BY JACQUELINE O’ROURKE
With having had experience as a fraternity brother, and successfully gone through his first recruitment weekend, Sacred Heart’s new director of Greek Life, Nicholas Frias, is very optimistic about his new job.
“I think I’m able to relate to students, that is actually one of the things I think I can do fairly well is put myself on a student’s level and try to understand from where they are coming,” Frias said. “I certainly think having that fraternity background myself as an undergraduate really plays into my favor because I kind of know what they’re going through and every aspect of what it takes to have a successful organization.”
The path to Frias’ new job at Sacred Heart was a complicated one. Frias completed his Undergraduate studies at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. where he majored in Broadcast Journalism. Two weeks before graduation, he realized he was no longer interested in pursuing a career in journalism. At Quinnipiac, he was very involved as a fraternity brother, orientation leader, and member of the news media program. His high level of involvement led him to switch his career path to Student Affairs. After graduating from Quinnipiac, Frias took a year off.
Then, he went to graduate school at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass. where he earned his masters in Higher Education Student Affairs. While in graduate school, his fellowship work was with new student orientation. He wrote his thesis on ‘What Academic and Social Benefits Students get from joining Greek Life.’ After graduate school, his first job search did not find many positions in Greek Life or Orientation. Frias believes that was because those types of jobs are “very hard to come by at an entry level.”
Because of Frias’ difficulty to find a job he was looking for, he temporarily switched his focus to residential life. He got a job as a residence hall director at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. After three years there, Frias realized that working in residential life was not what he was looking for.
Speaking about his job at Roger Williams, Frias said, “I learned a lot, developed a lot of skills and meaningful work, but I wasn’t very passionate about it… I knew it wasn’t for me.” After this realization, he began his job search again. Friars’ new job search is what led him to his current job at Sacred Heart.
With eight sororities and six fraternities, Greek Life at Sacred Heart already has a strong presence on campus. When asked if he has any plans to add or change anything, Frias responded, “Honestly, no not yet. I would certainly agree that the Greek structure and program here is very strong and we’re growing very quickly.” Frias added that Greek Life is “expecting a new fraternity to start colonizing this semester.” The fraternity chosen is Alpha Tau Omega. As for the sororities, Frias does not predict any additions within the next year.
“As far as changes I would make, I would have to really start to assess and benchmark a lot of things. Really the only thing I’ve considered trying to change for next year would be the minimum GPA needed to go out for recruitment. Right now it’s at a 2.0 and that’s the all Sacred Heart University minimum. I would like to raise it to a 2.5. I’ve been benchmarking what other institutions have as their minimum to see if we can turn up a line with that,” Frias said.
He believes that it can be helpful to compare and contrast other colleges similar to Sacred Heart to see where SHU stands in different aspects.
Catie Moran, the Panhellenic President said, “He’s very approachable…it’s very easy to go to him with problems and get those problems resolved.”
One of his first major events as director of Greek life was this year’s sorority recruitment weekend in September.
When speaking about his experience, Frias said, “I think it went really well. It was busy and everyone kept joking to me leading up to it, ‘you’re not going to be ready, you’re not prepared for it’ and to some extent they were right.”
Frias added, “It was a lot of women, a lot of work, and a lot of overtime hours in a very short time frame, but nonetheless it was very fun and very successful.”
Frias shared that he is also excited for fraternity recruitment, and believes it will be more laid back but still require a lot of hard work.
Frias seems to be hitting it off with his new co-workers and colleagues as well. Deanna Daniels, the VP of Recruitment for Panhellenic said, “He is really welcoming and I feel like it (recruitment weekend) was an easy transition for him because he accepts everyone into the SHU community.”