Photo by Alec Hamilton, staff photographer
Her decisions directly and indirectly affect almost 30 percent of Drake University’s population, but few people actually know her name.
She has been at Drake for less than a semester, but Brittan Etzenhouser has already led Drake’s Greek community in a new direction as the director of fraternity and sorority life.
Etzenhouser is originally from Kansas City, Mo., and graduated from the University of Miami in Florida in 2008. While at Miami, she joined the Delta Delta Delta sorority (Tri Delta) as a first-year and has been involved in fraternity and sorority life ever since.
“I always knew I wanted to be in a sorority because I am an only child and I loved the idea of having sorority sisters,” Etzenhouser said. “Because I attended a school a very long way from home, I wanted to immediately become involved on campus and make friends, and sorority membership offered me both.”
She went beyond just being involved on campus, holding several officer positions in the Miami Greek community, including PanHellenic delegate, vice president and president of PanHellenic.
While at Miami, Etzenhouser established a close relationship with her Greek life adviser, which led her to sit down in the adviser’s office and ask, “I want to do what you do, how do I do it?”
“She told me about graduate programs in higher education and student affairs,” Etzenhouser said. After graduating from Miami, Etzenhouser spent a year as a consultant for the Tri Delta national organization before attending the University of Iowa to obtain her master’s degree in student development in postsecondary education.
“I went to graduate school because I specifically wanted to work with fraternity and sorority members,” Etzenhouser said. “When the director of fraternity and sorority life position opened at Drake, I immediately applied.”
She moved to Des Moines last August to join Drake in January, and despite her short time at Drake, Etzenhouser has already left her mark on the Greek community.
Alex Shaner, the president of Pi Kappa Phi, interacts with Etzenhouser during Interfraternity Council (IFC) meetings.
“From the very first meeting, she immediately began to carry out very specific and accomplishable goals,” Shaner said.
While she continues to adjust to Drake and its Greek community, the Greek community and leadership are also adjusting to her and her own unique style.
“She is a very personable adviser, and she is very accessible and doesn’t hesitate to help you no matter the situation,” Shaner said. “She is open, very engaging, wants to be involved and you can confide in her with your opinions.”
Shaner would know, as Etzenhouser has proven especially helpful to him as he adjusts to being president of a fraternity.
“As a new president she really makes it easy to understand the rules and is willing to work with you if things don’t get solved right away,” Shaner said.
Etzenhouser’s motivation goes beyond simply helping fraternity and sorority members and supervising the Greek organizations. She wants to help them truly understand what it means to be part of a fraternity or sorority.
“As a Tri Delta, I learned that I am a part of something much greater than myself,” Etzenhouser said. “I am a part of a network of like-minded individuals who shared and uphold the same values that I do. Being a sorority woman or fraternity man is a privilege, one that I think many men and women take for granted. Many Greek students don’t realize that they are members of organizations that have been around for hundreds of years.”
Etzenhouser’s goals in her new tenure as Drake’s director of fraternity and sorority life can be summed up by her experience.
“I recognized how much of an impact the Greek adviser at the University of Miami had on me, and I wanted to offer that same guidance to fraternity and sorority men and women at Drake,” Etzenhouser said