Leading by example

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Riley Youngman, News Contributor

Hailing from Orange, Calif., Alec Petersen, is exactly the person those familiar with him imagined would eventually be leading one of the top organizations on the Oregon State University campus.

“My fraternity has been a huge shaping part of my college life and my college career. Had I not joined the fraternity, my college experience would have been completely different and not as rich,” Petersen said.  “Joining Lambda Chi Alpha hasn’t made me superior to other people, it’s made me superior to my former self.”

Petersen, a senior in public health management and policy, has held numerous leadership positions within his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, since joining his freshman year and is the current Interfraternity Council President.  

Starting with various roles early on, Petersen worked his way through the ranks and eventually took on the role of chapter president with Lambda Chi Alpha. After holding the position of recruitment chair and a brief stint as vice president as well.

IFC, as it is more commonly known, operates as the governing body of all fraternities on the OSU campus and is in charge of coordinating with the large number of organizations it oversees to recruit new members.

“As IFC president my role is to govern the 20 IFC chapters on campus, and hold them accountable to the standards of the council and ensure they have all the resources they need to operate well.  I am the primary voice between the chapters and the university,” Petersen said.

Working with the director of the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life, Leslie Shacht Drey, Petersen works with a variety of offices and people to perform a wide spectrum of tasks, including weekly meetings and administrative work.

“Alec is the sixth IFC president that I’ve advised in my role as a fraternity/sorority advisor, and he is easily one of the most outstanding leaders in this group.  I am consistently impressed by his leadership and confidence, as well as the many commitments which he takes on, while also being a great scholar,” Schacht Drey said.  “Alec has a positivity and ease about him that his peers easily identify with, and they look to him for guidance and advice.”

Community outreach is another aspect that Petersen works diligently on.

Petersen, also advocates for chapters in the community, outside of just the OSU campus.  He’s a part of the Corvallis Community Relations Advisory Group, CRAG, as one of the three student representatives along with Cassie Huber with ASOSU and Gabi Perez with the Panhellenic council.

With his work on IFC, Petersen aims to work towards changing the way fraternities and Greek Life as a whole are viewed, and ensuring that the positives are highlighted.  This includes working to promote safer and more responsible behavior within the Greek community.

“What I want to do now moving forward is ensuring that our chapters are aware of safe social event policies, and that we are holding them accountable for safe practices.  There is just a general lack of awareness on how to hold  safe social events,” Petersen said.

Petersen explained IFC’s goal for 2016 was to increase education for Greek members in areas such as sexual assault awareness and prevention, social justice, and values based recruitment.

Petersen is a self proclaimed “people’s person,” and this becomes evident when his peers talk about him.

“He was straight up with me and that is something he has always exhibited.  Upfront and with no BS, but doesn’t do so in a way that offends or hurts.  He is a really great communicator,” said EJ Albaugh, a sophomore in new media communications with a minor in business.  

Albaugh, a member of Lambda Chi Alpha, was recruited by Petersen when he came to OSU.

“He is one of the driving factors of me joining a fraternity.  I was unsure of fraternities and Greek Life as a whole, but he helped change my opinion,” Albaugh explained.  “Joining the Greek system has changed my life and college experience, and without Alec I don’t know if I would have gone down this path.”

According to Albaugh, Petersen is a source of inspiration for many, and is highly regarded and looked up to as a positive role model.

“I enjoy leadership and it comes naturally to me, I just really like working with people and I am a good communicator.  I like to work with people and get things done,” Petersen said.  “I have been in student council since I was in sixth grade, I like event planning, and working with my peers to accomplish the tasks we set out to complete.”

Before serving as president, Petersen served as the vice president of recruitment and marketing for IFC.

“Alec has been involved with many areas of Greek life, from recruitment to chapter president,” said Steven Nemer, a senior in finance and accounting who has previously worked with Petersen in IFC.  “His Greek versatility serves him well as IFC president.”

Graduating this year, Petersen plans to enter the workforce after leaving OSU.

“I want to get into healthcare administration, ideally work in a clinical facility in HR Management, or Operations Management,” Petersen said.

Petersen sees the skills and experience he’s gained operating in the many leadership capacities as being instrumental to success in his upcoming career.

Petersen began his term as IFC President this January, and will hold the office until the end of the calendar year.

“He is not afraid to challenge the status quo and I am looking forward to what he will accomplish as the 2016 IFC President,” Shacht Drey said.

Petersen also works with the College of Public Health and Human Sciences as a peer advisor, new student advisor, and gives presentations on different programs, while also helping students with course and major selection.

“What can you say about a guy like Alec, right?  He’s very fun, very understanding,” Albaugh said.  You’ll rarely see him without a smile on his face.  He is playful, he can take it and dish it out.  There’s not much negative at all, except for when he beats me in Mario Kart.”