Brian Rapien says getting involved enhances the student experience far beyond the classroom.
Rapien, a 20-year-old member of UC’s Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, is president of the UC Greek Week Executive Board which organized Greek Week April 12-19. The UC Greek organizations have set the highest fundraising goal ever for Greek Week, which aims to raise $25,000 to benefit four Cincinnati area children sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Last year, they surpassed their $16,000 fundraising goal, bringing in $22,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“I think Greek Week’s going to be really good this year,” says Rapien. “This is an awesome event that raises money for charity.”
Sigma Phi Epsilon, Rapien’s fraternity, was founded in Richmond, Va., in 1901, and claims such famous members as Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, Dave Thomas, founder of the Wendy’s hamburger chain, and professional baseball player Sean Casey, currently with the Red Sox and formerly a favorite with the Cincinnati Reds. The Ohio Theta chapter of SigEp was founded at UC in 1949 and claims more than 90 members.
Rapien, a third-year operations management major and Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Scholar, joined SigEp during the spring quarter of his freshman year. “I knew some high-school friends who had joined SigEp and I had started hanging out at the (fraternity) house,” he says. “I enjoyed the well-rounded nature of the fraternity and the variety of personalities and what they offered, and I liked the idea of getting more involved on campus.”
Rapien adds that members of UC’s Greek organizations are well represented in student leadership roles on campus, including Student Body President James Radley, a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and Student Body Vice President Jared Brandyberry, a member of Sigma Chi. “It’s great having that kind of network, not just on campus, but nationally,” Rapien says.
Rapien is also involved in Student Government and serves as associate vice president of Community Relations. In that role, he promotes Student Government’s BearCAT Ambassadors program, a community action team (CAT) of UC students who are working to enhance relationships between UC’s student community and the university’s neighboring communities.
Rapien is also a member of the Delta Sigma Pi professional business fraternity, UC College Republicans, the Russian Culture Club and numerous intramural sports activities. “If you don’t get involved on campus, then college is just school,” he says.
Meanwhile, because he’s a Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Scholar, an experience for students who have demonstrated excellence in academics and leadership, this Elder High School graduate is planning his first trip outside the U.S., with the exception of a previous family trip to Canada to see Niagara Falls. Rapien will depart Cincinnati May 15 for a study abroad experience in Europe with fellow Lindner Honors-PLUS scholars and will return on June 22.