How to Change the World

by Matt Mattson

ppluspvfHow to change the world.

Step 1:  Finish one of these statements…

“The world would be better if…”

“Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could change…”

“You know what really pisses me off?  Let me tell you…”

That’s your purpose.

Step 2:  Start shaking hands and gathering people together around your purpose.

People +  Purpose = Organization.  Organizations change the world.  Read more here.  This is what Phired Up is about.  This is what your organization is about (this is exactly what happened when your organization was founded).  This is what Social Excellence is about.  This is what Dynamic Recruitment is about.

Step 3: Don’t get distracted.  Remember your purpose. Remember to keep gathering people together around it.


[RING OF PHIRE: The Ring of Phire is a team of undergraduate fraternity and sorority members dedicated to delivering the messages of Phired Up Productions to their peers around the country.]

by Amelia Mieth (Phired Up Intern and Ring of Phire member)

marchmadness_logo_normalIn the midst of filling out my March Madness bracket this year (I had Duke winning… *sad face*), I was thinking to myself that there just had to be a way that I could relate this to recruitment. I know that a lot of fraternity men would love the reference, but I bet you’d be surprised at the number of sorority women who know their college hoops. It’s a general enough event, and whether or not you watch the regular season play, somehow everyone gets sucked in for tourney time. The Cinderella stories, the upsets, the curveballs, and last second shots no one could’ve predicted – it’s chaos. Wonderful chaos.

It also sounds like sorority recruitment.

Regardless of how meticulously we plan our formal recruitment time period, fall or spring, there are always upsets and erratic moments. But we live through it, and this time turns out to be one of the fondest memories of the year.

In preparation for the big dance, do you think teams kind of wing it? Just waltz right into the stadium, take a couple of shots, and hope things go right? Doubtful. I’ve read stories of college players who spend hours upon hours at the gym shooting nothing but free throws. That’s it. Did I mention this is after their three hour grueling practice is over? In the summer? They want to be the best player they can be, the best version of themselves. (Hello, Social Excellence.)

Coming back to recruitment, how can we expect to be at the top of our game if we are only practicing for a few short weeks before our big dance? The Phired Up Dynamic Recruitment model works, and it works because it never stops. Successful chapters, councils, and members earn their success by recruiting 365 days a year. Whether on campus or not, these dynamic recruiters are putting their best versions of themselves out there for the world to see — they are shaking hands, remembering names, having meaningful conversations, and building their names list. Regardless of whether your chapter participates in an open bidding structure, C.O.R., or a very structured process, there is no excuse to ever stop recruiting. You never know when your chapter may be put in a situation to recruit in the middle of the year, and if not – so what – practice makes perfect.

Maybe more importantly, sorority formal recruitment should be like tournament time — it’s icing on the cake.  Only one team walks away as a winner from March (and often because of a lucky break or a wacky fluke, to be honest), but the teams that work hard all year and win conference championships, and have traditions of excellence of which they’re a part, understand that that short timeframe in March is only a piece of a larger 365 day puzzle that makes up their success as a group.

Recruitment, like March Madness, is unpredictable – full of highs, lows, surprises, upsets, and crazy schedules. But that’s the fun in it. We can’t plan for everything, but we can come prepared and bring our best game (tons of authentic relationships we’ve been building all year long).

Enjoy the rest of the madness this year, everyone!

The Warring Clans of Greek Life

by Doug Sweeney

I am always reminded of the “power of one”  when I think about a quote Ted Kennedy told folks in the St. Peter’s Cathedral during his brother Robert’s eulogy speech“Many of the world’s great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man.”

On Sunday, March 20th, I did what I normally do on a Sunday night in L.A.  Gear up for travel on Monday and get mentally prepared to go into the front lines of fraternity recruitment.  So as I packed, I flipped on HBO which happened to be playing one of my all time favorite war movies – BRAVEHEART.

As I watched the Scots war amongst themselves rather than unify and take England head on, I reflected on the battles I fight for Greek life.  Out in the field, sometimes I think many Greek communities are about as unified as the Scottish clans in BRAVEHEART.  Look around your chapter, or your campus, or your community, or your country, or even better, the world.  Don’t you think there is room for improvement?

mel-gibson-braveheart-photograph-c101019223With such vast resources available amongst Greeks, what could a better greek community on your campus look like? What could your community look like?  What could the world look like?  With all of the people, energy, education, and resources in the Greek world, what SHOULD we be achieving?  There are over 750,000 active undergraduate fraternity/sorority members.  We graduate over 200,000 Greek affiliated men and women into the world every year from North America’s colleges and universities. We have hundreds of millions of dollars that we can leverage as a community.  What if we started looking outward at how we can impact the world together instead of inward at how we can beat the Pike’s at IM bowling next week?

