Sister, sister

by  16 October 2012

Theresa Henneman stood among a long line of grey-sweater clad women waiting on the steps of Paley Library earlier this month.

A short time later, Henneman was one of more than 200 women to rush through the arch of the Bell Tower, unzip their drab jackets unveiling neon T-shirts printed with Greek letters and rush into the awaiting arms of their new sorority members screaming from the plaza below.

“In short, pretty awesome,” the sophomore therapeutic recreation major and transfer student said of receiving a bid to Delta Phi Epsilon on Oct. 4, one of Temple’s four general interest sororities.

“Temple is a large university. Coming in as a transfer student is a little hard and I figured [joining a sorority] would make everything easier with meeting people and getting involved with school,” said Henneman, now a member of the largest sorority class in Temple history.

More female students than ever have participated in sorority recruitment at Temple this fall, with more than a 100 percent increase from last year, Interim Director of Student Activities Chris Carey said.

While the rates of women joining sororities have been steadily increasing throughout the last five years, Carey said that Fall 2011’s 190 women registered seemed to represent a flat-lining in growth. This fall, however, the interest in recruitment exploded, Carey said.

Starting at the beginning of October, 446 female students registered for recruitment within the Temple University Panhellenic Association, which represents the four general interest sororities: Alpha Epsilon Phi, Delta Zeta, Phi Sigma Sigma and Delta Phi Epsilon. The 11 other sororities at Temple are within the National Multicultural Greek Council and the Temple University National Pan-Hellenic Council also known as the “Divine Nine” historically African-American fraternities and sororities.

Sororities within the Multicultural Greek Council and Pan-Hellenic Council go through a separate recruitment process outside of campus recruitment, Carey said.

During her last week at Temple, former Student Activities Director Gina D’Annunzio worked with the Panhellenic sororities to hold events inside the Student Center where recruits met in large meeting rooms and made connections with the sisters in their prospective sororities.

Of the women who registered, 261 officially received bids from one of the four sororities during a Bid Night event held at the Bell Tower. The girls in the four sororities dressed up in brightly colored clothing, cheering as they welcomed new members.

“I’m just looking for that family experience, that sisterhood bond for life, and I really want to give back to the community,” Abby Zeppenfelt, a sophomore media studies and production major, who received a bid from Phi Sigma Sigma, said.

With a total of 139 women receiving bids during last years’ recruitment process, the average new member size of 35 women per chapter grew to 63 in 2012, Carey said.

Carey took over the role of interim Student Activities director on Oct. 6, and said he will begin the next step in the process by working with new member educators to develop strategies to work with the larger new member classes.

Within Temple’s fraternities, new member sizes have largely stayed the same, with approximately 115 new members rushing this fall into 10 Interfraternity Council chapters at Temple, Carey said.

Carey also attributed the lower numbers to fraternities hosting spring rush classes, whereas, sororities only recruit in the fall semesters.

The rise in Greek life has come as more students – now close to 7,000, according to university estimates – move to the area surrounding Main Campus. Additionally, Temple is constructing Morgan Hall, which will provide more than 1,200 beds to students living on campus.

“It is a changing demographic of students, there’s a lot of students who are looking for this type of community experience and this social connection,” Carey said.

Carey also said that the rise of Greek institutions’ presence on campus, particularly sororities, through events such as fund raising and service projects has helped to build an increase in interest amongst students.

“It’s a good combination,” Carey said.

“By increasing the number, we were allowed to offer more bids and overall, all four sororities were able to get more young women involved in Greek life. I believe I can speak for everyone in Greek life when I say that we are more than excited to see Greek life expanding,” Sophie Rumbelow, a senior psychology major and president of Alpha Epsilon Phi, said in an email.

In response to the rise in sorority recruitment, Temple is currently researching adding at least one more Panhellenic sorority to Main Campus, Carey said.

“We have to look at the final numbers and have some discussions, this is another formalized process that [the Panhellenic Association] has laid out for how expansion takes place,” Carey said, adding that while no plans are in place, the university is also looking at expansion in terms of the entire Greek system.


