A Year Like No Other – Addressing COVID-19
Since 1848, Phi Delta Theta has faced many challenges, and each has made us better prepared to come together and overcome a challenge like COVID-19. Supporting and caring for our members continues to be our top priority, and our staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to be reactive and responsible as we proactively alter our strategic plan.
Major focus areas include:
- Health and Safety
- Recruitment and Retention
- Programming and Support
The following sections outline initiatives, resources, and strategies to address the high-priority challenges for each focus area. We encourage members, alumni, parents, advisers, and campus professionals to read about what we are doing, how it impacts you, and how you can get involved.
While the current environment is difficult, Phi Delta Theta will get through this by staying true to our values and supporting one another.
The fraternity experience we are accustomed to will change throughout the coming months as we work to limit the spread of COVID-19 to our members, universities, and communities. Fraternity housing, meetings, and events have a unique set of challenges and health experts agree that a multi-layered approach provides the greatest opportunity to slow the spread and stop the virus.
With the health and safety of our members and their guests in mind, Phi Delta Theta’s approach includes the following things:
House Corporation Summit
Ongoing education from health industry experts was provided to house corporations throughout the summer. Our House Corporation Summit went virtual this June and included presentations on property management, insurance and liability, food service, and liability, following guidelines, and lease language.
Breaking the Chain
This manual from James R. Favor & Company was shared and provides basic guidance for chapters to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases to members and guests.
Using information from this resource, signage has been sent to all of our chapters with houses. We hope that these quick tips will provide continuous reminders to our students on how to stay safe.
Doing what ought to be done means something very special to Phis across the world. The Fraternity and its members have the opportunity to set a positive example this fall as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. Phi Delta Theta will be sending masks free of charge to all of its returning members this fall.
Additionally, alcohol-free housing provides a more controlled environment, where good judgement and the opportunity for limited gatherings usually prevails and has already been statistically proven to offer the safest fraternity environment.
Traditional recruitment and Phikeia education will not occur any time in the near future. Instead, online marketing, getting acquainted with candidates in new ways, ongoing member selection, and socially distanced or virtual ceremonies will replace traditional recruitment methods.
This summer, Phi Delta Theta introduced its recruitment classroom via PDT U. The classroom includes valuable recruitment education covering many different topics including: discovering potential new members, building authentic relationships, sealing the deal, year-long recruitment, and much more.
We’ve also completely refreshed our recruitment resources.
Phi Delta Theta knows that having a local volunteer assist the chapter with recruitment has great benefits. The Fraternity has identified and placed recruitment-specific volunteers on many of our chapter advisory boards. Recruitment advisers are still needed at the following chapters. If you’d like to help chapters recruit successfully, please volunteer at this link.
Financial Support of Chapters
We know that potential new members will scrutinize financial decisions more than ever. To address this, we’re encouraging our alumni and friends to support their chapter financially by paying for the Phikeia and/or initiation dues of one or more new members.
The Emerging Leader Scholarship
To recognize and reward emerging leaders at campuses where Phi Delta Theta has a chapter, the Phi Delta Theta Foundation has committed $70,000 in Emerging Leader Scholarships during the 2020-21 academic year. One hundred forty scholarships of $500 will be rewarded to young men who have shown promise as a leader, hope to further craft their leadership skills, join Phi Delta Theta during the 2020-21 year, and become a valuable member of Phi Delta Theta.
This fall, 102 chapters are participating in our Phikeia education pilot program. The pilot program resources provide everything you need to run a safe, efficient, and effective Phikeia education program in the age of COVID-19. Also included are resources to support facilitating a fully virtual Phikeia education experience.
As a reminder, the Phikeia education pilot program is a flexible experience that combines the chapter’s personality with a standardized framework that focuses on recruitment, brotherhood, philanthropy, and scholarship. This is the foundation for a four-year member development experience that helps members grow personally and stay actively engaged in the chapter.
Phikeia Experience College
From August 3-7, Phi Delta Theta virtually hosted the Phikeia Experience College for recruitment chairmen and new member educators to help them prepare for the fall. Through the Phikeia Experience College, the Fraternity offered a game plan that ensures consistent recruitment throughout the year and adaptations to the Phikeia education program to provide a more valuable, effective, and efficient experience.
We’re confident that our undergraduate members will adapt their practices and learn how to successfully recruit and properly welcome new members into our brotherhood.
Understanding that the Fraternity experience may look and feel a bit different this year, our volunteers and staff have worked to provide new and revised resources and strategies to face 20-21. Additional initiatives will provide Phis with unique opportunities to become the greatest version of themselves.
GHQ Staff Support
GHQ knows the upcoming fall term will be one of the most challenging any of us have experienced within Phi Delta Theta. For that reason, GHQ staff members are providing an unprecedented level of support to our undergraduate chapters. Members of the Membership Development and Support and Growth teams, including all senior staff members, have been assigned a group of chapters for which they will serve as staff leads. This individualized attention supports priorities already established by the General Council including health and safety, growth and retention, and support and programming.
Best Practice Sharing Via Slack
Our brotherhood has spread across North America for decades but this fall it just feels a bit different since we may not be able to meet in-person. Our new Phi Delt Support Center built on Slack provides a single space for all undergraduate officers and volunteers to connect, ask questions, network, and share best practices. This space will act as the hub for our support of chapters this year. Sign-up for this virtual Phi Delt Nation.