Does your campus greek system feels like a bunch of warring Scottish clans all too concerned for themselves to see the bigger picture?  With all the infighting and squabbling, perhaps this seems like a battle a single man cannot fight.  Sometimes, it feels like we Greeks are our own worst enemy.

Scotland went through this same hardship.  At the Battle of Stirling, it was one man – William Wallace – who stood up and spoke to all the Scots and made them believe that this was their one chance to gain a unified freedom.  And even if they lost, they will have died trying rather than live to wonder what would have happened had they taken that one chance.

For those of you reading this in college, I challenge you to embrace this fight.  You have only 4 years of college to propel your Greek community to make great change in the world.  This is YOUR one chance.  The BRAVEHEART movie quote that stings me now as I write this was when William Wallace convinces the future King Henry of Scotland to unite the clans.  He tells him simple words of timeless wisdom.  “Men don’t follow titles.  They follow courage.”

You don’t need a title or an elected position, just the courage to take action.  It starts with you, then it takes off with dynamic recruitment of others both in and outside your organization.  We have to unite the clans and grow.  From this method of growth and empowerment, people begin to empower themselves and others to make positive change in their campus, community, state, country, and world.  This is what William Wallace did to Scotland.  In death, his message of freedom recruited more men than he did in life and Scots changed the world – they won their freedom.

The same can happen at your campus.  It’s an uphill battle.  And it cannot be done by your peers, or your mentors, or even us.  Will YOU have the courage to lead us?

The first step to helping our fraternity/sorority community better realize their collective potential is to recruit more high quality individuals into our ranks – people who can understand and act upon our world-changing potential.

Fill ‘er Up!

by Vince Fabra

I just walked off the stage at a Phi Kappa Psi conference in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (check out this video of the beautiful scenery), and I was feeling Phired Up/exhausted (what a combination).  So I decided to stay home and write a blog.

fuel_gaugeThis blog is a simple analogy that involves your car gas tank.  It is not a rant about gas prices, though that would be blog-worthy.  I use this metaphor because everyone knows how it works. You put gas in, you drive, when you need more gas, you pay for it and fill it up (“if you don’t know, now you know” – Notorious B.I.G.).

There are certain experiences that fill our tank up no matter where the needle currently is. A conference, a formal meeting, a fraternity ritual, a powerful conversation are all events or occasions that get your motivation needle beyond “F”. Here is an observation about those events or occasions:  They all involve other people. (Hold on to that thought for a second)

Conversely, there are certain experiences that kill our MPG ratio (Motivation Per Gallon). These might be resistance from loud guy/girl, your favorite new member quitting, and feeling like the only horse in the chapter – to name a few.  To sum those up… FAILING. Failing takes us from “F” to “E” faster than anything.

We fail and then we look back on that conference we attended, that formal meeting that moved us, that ritual that inspired us, etc. as a distant memory. But when we attend the next one, we get that high again. We become “Full”.

(Remember when I said I wanted you to hold onto that observation earlier. See paragraph 3). We rely on the joy of learning with others, sharing with others, laughing with others to fill up our tank. The crux of this blog, the simple question that I want to pose to you is, how do you fill the tank when there is no conference, ritual, powerful conversation?

A friend/collegue/mentor/Phamily member named Josh Orendi (Because you fill all of those roles, I am just going to start calling you “Slash”, Josh) and I met over dinner while I was in Indy for a conference. At dinner, “Slash” asked me “What are you reading to make you better?” I had no answer. (“Isn’t that why I am at this conference Josh?” I thought.)

I had no answer because I was allowing others to control the pump on my tank. My hope for all of the Phi Kappa Psi’s at this conference with me and anyone who clicked on this blog and is still reading it is that you will control your pump. Subscribe to a magazine that is in your desired field. Cut your funny video on YouTube usage from 5/hour with no purpose to 3/hour. Choose to learn with the other two ( has some really inspiring stuff). Read a blog that isn’t about Lady Gaga’s fashion (although it is super enthralling) and go read blogs like the ones we recommend on this page.

We have more gas in the tank than we think. We need to push ourselves and test our limits. I cannot give a lesson any better than this video.

3 steps.

1. Watch the video.
2. Dry your eyes because the poignancy of the leadership lessons are will make you sob out of laughter.
3. Email me a response and I’ll repost it.

You leadership nerds will FREAKING LOVE THIS. I truly was in stitches at how ridiculously well this video explains that point.

