The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Sumerlin invites new opportunity

A few months ago, Shannon Sumerlin, the new coordinator of Student Activities and Greek Affairs, was living in Pittsburgh defending obstetric doctors and oncologists in medical malpractice suits. But that all changed for the better, Sumerlin said, when her husband was offered a job at SMU and she had a change of heart.

“Practicing law was not as fulfilling as I had hoped,” Sumerlin said.

She defended doctors who have been practicing medicine for years, only to find themselves placed in the hot seat when the medical field’s worst enemy reared its ugly head: human error.

“It was a lot of pressure to deal with day in and day out,” Sumerlin said. “It wasn’t my cup of tea.”

So when the opportunity presented itself, Sumerlin took it. For starters, she wanted to reconnect with her rich background in Greek affairs that she had begun as an undergraduate at the University of Florida.

A St. Petersburg native, Sumerlin earned a Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sport Sciences from the University of Florida and a J.D. from Florida State University College of Law.

It was at Florida that she joined fraternity Zeta Tau Alpha and served as Panhellenic Vice President. After graduation, Sumerlin furthered her Greek involvement while in law school, working for six years in risk management for the national Greek organization.

Now, Sumerlin will share her insight and hindsight with students and campus administrators as the new Greek Affairs advisor at SMU. Of the four Greek councils on campus, she will advise the Multicultural Greek Council and Panhellenic.

Sumerlin is also working with the Metro Mustangs, an organization that seeks to unite commuter students on campus through service projects and events.

Her husband, Brent, is also at SMU. He holds a position as a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry.

Though Sumerlin is still observing and learning about SMU, she has named one possible goal for the Greek community: unity.

“There are four Greek councils on this campus and I’d like to work to bring Greek life into one unit so its viewed as one on campus, unified,” she said. “I’d like to see more of a sense of being Greek in general.”

She wants the Greek system to be viewed as a single whole rather than four splintered groups.

Sumerlin wants to be sure that her organizations remain strong, so they will be vibrant and active long after current students graduate.

Sumerlin believes that Greek organizations can be more than a social gathering. She thinks they can be a chance for opportunities that are unique.

Sumerlin shared one, off-the-cuff example of how to accomplish her goal. She believes that unity could be achieved by doing something as simple as all Greek organizations wearing their jerseys on the same day.

Although she’s only been at SMU for 23 days, Sumerlin said she has been quite impressed by the student leadership.

“The drive and dedication they have to SMU is amazing to me,” she said. “It makes me look forward to my job because the students have the ability and resources to be successful.”

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