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Making Resolutions?

Plan for your Role as Chapter Leader!

by Dan Bureau, PhD
University of New Hampshire, ‘95
Board of Trustees
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Memphis

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Resolutions are often made the end of one year and the beginning of the next because people are scientifically proven to be ready for change. There is a mindset that comes with making resolutions: I have not achieved my goals in the past year (or years) but now I feel ready to make that change. When considering what changes you need to make, also give pause to how those changes will ultimately impact those around you and what strategies you need to enact in order to achieve those goals.

As you consider some of your resolutions for 2019, think about what you need to do relative to your role in Phi Kappa Theta. Leaders can always turn things around even with really difficult situations, but you have to be ready. Here are three resolutions you might adopt in your role as a leader in your chapter, your alumni association, or as part of any other committee/board on which you serve that is connected to Phi Kappa Theta.

1. I will be more focused on listening to others than only asserting my opinion. You have been elected/selected based on qualifications. Therefore, you have a right to give your opinion and it is likely one that has been considered in depth at some point. However, good leaders listen as much as they talk (if not more).

Ask questions even if you think you know the answers.

- Dan Bureau, PhD

Talking at people does not really work unless they are clear on your rationale and also how it will impact them. Moving forward, ask questions even if you think you know the answers. For example, rather than share with a brother that you wish he would pay his dues, ask “what can we do to make this experience worthwhile for you so that you invest in it by paying dues” or “what can we do to help you make the payments towards your dues” rather than assume it is just how he chooses to prioritize. Paying dues is one example, but this resolution can be applied to all aspects of leadership.

For more information check out this article from Inc. magazine.

2. I will seek to engage others rather than doing everything myself or letting the elite few who do work tackle these tasks. It is easy just to get something done the way you want it, but as you and your fellow leaders conduct themselves this way it lets many others all around you just opt out. This is a challenge particularly for those who are concerned with their legacy of leadership versus the overall effectiveness of their organization. The truth is that your greatest legacy of what you achieve as a leader will come long after you are gone: the test is whether those after you can carry on in a way that is making the organization successful.

What you achieve as a leader will come long after you are gone: the test is whether those after you can carry on in a way that is making the organization successful.

- Dan Bureau, PhD

As a leader, make the resolution that you are going to seek out brothers (recall the ritual here) and ask them what could help them become more involved. In what are they interested in helping? What are their ideas? Leadership needs to be shared in order to be impactful. Engage others and while the initial work may seem harder, you will empower others, including those who “follow you” to step up and make the difference.

For more information on leading toward results AND relationships, check out this blog post.

3. I resolve to be focused on leadership as acts versus position. This is a reality for any leader. The way it impacts our Fraternity though is that the act of leadership can feel more positional than relational. Anyone can lead and they may lead differently or the same as you but we often default to those in positions of leadership versus all the leadership potential around us. There is a body of research focused on countering this view of leadership. While leadership needs to have “leaders” and “followers” it is important to be clear that anyone may need to step up to lead in a given situation. If you are a positional leader in your chapter/alumni association/other PKT context, then you may or may not be the right person to demonstrate leadership in other ways. For example, if a brother is struggling with something, sometimes the best way to demonstrate leadership is to make sure someone who he is most closely connected to is prepared to connect with him in a way that feels helpful.

Central Michigan University hosts a leadership camp annually. Check out their overview of what’s called the social change model of leadership. This focuses on many things, most notably that leadership is not just position.

These three resolutions connect powerfully around any sort of change management efforts. If you identify change is needed then once you listen to learn, you may feel better informed to implement change that people will buy into. If you engage others in change, they will feel invested more or at least that their voice was heard. Finally, if you focus on leadership as a function versus position, and a function that anyone at anytime can step into, then you will empower people to new heights.

Resolutions often fall apart, so if you start one of these (or all of them) and something goes wrong, then consider what needs to change for you to successfully complete. Also, there may be a need for you to apply these resolutions differently depending on the context of the situation (for example, at some point there are issues within Phi Kappa Theta that simply are driven by the policies of the Fraternity), but keeping these resolutions in mind will help you reflect as a leader on what you can do, what you can do with others, and how you all can work together to make your Phi Kappa Theta experience one that is positive, educational, fun, and impactful to you, your campus and society.


