“Mr. Kingdon, what can we do to get on ‘headquarters’ good side?”
This is a question that I have heard many times; sometimes on a phone call with a chapter president as they are being removed from probation, sometimes while facilitating at one of Phi Delta Theta’s many educational conferences, and even sometimes during dinner with a chapter adviser. The question always makes me laugh, because there is no simple answer to this question and GHQ certainly doesn’t have the equivalent of Santa’s list with the good chapters on one side and the bad chapters on the other. In reality, the answer to this question is not a difficult one: think before you act, use common sense, and live up to the teachings of The Bond. While I could sit here all day and recount all of the things that chapters have done over the years to get on GHQ’s bad side, that is not quite the point of this blog. What I would like to do instead is leave you with a list of helpful tips to “get on ‘headquarters’ good side.”
1. Pay your bills. Being financially delinquent is probably the easiest way to get on the bad list. Pay your bills and pay them on time and you will stay out from under the microscope.
2. Communicate. Answer the phone if you can, return voicemails if you can’t. Do your best to return emails within 24 hours. If something goes wrong, tell us. If something goes right, tell us. We want to know how you are doing so that we can help you get better.
3. Tell the truth. Lying won’t get you anywhere and is a great way to destroy your chapter’s credibility. If something goes wrong, don’t be afraid to call.
4. Ask for help. If you don’t know what to do… ask! I would rather spend 10 minutes on the phone explaining how to do something, than spend 30 minutes fixing a mistake. After all, my job is to help you.
5. Share your accomplishments. If your chapter does something great, make sure everyone knows about it. Send an article and pictures to GHQ, the local newspaper, news stations, post it online, etc.
6. Represent Phi Delta Theta with pride and integrity. Be friendly and respectful to everyone you meet, be a leader inside and outside the classroom, and let your morals guide you. You never know who is watching.
7. Turn in your reports. GHQ does not require Red Letter Days reports just because. Most of these reports ensure that the General Fraternity can continue to operate smoothly and keep accurate records for generations to come. The GHQ Trophy is the easiest award to win, and yet so few actually win it.
8. Have fun, but be safe. Remember that you are in a social fraternity, so be social! We want you to have a good time, but do it safely. Remember to fill out Event Planning Forms for your events, look over the Risk Management Policies every semester, pay your insurance bill, and most importantly; use your head.
9. Get involved. While in school get involved on campus or in the Greek Community, or become a Peer Mentor. Once you graduate, become a Chapter Adviser, a Leadership Consultant, or a Facilitator at a Conference.
10. Apply for awards. As chapter members you put in a lot of hard work; you might as well be recognized for it. Apply for University and GHQ awards. Winning awards is a great way to build a positive reputation within Phi Delta Theta and within your community.
Jacob Kingdon received a degree in psychology from Lawrence University before joining the General Headquarters staff in the summer of 2007. At Wisconsin Beta, Jacob served as President, Recruitment Chairman, and Brotherhood Chairman. Jacob also served as Vice President of Operations for the Interfraternity Council, President of the Greek Leadership Council, and was a member of the Lawrence University Judicial Board. Jacob currently serves as Director of Chapter Service for Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters and Treasurer of the Oxford Alumni Club. In his spare time he enjoys playing racquetball, golf, and poker.