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COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 200 8 University of South Florida. All rights, reserved. T his oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.
1 USF Florida Studies Center Oral History Program USF 50 th History Anniversary Project Narrator: Scott Wilkinson Interviewer: Danielle E. Riley Current Position: Inter Fraternity Council Location of Interview: Tampa President Campus Lib rary Date of Interview: July 6, 2004 Abstractor: Jared G. Toney Editor: Danielle E. Riley Date of Abstract: July 13, 2004 Date of Edit: July 13, 2004 Final Editor: Jared G. Toney TOPICS OF DISCUSSION Mr. Wilkinson came to USF as a student in th e fall of 2001. Background Mr. Wilkinson is originally from Louisville, Kentucky. While he applied to a number of universities, USF was the only school outside of the Kentucky area. His decision was influenced, in part, by his mother, who is herself a US F graduate. Before his visit to USF, he had never before been that far south. "I came and checked it out in the winter. It was nice and warm and sunny, so I decided to try it out ... I got here and I loved it." First impressions of USF Mr. Wilkinson was p articularly impressed when he first saw the university. "It was everything I wanted in a school campus," he recalls. "Just a really beautiful campus ... it makes it easier going to class." Deciding on a university The final decision, he remembers, took hi m about a month or two to make. "I liked [USF] the best out of the four schools I applied to, but it just took me a while to ... decide if I wanted to go that far from home." First semester at USF He began his first semester at USF in the fall of 2001. He chose to live on campus his freshman year, and moved down to Tampa a week or so before classes began. "It was awesome. I recommend staying in dorms to anybody coming to USF. You get the full university experience staying in the dorms as opposed to staying off campus ... You meet so many new people, it's definitely worth it." Joining a fraternity Joining a fraternity, Wilkinson asserts, is what got him most involved on campus. Walking around the campus one day, he received a flyer on Greek life at USF from a fraternity member. "I just got real involved ... finally decided to go through recruitment week." Though he had not intended to join a fraternity, he discovered it was an
2 invaluable way to meet people and make friends in an area where he did not know an yone. "It was pretty much like having a home away from home, for me." "Recruitment week" Recruitment week "was fun," Wilkinson recalls. Each night has a different theme such as "game night" in which all the fraternities participate. There is also "usually lots of food," he says. The purpose of the week, Wilkinson explains, is so that pledges are able to meet members of the various fraternities and decide where they best fit. The fraternity he joined was the only one that had a house at the time, located ju st off campus. Phi Delta Theta The name of his fraternity is Phi Delta Theta. "Our motto is actually, One man is no man.' So we're about coming together all as a whole ... we pretty much share the same values and morals stuff like that. Pretty much we lean on each other for everything. We're really strong on brotherhood." Currently, there are between forty five and fifty members in his chapter. Living arrangements After spending his freshman year living on campus, he moved into the fraternity house o ff campus in the fall of 2002, where he lived for a year's time. "You wake up every morning, and you've got sixteen of your best friends just living right next to you." Although they are allowed to have parties at the house, alcohol is not allowed because it is a "dry fraternity." Benefits of fraternity life "I think being in a fraternity has made me more responsible, because I have to figure out a way to balance [academics and fraternity life] or else I'll have to drop ... the fraternity ... It really pre pares you a lot for what's after college, because it teaches you how businesses are kind of run ... you have to do so many different things ... You have to learn how to manage your time real well." Charity work Because Lou Gehrig was a member of the Phi D elta Theta fraternity, much of their community service goes toward the fight for ALS, the disease which strickened the former baseball star. Often, the fraternity sponsors sporting events such as kickball and basketball tournaments to raise money for the c ause. They also spend time with children at community hospitals around the holidays. Inter Fraternity Council One of his older fraternity brothers once suggested that he participate in an IFC meeting at the university. He was appointed to a minor positio n on the council, and progressively became more and more involved with the organization. His sophomore year, he was elected to treasurer. The following year, he was elected president of the Inter Fraternity council, a position which he currently holds.
