How Woody Learned “Life is too short to drink cheap beer.”

[A Blog for Fraternity/Sorority Headquarters Professionals]

by Woody Woodcock

woody_profile_pic_2 I’ll never forget that breakfast.

All nine new Pi Kappa Phi staff paid very special attention to laying out our shirts, ties, suits and the shine on our shoes the night before breakfast, and we were like anxious little kids trying to sleep on Christmas eve. Visions were dancing through my head about one of my fellow new staffers winning a golden ticket from Willy Wonka, and he was taking me + 8 others with him to a breakfast with chocolate pancakes… ok maybe I just wanted chocolate pancakes for breakfast, and it wasn’t Willy Wonka, but that breakfast sure left an impression on me (and our breakfast host was truly a magical person).

In those first weeks of our fraternity staff training we were destined to dine with a legend.  His demeanor and style were classic southern gentlemen.  He imparted eternal wisdom on  "Why life was too short to drink cheap beer”, and he impressively offered a diverse mix of nearly 100 quotes from memory.  He shared and modeled the behavior for numerous world class attributes of high performing people during their career.

Taking notes was not optional — it was paramount.   My breakfast with Durward Owen (Pi Kappa Phi, CEO Emeritus) was one of the fond early memories of summer training.   He challenged me to think, he challenged me to be like those successful people he spoke of.  It left a deep impression on me I still carry today.

Question 1) What are the two most meaningful experiences or gestures you learned from when joining the fraternity/sorority staff?

Question 2) What are the small details you need to keep focused on in planning your summer training for new staff this month?

Let me offer another perspective from the creative world of Apple.  At Apple every new employee receive this inspirational note on their 1st day:

There’s work and there‘s your life’s work
The kind of work that has your fingerprints all over it.
The kind of work that you’d never compromise on.  That you’d sacrifice a weekend for.
You can do that kind of work at Apple.

People don’t come here to play it safe.
They come here to swim in the deep end.
They want their work to add up to something.

Something big.  Something that couldn’t’ happen anywhere else.

Welcome to Apple.

From breakfast with a legend, to receiving a letter on your first day of work, what themes will your new staff members be able to associate with your organizational culture?

Thinking in the context of the Apple letter:
What will your note say to a new staff member in the coming days and weeks? (Personally I’d love to see some examples of a note or letter posted on our FB page or tweet us a picture)

For me that breakfast with Durward Owen taught me two things I could expect about working for Pi Kappa Phi.
1. A vision of how I should approach each day on staff with style, character and world class attributes.
2. It told me how other team members would conduct themselves and pursue excellence by a choice.

These small touches, like a breakfast or a note in the early days, make such a difference.

So let me ask you again… What are the small details you need to keep focused on in planning your summer training for new staff? Have you put your best effort into planning your summer training yet?

How we start often communicates who we really are.  Are you making the new staff experience better?

For summer training ideas and advice Woody can be reached here .


alabama-logo Dynamic Recruitment Spotlight, June 2012

by Josh Orendi

Wait!  You thought University of Illinois was the largest fraternity and sorority community in the nation? Us, too.  It looks like there’s a new #1.  Roll Tide!

In fall 2011, 7,217 Alabama students proudly wore Greek letters. That’s 28% of the student population on a campus of nearly 27,000 undergrads.  To be fair to our friends at Illinois, Alabama does not have the most chapters.  The Illini still hold that record.  Alabama has 55 chapters and growing … fast.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Kat Gillan, Director of Greek Affairs, and Dr. Lowell Davis, Assistant Dean of Students.  They gave us the inside story on how Alabama’s fraternity and sorority community has more than doubled in size over the last 14 years to become the largest Greek campus in the country.

Phired Up: More than doubled!  Really?
Bama: It’s true.  We’re growing fast.  We’ve more than doubled, nearly tripled in size since 1998.  We’re relentless about tracking around here.  I can give you just about any number you can think of in the last 10 years.

Phired Up: I’d love to see the big picture numbers.
Bama: Here you go.

2011- 2012 Alabama Fraternity & Sorority Community by the Numbers:
26,234 undergraduate student population
7,217 total students in Greek letter organizations
32% of women are affiliated with a sorority
23% of men are affiliated with a fraternity
32 fraternities
24 sororities
98 members average fraternity chapter size
267 members average sorority chapter size (formal recruitment groups)
24 of 27 IFC chapters housed (23 average house capacity)
18 of 18 NPC sororities are housed

Phired Up: With growth like this you must be the target of a lot of expansion and extension inquiries.
Bama: Yes, and we embrace it!  On the women’s side, Delta Gamma (Fall 2011) and Alpha Phi (Fall 2008) recently colonized and we’re eager to open for more sorority extension.  On the men’s side, we have 6 national fraternities scheduled to expand in the next 4 semesters.

