Monday, August 23, 2010

State of the Fraternity - From GCK the GP

A little over a year ago, we celebrated our Brotherhood at our Conclave in Orlando.

As your new elected Grand President, I promised you communication, transparency, volunteer involvement, diversity, and growth.

A year later, I’d like to bring you up to date on what we have achieved….and what we have yet to do.
  • Our Fraternity budget has been reallocated to focus more on programs and services to Brothers and Chapters. 
  • We have more Regional Directors in the field. 
  • Our Regional Directors are diverse and more representative of our Fraternity. 
  • Our staff summer development program was restructured to focus more on “sales” and “service” to our chapters and volunteers. 
  • More than 88 volunteers are now serving on National Task Forces reviewing everything from how we improve our billing systems to where we are in twenty years. 
  • Our average chapter size and total number of undergraduate Brothers has increased. 
  • Our average chapter size has increased from 62 to 65 men per chapter. 
  • 15,608 Brothers are now on campus….that’s a steady increase since 13,064 in 2002. 
  • Unfortunately, we had to close five chapters. We are now at 221 Chapters….18 SECS….and four new SECS planned for this Fall. 
  • Our affinity program (licensing our logo) has been revised to increase our revenue and decrease the unauthorized use of our trademarks. 
  • CLA attendance was the highest ever…and the revised CLA program has received great reviews. 
  • EDGE is being revised to reach more…as in all 6,000 new members….yet at a lower cost. 
  • Our new communications program (a great deal of which starts this September) has been revised to increase communication to alumni, volunteers, and undergraduates. 
  • National Board meetings announcements and minutes are posted online. 
  • The Headquarters staff has been reduced and field services have increased. 
  • Our National website is evolving into a useful resource……with news updates and information that can help you live the best life.
Of course, there are areas that still need work.

On a positive note, we’ve realized that the Balanced Man Program has really taken hold. Many of our Brothers now instinctively live a Balanced Life with equal emphasis on fitness, fortitude, fair play, family, Brotherhood, academics, and leadership. On a negative note…many have expressed their concern about transitioning from undergraduate….to graduate. They have expressed concern about building meaningful personal relations beyond the immediacy of Facebook, of securing a job, finding a place to live, and starting life on their own. All of these are an extension of Member Development and will be considered as we grow the Balanced Man concept.

The ever evolving world of communicating to vastly different audiences from the 18 year old new Brother to the 28 year old young alum to the 78 year-old senior Brother is the task facing our Communications Task Force. It is a problem (opportunity) that will never be resolved as the world and the means of communication continue to change. It (building a communication model that allows SigEp to communicate and interact with all of our members, regardless of age) remains a priority on our To Do list for the coming year.

And lastly, contrary to my commitment to you during my Conclave speech….I have yet to teach Archie to Tweet. To those of you who have thanked me for that failure…..you’re welcome.
And one last thought….

This has been an interesting year. The opportunities to meet so many of you have been a blessing. And the support, enthusiasm, and positive attitudes have not gone unnoticed.

I have been most moved, however, by the letters I have read and the calls I have received. 
  • Like the letter from a young widow who just lost her husband and our Brother in Afghanistan.
  • Or from the single Mom who had heard all about hazing and wanted my assurance that her only child would be safe if he joined SigEp. 
  • Or the conservative Christian parents who love their son and wanted me to promise that he would still be OK if he came out to his chapter. 
 Each time I respond my Sig Ep Heart grows stronger.
My beliefs are reinforced. And my optimism multiplied.
Why?

Because I tell them about our Fraternity.

How we are the Fraternity of the Future……and how we believe in building each other up….not tearing each other down.

I tell them about each of you…..and about how proud I am to call you my Brothers.
And I tell them that their memories will be cherished…..and their sons will be safe.
It’s an honor for me to be able in all confidence to say those words.
It’s been quite a year…
And I thank you.

HFF