Balancing academics, friends, family, love life and extra-curriculars is a lot of work for the average college student, but it’s nothing compared to the balancing act Jordan LaBella, the president of Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity at James Madison University has to maintain. In addition to the everyday things, Jordan has to balance being in charge of 80 young men, running a small part of a very large Greek organization, maintaining a fine line between being a friend and being the person in charge, as well as being in his last year of college.
CM: How did you first realize that you wanted to be the president of your fraternity?
As soon as I was initiated. I loved the guys, I loved being a part of something within my school and I realized it would really be cool to be in charge of it all one day.
CM: What happens when you guys get in trouble?
When we get in trouble it's usually just a matter of apologizing to the school and perhaps accepting your slap on the wrist. The school understands that some things you do are going to get you in trouble; that’s the culture of college because not everyone is going to follow the rules. If we have offended others in the Greek community, we'll have a sit down and talk about how we can fix the problems instead of just seeking punishments. If we get in repeated trouble we could be put on social probation or suspension by the school.
CM: What are your responsibilities as president?
The number one priority is ensuring that the brothers are having a good time and they are proud to be a part of the fraternity. Others include planning events and making sure your relations with the school are in good standing.
CM: Is it hard to balance your position in your fraternity with schoolwork and your social life?
Absolutely. If you want the fraternity to thrive, being president should feel like a full time job. And on top of schoolwork, let's just say you’re always busy. Your social life may take a small hit but not much.
CM: Has your GPA suffered at all?
No not personally, it actually improved a lot. Busy people stay busy, and once you’re motivated, you stay motivated which helps you get to the library and work on schoolwork. You get into a routine of always doing something, which helps to get more stuff done.
CM: Is it hard to balance your position in power and your friendships with your brothers?
You absolutely have to have the right personality for it. That's all I can really say. You need to have a balance between being forceful and strict but also being understanding and not wanting to offend or shut out your brothers.
CM: What are some of the craziest things you have had to deal with as president?
Life is always a little crazy when you are president of a social organization. I won't get into details but don't expect running a fraternity to be easy...My best advice would be to have a brother with a public relations major handy.
CM: How many social events do you guys usually have a week?
On an average week usually about three to four.
CM: What is one of the most fun parties you’ve ever thrown?
We have an annual "Tour de Franzia" relay race in our basement that involves bags of Franzia wine and experienced tricycle riders racing their hearts our for the glory. It's definitely my favorite event of the year.
CM: Do you think being in a fraternity helps or hurts your relationships?
It absolutely helps. It takes up some of your time but it improves your social life. You get introduced to hundreds of girls that you wouldn’t have known otherwise so it increases your ability to meet girls on campus. We predominately meet sorority women but not exclusively and we are working on setting up mixers with other school organizations.
CM: What are some things you guys do to bond?
We have brotherhood events such as pledges vs. brothers football games, "brother parties" with no one but brothers on some weeknights and the whole initiation process bonds us brothers to the new pledges. Also, having a conveniently located house helps because it acts like a clubhouse where everyone is coming in and out. You see everyone everyday and we just hang out and do guy stuff for the most part.
CM: What is the rush process like for fraternities?
Rush process is honestly one of the most fun times of the year. We throw events looking to show the fun that we have and we have a good time ourselves. We want guys that are smart, social, and athletic, but mostly we favor easygoing personalities and good guys who know how to enjoy life and have a good time.