By the way, if you are a reader of our blog, a sincere thanks for filling your tank with us.

“Your job during recruitment is to listen.”

[RING OF PHIRE: The Ring of Phire is a team of undergraduate fraternity and sorority members dedicated to delivering the messages of Phired Up Productions to their peers around the country.]

by  Amelia Mieth (Phired Up Intern and Ring of Phire member)

listenBack in January, I was fortunate enough to share a weekend with Matt Mattson & Colleen Coffey. Over dinner, we were having a great discussion about Phired Up, sorority and fraternity recruitment, and just life in general. In the middle of our conversation, Colleen said, “Your job during recruitment is to listen.” I forget the exact context of the quote, but it was inspiring enough for me to write on a post it note I just happened to find in my purse. And, unfortunately, that’s where it stayed. I would take it out every once in a while, read it, and find some way to be inspired. Finally, my moment came this weekend when I came home for spring break.

There is a framed quote in my house that reads, “Everyone has a story… have the patience to listen, the wisdom to learn.” Ah ha! The bright pink post it note immediately popped into my head, and I felt that I was on to something.

During recruitment, at least in the sorority world, we spend a ton of time practicing how to sell our chapters to potential members. We discuss our philanthropy, our sisterhood, cute t-shirts we have, and the lifelong memories we will all share. Don’t get me wrong, these are all important, but let’s look at the other side of things.

“Um, what other side?” you may be asking.

The really important other side. The side where we listen.

The side where we listen to not only what a woman’s major and hometown is, but about what she wants from her college experience. We learn about her roommate, but we also learn about what truly makes her happy. There is so much to be learned if we just take the time to pause and truthfully listen to what women are saying to us. Instead of clouding our minds trying to remember if she is saying exactly what it is we want to hear or focusing on what our next killer selling point will be, let’s sit back and relax.

Make a new friend and establish a genuine connection without any ulterior motives. A good way to think of how to act in this situation is, “If I were sitting next to her in class, how would I interact with her?” Use this as a standard. (And if you are saying that you wouldn’t talk to her at all, we’ve got some more work to do.)

Whether we admit it or not, there is a difference between listening and hearing. Make the choice to be an active listener in all parts of life. Open your ears, open your mind, and open the possibilities.

Does Dynamic Recruitment Work at Small Schools?

by Josh Orendi

ketteringuniversitylogoPhired Up is proud of the testimonials that pour in with success stories from chapters across the country.  Chapters doing Dynamic Recruitment are growing in quantity AND quality.  However, we’re often asked “Does Dynamic Recruitment work at small schools?” The answer is YES!

Some readers who know me personally know that I graduated from Bethany College in West Virginia.  Total enrollment at Bethany the year I graduated was less than 800 students (yes, I said TOTAL enrollment).  The male population was approximately 350.  My chapter of 40+ guys at our peak was only the second largest on campus (damn those Delts!).  Still we had nearly 13% of the male population in our chapter.  That’s the way the numbers work to be competitive at a small campus.

On March 9th, I had the opportunity to meet Andrew from Phi Delta Theta at Kettering University.  This was a follow up recruitment training visit to Kettering.  Phired Up had been to campus a year earlier and provided coaching support throughout that year.  Before I share Andrew’s story, let me tell you a little about Kettering:

Kettering is a unique engineering school in Flint, Michigan with a VERY unique Greek community.  Imagine being on a quarters system rather than traditional semesters and only attending school every other quarter because you’re actually doing co-op work away from campus for the other two.  While you’re away from campus for 3 months on your co-op, there’s another group of men living in your fraternity house that are brothers with a completely separate charter — two charters, one fraternity, one school.  They call these “A section” and “B section” at Kettering.  Combine these two sessions and there are approximately 2000 undergrads at Kettering.  However, enrollment has dropped this year.  In “B section” there were only 100 men in the freshmen class.  Reading these numbers, I’m sure you’d agree that it’s not easy to be one of 11 fraternities at Kettering.

Now, watch the video of Andrew’s story highlighting the success of Phi Delt.

Does Dynamic Recruitment work at small schools?  If Andrew and Phi Delt can do it, so can you.  Here’s the email Andrew sent me the day after Phired Up training.

Our chapter has gone through a huge revamp of our recruitment system from having small classes to a class of 1 and then to having 3 consecutive semesters of classes with 6 each to now a class of 17 bid acceptors (hoping to increase still).  I am also proud to say that these are not just numbers, that these are very high quality individuals I will be proud to call my brothers.  It was great listening to all of your suggestions and ideas … It has been great to not only, not have to struggle for members and interested underclassman, but to be very selective with who we give bids to, which we have found increases the interest even more.  I am really looking forward to adding to what we have already done and perfecting our process with all of the suggestions that you had as well as implementing the things that we had not thought about.  Looking forward to instilling these ideas into our incoming class for future house success!!