Phired Up: Are you scared about growing too fast?
Bama: No. We focus on supporting our existing groups, but we also value what new colonies bring to our campus.  We’d love to have more sororities, but housing is proving to be a challenge since we don’t have existing buildings large enough to hold them.  On the fraternity side, we honor the NIC Standards of open expansion and work with the national fraternity headquarters to create plans that will allow them to better communicate with each other.  That way we can help maximize their success when they believe it’s the right time for their organization to be on our campus.

Phired Up: No doubt we have people reading this article who can’t imagine the size of your average chapters or scale of your total community, but can you speak to the “quality” of your groups?
Bama: I believe that we’re a case study proving that “quality” and “quantity” are not mutually exclusive.  For example, our sorority women have had a GPA above the all-women’s GPA for 84 consecutive years.  Our fraternities and sororities rallied together after the April 27, 2011, tornadoes to establish what became UA Greek Relief – a project that contributed more than 1/3 of the total relief to Alabama families and volunteers in the early weeks of the disaster.  Individual chapters and the UA community as a whole have been recognized for excellence by national organizations and association award panels.  From the classroom to the chapter house and from the community to the brotherhood/sisterhood experience, we’re proud of what we’re seeing.

Phired Up: How big are the largest groups?
Bama: At their largest, Alpha Tau Omega had around 180 men on their chapter roster and Phi Mu had 302 members.  The men’s groups will add approximately 30 members in the fall.  The average sorority will take a new member class of around 100 women.

Phired Up: That thud you heard was my chin hitting the table.  302 members?  100 new members!!?
Bama: [courtesy laughing] Those are big numbers.  We know.  Our office is putting a lot of emphasis on new member education and making sure every member has a quality brotherhood/sisterhood experience.

Phired Up: How big are the houses?
Bama: The newest sorority houses that were recently built are around 40,000 square feet and sleep roughly 70 women.  Most of the men’s facilities are around 27,000 square feet and sleep at least 20 members.  12 new chapter houses have been built on campus since 2008 and nearly every existing chapter house has undergone some level of renovation.

Phired Up: 12 new chapter houses have been built in less than 5 years!  How is that possible?
Bama: The University of Alabama really partners with Greek life in this area.  The University views these houses as additional on-campus housing and has added around 500 new beds to Greek Housing. With increased memberships, the Alumni housing corporations can develop business plans that allow them to financially support the housing projects.

Phired Up: My chin was already on the table, now my eyes are bugging out.  Seriously!?
Bama: It’s happened fast but it didn’t happen overnight.  We’ve been preparing for growth.  The University of Alabama is very pro-Greek.  We believe in the fraternal movement all the way up the chain of command.  We also have amazing Greek alumni and strong vendor partnerships.  For example, Pennington and Company has led nearly every chapter fundraising campaign in the last decade.  They were an important part of helping us craft our current policies.  More recently Laurus group has done a few, too.  We count on our business partners, alumni volunteers, undergraduates, headquarters, and university staff all working together.  It’s working.

Bama: We gotta jump in and highlight something we’re really proud of.  An honorary member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, Dr. Robert Witt [former University President and now UA System Chancellor], is a recent recipient of the NIC Laurel Wreath Award, and UA’s interim President, Dr. Judy Bonner, a member of the Beta Psi Chapter at UA, was instrumental in Delta Gamma’s recent colonization.  We are so blessed to have an administration that is so supportive of Greek life.  That’s critical!  So much of our success would be impossible to re-create without the support we see from the upper administration.

Phired Up: You mentioned “university staff.”  Do you have a large team of campus professionals charged with supporting Greek life?
Bama: [chuckling] No.  We have 3 full-time professional staff members funded by the University and 2 graduate students funded by our Councils.

Phired Up: How are you able to do so much with so few staff members?
Bama: We work really hard, but we also lean heavily on our partnerships with other campus departments.  For example, I think a major part of our growth is due to our close relationship with the Admissions team.

Phired Up: Tell me about that.
Bama: Here are three examples.

1.    Our office collaborates with the UA Office of Undergraduate Admissions and members of the Greek Governing Councils to host out-of-state recruitment events in Texas, Florida, and Georgia.  These Greek-specific events introduce hundreds of incoming students and their parents to our fraternity/sorority members and the idea of joining a Greek organization.

2.    Greek Preview Day has become a huge success, and is now an annual tradition that potential members look forward to attending each year.  This year our IFC and Panhellenic Councils hosted 3,001 incoming students and their parents, providing a weekend full of house tours, meals, information sharing, and building relationships.

3.    The Regional Recruiters who work in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions always help our office identify potential members. When prospective students indicate to their Recruiter that they are interested in Greek life, those students are offered the opportunity to meet with someone from our trained team of Greek Ambassadors.  Last year UA Greek Ambassadors toured 339 students around campus, walked them through Greek housing, and talked to them about the recruitment process.

