Curious about fraternity and sorority life? Well, then Brenden Kollar, president of the Interfraternity Council (IFC), is your guy. This fourth-year architecture student and brother of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity took time out of his busy schedule to speak with Distraction about how he first became involved in Greek life at the University of Miami and his work with the governing council.
Distraction: What first caught your attention about Greek Life at UM?
Brenden Kollar: To be honest it was the intramurals. I really liked how [each] fraternity had a team and since I had grown up my entire life in organized sports I knew I wanted to be on a team that you were close friends with the rest of your teammates.
D: How did you know Phi Delta Theta was the fraternity for you?
BK: Well I became good friends with one of my bosses and he was a Phi Delt, then I met a few other guys and it really began to feel like I was hanging out with my friends from back home. It made me feel like Miami was my new home.
D: What advice would you give to students who will be going through fraternity and sorority recruitment in the spring semester?
BK: The best thing to do is to get to know as many fraternities or sororities as you can. I know Panhellenic sororities have a little different process than we do with IFC, but they still get an opportunity to meet each sorority. That’s the best thing to do if you’re interested in rushing an IFC fraternity.
D: How did you get involved with IFC? How did you work your way up to this position?
BK: I first got started by being the Department of Wellness and Recreation Coordinator, which was perfect for me because I already worked in the Wellness Center as an Intramural Supervisor. This is an IFC position and the coordinator is a representative of IFC to the Wellness Center’s Student Advisory Board. Also, this coordinator is responsible for updating IFC on the different intramural sports that are going on involving the Greek leagues. I really liked what I saw when I sat in on the IFC general council meetings and I knew I wanted to be in this position some day. Hard work allowed me to get noticed by the previous Executive Board and made it easier for me when I applied and went through the interview process to become a member of Exec.
D: What does your job as IFC President entail exactly?
BK: Well I basically oversee all 13 fraternities in the IFC with the four other members of our Executive Board. I run the meetings that we have every other Tuesday and work very closely with Dean Lake, who is [the council’s] advisor.
D: Why should students consider getting involved with IFC or Panhellenic?
BK: It really is a great way to get involved on campus. Believe it or not, Greek life is held in high regard with the administration and we get to be a part of many different things on campus. At the end of this semester, or early spring semester, there will be applications going out to fill Coordinator positions. This is the best way to get involved in either Panhellenic or IFC, and if you are interested I suggest you talk to your chapter presidents about it. You can even ask me or Panhellenic President Ashley Drake if you have any questions.
D: How do you feel most students at UM view fraternity members? Do you feel the “bro” stereotype still holds true here?
BK: I really feel like there has been a change in the way UM sees fraternity men. I think more and more people are realizing that it’s not just some stupid stereotype that we are so accustomed to seeing on television or in movies, but it’s actually a great community. People love UM because everyone is a part of the family here. When you join a fraternity, you join an even more tight knit family, not just in your chapter but with other fraternity men, and it’s a great feeling. I think people are also seeing that it is a great way to get even more involved on campus. After all, over 80% of the leadership positions on campus are held by Greeks.
D: How did you view the sororities and fraternities come together during times of tragedy last year?
BK: It really was not easy at all and still can be tough especially for those specific chapters. Despite the tragedy, I saw a bunch of Greeks come together to show their fellow members that they were there for them and were very supportive. And I think that’s the best thing you can do is just be there for one another when tragedy strikes.
D: What are some other ways that Greek organizations work together to support one another?
BK: We have multiple philanthropic events on campus each semester and each Greek organization helps one another raise funds for their respective philanthropies. In fact last spring many Greek organizations came together to raise $27,000 for United Cerebral Palsy, which is truly remarkable. It’s just another example of how UM Greeks can come together for a great cause.
D: Are there ever times when fraternities (or sororities) sometimes do not get along so well? How are these issues handled by IFC?
BK: For the most part each chapter gets along with each other. Of course there might be friendly rivalries that can arise on the Intramural Fields, but these are in good spirits and have never been a huge problem while I have been at UM.
D: Overall, what do you feel is the most rewarding part of being a member of a fraternity and of IFC?
BK: For me, it truly is a great feeling to be a part of something like a fraternity that has been around for close to 200 years. It’s such an interesting feeling to know that I have similar ideals and beliefs as some of the most famous men in the world. And to be a part of such an influential body as IFC on UM’s campus, it’s a special feeling. I always knew that I wanted to leave my mark on UM, and being a part of a fraternity and the Interfraternity Council is a great way to do that.