The Best of Both Worlds

During college, many students become involved in organizations and extracurricular activities in an attempt to find something that they’re truly passionate about. Reece Podgorski was lucky enough to find not one, but two different passions in his last three years as a student.

Reece Podgorski, a junior Law Enforcement major, is the current Interfraternity Council (IFC) president and an active member of the Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) on campus. It doesn’t take much to know that these two organizations have provided very different experiences for Podgorski’s college career.

“ I think it’s pretty cool how I can balance two different worlds,” says Podgorski.

Before becoming the IFC president, Podgorski was the vice president of Member Education Development for the council and an active member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. In that role, Podgorski helped run the campus wide U-Lead conference. For the conference, he partnered with several student organizations, including Student Government, Delta Sigma Pi and the International Student Association, to create programming for upcoming student leaders on campus.

Podgorski also led member development opportunities specifically for Greek Life members. For example, he worked with Student Health Services to provide alcohol training for new members, sober monitor trainings for active members and continuing education to active members on various topics affecting the community.

Based on his positive work in the position, the Director of Greek Life and the previous IFC president encouraged him to run for president, a position that he had never considered. Podgorski took a chance and ran for the position, which he was happy to accept after being elected by his fellow council members.

As president, Podgorski’s role has changed—but he continues to work hard to improve the Greek Life community. He’s in charge of overseeing Greek Week, a homecoming week for Greek alumni to visit campus and participate in boat races, lip sync and other fun themed events. He also oversees members underneath him on the council to delegate tasks and assignments. In the fall, he will oversee the recruitment of new members to the seven active fraternities on campus.

In contrast, Podgorski’s ROTC experience has been very different. During his first year at Minnesota State University, Mankato, he was recruited for active duty and spent a semester in training where he experienced a lot of unique opportunities.

“I’ve got a lot of interesting experiences that many people probably can’t say they have had, like active shooter training, dealing with machine guns and handling grenade launchers. It kind of puts you in a different mindset,” says Podgorski.

With two very different organizations playing such a large role in Podgorski’s life, you have to wonder if they overlap or intersect at all.

 “They’re fairly different, but something you can get from both organizations is people skills,” he reports. “If you’re a second lieutenant, you’re probably going to be working with 60 to 70 people… You have to work with sergeants and NCOs [Non Commissioned Officers] to make sure all of the tasks that you need to complete are getting done, so it’s kind of like the delegation that I have to do on the [Interfraternity] council.”

Between IFC and ROTC, Podgorski feels like he’s gained invaluable experiences as a leader, in time management and with communication.  After completing his degree next May, Podgorski hopes to become a second lieutenant in the National Guard and then down the line, he hopes to work for law enforcement in his local community. Between IFC and ROTC, he’s hoping that he has set himself up to succeed in the future.    

“It has made my college experience very interesting and I think it has been a great opportunity for myself,” says Podgorski.