Assistant Dean of Students for Greek Life Josh Schutts believes the university’s fraternities and sororities offer invaluable opportunities for leadership and scholarly development, in addition to the chance to make friends that last a lifetime. Recently, Schutts took a few moments to reflect on his job responsibilities in a question-and-answer format.
Q: When did you take over as head of Greek Life at Southern Miss? What is your background?
A: I became the Assistant Dean of Students for Greek Life in January of 2010. I am originally from Wisconsin, and got both a masters and a bachelor’s degree from Southern Miss. I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. from Southern Miss as well. Prior to my return, I worked in Greek Life at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas; Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas; and Centre College in Danville, Ky.
Q: What appeals to you about working as a college administrator of Greek life programs?
A: Greek Life was a program that made me. I fundamentally and unequivocally believe I would not be the man or the leader I am today had I not experienced Greek Life at USM. Some of my best friends are those people who were Greek with me in college. Furthermore, USM staff and faculty who work every day to advocate and develop character in our students were (and are) some of my greatest mentors and friends to this day. At the very least, I owe them enough to “pay it forward” toward future generations of college student leaders.
Q: What fraternity were you in at USM, and what impact did it have on you?
A: As an undergraduate, I was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha (“Pike”). I think one of the biggest things the fraternity did was open my eyes to a group of “best friends” who – while you may not always agree with them – always have your best interest in mind. When I came to college, I really wanted to make a connection with some like-minded, and more importantly, similar-valued people. I think our fraternity offered that when I was in school – and I believe it continues offering it today.
Q: Give a brief profile of the Southern Miss Greek Life system and its membership.
A: Greek Life at Southern Miss began in 1935. We currently recognize 25 fraternities and sororities governed by three student boards, and 18 of our organizations have university-owned chapter facilities on the western edge of campus. Every one of these groups is a chapter of a larger national or international entity. This means our students have fraternity brothers and sorority sisters across the country. Our collegians represent roughly 14 percent of the full time, Hattiesburg-campus undergraduate student population.
Q: When you are trying to sell membership in a Greek Life organization on campus, what’s your pitch?
A: I’ll make it easy: Do you like having friends? Would you like to have more “best friends” than acquaintances? How about mentoring, networking, and some character and leadership development to help you become a more successful scholar, citizen and future graduate? Lastly, would you like college to be a fun time? If you answer yes to any of these, you should explore joining a fraternity or sorority because they offer just that – and so much more.
Q: What do you see for the future of the Greek life system at USM and for fraternities and sororities everywhere?
A: There is tremendous room for growth! Our sororities are operating at some of the best levels in their history with a positive outlook to the future. Now is the time to invest, or reinvest, in Greek Life at Southern Miss. If you’re an alumnus, contact our office and find out how you can help. If you’re a parent or prospective student, consider the possibilities that are open for you or your student within a fraternity or sorority. If you still have doubts, take some time and monitor our progress. If you’re a Golden Eagle in any way, shape, or form, know that Greek Life provides a true enrichment to our campus, our students, and our community.