best for your campus and the community, and no one does it the same way. As much as we try, one shoe does not fit all.
Have you stayed in touch with people since IFI?
Yes! Our blue DOT group stays in touch. We had a mini reunion at the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Annual Meeting. It's been really great to see them and other IFI graduates during expansions and campus visits, but it's also been rewarding to celebrate engagements and other milestones with these people. We really did create such personal connections to the point where we all get excited every time we see each other.
Our DOT group's inside joke has been "finding Jim" [Jim Russell, Delta Tau Delta, 2015 Fellow] because he's not on social media. It's always nice when we do talk with him because he was a great leader and fellow.
Do you have any words of wisdom or recommendations for future IFI participants?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask a question. Be vulnerable so that you can take away what you need to be a better professional. Also, enjoy the free time!
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