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Once a year, UCF Greek leaders gather to improve their own leadership and positively affect their chapters, councils and community.

The annual Greek Leadership Challenge will take place from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 at the International Palms Resort in Cocoa Beach.

GLC is a two-day retreat that focuses on important tasks such as building community relations, discussing difficult topics and educating students on various issues.

Two leaders from each Greek chapter are required to attend the retreat, as well as all members of the Greek Council, NPHC, DGC, Panhellenic and IFC executive boards.

Coming off a year filled with suspensions and probations, GLC 2015 will seek to better educate Greek leaders about smart alcohol use.

Related: UCF Greeks offer advice for sorority rush week

"I think the suspensions have really shown UCF Greek life that [UCF] takes ours and other people's safety and well-being seriously," said Kristin Mitchell, a junior early childhood education major. "Learning about alcohol safety will help prevent events that happened last year from happening again."

Although there have been recent mishaps in UCF's Greek life, Vanessa Jeannot, a senior health services administration major, said GLC provides a safe and unbiased opportunity for each Greek leader to share successes and stumbling blocks in their journey, which helps in moving forward and creating a better community atmosphere.

"GLC puts all of us on the same playing field. It makes us all realize that we are a community, and if one messes up, then we all mess up," Mitchell said.

The event is also a chance for Greek members to come together and form relationships. Nicole Belinsky, a senior criminal justice major, attended the event in 2012 and 2014.

"I made it a point to try to talk, at least once, to each person that attended. Everybody takes back something different, but I value most the personal relationships that I created," Belinsky said.

Members from different Greek councils and organizations are separated into small groups when first brought to the designated location, Mitchell said.

"[GLC] is a way for us to look past our 'letters' and realize that we are all part of UCF's Greek community," she said.

Some Greeks attend the event as a way to better their personal experience as a member of UCF's Greek life.

Jeannot said GLC has helped her gain a better understanding of her personal leadership style and is looking forward to another opportunity to learn new ideas to implement in her sorority.

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"We do various team building activities, as well as introspective activities, to see how we can better our individual Greek councils and the entire Greek community," Jeannot said.

Belinsky, a past Panhellenic president, said GLC works to motivate the general member, as well as unify the councils, to promote Greek life overall.

"There is a bunch of team building, growing, education and challenging activities that further to identify the benefits of Greek life," she said. "[GLC] pushes you to be better leaders, benefit the community and identify your strengths and weaknesses."

She said she thinks the tradition among the UCF Greek community should continue to flourish in the future.

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Rachel Stuart is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @RachSage or email her at RachelSCentralFloridaFuture.com.

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