Are you interested in starting your year off right? We’d like to hear from you! Complete our quick Take Action form below:

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About Dan:

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Dan Bureau joined Phi Kappa Theta at the University of New Hampshire, and graduated in 1995. He later earned a PhD. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana University. Dan works for the University of Memphis as the assistant vice president for student affairs. He also volunteers for the Council for the Advancement of Standards through the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors. Dan enjoys spending time with his family, playing tennis and staying fit.

18 Hours in Pullman, Washington

Ross Walters (University of Louisiana, ‘02) as a Collegiate Brother.

Ross Walters (University of Louisiana, ‘02) as a Collegiate Brother.

by Ross Walters
Current National Vice President
University of Louisiana, ‘02

My journey in Phi Kappa Theta started at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the Fall of 1997. During that fateful September I was introduced to several active members of the fraternity, and ultimately made the decision to join our esteemed brotherhood shortly thereafter.

Despite only knowing two members at the time, I was compelled to join from the beginning and have never looked back.

I went on to serve in a variety of collegiate positions within Louisiana Omicron, including two years on the Executive Council, and two years on the University’s Interfraternity Council.

Through my involvement in Greek Affairs I was provided the opportunity to travel to various National Conventions, where I have discovered my long-term passion for serving Phi Kappa Theta. Now, as a current member of the Board of Trustees, I have met countless Alumni members, as well as many Collegiate members over the years. These introductions have become the highlight of my travels and have led to long lasting friendships that will certainly span the test of time.

The last two years I have ended up sitting next to members of our chapter from Washington State University, and both years these guys have extended an invitation to me to visit their campus in Pullman, Washington.

Ross Walters as judge for the Miss Washington USA Pageant.

Ross Walters as judge for the Miss Washington USA Pageant.

As it turns out, I recently found myself in Seattle serving as a judge for the Miss Washington USA pageant (long story…) and I thought it was a great opportunity to get to Pullman for a visit. So after confirming my visit with chapter leaders, I bought my Alaska Airlines round trip ticket from Seattle to Pullman for a quick overnight stay.

I knew it would be an interesting experience upon arriving at the Seattle Tacoma International Airport and coming face to face with the very small aircraft that would be serving as my transportation to Pullman. After a 45 minute flight across the state of Washington (and great views of Mount Rainier), I arrived safely at my hotel (The Residence Inn, a very nice place to stay in Pullman if any of you are interested). A quick Uber ride and I was at the Phi Kappa Theta house on WSU campus.

I have heard how impressive this house was over the years, and I was not let down. Upon walking in I was greeted by a dozen or so current collegiate Brothers having lunch. I had a few minutes to sit and talk with them before Brother Tanner Moyer (WSU, ‘19) met up with me and brought me to a hot lunch spot in Pullman, The Coug. Joining us was Monique Nianekeo, a member of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority at WSU. Over our lunch the three of us discussed various issues which were having an impact on Greek life in general. Monique was also able to provide valuable insight from a sorority perspective, which I truly appreciated.

Ross Walters (right) with WSU Collegiate and Alumni brothers.

Ross Walters (right) with WSU Collegiate and Alumni brothers.

After lunch we headed back to the house for the weekly chapter meeting. I got a quick tour of the house from President Hogan Leffel (WSU. ‘20) before the meeting started on time.

I was given a very warm introduction to the membership before giving a report on current National Fraternity business. Sitting through the rest of the meeting I was struck with the similarities of issues facing this chapter and other chapters around the country.

While personalities, size of individual chapters, financial statues, etc… may all be quite different, it is apparent that we all share common attributes which bond us over geographical distances. I admit, this made me smile to myself knowing that the ideals of the Fraternity are what keep us together.

After the meeting, I went with Hogan and Tanner back to The Coug where we met up with former chapter president and current alumni member Kyle O’Malley (WSU, ‘17). We had a great conversation, discussing Fraternity topics well into the evening.

I probably stayed too late as my return flight to Seattle was at 4:00 a.m. the following morning.

On my very early return flight I was able to reflect on my 18 hours in Pullman and realized how pleased I was with my decision to make the trek to visit our Brothers at Washington State University.

If ever you have the opportunity to visit a city, town, or region where we have a chapter of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity, I challenge you to take the first step in trying to coordinate a visit. It’s these bonds and friendships that I have made over the last 21 years that have kept me coming back for more, and will hopefully keep me involved in this fraternity for many years to come.