Rome Students witness history

by  19 March 2013

As the rain soaked the square, the crowd began to gather in front of St. Peter’s Basilica, watching, waiting. Mike Madeja was one of thousands of people who began to gather inside the Vatican on March 13 in anticipation of witnessing first-hand the election of the next pope.

Standing in the rain since 4 p.m. local time, Madeja witnessed the crowd grow into an “ecstatic chaos,” the first vote earlier in the afternoon had already ended in a plume of black smoke: no pope.

Then, shortly after 7 p.m., smoke again began to pour out of the small copper chimney atop the famed Sistine Chapel.

In Madeja’s words, a moment of anticipation filled the crowd, all trying to decipher the signal of the gray smoke. And then they cheered.

“‘Bianco Bianco, WHITE SMOKE WHITE SMOKE’ was all that could be heard aside from the shouts. Then the bells rang, we all got goosebumps and started yelling too just because we couldn’t believe it,” Madeja said in a message.

Madeja, a junior biological anthropology and Italian major, was just one of several Temple Rome students who dotted the crowd outside last week’s Papal Conclave, and who witnessed first-hand the unveiling of the 266th leader of the Catholic world.

In separate correspondences, conducted over social media, several students shared with The Temple News their experiences inside St. Peter’s Square as witnesses to what is sure to be one of the iconic moments of 2013.

The conclave, which ended in the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to be named Pope Francis, was announced following another unique event in the Catholic Church: the resignation of the former pope, Benedict XVI.

“When I first heard that the Pope retired, I immediately knew that this was a historic moment. I knew that it wasn’t common for popes to retire but didn’t realize that it had been 600 years since it happened last,” said Megan Winton, a junior psychology major studying abroad in Rome who also was in the square to see the presentation of the new pope.

The conclave began just as students from Temple Rome were returning from their spring break, which meant some had classes.

“When news of the white smoke came out, I was actually in class, and our professor kept going,” Courtney Thomas, a junior strategic and organizational communications, said. “After I got out at 7:50 [p.m.], I jumped on the subway with one of my friends and ran over. It was absolute insanity…we couldn’t even get close, but we could still kind of see the balcony. There were a group of nuns crying next to us, and people were singing and shouting.”

As the students told it, the emotions in the crowd only grew after Francis, the first Jesuit and native of the New-World to be elected to the Papacy, was announced.

“After he came out, most of the discussion was about who he was…since he’s from Latin America and a Jesuit, there was a lot to talk about,” Thomas said.

Terry Rey, a professor of religion at Temple, said the election of Francis reflected a demographic shift in the Catholic community.

“The last time I attended mass in Philly, I heard many more people in attendance speaking Spanish than English. If the pope is the face of the Catholic Church… then his face should thus look like all these people and he should sound a great deal like them, too,” Rey said.

While people all over the world made the pilgrimage to Rome in the days prior to the conclave, Temple Rome students and fellow students from American colleges studying abroad, had a unique opportunity to experience history being made.

Madeja, who was raised Catholic, but no longer identifies with the religion, shared his experience with several of his Temple classmates, as well as students he met from the University of Dallas, sparking a conversation after he saw a member of their group holding and American flag.

“Thinking about how around or over 1 billion people find this to be a huge occasion, if not one of the more important experiences of their lives, heightened the situation. I kept thinking about how I learned about all of the things that happened this week from the conclave to the current moment, and I was kind of just in shock,” Madeja said.

Thomas, whose Catholic upbringing and studying of the papacy in AP European History left her with a deep interest in the elections, said she was happy that she was able to share her experience with her religious grandparents back home, as well as in person with the people of Rome.

“I think what I’ll remember most was how wild everyone was about it, both Temple Rome students and people in Rome in general. It almost made me feel closer to being a part of Italian culture, too, since they were just as excited as we were,” Thomas said.

Winton, who was raised Lutheran, said she was struck by the importance the event played on the Catholic people.

“During the speech there was a moment of silence, it was the most surreal moment because there were tens of thousands of people who are excited and in the moment and to hear silence – it was a moment I will remember for the rest of my life,” Winton said.

For the many Temple students who witnessed the event on television back home, a moment of familiarity may have struck when two Temple students, identified as only Mike and Mark, were interviewed on national television by NBC News.