Phired Up: You’re building a recruitment machine.  How many new members will join this year?
Bama: We’re projecting and planning for 2500+ new members to join the UA Greek community.

Phired Up: Does everyone join in the fall?
Bama: The women use a formally structured recruitment process in the fall. Release Figure Methodology (RFM), which was first implemented in 2005, has worked wonders for our campus. Since 2009, all Panhellenic sororities are consistently achieving Quota and Total. The IFC men’s process is not formal at all.  Most of the fraternities recruit throughout the spring and give bids in the summer.  Incoming students, transfer students, and even upperclassmen can either choose to hold their bids, accept it or decline it.  Our only requirement is that pledging cannot officially begin until the fall semester and no program may last longer than 8 weeks.  Our NPHC and UGC organizations host Membership Intake throughout the year.

Phired Up: So every new member joins in the fall?
Bama: No, but most men join early in the year.  There is also a smaller spring recruitment push in January and February.  Some chapters choose to recruit throughout the year.

Phired Up: How big do you think the Greek Community can get?
Bama: We’re a growing institution.  The goal is for UA to reach 35,000 students by 2020. Our projection is that fraternities and sororities will grow at least as fast as student enrollment.  The Greek Community brings a lot of value to our students, alumni, community, and the culture of The University of Alabama experience.  Given that, there are no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

Phired Up: Roll Tide.
Bama: Roll Tide!

Interview Date: June 11, 2012
Interview Conducted By:  Josh Orendi,
Interviewing Kat Gillan and Dr Lowell Davis

Do you think your growth story is worthy of a Spotlight Interview?  Contact us at

Dynamic Recruitment Spotlight Archives:
•    How Alcohol (or the lack thereof) is Helping One Fraternity Grow Fast
•    Meet the Fastest Growing Fraternity in the Nation: Alpha Sigma Phi 60% Growth Rate Per Year!
•    Social Media Cards – High Point University
•    Sigma Tau Gamma Expansion Recruits 62 Men at Purdue University
•    19 to 90 in 18 Months? (Alpha Gamma Rho, LSU)

Calling All Sorority Recruitment Counselor Stories

by KJ McNamara

rcs Sorority recruitment counselors change lives. The women who volunteer and selflessly step into the role of guiding potential members through the process of sorority recruitment have the opportunity to generously, deeply, and lastingly change the lives of young women forever.

How have you seen recruitment counselors change lives?

Here at Phired Up we have been working with fraternity and sorority recruitment for 10 years.  We provide recruitment products and training for all members (Dynamic Recruitment & Social Excellence programs), recruitment coaching for chapter leaders (Dynamic Recruitment, M.D. ), research about fraternity/sorority recruitment, and now even recruitment preparation for potential members (iValU/weValU ).   We have literally touched all aspects of the recruitment process on campuses all over North America.  Almost.  There is another group that we’re excited to offer resources for starting THIS YEAR!

Later this summer we will be releasing a resource guide built specifically for your Panhellenic community’s RECRUITMENT COUNSELORS!  This manual will include intensive training ideas, tools and worksheets.  It also creates a structure for the RC’s interaction with her PNM’s throughout the week of recruitment.  This will be a necessary tool for every Panhellenic officer and recruitment counselor.  If you want more information about the RC manual or how you can purchase it for your community, E-mail .

Here’s where we need YOUR HELP!  We are collecting stories you have as college women, professionals, volunteers, or anyone who works with recruitment counselors for that matter.  We want to hear about the amazing RC’s you have experienced, some of the relevant issues RC’s experience; we want to know about the fatal flaws of the RC training systems we are currently using.  Literally, if you have an RC story you would like to share we want to hear about it!  This is a call for everyone everywhere to share their story about being a recruitment counselor, about your recruitment counselor, or about training recruitment counselors.  Please E-mail all stories, comments, or ideas related to recruitment counselors to .

We want to hear it from you.  Thanks for your help, and look forward to the new RECRUITMENT COUNSELOR resource later this summer!

New Culturally-Based Fraternity/Sorority Recruitment Diagnostics Test

diagnostics Recruitment [v] rɪˈ kru:ːtmənt – to engage in finding and attracting employees, new members, students, athletes, etc. (source:

All organizations recruit. Especially cause-based groups like fraternities and sororities — they depend upon attracting high quality people to achieve their cause. This includes culturally-based fraternal organizations ((like NPHC, NALFO, NMGC, NAPA, etc.)

But each organization has unique strengths and challenges.  How can culturally-based groups (and the people who support them) know where to focus their energy to ensure they have a system to attract the right quantity of high quality members?