About Ross:

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Ross Walters earned degrees in business management, biology, funeral service and embalming from the University of Louisiana and Texas Commonwealth Institute. Ross currently works in his family’s businesses, Walters Funeral Home and Greenlawn Memorial Gardens cemetery. He also owns a production company called XLR8 Productions. Ross volunteers for the following organizations: Louisiana Metropolitan Expressway Commission (board member), Cite’ des Arts (board member), University of Louisiana Alumni Association, Louisiana Funeral Directors Association. Ross was selected as the 2000 Greek Man of the Year for the University of Louisiana, and also was an Outstanding Graduate at Commonwealth Institute.

History And Lessons Along The Way

by Kyle Bueno
Bridgwater State University, ‘18

Brotherhood (n): An association, society, or community of people linked by a common interest, religion, or trade.

Phi Kappa Theta – Love, Brotherhood, God.

Brother Kyle Bueno (Bridgewater State University, ‘18) (center).

Brother Kyle Bueno (Bridgewater State University, ‘18) (center).

Those were the three words that united myself and my brothers together to form this brotherhood. As I write this on the 5:57pm commuter train out of South Station, Boston, MA, and heading to Middleborough/Lakeville, I begin to reflect on the good, the bad, and ugly times from my chapter. I am fortunate enough to have ended my collegiate experience on a good note and kept the faith for better days ahead.

The experiences I am about to write to you all have helped shaped me into the man I am today. It has made me realize I need these traits in order to not only be a good brother, but a gentleman. Honesty (even if it may sting), Integrity, Loyalty, Respect, and Compassion.

I begin the journey of my Greek Life experience as a second semester freshman. At first, I was hesitant about seeing what other fraternities had to even offer as I was thinking about how the movie Animal House depicted all Greek members as 24/7 partiers. That was not the college experience I wanted to have. But, nevertheless, my best friend from high school Jacob Bolarinho (past sage of Sigma Pi), encouraged me to join him and keep an open mind. So, I did, and I am beyond grateful to take that giant step out of my comfort zone.

Now, not to say the other organizations weren’t welcoming, because I have some amazing friends from other fraternities, but I felt more included in Phi Kappa Theta because the men whom recruited me were involved in various facets of campus; from Student Government Association, to Residence Life and Housing, to even working on campus. I wanted to be involved as much as possible. To this day, I do not regret my decision to join this amazing organization.

Kyle Bueno helping build a house in Connecticut. Spring 2017.

Kyle Bueno helping build a house in Connecticut. Spring 2017.

At my first chapter, I was feeling mixed emotions. I was so excited for the unknown, but nervous as hell, praying I wouldn’t get hazed or see anything like Animal House. I let those fears subside and looked for ways as a new member to get involved. I knew I always had an interest in service, so I ran for Community Service Chair and won the position. In hindsight, I couldn’t even imagine seeing that position springboard me into serving as Vice President of Social Development and later on as President.

Serving as Community Service Chair for the chapter had in no way prepared me for what was to come as Vice President of Social Development. It is still known as one of the biggest positions in the chapter as it oversees Philanthropy, Social, Community Service, Public Relations, and Risk Management. Yes, Risk Management. When I started, I had no idea how to talk to brothers who would do things that broke FIPG rules. One of the biggest areas needing improvement was social media.

Our social media was so horrendous that it became a mini part of a larger conversation we had as a chapter at Fireside. Which, as a second year, I absolutely regretted. Up till Junior year, our Fireside events would always be viewed as shouting matches between brothers. It would bring our morale way down and I mean, waaaay down. I realized a central part of what was missing was brothers understanding each other. We needed to speak with each other as brothers, not as Presidents or Vice Presidents, just brothers. It was at this point I realized Phi Kap wasn’t what was told to me at recruitment, but I wanted to do something about changing it.

I would be lying to you if I only wrote about all the good times I had as President of this organization. There were really tough moments I, and brothers on the E-board serving alongside me, had to experience. I also was working as a Resident Assistant, part-time at the information desk and serving as Student Trustee. It was a lot on my plate, making me realize the importance of self-care (which I’ll explain later). But I am proud of the work our chapter made in making it better than in years past.

We were able to fill our calendar with an abundance of events from brotherhood, to philanthropy, and socials. We even made Fireside enjoyable. However, I came to a point during my tenure when I wanted to just give up. It was during the summer before entering my senior year where we were going to hold our annual Quo Vadis retreat. During that planned day, a torrential downpour hit our campsite and I decided to cancel the event altogether. The next day, however, turned out to be amazing outside; sunny and hot. I was so disappointed with myself because I felt I let the chapter down.

