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Wednesday September 27, 2000

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International service club disbands due to lack of leadership

By Benjamin Kim

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Phi Lambda Phrateres activities end after 70 years at UA

One of the oldest clubs on campus - an international service organization that has been at the UA for 70 years - no longer exists because of low membership numbers and lack of leadership.

Phi Lambda Phrateres, which began as a sorority in 1930, used to have 500 members, said Ann Wolnick, program director for UA Student Programs. She was also the club's adviser.

In recent years, membership had dwindled down to 15 to 20 students, said Kristin Pawelczyk, last year's president and a graphic design senior.

"Since I've been with the club, membership has been a constant struggle," said Pawelczyk, who has been with the organization since fall 1997. "Last year 95 percent of our efforts went toward recruiting new members," she said.

Phrateres was one of the oldest clubs on campus and other chapters exist in Canada, Wolnick said.

"Our club was based around community service and having friendships," Pawelczyk said. "You get a lot of competition from other clubs that do similar things, who advertise better and have better manpower."

More than 35 new clubs will be recognized this year, some of which are service organizations. There are more than 275 clubs recognized by the UA Student Programs Office, Wolnick said.

"I've worked closely with the club, trying to get them going," Wolnick said. "Students are so busy today that they have to make priorities in their extracurricular activities, and for some reason this one just wasn't a main priority."

On average, about ten clubs do not reapply for recognition each year, Wolnick said.

Clubs failing to stay active usually lack the leadership of more than just one person, Wolnick said.

"There could be one person who thinks he or she can lead the group," Wolnick said. "But the other people have to decide that they really are committed and if that leaves, then the organization goes as well."

For Phrateres, many leadership roles were passed to people because no one else could fill those roles, Pawelczyk said.

Because roles were filled by default, "Leaders weren't the leaders they were supposed to be," she said.

"I don't think the club will come back unless any of our current members decide to do it," Pawelczyk said. "It really makes me sad to see Phrateres go, but I had a very stressful year last year, and I did the best I could."