State of the Fraternity - January 2018
Hope that the holiday season was great to you and your families! At the Offices of the Grand Chapter, we enjoyed our annual Christmas decorating, where we turn your headquarters into a winter wonderland with multiple trees, presents, and even Frosty the Snowman. Our Christmas party was a chance to reflect on how lucky we are to have a staff and volunteer family as well as the ability to serve the magnificent obsession that is TKE.
As we head into 2018, there are many challenges, but more opportunities as we look to expand Tau Kappa Epsilon. Greek life is under a microscope and analysis from a number of sources. University Presidents are concerned about their institution becoming the next headline. The General Counsel at these colleges/universities have a keen eye on protecting the institution from what many view as a liability. The staff inside the Fraternity and Sorority Life office is overworked, underpaid, and stressed as they are tasked to lead investigations that they often lack training, experience, and authority to complete.
This leads us into one outcome - we must protect our future by leading and acting to our values, principles, and standards. At the 59th Biennial Conclave in New Orleans in August 2017 we unveiled the theme of this academic year - "Building a Championship Culture." Organizations and teams with cultures such as these don't need the world to regulate or challenge them, they hold themselves to a standard higher than others would seek to impose. If we meet this bar in 2018, there are no limitations to the success we can enjoy as we ring in 2019!
What we must do
Every member of Tau Kappa Epsilon has a role to play if we are to weather the current storm and chart a path to a stronger tomorrow.
Two factors will drive our survival. Risk and Recruitment. They go hand in hand. If a group doesn't follow risk policies, they are typically not allowed to recruit or closed down altogether. Risk policies and procedures must be reviewed, adapted, and acted upon. e-Compliance must be completed by every member.
Our insurance carrier (James R. Favor Company) has created programs on alcohol, hazing, and sexual assault to empower our men to make smarter choices and for bystanders to understand their responsibility to act. We can lead by having a great time and ensuring our members and guests are safe.
Recruitment ensures TKE impacts the world increasingly each day. Our strength is in our numbers. Quality and quantity are not exclusive. There are hundreds of quality men on every campus that deserve an opportunity to develop in the greatest Fraternity on the planet.
Our volunteer core is vital to the health of TKE. We need more volunteers engaged in playing a role in developing, leading, and mentoring our chapters and colonies. Volunteers can carve out a small or large commitment depending on their availability. A Key Man in every group is needed to drive the group to create goals, measure their success, and ask for more. In the process, these volunteers provide valuable service in growing social, leadership, and business skills in our members.
Engagement in our organization must rise substantially. Many members have a pride and connection to their home chapter, but not the international office - this must change! Much in how we have pride in our home state and in being an American or our home province/territory and being a Canadian, we can have pride in our home chapter and the entity that holds all of us together. Joining an alumni association, updating your contact information with the Offices of the Grand Chapter, stopping by your local chapter once a year to share business or life advice, or joining Life Loyal Teke (www.tke.org/llt) are among the many ways you can show your TKE pride and ensure our Fraternity thrives.
TKE Educational Foundation
The members of this organization are passionate about raising dollars for the programming TKE offers and providing scholarships to assist in the education of our members. Their drive and focus to spread the gospel and impact of TKE can lead to more men having the opportunity to afford leadership events and further their development as a man inside and outside of the classroom.
Grand Council/Professional Staff/Past Grand Prytani
The Professional Staff of TKE must continue to focus on customer service, delivering value, and optimizing impact in each visit and interaction with our membership. The leadership of our organization must continue to develop policies and programs to safeguard the future of TKE. The legacy created by our Founders and championed through the past 119 years by countless men requires courageous leadership, ingenuity, open eyes and ears to the needs of our members, and a vision to what TKE can achieve over the next century.
If every member plays their part, our potential is limitless!
Founders' Day Celebrations
January 10, 1899 is a date that is imprinted in our memories from the first day we open our Teke Guide and begin to learn about the heritage of our Fraternity.
January 10, 2018 was special as Chris Niles (Director of Alumni Engagement), Alex Baker (Chief Information Officer), and a two-man production crew (Fraters Garrett Thomas and Chance Wheelan) traveled the original triangle broadcasting live on Facebook from the campuses of Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.
Additionally, they visited the Ronald Reagan Museum at Eureka College (Iota) and laid wreaths at the gravesites of TKE Founders C. Roy Atkinson, Clarence Mayer, and James C. McNutt (The gravesites of Fraters Joseph Settles is in Los Angeles, CA and Owen Truitt's in Iowa).
The themes of the day were to celebrate Founders' Day and to encourage support for the Life Loyal Teke Program. If you were unable to watch videos live, they can be accessed on the official Tau Kappa Epsilon page on Facebook.
Life Loyal Teke kicks off 2018!
Founders' Day is a time to reflect on the privilege we have to be part of a historic organization. It is also the time to renew or begin your membership in the Life Loyal Teke program. LLT has had multiple variations over time, but we are proud of its current impact. The Life Loyal Teke Program is a tax-deductible annual investment of $18.99 (Gray Level) or $50 (Cherry Level). Every dollar goes directly to TKE programs as a grant from the TKE Educational Foundation. These dollars are split evenly between the TKE Leadership Academy, the Regional Leadership Program, and Volunteer Training.
The need for support from every Frater is critical. Currently, TKE operates educational programs at a $235,000 deficit that is covered through the TKE operating budget. We do this as these events have touched every chapter in our history, and we work hard to keep the registration fees of these events as low as possible, while delivering extreme value. The gift that many consider small at $18.99 or $50 can make a large impact due to the sheer numbers we have in our membership. I encourage you to learn more about the benefits of the program, the impact you can make, and to initiate/renew your membership by visiting www.tke.org/llt.
On behalf of Tau Kappa Epsilon, thank you for your commitment to the Fraternity for Life. As you can see above, we are building a championship culture within our organization. To create sustained excellence TKE needs your engagement, passion, focus on living our ideals, and drive toward improving the lives of those around us.
In interacting with our chapters, volunteers, alumni and leadership, I can share one theme - The future of TKE is extremely bright! If I can be helpful to you in the future, please reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in the Bond,
Donald E. Aldrich