So, I did not realize how my careless attitude brought negative energy towards the chapter. Morale was low, brothers were forming clichés, rumors were even spreading. In order to help tackle this, with the help of Executive Vice President, Robert Riggs, CAE (RPI, ’02), we decided to create an in chapter brotherhood event. We set up chairs in a circle and talked to each other about our feelings, aspirations in life, etc.

Brother Kyle Bueno (Bridgewater State University, ‘18) participates in the interactive storytelling/portrait shoot project to unify his campus. Spring 2017.

Brother Kyle Bueno (Bridgewater State University, ‘18) participates in the interactive storytelling/portrait shoot project to unify his campus. Spring 2017.

It was at this moment I felt I needed to get something off my chest and explain what was on my mind. I felt comfortable enough to come out to the chapter. It was the first time I ever spoke about it to anyone. It was because of this constant weight, and the other positions I had on campus, I did not have time to reflect on my own life. It was so nice to just take it off my chest and what was going on in my mind.

I learned a big part of leading is being honest with myself, to others around me, and having integrity. It was because of this, I, alongside the E-board, noticed a change and carried through strong towards the end of the semester.

Some people may ask themselves, “is there anything I would have done differently in college”? For me, the answer is no. It was because of all these experiences during my 4 years at Bridgewater State University, I am the person I am today. I realized I am a better friend, person, and brother because of the experiences I have dealt with and, in return, volunteer my time back as a Performance Coach for chapters in the Northeast.

I realized how important it is to not stretch yourself too thin and to stay humble. For those reading, I hope you too can love yourself as much as I can, are loyal to your brothers, friends, and family, and lead as REAL gentlemen should, with honesty and integrity. TBIS.

Main Image: Kyle Bueno during a service project to Cambodia. Spring 2018.

Dealing With "Post Charter Syndrome"

by Nicholas Reid
University of Iowa, ‘21

Brother Nicholas Reid (University of Iowa, ‘21) speaking at the Chapters re-chartering on September 28th.

Brother Nicholas Reid (University of Iowa, ‘21) speaking at the Chapters re-chartering on September 28th.

Initiation.

It is the time that every fraternity brother will remember for the rest of their life.

Eighteen of our Iowa Delta brothers were available to experience it for the first time at the Iowa Delta Chartering this past September.

Members were excited, nervous, anxious and overall cold. It was a cold day.

The initiation was an incredible experience, followed by a resound “PHI” Phi Kappa Theta chant.

After the weekend, the greatest question from brothers was, “Where do we go next?”.

Usually, this can cause an infamous “Post Charter Syndrome” where members become relaxed and aren’t as motivated as they used to be. Thankfully, that is not the problem for Iowa Delta. Brothers immediately after the ceremony were asking what they could do to work harder and help better the fraternity.

One of our brothers, Sam Sharp (University of Iowa, ’21), came up to me directly and said, “I want to be more involved and help this Fraternity in any way I can.”

Nicholas Reid (center) with members of the Iowa Delta Chapter, picking up trash in support of CMN.

Members like that, that will do anything for their brothers, are the reason fraternities will never die away. No other organization is able to create a closeness that arises because of Greek life.

As Iowa Delta advances, we hope to not only advance the Fraternity but the University of Iowa. By becoming the ideal gentlemen we are meant to be, we can create a lasting impact on the people around us, hopefully changing their lives for the better.

We are excited to continue this journey, and we hope that all of you continue to keep updated with us on this blog.

As always, PROUD TO BE A PHI KAP!


About Nicholas:

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Brother Reid is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering with a focus in Business Management. He is the current Vice President of Fraternal, Recharter Head and Social Media Chair for Phi Kappa Theta Iowa Delta. Nicholas grew up in Peoria, Illinois, attending St. Vincent de Paul grade school and Peoria Notre Dame High School. He was involved and active in many things, including scholastic bowl, numerous sports with his primary being soccer, key club and French Club. Nic also received the Presidental Award, National Honors Society, Old Gold Scholarship and an Illinois State Scholar. He is the first person of his family to move out for college, attend a big 10 school and join Greek life. Knowing nothing of what Greek life is about graduating, Nic has since taken a strong passion towards Phi Kappa Theta and bettering himself, along with his brothers. Nic is also involved in Dance Marathon and Intramural Sports, along with numerous service projects through the Fraternity. In his freetime, he loves to workout, play sports, hunt, fish, play video games and hang out with friends.