President Martin and Fort Hays State garner 2 awards at national fraternity training academy

Sig Ep award

02/26/16 ks

HAYS, Kan. - Dr. Mirta M. Martin, president of Fort Hays State University, won an award in Oklahoma City last weekend as University Partner of the Year for the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity for her work to ensure a safe living and learning environment for students.

A key factor in the award was a themed housing initiative that is planned at Fort Hays State. Because of its commitment to affordable, on-campus housing options for sororities, fraternities and other student organizations, Fort Hays State is creating a new housing facility for various student organizations. When completed, the facility will offer a safe, clean, well-kept living and learning environment with family-style living at comparable rates to those in its newest residential life facilities. Groundbreaking for the project is set for April 2, and the new facility is scheduled to open in August 2017.

"I am so very honored to have been selected University Partner of the Year and proudly accept on behalf of my colleagues at Fort Hays State, the administrators, faculty and the brothers of Sig Ep," President Martin said. "We talk a lot about the power of choice, and the young men who selected this fraternity and have chosen this lifelong path of personal growth and excellence will become extraordinary leaders."

She also congratulated all the members of Sig Ep nationwide for their commitment to meaningful engagement on college campuses and in their communities. "I encourage you to reach out to university leaders of all stripes," she said. "Share with them the goals and aspirations of Sig Ep. We know student success is closely correlated with student engagement. The more you share information, the more willing partners you will attract."

Martin also noted that the FHSU Alumni Association would launch an ambitious mentoring program this fall for all incoming freshmen. She called upon Sig Ep alumni to help lead that initiative.

Dr. Jill Arensdorf, chair of the FHSU Department of Leadership Studies, also won an award at the weekend academy. She was named Volunteer of the Year for her work with undergraduate students as a mentor and a member of the Alumni Volunteer Corporation of Sigma Phi Epsilon for the FHSU Chapter.

Both were recognized during ceremonies at Sig Ep's Carlson Leadership Academy, which is an annual training event of the fraternity. This year's academy attracted 450 undergrads and 150 volunteers from the southwest region.

Out of more than a dozen awards presented, Martin and Arensdorf were the only female winners.

Fraternity leaders encourage members to find a mentor, not just for their fraternity activities but for their overall college experience, said Jason Williby, director of development for the FHSU Foundation and chapter counselor for the FHSU Chapter of Sig Ep. Williby, who attended the Academy, said Arensdorf serves as a mentor, which was a major factor in why she won the award. He said fraternity leaders understand it is difficult in this busy world for individuals to carve out enough time to be a mentor, and they wanted to recognize Arensdorf for her willingness as a woman, in the male-dominated fraternity world, to serve in that capacity.

About the Carlson Leadership Academy
The Carlson Leadership Academy of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity provides interactive officer training to more than 2,600 undergraduates and volunteers annually. Many undergraduates run for executive board positions because they have great goals and visions for their chapter. Attending an academy ensures an officer will have the skills to manage a committee and follow through on those goals. The program also helps executive boards work together to ensure they all have goals consistent with a unified vision for the chapter. The academies are held in February, soon after most officer elections, and chapters are encouraged to bring all new officers, rising chapter leaders and engaged volunteers.

Photo Caption: Members of the Fort Hays State University chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity accept the University Partner of the Year award on President Martin's behalf at the Carlson Leadership Academy in Oklahoma City.

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