Photo by Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh
After a months-long search, Wills Brown joined the Office of Student Involvement as the new assistant director for Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL).
The search began in Fall 2018, when then-assistant director Jeremy Allen announced that he would be stepping down at the end of the semester. As Allen’s departure date came and went, a replacement had yet to be found, so Jamie Thompson, director of Student Involvement, temporarily took up Allen’s duties in the interim. Finally, Brown was found and took up the position in May.
“I’m really excited about the potential and opportunity for the community as a whole,” Brown said “First and foremost, I want to make sure every organization has a strong, engaged alumni base. I think part of that comes through in making sure every organization has an alumni foundation. Secondly, I want to ensure that every club executive council has strategic plans for the club and has goals to achieve that better their club and the community.”
When searching for a new assistant director for FSL, Student Involvement followed their typical procedures to fill the vacancy. Candidates applied for the position, the search committee reviewed applicant materials, video interviews were conducted, campus interviews took place and then offers were made. Thompson was heavily involved in the search process.
“The search was a little bit longer than some of our other searches, and it was just a little bit longer than we anticipated,” Thompson said.
The search process focuses on making sure the person hired is reflective of the faculty, staff and student population at Trinity. The search committee plays a large role in making sure that the person hired is someone fit for both the campus climate and the role.
“He met all of our required criteria in terms of experience and education. He brings with him former higher education experience, specifically working with and supporting student government associations and therefore student groups. He has his own personal background that includes fraternity membership and other leadership roles,” Thompson said. “His master’s is in higher education administration and then he also taught for a couple years at Teach for America San Antonio. He met all of the criteria we were looking for. And as students kind of connected with him and responded with him throughout the process and during the on-campus interview, it became clear that he was the best candidate for the job.”
Sarah Hantak, who graduated in May 2019, was a student member of the search committee and a part of the process from early on.
“We started [in] beginning of fall semester of last year when we found out that Jeremy was going to be leaving,” Hantak said. “When looking for candidates, it was really emphasized that we wanted to make sure that the candidate was a good fit for the campus and for the role, and that was emphasized the whole time.”
In looking towards the future of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Wills Brown has upcoming changes that will be in place this semester for potential new members (PNM) of fraternities and sororities. Brown hopes these changes will make fraternity and sorority life more inclusive, safe and aware.
“During recruitment we’ll be offering four different educational workshops to ensure that PNMs understand what the community values and in those workshops we’ve partnered with Alli [Roman] for an Allyship Workshop, we’re partnering with the new Title IX Coordinator for a Sexual Misconduct Workshop, we’re partnering with the Dean of Students’ Office to offer a [Safer Parties Initiative] Workshop, and we’re offering a Bystander Intervention Workshop,” Brown said.
Brown’s plans for FSL also include addressing issues that were brought up last spring by working with another department on campus.
“Next is that we’re ensuring that we are creating a welcoming and inclusive environment within the fraternity and sorority community. I know they’ve gotten a lot of feedback, especially last spring, regarding inclusivity and diversity within each club, so that’s something that we definitely want to work closely with the Diversity and Inclusion Office and Alli [Roman] to really educate the community and make sure they are hosting inclusive and welcoming of every Tiger on campus,” Brown said.