Shawn Dowiak, the new Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Fraternity and Sorority life at the University of Idaho, has been involved with Greek life and helping students further their education in one way or another since he attended college.
Dowiak began his new position July 3.
Blaine Eckles, the university’s dean of students, said the two positions were combined to help connect Greek life to the larger campus community.
“The title reflects the importance the university is placing on the position and recognizes the long-standing history and tradition of our Greek community,” Eckles said.
Serving as the executive director of Tau Delta Phi for three years and the director of public relations for two years, Dowiak has some time with the Greek system under his belt.
In his undergraduate days at Ramapo college in New Jersey, Dowiak said he belonged to the Tau Delta Phi fraternity and was the Interfraternity Council president.
“My opportunities for involvement as an undergrad and after graduating as an alumnus was and is pretty amazing,” Dowiak said.
Before coming to UI he served as Director of F at East Tennessee State University.
“I’ve always had a passion for working with fraternity and sorority students,” Dowiak said. “Even when I wasn’t working directly for my own fraternity.”
As the Director of Fraternity and Sorority life, Dowiak said he will work with and aid in the development of the Greek community on campus. In this capacity, Dowiak said he will work closely with Fraternity and Sorority based students, while also helping non-Greek UI students.
Dowiak began his education and student driven career by teaching high school in New York. He then became a professor.
Whether it was with the national board of directors or as an alumni adviser to a new chapter, Dowiak said he always made sure to stay involved with Greek life throughout his career.
“Choosing opportunities to work with fraternity and sorority students has always been a big part of my life, “ Dowiak said. “I always like to say, ‘when it wasn’t a vocation, it was an avoaction.”
The university’s Greek system is filled with tradition and community, which is what Dowiak said drew him to UI.
However, Dowiak’s new position at UI does not only involve Greek students. As the Assistant Dean of Students, Dowiak said he will help in promoting the initiatives and goals of the Dean of Students Office.
Dowiak said much of his day, once the school year begins bustling with students again, his daily work will mainly focus on advising students, Greek and non-Greek.
“Our goal here is to help provide students with the best possible Fraternity and Sorority experience,” Dowiak said. “Part of that is having an open door policy, and giving students the freedom to drop by and say ‘hi.’”
Eckles said Dowiak’s new position makes him the leading campus expert of fraternity and sorority life.
“I will be looking to him for advice on how to best engage our students and work with alumni moving forward, for a stronger, healthier, more vibrant Greek community,” Eckles said.
Dowiak said his own college experience was centered around the inclusionary feeling he received from the Greek community he belonged to as an undergraduate.
“My own experiences in Greek life have really carried with me in understanding the mission and purpose of sororities and fraternities for students,” he said.
Along with exploring what UI has to offer during the school year, Dowiak said one of his main goals in the new position is to expand educational opportunities for fraternity and sorority life students.
“This means growing the opportunities for hands-on advising in the Greek community and bringing more educational emphasis to the table,” Dowiak said.
Hailey Stewart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @hailey_ann97