“That was nothing short of a life-changing experience,” said Jake Schozer on his recent Tragos Quest to Greece experience.
Tragos Quest to Greece is a Sigma Phi Epsilon program that helps undergraduates change the way they view the world, their fraternity, and themselves. Schozer continued, “It’s baffling how much of a full perspective shift happens in 12 hours, but when I say it literally changed my perspective on life, that is an understatement.”
Schozer was selected as one of 20 Sigma Phi Epsilon brothers to participate in this experience last semester, and can point to the exact moment of his experience that changed his perspective.
Throughout his time at Stevens, Schozer has played a role in transforming multiple areas of campus, including the Pinnacle Scholars Program,
Sigma Phi Epsilon, and the Interfraternity Council.
Schozer initially took on the role of Vice President of Recruitment for the Interfraternity Council (IFC) during his sophomore year, and then took the role of Vice President of Programming during his junior year. Schozer held roles in the IFC during the transition period from Thea Zunick, previous Associate Director of Student Life, to Malcolm McDaniel, current Assistant Director of Fraternity & Sorority Life. “We definitely grew a lot in 2 years. When I first started, we weren’t even having e-board meetings. We would just meet at our General Body Meetings, now [we have] weekly e-board meetings, biweekly general body meetings. We tried to make ourselves a more established organization. We still have a long way to go, but they’ve done a lot, and we’ve continued to do a lot now,” said Schozer. In the first year, the IFC laid a lot of the groundwork for establishing itself as an organization including clarifying the attendance policy, and bylaws changes. In his second year on the e-board, the IFC worked to get its name out there by hosting new events such as the Greek Leadership Awards Dinner (GLAD) and the IFC Chili-Cookoff. “I was very proud,” said Schozer about the cook-off. “We were able to raise money for homes for our troops, and it was just a great bonding event and a fun lighthearted competition.”
Aside from internal growth, the IFC gained a stronger perception from the school’s administration. The IFC legitimized itself with the creation of the IFC Standards Board — an internal body within the IFC which carries out investigations of infractions by fraternities. “We did things that showed that we could function as an organization which allowed people in the Office of Student Life to give us more things that we could take on,” said Schozer. For example, anytime a Greek organization registers a social event, the IFC President, Vice President of Standards, and Vice President of Risk all receive notifications and can provide feedback on needed criteria.
Even with the growth, Schozer was not able to accomplish everything he desired for the IFC. “I mean there was a lot that I wanted to do, but I’m also very optimistic and idealistic,” he said. “I personally I wanted to host a big community service event.” While he coordinated smaller community service events under his role as Vice President of Programming, he envisioned a large-scale Greek community service event similar to the events for freshmen that occur during orientation.
In an ideal world, Schozer hopes for Greek life to be as independent as possible from the Office of Student Life. At other schools, such as the University of Louisville, the IFC President oversees enforcing sanctions, not the Office of Student Life. However, he acknowledges that this would be difficult to reach at Stevens. “[The University of Louisville] probably has 30-something IFC chapters and a Greek full-time staff [of] 10 to 12 Employees. It’s a very different dynamic from what we have here with one full-time, and one part-time employee,” said Schozer. “The ideal vision is where IFC and Student Life work more horizontal than vertical, where they’re partners playing off each other, as opposed to IFC reporting to Student [Life],” he added.
Schozer sees Greek life growing at Stevens within the next five years. “It’s gonna be a lot bigger, just maybe not percentage-wise, but just pure quantity of students because if you continue on the trend of having 37% of students and you increase the number of students… we’re all good at math,” he said. “I’m seeing it in my own chapter; I know some other chapters that tend to be smaller have taken in some large classes recently.” He said this might prompt more chapter forming in the future.
Going forward, Schozer hopes to share his experiences of leadership after college. For one year after graduation, he will be working as a regional director for Sigma Phi Epsilon. “I’ll be assigned one region that will have about 20 chapters in it. I’ll spend 10 weeks [between] June and August at our headquarters training, and then spend the following 9 months traveling between those chapters advising their executive committees, helping them set goals, and helping those chapters improve a little bit,” said Schozer. Afterwards, Schozer said that he is unsure if he will continue to work at his fraternity’s national headquarters full-time, but he will give back regardless. “I can’t see myself not at least making myself an available resource to anybody at Stevens who might be able to utilize that,” said Schozer. “After I have that year of leadership and training experience from that position, if I could come back and just give talks and leadership trainings seminars or whatnot about my experience specifically on the Stevens campus and then also other outside trainings that I’ve had, I would love the opportunity to do that.”
Still as a current undergraduate, he does provide a few pieces of advice on leadership. “When you’re young, cast a wide net,” said Schozer. “Find your passion and then narrow down on that […] If you’re trying to do something, you’re trying to make change that you don’t care about, that you don’t have a purpose behind, you’re not gonna have fun doing it.”
Oh — and his math reviews? It’s the same focus. Giving back. “Teaching has always been something that I enjoy doing because it’s my way of giving thanks that I understand things well. I grab the concepts, especially math, well and I almost feel an obligation to give that back,” said Schozer. He’s a “role model” for a cohort of students as they take MA 123/MA 124 followed by Differential Equations — and he is recognized on the streets for it — whether on campus or in Hoboken. “I’m not gonna lie, it’s kind of cool. But at the same time, it makes me feel so happy that I’ve been able to help so many people by doing something that I just love doing,” he said. Schozer isn’t paid for his reviews. He does it so he can give back and help guide students through the beginning of their college career.