Each calendar year, the Mid-American Greek Council Association (MGCA) awards one Greek council with the best overall council honor, and in February the CSU Panhellenic Council took it home, marking the first time in CSU history.
The MGCA is the largest of four regions in the United States that holds similar conferences and draws in councils from other districts, said Mark Koepsell, director of Greek Life and assistant executive director for MGCA.
To evaluate councils, the MGCA looks at an eight-category list that comprises almost 250 criteria, Koepsell said.
"They were the closest to perfect of the schools that attended," Koepsell said. "Our governing bodies are operating at a higher level than everyone else, which means Greek Life is a highly effective, highly tuned machine."
The council improved 12 percent this year with a final score of 92, beating last year's council winners who won with a score 80 percent. Last year, they took second by one percent.
"It's very thrilling," said Liz Schleicher, last year's Panhellenic Council president. "I'm proud of my council and their work, but I am also proud because I won it for all the strong women leaders who came before me. After being on the Panhellenic Council for three years, this is a great way to end my college career."
To prove their proficiency in all eight categories, the council had to set goals and objectives and document everything such as meetings and e-mails that went with the goals.
"It took 60 hours to put together," said Schleicher, a senior business marketing major. "Documentation is very extensive. It was a lot of work but it was worth it."
CSU's Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) took home second place for overall council, coming in a place behind last year, but with a 9 percent increase in their overall score. "It puts things in to perspective for how we can improve," said Matt Cook, IFC president. "It was more of a building experience and thinking about where we can go from here."
Combined, the councils were recognized for four "best practices," including their "I am" campaign, judicial road shows – a visit to each chapter to explain the council's judicial process, a sorority retention program and a presentation on today's student and today's generation by Koepsell that explained the type of student who is in college today.
"We've always had a really strong Greek system," said Melanie Huntrods, this year's Panhellenic Council president. "It is encouraging to see how strong of a system we have."
The men and women showed the most improvement in the leadership development, council management and public relations categories, Koepsell said. Last semester's "Women In Leadership Dessert," "Day of Dialogue," the council newsletter and the "I am" campaign contributed to the improvement.
This year, Greek Life sent five men and four women to the conference that was more than an awards show.
"It was an entire week on how to be an effective Greek leader on your campus," said Huntrods, a sophomore technical journalism major, including one speaker on "confronting the idiot in your chapter."
Other sessions spanned in topic from "leading with your letters" to sex signals and "the power of personal decisions." Beyond feature speakers, participants broke up in to small groups to discuss ways to improve Greek Life.
The awards come in stark contrast to last semester when Greek Life was cited for "rise and ralphs" and other conduct problems.
"(The award) breaks the stereotypes Colorado has of Greeks in Colorado and at CSU," Huntrods said. "Greeks should be recognized for the positive things we do on campus and this is a great way to start the year."
Koepsell said these recognitions show another side to Greek Life, and that last semester's events "were not indicative of the whole."
"Last fall was not about bad policies and procedures," Koepsell said. "It was about individuals not following the policies and procedures."
Out of all the Greeks attending the event, Koepsell said it was rewarding to watch his students.
"Out of 1,600 people, to watch the students I work with get recognized is a pretty phenomenal experience," Koepsell said.
From here, it is about maintaining and improving Greek Life at CSU.
"This leads everyone in a positive direction," Huntrods said. "And I hope everyone will be excited to be Greek. I'm really excited for the great things that can come out of this."