3 D emanding schedule In addition to his responsibilities with the fraternity organizations, Wilkinson is also pursuing a degree in engineering at USF. "Sometimes it gets a little demanding ... Really, if you know how to manage your time well, you can do it. I have a good support group around me." IFC President His duties as president of the IFC include oversight of the organizations on campus, setting up different processes to manage and monitor the fraternities and sororities. One of our main goals has been risk management, trying to reduce the risks" in the operation of the newly constructed Greek housing units on campus. "There's no liquor allowed whatsoever ... That's been one of my big things since I've been president ... trying to figure out how to set this process up [without upsetting the fraternities]." Greek organizations at USF "We [the IFC] have a good relationship with the chapter presidents now they're real good guys. They understand where we're coming from. They kind of know that [these] are the steps we have to take, or else series [consequences] can happen ... They know the risk[s] too, so they cooperate with us usually." Reputations In terms of the reputation of fraternities on campus, Wilkinson believes that, across the nation, "it is pre tty bad," though problems on the USF campus are minimal. "[The practice of] hazing has been almost weeded out ... you rarely ever see it anymore. They think that we drink and party all the time ... We're trying to take the fraternities where they are suppo sed to be ... that's why we're doing the community service ... stuff like that. That's what they were started for." Relationship with the community Wilkinson believes that the Greek organizations have a fairly solid relationship with the local community i n Tampa. "There's a lot of alumni out in Tampa ... that come from these fraternities and sororities ... the surrounding community's real supportive of [us]." Benefits of involvement Wilkinson espouses the merits of fraternity life, asserting that such inv olvement "prepares you for what's after college ... it really does give you a lot of connections." He has also been able to make a home in Tampa, largely through his involvement with the fraternity at USF. "I meet new people every day ... I know people eve rywhere in Tampa ... Just getting involved on campus, you meet so many new people." Academics He is currently studying industrial engineering at USF. "Grades always come first for me now. I think being in a fraternity has actually helped out a lot ... The best thing about it is, you've got so many other brothers in your same major that you've got people to study with, and they help you out ... It's just all about being motivated ... The chapter president always see the GPAs of the members ... when guys sta rt slacking, all the other brothers
4 get on you because they don't want you to have to drop the fraternity to get your grades back up." Industrial engineering department The industrial engineering department, Wilkinson believes, is probably the smallest wi thin the College of Engineering. He chose it because, "Once you get out of school, you have a lot of options ... as opposed to other engineers [who are] kind of stuck in one area ... Industrial engineers can do almost anything they want, because it pretty much teaches you how to make the right decisions." Because the program is so small, he has been able to establish strong personal relationships with many of his professors. He also sees many of the same students in his classes, and they have come to rely u pon each other within the program. "The good thing is, all the professors I've ever had ... are always willing to help you out of class, anytime you want ... They always stress office hours ... They try to get you to ask questions. They all want you to lea rn." Plans after graduation After Wilkinson completes his bachelor's degree, he hopes to pursue a Master's of Engineering Science and Management here at USF. "There [are] not many universities across the country who have that program ... it's like a busin ess degree for engineers, so it's kind of cool. I'm really looking forward to taking that actually." He hopes to graduate in December 2005. Advice to incoming students "I would recommend ... get[ting] involved on campus ... You meet so many different peop le. It really prepares you for what's after college. I think that's the best thing you can do." The first step to getting involved, Wilkinson suggests, is participating in various events that are promoted on and around the university campus. "Anytime you s ee a flyer, always read it, check it out, and you never know what it's going to be like ... they always have free food and everything at least go for that, and you never know what you'll end up liking." End of Interview
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Wilkinson, Scott A.
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Danielle E. Riley.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (0 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 expanded summary (digital, PDF file)
USF 50th (2006) anniversary oral history project
Interview conducted July 6, 2004.
Scott Wilkinson discusses the nature of being involved in a fraternity and the responsibilities of being the Inter-Fraternity Council President.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Wilkinson, Scott A.
University of South Florida.
Greek letter societies.
Riley, Danielle E.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
y CLICK HERE TO ACCESS DIGITAL AUDIO AND EXPANDED SUMMARY