Meet the new Interfraternity Council executive board

Vice President of Membership Development Nick Sonntag: “We want to be clear about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. We want the Greek community to see value in what we do.”
Tuesday, January 19th marked the beginning of the Interfraternity Council 2016 executive board terms. Board members, from left to right: Sean Miller, Jacob Farkas, Ben Baker, Nick Eovaldi, Chris Pierro and Ryan O’Connor. Not pictured: Nick Sonntag. Photo Courtesy of IFC

The new Interfraternity Council executive board plans to focus on educating their community about issues they face in order to foster responsible behavior, and they intend to do so with transparency and honesty. They were elected in November, and their terms started Tuesday.

President – Ben Baker

After serving as president of his fraternity, Baker’s continued interest in giving back to the Greek community led him to apply for the IFC executive board.

He said that aside from providing resources chapters need and want, the most important part of being president is acting in the chapters’ best interest as a voice for them to the university.

Baker said the previous executive board did a good job implementing the new alcohol policy and starting the IFC peer education program.

“My main goal would be to take what they’ve created and fine tune it along the way, as well as (to) keep everybody working toward a common goal and bettering our community,” he said.

Baker is a business finance major. He participated in the Emerging Greek Leaders program as a freshman and is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, or Phi Beta Lambda.

Vice President of Finance and Records – Nick Eovaldi

After speaking with friends who were previous members of the IFC executive board, Eovaldi decided to apply, seeing the opportunity to make some changes and improve the Finance and Records position. He is in charge of sending invoices to each chapter to collect dues in order to host events.

During the executive board meetings, Eovaldi takes notes that are later posted on OrgSync, allowing the chapter members to know what the board discussed.

“The most important part of the role is to be financially transparent, so all the chapter presidents know what’s going on with IFC’s budget and know what events are coming up soon,” he said.

In order to create financial transparency, Eovaldi plans to have monthly meetings with the chapter treasurers, something previous holders of his position have not done. This will allow the treasurers to discuss fiscal matters more openly.

“By (holding) those meetings, we’ll be able to determine what everyone’s goals are and hopefully improve all the processes for them,” Eovaldi said.

He is an accounting major who previously served as treasurer for his fraternity, Delta Tau Delta. Besides being involved with IFC and the Cornell Leadership Program, Eovaldi co-founded the MU chapter of Beards for Boobs in 2014.

Vice President of Risk Management – Ryan O’Connor

Junior Ryan O’Connor said attending meetings with the previous IFC executive board showed him that all the fraternities dealt with mostly the same issues, which inspired him to become the VP of risk management.

O’Connor’s role is to educate the chapters about hazing, alcohol use, fire safety and sexual assault. He holds meetings with the chapter risk managers twice per semester and approves chapters’ social outings. He also oversees the audit system that randomly checks fraternity houses to make they are following IFC policies, including the policy that allows only beer in the houses.

During his term as chapter president, O’Connor and some other presidents spearheaded the alcohol policy, something in which he takes pride.

O’Connor said he plans to promote responsible drinking and hopes that chapter presidents and risk managers feel comfortable coming to him for help if they run into problems.

“Building up that relationship, talking to them and making them feel like (they) were elected for a reason (matters),” O’Connor said.

Another goal of O’Connor’s is to bring in a speaker with a medical background to discuss risks of overconsumption with IFC members.

O’Connor is a communications major and is the brotherhood chair for his chapter, Pi Kappa Alpha. He is the public relations manager of Tigers for Tigers, an organization that raises awareness and funds for wild tigers.

Vice President of Programming – Sean Miller

A problem that Sean Miller has noticed within IFC, and the Greek community in general, is members do not necessarily form connections with their leaders until they are leaders themselves. To address this, he wants to create a leadership program for freshmen and sophomores through his new position.

“I want them all to meet and discuss ideas, so that way they already have a strong relationship and building blocks of ideas by the time they are the leaders of Greek Life,” he said.

