Ferris Greek Life coordinator and Student Life project manager Ashley Schulte never thought she would come full circle in her career.
As an undergraduate, Schulte very quickly became very involved on campus at Grand Valley State University. Her very first semester, Schulte loved involving herself with student life, first becoming orientation leader, and then joining sorority Delta Zeta. She was soon involved with her Greek Council and Panhellenic Council and was the staff assistant for Greek life.
After graduation Schulte worked for a couple years and then returned to earn her Master of Education in College Student Affairs Leadership. Her goal was to work with college students, but she didn’t necessarily think she would work in fraternity and sorority advising full time.
“That’s why I love my position here, because it isn’t just fraternity and sorority advising. We have one of the most high-risk populations for a lot of things such as alcohol, drug abuse or misuse, sexual violence, mental health, etc. But we also have this outstanding way to create community and belonging and friendship for students,” Schulte said. “Being able to provide consistency, excellent support and resources for our fraternity and sorority community and hold them to a high standard and accountability for their actions is something that not a lot of schools have available.”
Schulte recently participated on a panel for students on how to work with their campus fraternity and sorority life advisers. Among the panel were others who held the same position as her at other college campuses. Schulte found it fascinating to see how many campuses wished they had a strong advocate holding them accountable, or just being there to support them.
“I’m very much aware that we have an awesome opportunity in our positions as fraternity and sorority life advisors to either do the work well or to do the work not well,” Schulte said. “I saw the way it impacted the students who wanted someone on their campus to care about them and make them better. Ferris does run a pretty lean bench, so I’m glad we’ve invested in doing this as half of my job.”
Hitting the hard subjects can be something at times difficult yet beneficial in a tremendous amount of ways. Schulte keeps the voices of survivors in her head as motivators to keep pushing forward.
“Diving into pretty much the worst things on a college campus, or the worst things that could happen on a college campus, has been a passion of mine. If you do the worst and the hardest stuff really well it has a real profound impact and potential for students to be successful,” Schulte said.
On the student life side of Schulte’s job, she does a lot of supervising of peer educators in the Anti-Violence Alliance (previously known as the Anti-Violence Coalition). She is also responsible for a lot of training development, workshop facilitation, and any overarching big campus plans around awareness education and prevention sexual assault, dating, domestic violence and stalking.
For two years Ferris biology and psychology junior Camryn Booms has worked at CLACS as Schulte’s assistant and Greek Life Lead. However, she first met Schulte in 2017 — Booms’ freshman year — during Panhellenic Sorority Recruitment.
Before working for CLACS, Booms and Schulte became well acquainted working together for the Panhellenic Council, as Schulte served as the adviser and Booms served on the executive board as director of academics. Booms and Schulte meet weekly to discuss plans and ideas. Outside of their work at CLACS, Booms has found Schulte to be a fantastic Fraternity and Sorority Life adviser.
“She has been very helpful for me in my first and now second term as the President of my own sorority Alpha Sigma Tau. She works diligently with every Greek President and has given me the best advice in our one-on-one conversations,” Booms said. Booms has grown to admire many qualities about her.
“In the multiple different settings I have worked with her in, she is always someone that stands out from the crowd whether it be with her strategic thinking or positive persona,” Booms said. “Ashley is the person that can come up with an entire new action plan at a meeting that no one else could have thought of. She is a quick thinker and gets things done so efficiently.”
And it’s not just her work ethic that Booms admires, but also her passion and caring nature.
“Ashley also takes the time out of every meeting to check in on her student employees to ensure we are doing okay in our work. She also cares very deeply about every Greek she gets the opportunity to work with. I believe Ashley is one of the most devoted people to her work. To her, it is not a job but more a passion that fuels her and gives her even more energy. She is inspiring,” Booms said.
Schulte ended on the note that there is always room for improvement.
“Maya Angelou has said, and it stays with us, in this idea that we can create a better future and we can be better and also acknowledges that we aren’t always the best,” Schulte said. “‘Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.’ It provides grace for knowing that we don’t do it all and that we have an opportunity to learn and to change.”