Mentorship bond leads to 25K

by John Moritz 13 November 2012

In front of her window overlooking the Center City skyline, Edna Foa has a picture of one of her many honors. Four skyscrapers, each one lit up as if in celebration of sports championship, spell out “WOAR Honors Edna Foa.”
The tribute downtown is just one of many notable honors Foa has received in her more than 40 years researching the psychology of anxiety disorders.
However, as Foa puts it, she has never received an award celebrating her role as a teacher, in fact, she said she never thought of herself as a teacher in a formal sense.
For Richard McNally, another award-winning psychologist at Harvard University, Foa was more than just a teacher, she has been both a mentor and colleague for more than 30 years since their days working together at Temple. McNally recently honored Foa by nominating her for a major cash award for her work.
In September 1982, McNally began working as an intern at the Temple Department of Psychology’s Behavioral Therapy Unit in the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, under the clinical supervision of Foa.
Foa, who was born in Israel and received her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, was studying personality disorders in adults and their relation to human memory. Foa and McNally conducted experiments while working at Temple, having patients memorize groups of words while in a mood state such as depression and later repeat those words while they were in a normal state and in their mood. The psychologists would try to find if there was a link between mood disorders and memorization.

After one year, McNally became Foa’s first post-doctoral fellow, and continued working under her direction until August 1984 when he left to become an assistant professor at the University of Chicago.
“[McNally] is a genius,” Foa said. “He was very energetic…Everyone was partying and we were on the side writing papers.”
While the pair’s time working together at Temple was short-lived — Foa also left to join the Medical College of Pennsylvania and then the psychology department at the University of Pennsylvania — they would spend the next 25 years collaborating on ideas, working on experiments and co-writing papers and grants to further knowledge on the effects of anxiety disorders in society.
“She influenced me theoretically as a researcher and as a clinician. When I established my Anxiety Disorders Clinic in 1986, I featured [Foa’s] innovative intensive exposure and response prevention treatment for OCD. This program is very effective, and my clinic was the only one in the Chicago area — a region comprising about six million people — to offer [Foa’s] program,” McNally said in an email.
McNally’s anxiety disorder clinic, which used a sliding fee scale to assist poorer members of the community, became an inspiration for a few of McNally’s own students who set up similar centers in San Diego and Wisconsin.
In 1991, McNally moved to Harvard where he is now a director of clinical training for the Doctoral Psychology Program and head of the McNally Lab, which studies anxiety disorders.
In her own work, Foa began focusing on post-traumatic stress disorder, specifically its role on soldiers returning from war and how the military can treat such disorders. For her development prolonged exposure therapy to combat-related PTSD, Foa was honored as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2010, an award she first thought was a joke.
“I thought it was junk mail, I was going to delete it,” Foa said.
Two years later, Foa received another letter about an award that caught her by surprise, congratulating her for inspiring McNally to make a significant difference in the community.
“I wrote him and I said, ‘I won some kind of award and it is called the Beckman Award, did you nominate me for it?’” Foa said.
McNally had nominated her for the $25,000 Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award Trust, which was presented to Foa in Atlanta on Saturday, Nov. 10. The award trust was founded in 2008, and is given to college instructors who are nominated by former students for inspiring their contributions to society.
“[McNally] is a major figure in psychology in general, and clinical psychology in particular, and he himself inspired many people in different areas,” Foa said, adding that within his field, McNally is sometimes viewed with controversy. “He likes to raise difficult questions, ethical and moral issues, as well as professional issues, so I don’t think in the area of clinical psychology there is a person who doesn’t know his name.”
Beyond their professional ties, McNally and Foa both said they have maintained a close personal relationship throughout the years. Both attended the award ceremony in Atlanta during the weekend, where they also met with their spouses for dinner. Next week, both will be attending and speaking at the 46th Association for Behavior and Cognitive Therapies Convention in National Harbor, Md., a continuation of their decades of work that began together at Temple.
While the Beckman Award will be one of many decorating Foa’s office at Penn, for her the award carries a special meaning — her first in the area of teaching and nomination by a friend.
“Well it’s always nice to be nominated for an award,” Foa said. “Especially for this one.”