The tie that binds
Drawn by Doane’s tight-knit community, Sara Lennemann wants to reciprocate as president of the Greek Council.
By LUCAS FAHRER
Photos by ASPEN GREEN
There’s something to be said for the family feel.
“One of the main reasons that I chose to come to Doane is the small campus because I need a community,” said Sara, a product of Southern Valley High School who grew up in Stamford. “I can’t be someone flying solo amongst hundreds of other students.”
More can be achieved together.
In her biochemistry major, she’s surrounded everyday by her closest friends in classes and the Health and Medical Occupations Club.
With Tiger Track and Field, she spends two hours a day all year—practices, indoor season and outdoor season—with fellow pole-vaulters.
And when she pledged to Omega Psi Theta sorority, she found sisters that were inspired by the same values.
“When I was a freshman, the overall feeling you get from the group is just super friendly and community service is something they talked about a lot. I just saw the good values that they had and I knew that’s the path I wanted to stick to,” recalled Sara, who also serves as the group’s vice president.
“Once you’re in a group like that, it’s your immediate family and it’s super close.”
Now she wants to share the things that matter the most to her with Doane’s Greek community, and as the 2015-16 president of Greek Council, she can.
“One of our major goals is to have a more cohesive Greek community and work together as a Greek community,” Sara said.
With help from Kayla Decker, Doane’s new Greek system director, they have a vision to tighten the relationships between Doane’s fraternities and sororities. With more programming and more interaction will come a larger family, one that extends beyond students’ fraternity or sorority. What interested newcomers will see is that family feel.
“If they see us working together as a Greek community, they know when you join, you’re not just joining one group—you’re joining a group of 220-plus students,” Sara said.
Greek Council’s plan is to bring the community together more often, including an all-Greek welcome event in addition to each group’s individual open house. In September, the Greek community came together for a service project, picking up trash at Doane and other areas in Crete. In October, the council members organized a glow-in-the-dark capture-the-flag competition for all Greek groups. The group has also planned more community service projects, promotional and recruitment efforts and professional development learning opportunities.
It’s reaffirming those ties that bind fraternity and sorority members together—the familial bonds, the support network of a local Greek group—that gives Doane’s Greek Life community a launching pad for their new direction.
“Every single alumni you ever meet went to Doane. They all experienced the same thing as you, and they know not only what it means to go to Doane but also to be Greek,” Sara said. “It brings a lot more camaraderie. When alumni want to help, they want to help you specifically and your group. It just makes it a little more special.”
That’s one of the things Decker has wanted the council to use as a foundation since she started at Doane. Being local, Decker said, is one of the system’s “greatest attributes” because it receives support from the community. Working with different departments on campus, Greek alumni and the Inter-Greek Alumni Association (which has a representative from each organization) is seamless.
“These pieces all work well because strategic planning and guidance is coming from people who are connected and understand Doane and our Greek organizations,” Decker said. “This allows us to make sensible and appropriate changes to our Greek System when needed.”
She has empowered this year’s council to take the reins, Sara said, and that has given her a lot of trust in the new system.
“It’s my responsibility to take what she’s given me, take it where I want to go and expand it further,” the senior said. “It’s not her as the adviser telling us exactly what to do all the time.”
In six months, Sara will graduate with her bachelor’s degree and—if things go according to plan—she’ll be on her way to pharmacy school. But she’s leaving her mark on Doane’s Greek community.
“I am so incredibly proud of Sara and Greek Council. They have done a great job this year providing all-Greek opportunities that promote unity among Doane’s Greek organizations, and highlighting what the
Doane Greek experience is all about,” Decker said. “Sara’s experience and leadership skills have served the council well; she understands the importance of looking at the ‘bigger picture.’ I think her ability to articulate that vision to the rest of Greek Council has played a role in the success they are seeing with these new initiatives.”