Greek life adviser says his goodbyes


Bobby Shipman

After three and half years of dedication and hard work, Program Adviser for Fraternity/Sorority Life David Stetter announced his departure from USI on Jan. 12.

Stetter accepted a position at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., as coordinator of fraternity/sorority life in the office of student involvement and leadership, which is similar to his position at USI, except Washington University has 18 chapters and more than 2,000 students affiliated.

When Stetter started at USI in July of 2010, he found the low number of students affiliated with Greek life discouraging, he said.

In fall 2010, USI had five fraternities and three sororities, with one fraternity on suspension, totaling 359 students involved.

“I was fresh out of grad school and excited to have a job in a field that I was passionate about, and I was eager to get started making changes,” Stetter said. “I just saw a lot of potential for growth. I thought it was, for lack of a better word, crazy that we only had three sororities.”

Less than a week into his new job, Stetter said he was working the fraternity/sorority life table and noticed a woman looking at the informational board.

After approaching her, Stetter said she sought to join Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) like her mother – a sorority USI did not have.

“That is when I realized that we had an area of opportunity that we needed to work on. I was really excited to figure out how we could bring that to USI,” he said. “I was disappointed that we didn’t have NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic Council) organizations.”

Christina Pullings, USI’s current Alpha Kappa Alpha president, spoke up for her entire sorority and said they are grateful for all the work Stetter has done for them.

The senior health services major said Stetter helped make AKA’s transition to USI much smoother.

“He helped build bridges between us and the rest of (the) other sororities. Like if they have questions, he will help relay the questions back to us,” Pullings said. “(Stetter) helped us to get to know them on a more one-on-one basis so we didn’t feel like we were not all part of the same Greek life.”

The major differences between Panhellenic and Pan-Hellenic sororities is that NHPC hosts a more discreet and formal intake process, Pullings said.

Since Stetter’s involvement, USI has grown to seven Interfraternity Conference (IFC) fraternities, four Panhellenic sororities and two NPHC sororities, with over 600 students involved.

At Northern Kentucky University, Stetter belonged to the Kentucky Eta chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

“When I joined, we had 22 guys. We doubled up in one summer,” he said. “I was a founding father of my organization, and so I remember the challenges of starting out. Only those chapters can really say that, and so there’s a lot of pride in being someone who started something new.”

A sense of tradition can also be attributed to Stetter’s time at USI.

“One of the first things I did is (that) I helped coordinate a grand chapter event,” Stetter said. “We brought everyone into Carter Hall for an educational speaker and framed it around this concept called Grand Chapter, where we could also then recognize and celebrate our success. To my knowledge, prior to me, that was not done.”

USI now hosts a Grand Chapter meeting every semester.

Sigma Tau GammaPresident Christian Ely, began working with Stetter in 2011 on the chartering packet that would bring the fraternity to USI.

“The impact he had is huge. The numbers don’t lie,” the junior exercise science and kinesiology major  said. “You can look at how much our Greek community has grown – 75.5 percent increase in fraternity membership and 82.5 percent in sorority, since he has been here.”

Ely said Stetter’s ability to truly care about USI’s organizations and desire to see them succeed makes him essential to Greek life.

For the last few years, Stetter has been using mouse traps in his leadership presentations as a trust exercise.

He asks officers to get in pairs, and each person places one hand on one side of the contraption. They let go at the same time, so as to not get their hands smashed.

“He has a very unique way of explaining things,” senior social work major Kayla Rupp said. “A lot of people will remember (Stetter) for his mouse traps and for his presentations.”

Rupp works as a Student Assistant at the Student Involvement office on campus, and belongs to Alpha Sigma Alpha.

She admires Stetter for his unique personality and also his ability to challenge her, Rupp said.

“He is very bold. He is not afraid of anything or anyone,” she said. “I think that’s hard to find in people.”

Stetter not only led, but also made a great friend to those around him and created lasting memories.

“I will miss (Stetter) so much. It’s really hard for me to process having to graduate without him here,” she said. “Every day I can learn something new from (Stetter). And that’s what I am going to miss the most – being able to learn something new.”

Rupp said she will miss relating to Stetter outside of Greek life, whether they are chatting about the newest episode of American Horror Story, or listening to the latest hit by Hayley Williams.

“I am really proud of him because he is moving on to something so much bigger and I think he deserves it,” Rupp said. “I don’t know how someone is going to be able to fill his shoes.”

Stetter said he will miss the laughter he shared with colleagues, students and friends, seeing them work hard and grow.

His fondest memory at USI is of receiving Lambda Chi Alpha’s “Advisor of the Year” award because of the relationship and impact he had with the chapter.

Although moving on proves difficult, Stetter looks forward to his future at a new school.

“The challenge: it is a much larger school at a different type of institution,” he said. “It’s a private institution and with that comes its own set of rules and ways to operate. So it’s an opportunity to learn and grow.”

Students, faculty and staff all agree Stetter was an essential part of USI.

“There is a time in every single professional person’s career that they can only make so much of an impact before it’s time to move on,” Stetter said. “I think I was approaching that here. Could I have stayed working here longer? Yeah. I could have worked here forever, but it is important that new fresh ideas continue forward.”