Phired Up is proud to announce the release of a CHAPTER RECRUITMENT DIAGNOSTICS TEST specifically designed for culturally-based fraternities and sororities (access the new diagnostics test here ).  If you know of a culturally-based fraternity or sorority that desires to attract a higher quantity of high quality members, please share this new resource with them.

This resource accompanies the previously released diagnostics tests (read about those  here ).   The new test for culturally-based organizations was designed and tested by the Culturally-Based Fraternity/Sorority Growth Task Force — read their consensus report here .

The 8 Steps to Attracting PEOPLE to Your PURPOSE


New FREE article released from Phired Up Productions.  Click here to download the new article titled, "The 8 Steps to Attracting PEOPLE to Your PURPOSE." This free article about organizational growth is written especially for organizations that need volunteers, members, donors, or raving fans.  Recommended readers include: business leaders, young professionals groups, community and civic organizations, non-profit leaders and volunteers, religious congregations, social entrepreneurs, political activists, and other change agents interested in positively impacting the world.

About the article: Organizations change the world. It is groups that are made up of People + Purpose that have shaped society, sparked rebellions, led revolutions, and made the world better for all of us. Many organizations, however, are well-intentioned but lack the people necessary to deeply impact their cause. This article provides a glance at the 8 steps organizations can follow to ensure long-term success at attracting a high quantity of high quality people to support their purpose.

*Please feel free to re-print (with appropriate credit given to Phired Up Productions) in organizational publications, blogs, magazines, etc. We exist to help groups grow . If sharing this through your channels does that, then please share away! Let us know by E-mailing

What We Don’t Know About Fraternity/Sorority Life

[Please see the request at the bottom of this post for information on how YOU can help answer these questions.]

by Matt Mattson

How many fraternity/sorority chapters are there?
How many campuses actually host fraternities and sororities?
What is the fastest growing organization?
What campus really has the largest Greek community?
What regions of the country are growing fraternity/sorority fastest?
How quickly are culturally-based groups growing? Where are they growing the fastest?
How many campuses use a deferred recruitment process?
Are campuses with formal recruitment or informal recruitment growing faster?
Does housing actually effect recruitment numbers?
Besides "we’re growing," what are the trends in fraternity/sorority recruitment/intake?
What is the median amount of chapters/members involved with Greek life per campus in North America?
How many new members joined last year? How many of them lasted at least one semester?
Which fraternities and sororities are on which campuses?
Do we have any record of local fraternities and sororities?
How many undergraduate members are there (as confirmed by campus professionals)?
Who is expanding/extending where? What campuses want new fraternities/sororities?
What about professional fraternities? How many are there? What councils are they in?
How can we better track INCLUSIVE fraternity/sorority data?
Which campus communities are actually similar in size and growth trends?
What market share does fraternity/sorority have on North American college campuses?
Where are the largest chapters in the country?
Deferred, delayed, open, structured, partially structured — where are these models actually in place?
What months of the year are most members joining?
Where is fall recruitment, spring recruitment, summer recruitment taking place?
How many people are starting recruitment and being retained throughout the recruitment process?
What is the average cost for formal recruitment?

white_square_with_question_mark There’s a lot more we don’t know too, but those are some questions that we have.

On a personal note, I’ve worked in the fraternity/sorority field for 12 years.  I’ve spent almost all of that time focused on helping groups attract more members… and I don’t know the answer to ANY of those questions above with a high level of certainty. I want to (and feel like I should).  I’m guessing others in our field might want to know those answers too.

We probably won’t learn all those answers right away, but we’re going to at least get started.  Will you help? We are asking all campus-based fraternity/sorority professionals to complete this survey . Please also push the colleagues you know to complete it too (peer pressure is the best!). Wouldn’t it be cool if every campus with a fraternity/sorority community completed this survey and we all got to learn from that data?  We need your help to make that a reality.  Please help us get this survey in the hands of the right people THIS WEEK!


Start a Conversation

tshirt-1-btp Last week at our BE THE PERSON | 2012 event, we gave all our participants T-shirts.

Of course we did.  Any event that involves a group of college students and/or professionals MUST have T-shirts, right?  It seems that way, but our T-shirts were meant to do one thing a little differently than most "event" T-shirts.  They were meant to start a conversation.

Finish this sentence, "The world would be better if…"

Do your T-shirts, posters, sidewalk chalkings (see pics here ), advertisements, and marketing strategies start conversations?  Do they lead to interactions.

We want to give a HUGE shout out to our sponsor and friend GREEK101 .  This is a reputable company that produces high quality goods for our marketplace, and who BELIEVES IN THE BEST OF COLLEGIATE LIFE.  GREEK101 sponsored the T-shirts for BE THE PERSON | 2012 out of the goodness of their hearts and we are incredibly appreciative of their support.  Check them out for your future "conversation starting" needs…