Thanks again!

Andrew Shumaker
Phi Delta Theta – Kettering University B-Section
Recruitment Chair 2011
Assistant Recruitment Chair 2010

How to Treat Others

by Branden Stewart

momentary-choicesI’ve been reading blogs via StumbleUpon lately. I’ve read how-to blogs on everything from how to live a happy life (I don’t like meditation) to how to write a 20 page research paper in one day (I bookmarked that one for later).  But the most fascinating blog post I’ve read lately relates directly back to our work at Phired Up: How to treat others.

Check it out here.

This blog has direct application to Social Excellence in college students today.  Challenge yourself to answer these questions:

Do you know the name of the cashier in line where you buy lunch each day?  What could becoming her friend do for her?  What could it do for you?

When was the last time you stopped during a busy moment on campus to help someone who looked lost or needed help?  Do you take notice of these people?

Does being a “poor college student” give you a good excuse to leave a small tip for great service? Do you graciously thank your server for their hard work?

Instead of complaining about the problems in your chapter, have you taken proactive steps to make things better? Are you a part of the problem or the solution?

The last time you signed up for community service hours, did you do it because you wanted to help, or because you were required to?

Stumbling upon this blog has challenged me to become a bit better at being the person who knows how to treat others. Has it done that for you too?

Remember, Social Excellence is built through momentary choices that, when repeated, lead to patterns of behavior.  Eventually, those patterns of behavior become a natural part of your lifestyle.  Make a momentary choice to treat others unexpectedly kind today.

Be Social. Change the World.

by Matt Mattson

We believe that organizamead-quotetions can change the world.  That’s what Phired Up is founded upon.

We believe that shaking more hands might be all you need to do to start changing the world.

See, handshakes lead to conversations.  Conversations lead to relationships.  Relationships lead to collaboration.  Collaboration leads to organization.  And as we already said, organizations change the world.

Margaret Mead is one of the many people who have come before us to inspire that belief.  Her quote about “a small group of committed citizens” may be overused and cliche in leadership development, but it is no less true.

So go.  Shake somebody’s hand today.  Start a conversation.  See what happens.

Social Excellence is about changing the world.

National Ritual Celebration Week

by Matt Mattson

ritual-week-logoMarch 1-7, 2011 marks National Ritual Celebration Week in the fraternity/sorority world.  Phired Up’s team is made up of proud members of fraternal organizations.  We have members of Alpha Sigma Phi, Alpha Sigma Tau, Pi Kappa Phi, Delta Sigma Phi, Alpha Phi, and Chi Psi on our staff.  Each of our Greek staff members deeply understands the power of not only the ritualistic ceremonies of our organizations, but more importantly the daily challenges that our rituals place before us.

Our company’s philosophy, educational messages, and overall approach is strongly rooted in Greek principles that have been taught to us through ritual.

When Josh and I founded Phired Up, it was largely because of the power of our ritual.  The ritual of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity challenged us to pursue Wisdom (see Step 7 of our book), it taught us to “Create and Perpetuate Brotherhood” (which we took to mean RECRUIT!), it taught us the virtue of charity and to pursue a life in the service of others (and our company’s mission has to do with changing the world for the better), and it taught us about Brotherly Love (which can be paralleled to Social Excellence).

As our team has grown, further fraternity/sorority values have found their way deep within the fabric of our company’s culture.  We are so grateful for that!

My point in sharing this is… fraternal rituals, when committed to, manifest themselves in a person’s life work.  Our daily choices add up.  The small momentary choice you make today to be a better version of yourself, because your ritual challenges you to, might someday result in you having the privilege I have — I get to work along side brothers and sisters (fraternal and interfraternal), I get to live my ritual everyday, I get to be a part of a successful values-driven company, I get to be proud of who I’ve become (professionally, personally, as a husband, and as a father), and I get to look at the impact I’ve made on others so far in my life and be proud.

So this week isn’t just a week of living my ritual (every week is).  This is a week when I give thanks to the founders of my organization for putting to paper a challenge that makes me a better person everyday.  This is a week when I give thanks to my brothers (Josh and Geik at Phired Up, my chapter brothers, and those Alpha Sigs all over the world) for giving me this gift of fraternity.  This is a week when I give thanks that I am one of a privileged few who have been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to go to college and join a fraternity.  This is a week when I give thanks for my ritual.