I will not be running for my fraternity’s governing board in 2019 as I had done in 2017 (read more here).
It was fun, but the fun part was more or less trying to introduce some sense of campaigning into my fraternity’s process, compared to the current situation of most members having little more than a written statement and the decision of a slating committee to guide their vote.
There will be no Nik4GC 2019 website with a full platform as there was two years ago, but here are some things I would like to see happen within the governing organization of Delta Sigma Phi – things which I hope other existing/potential candidates will adopt.
If you have similar thoughts specific to your fraternity or sorority – something focused on greater self-government, member empowerment, and/or greater transparency – then feel free to shoot me an email or comment below.
If you are a Delta Sig, then please shoot me an email for a PDF version of these proposals along with some additional details to share with officers, advisers, or your voting delegates.
Address The Age Requirement Injustice
Any undergraduate student of Delta Sig, no matter their age, may be elected to our governing board, but the case is trickier for alumni members.
It does not matter if you turn 30 the day before a Convention, or if you, as a 30+ year old man, were initiated moments before submitting your application and position statement to serve on the Grand Council, any alumnus above the age of 30 – no ceiling, by the way – will be considered eligible.
This does not make sense for a number of reasons:
- There are 2 undergraduate positions with full rights/responsibilities on the governing board (typically 19-22 year old students)
- A slating committee vets and recommends a board to be voted on by the Convention, and challenges typically come from those who have campaigned well enough to win
I was not ready to serve on the board in 2017, but I do not believe that a magical moment of clarity grants worldly wisdom to all at the stroke of midnight on their 30th birthday.
Update: The bylaws have been updated! The national board voted to strike the age requirement, opening up the nomination process to alumni of all ages. Cheers to my Fraternity :).
Cut off Vision 2025 at 2020 and launch a new 3-5 year plan.
Since our Fraternity embarked on a 20-year strategic plan in 2005 the country has entered a recession, iPhones were invented, smartwatches were invented, and we have fallen behind on every statistic we cannot fluff.
It is time to recognize the changes to our environment: that we will never be the largest contributor of Blood, Sweat & Cash to the American Red Cross – a multi-billion dollar charity – for example.
We can cut Vision 2025 off at 2020, and spend the next year developing a new strategic plan with a realistic timeline. Three to five years is the sweet spot for planning, and its focus should be limited to 3-5 initiatives. Vision 2025 is too dated, too bloated, and does not appeal to what we know of current college students (Gen Z, iGen, whatever you want to call them).
Give up on campus recognition
We should never again close a high-performing chapter because a university’s combative, uncooperative staffers or administrators will not allow it to rent rooms on campus.
RIP Delta Sigma Phi San Luis Obispo Chapter.
Reform program & convention fees
Our organization wants online education to be a central element of its future training initiatives. We have sunk six figure sums into The LAMP (Delta Sig’s online learning platform), and that’s fine. . . if it works. Just as our educational initiatives will adapt to the internet, so too should our fee structure.
Small chapters, those which most often close due to debt, are overwhelmed by the Program Fee. when combined with the Convention Fee they amount to nearly $2,000 in charges per year.
A group of 10 men have more important things to focus on then sending 4 members to Convention – it is why we retooled our accreditation process in 2015 to a hierarchy of needs model – and so we should not only rethink the need for a Program Fee, but also make changes to our Convention Fee. (Details in the aforementioned PDF, but basically chapters should only pay for 2x the number of delegates they receive).
Just as citizens expect a level of transparency with their elected government representatives (and their respective bureaucratic institutions) so too should fraternity members expect an equal or greater level of transparency from their elected representation.
Dues-paying members and/or Fraternity officers should expect annual insight’s into the fraternity’s income and revenue as well as meeting minutes or detailed summaries of Grand Council meetings.
Additionally, whereas student dues ultimately fund the North American Inter-Fraternity Council, Delta Sig should model the way and grant members insight into how much the Fraternity pays in dues to the NIC, into upcoming proposals being voted upon at NIC member meetings, and into the Fraternity’s delegates’ intended votes on any given proposal.
It takes time and work to share this kind of information, so I want to be clear that I am not suggesting we share so much information that our members can micromanage the staff or council, we just need clearer, more insightful communication.