Resources for a Unique Fall
Staying flexible as a chapter officer will be especially important this fall. To best prepare you, we have developed resources that will help chapter leadership re-imagine some of their typical duties and operations. Whether a group is in-person, working with a hybrid model, or online, the following resources address some of the most common concerns you’ll likely face this fall.
Phikeia induction and initiation ceremonies will certainly look different in the age of COVID-19. The guidance offered by GHQ provides a way to conduct these ceremonies in a safe, socially distanced way while ensuring our newest brothers will remember them for the rest of their lives.
To better understand how to practice social distancing in ceremonies contact Director of Chapter Support Todd Simmons.
Chapter Operations and Personal Development Modules
As part of the educational support we are providing to our undergraduate leaders in the era of COVID-19, the GHQ staff has developed ten chapter operation modules in PDT U to help our members navigate the fall semester while continuing to grow as leaders and as individual. Topics include chapter specific topics such as undergraduate engagement, financial management, and alumni engagement.
As our members prepare to transition to a professional career or graduate studies, GHQ will soon be introducing three PDT U modules that focus on post-graduation life in the areas of self-awareness, financial management, and forging a career path (tips for new professionals). Regardless of these challenging times, it’s has never been more important to focus on improving your personal and professional trajectory to achieve success.
Membership Statuses Explained
As fall approaches, we know there might be uncertainty about whether or not some members will be returning to campus. It is important to understand the Fraternity’s membership statuses.
Philanthropy – Iron Horse Campus Relay
To honor Lou Gehrig and to continue the fight against ALS, Iron Phi is excited to introduce the Iron Horse Campus Relay, a virtual relay and philanthropic event that will be hosted by 100 Phi Delta Theta chapters, no matter if classes are online or in-person. The 100-day campus relay will begin on September 23, 2020 and end on December 31, 2020.
Participating Phi Delt chapters can claim one day to host their relay. Participants on the chapter’s roster will collectively complete 81 miles (representing 81 years since Lou Gehrig’s Luckiest Man speech) on the day their chapter claims. The 81 miles can be completed from anywhere in the world by walking, running, biking, swimming or any other activity that participants consider athletic.
Community Service – LiveLikeLou’s Great Outdoor Cleanup
This summer, sixty two ALS families were matched with members of Phi Delta Theta for the Great LiveLikeLou Outdoor Cleanup. It was a great success, and we’re continuing the program this fall, serving ALS families in our communities and assisting them with a wide variety of outdoor cleanup help. Connecting your members and your chapter with an ALS family in your community can be one of the most meaningful things you do.
Phi Delta Theta understands how important family engagement can be to the success of a chapter, and it provides an additional layer of support. When families are engaged, many additional benefits are introduced to the chapter. Phi Delta Theta encourages all of its chapters to develop a Family Club, and we’ve created this guide to help. The Fraternity and its Family Council will be reaching out those chapters without Family Clubs throughout the year to assist.
Phi Delt Speaker Series – PhiClass
Learning from our alumni brothers is one of the greatest benefits of Phi Delta Theta. That is why GHQ has worked with some of our most successful alumni to create Phi Delt speaker series, a set of online modules that present life-long leadership lessons from brothers in all walks of life.
There have been some silver linings during the current global pandemic. While GHQ wishes it could have been a “normal” spring and summer, one of the resulting benefits during the shutdown, has been the “all hands on deck” effort by staff to create valuable content for our membership development program, so much so, that the program is projected for completion by early 2021, a year and a half ahead the original schedule.
The seniors from the class of 2020-21 and ever year after, will be published in our graduating senior guide and distributed to all alumni and friends of Phi Delta Theta. Additional partnerships and programs are forthcoming to help our rising Phis.
The resources from our past success put us in a stable position to rise to this challenge, but there is much work to be done and many opportunities to support our members during these challenging times. We are still the best-valued experience of any major fraternity when including membership dues and insurance.
We are making every dollar count.
Membership dues have been discounted from $145 to $135 per initiated member for the 2021 year. All Phikeias who joined prior to July 1, 2020 and initiated in the fall are included in the membership bill. All Phikeias who join this fall and will also be initiated this fall are NOT included in the membership bill.
The 2020 General Convention was postponed and will now occur from June 17-20, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Insurance and Risk Management
As we welcome a new and very different academic year due to the presence of COVID-19, a continued focus on health and safety is more important than ever. We understand that in addition to safety, finances are also front of mind. As the October 1 due date for our Insurance Allocation and Risk Management Program approaches, this memo highlights information about cost and timing of Phi Delta Theta’s insurance and risk management program.
Phi Delta Theta Foundation Scholarships
In the wake of COVID-19, the Phi Delta Theta Foundation Trustees added financial need to the overall qualifications, considered by selection bodies, during the application and awarding process of their $230,000 in annual scholarships and fellowships.
Financial Support of Chapters
For the first time ever, Phi Delta Theta has offered alumni and friends the opportunity to support their chapter financially by paying for the Phikeia and/or initiation dues of one or more new members. We encourage your chapters to work with influential alumni to spread the word about this opportunity to assist your chapter.
All transactions are non-tax deductible and are used to directly offset new member and initiation dues that are billed to a chapter.
A Guide to General Fraternity Fees
Understanding the chapter’s financial obligations for the year can keep membership costs as low as possible. To help, we have prepared an updated Guide to General Fraternity Fees so that you can easily identify what to expect this year.
Learn more about eight financial items to consider this fall.