His position allows him to improve IFC’s programs that need attention. One of his main goals is to work with O’Connor to expand the peer education program begun by the previous executive board members.

Miller hopes to improve Greek Honors Night, of which he said the chapters could make better use.

“At its best, (Honors Night) can be an extremely good opportunity to recognize the best of the best in Greek Life and really show the positive (things) we do,” he said.

Miller was chapter president of Phi Gamma Delta in 2015. He is a journalism major, an intern at ThreadBare, a performer with MU Improv and a site leader for Mizzou Alternative Breaks. Additionally, Miller founded Mizzou Shaves Lives, an organization that raises money for childhood cancer research.

Vice President of Public Relations – Jacob Farkas

Junior Jacob Farkas, a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, sought his position because he believes publicizing opportunities and events will give all Greek men a chance to excel.

“Joining a fraternity has served as a foundation for my successful college career,” Farkas said. “It was a stepping stone of my leadership on campus, and it gave me an opportunity to become a part of something special.”

Farkas serves as the liaison between IFC and different media outlets, promoting interaction between IFC and the rest of the local community. He manages IFC’s social media accounts and broadcasts Greek events, achievements and interactions with the greater Columbia area.

His most important goal, he said, is to create a committee made up of public relations chairs from every fraternity chapter and to have semi-weekly meetings with them.

“It is vital for (me) to know what events are occurring in each chapter, so by creating this IFC Public Relations Committee, I can hold various seminars covering topics that highlight outstanding members, advertise for upcoming philanthropic events, overcome crises, and (perform) other public relations responsibilities,” Farkas said. “Ideally, I would like to serve as a mentor to all fraternities on campus, and I feel that the IFC Public Relations Committee will give me the opportunity to do so.”

Farkas is a business finance major with a minor in entrepreneurship. He has been involved with MU Entrepreneurs, the Department of Student Activities and Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol.

Vice President of Membership Development – Nick Sonntag

Junior Nick Sonntag, a member of Sigma Nu, builds and designs programs to educate the Greek community about challenges it faces.

Sonntag said he has to be analytical, innovative and adaptive to do his job well. These skills will help him realize what problems the Greek community faces and then solve them in a way that highlights the value of both the problems and the solutions.

He said the most important part of his role is to be transparent, receptive and present, qualities that apply to the rest of the board as well.

“We want to be clear about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it,” he said. “We want the Greek community to see value in what we do. I want them to see us as a resource for any issue.”

After serving as a Rho Gamma, or formal recruitment counselor, and working with GAMMA, Sonntag became interested in joining the IFC executive board. He decided that VP of membership development was the position that best matched his skill set.

“It seemed like a really good opportunity to make a difference in the Greek community,” he said.

Sonntag is a mechanical engineering major. He is involved with Mizzou Racing, a formula car racing team. He is also an Engineering Ambassador, a member of the College of Engineering’s Student Inclusivity Advisors Board, and the activities chairman for the mechanical engineering honor society Pi Tau Sigma.

Vice President of Recruitment – Chris Pierro

Sophomore Chris Pierro’s role is to oversee formal and informal recruitment and to provide information about the fraternities to potential members.

“My main focus is being able to accommodate anyone with the slightest interest in becoming part of the Greek community,” he said.

Pierro hopes to increase the amount of living space in the residence halls for potential new Greek men during summer’s formal recruitment. He also hopes to make the recruitment exposition and preference round more efficient and less time-consuming.

“Toward the end of the expo, which is three hours long, (during) the last hour and a half or so, the potential new members are starting to not really care as much and not be as attentive,” Pierro said.

Shortening the expo will allow the potential new members to absorb more information, he said. Similarly, making preferencing an online process instead of on paper would be a better use of time.

“I really wanted to be able to make a difference in the Greek community that has already done so much for me, only being a sophomore,” Pierro said. “It’s opened so many doors for me, so I really wanted to be a part of (the executive board).”

Pierro is a business major and a member of Delta Tau Delta who participated in Emerging Greek Leaders last year.

Edited by Waverly Colville |

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