After five years here, UMBC’s Greek Life Coordinator shifting her focus to law school
Last week, Susan DuMont announced that she will be stepping down from her role as the Coordinator of Student Life for Fraternities and Sororities, after five years in that role. She plans to stay in Student Life for one more year in a graduate assistant role but will not be directly supporting the greek community.
DuMont received her Masters in Counseling in Higher Education/Student Affairs from the University of Delaware, where she held her graduate internship in Greek Life. Prior to starting graduate school she traveled as an Educational Leadership Consultant for Alpha Phi Fraternity, a role which allowed her to visit over 25 campuses to work with chapters on a variety of topics and issues.
Could you give a description of what you do, in general terms? What goes into coordinating Greek Life?
I’m a Coordinator in Student Life, so I have general duties for the office including being a member of committees like the Student Affairs Alcohol & Other Drug Committee, the Student Affairs Assessment & Research Committee, and the Women’s Center Advisory Board. I of course also then have specific duties related to the Fraternity & Sorority Community. I’m an advisor to all of the chapters and greek councils, so I work closely with each of the presidents including weekly meetings and a lot of general email communication and drop ins. I support large scale programming like Greek Week and Panhellenic Formal Recruitment, which is a four day recruitment process that resulted in more than 65 women receiving bids in one day. I also do hazing prevention education with chapters and am a co-chair of the Hazing Prevention Work Group. I work with the staff and volunteer partners for all the chapters, including local advisors and national and international staff. As a formal staff member of an International Headquarters, I really value the consistent support chapters can receive from those offices and have tried to help chapters see their national officers as a source of support, not something to be afraid of. One of the things that is most interesting about my role is that most of the time I am the biggest campus advocate for the Fraternity/Sorority experience, but I can also serve as the charging party in Student Judicial Programs cases to hold chapters accountable when they break rules. Fortunately, that is very rare and I get to spend most of my time and energy supporting a great, healthy, vibrant Greek Experience. It’s an interesting dynamic, though, to be the ‘cheerleader’ most of the time and then be the ‘principal’ at others. I like to think that members know that I am an advocate for the greek experience when it is done right, and I will fight for that experience every day. But when it is not done right — when students are harmed by our organizations — I am advocating for our national history, values and future by being the one that enforces high standards.
Q: Why are you stepping down? Where are you going?
In the Fall of 2013, I started law school at the University of Maryland in the evening program. For the past two years I have worked full time, gone to school almost full time, and commuted from Newark, Delaware. I love my work and I love UMBC, but it’s time to make a change. I will graduate in May of 2016, if I’m able to be a truly full time student next year, and that seemed like the choice that it was time to make. There are a lot of co-curricular experiences at the law school that I haven’t been able to do because of my schedule and I’m excited to have one year to try to gather a few of those experiences. I really believe that the bulk of education happens outside of the classroom, and I needed to make time to have those experiences in my legal education just like I encourage UMBC students to do. I will be a Graduate Assistant with Student Life next year, but working in a different capacity. Students will still see me, just doing different work and for less hours per week! After that … I’ll let you know what I do. I have a great level of empathy of UMBC’s seniors right now.
Q: What were the most significant events at UMBC or in the UMBC Greek community during your time here?
That’s a great and tough question. I’m trying to think what students would say in addition to what I would say!
First, I very clearly remember the moment that the Coke trucks came and collected all of the Coke vending machines while the Pepsi ones were loaded in. I haven’t forgotten the joy of fountain Cokes with lunch during my first semester here.
In terms ‘events,’ I think the Fall 2010 Townhall is the hour that I look back on as the most impactful hour of my time here so far. I wanted to have a community meeting to introduce myself to the members so we invited all members to a free hour meeting with the promise of some t-shirts. It has grown into a great tradition that still includes some community pride swag. Townhall is our time to come together to see each other in one place, to share our updates and successes with each other, and celebrate our community. This Spring will be our tenth Townhall which also feels like a nice even number for me to bow out with.
I’ve also seen a great number of new chapter and community events that stand out, not necessarily as the most significant, but certainly as memorable. Our first Greek Summit last year; the NPHC step show that opened for Snoop Dogg during Quadmania; the Greek Games tricycle races in Spring of 2012; Pi Kappa Phi’s Wheelchair Basketball Tournament last semester; the first MGC Showcase; and the publication of Phi Mu’s cookbook all stand out as great memories that felt like moments of pride and celebration of the unique aspects of UMBC’s community.