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Thank You, AFA

While feeling the freezing temperatures of Indianapolis for the first time on our return flight made us want to hop right back on the next plane to Florida, coming home from the AFA Annual Meeting was filled with more than just a drastic change in climate. On our way back, all of our conversations could be boiled down into one word: gratitude.

Thank you, AFA. To all of the fraternity and sorority advisors, headquarters staff, volunteers and friends of the AFA Annual Meeting, thank you. Thank you for making this experience an amazing one for each of us.

The three of us (Taylor Deer, Paul Manly, and Tina VanSteenbergen) are the newest members of the Phired Up Phamily, having joined the staff early in the summer of 2013. We were ready to attend the Annual Meeting with our team, to meet you and talk about what we love: fraternity and sorority. What we were not ready for, what we couldn’t have predicted, is how grateful we would be for each and every one of you who shared the Annual Meeting with us this year.

You shared with us your brilliance, your creativity, and your passion in the educational sessions you attended and presented. You generously shared with us the questions you’re asking and the solutions you’re cultivating in a relentless effort to better the fraternity and sorority experience.

You offered us your perspective, your insight, and your journey in conversations between sessions, in the Exhibit Hall and during Fireside Chats. You showed us not only how well you know and care for your members, but your unwavering commitment to them and this movement.

You offered us your friendship at registration, over lunch, during dinner and even in line for a much needed (yet overpriced) cup of coffee. We didn’t know how many of you we would have the chance to meet, or what kind of relationships we’d be able to cultivate as the “new kids on the block,” but you treated us with such kindness, such acceptance, and such friendship. What we are perhaps most profoundly impacted by in the wake of the Annual Meeting is the true sense of brotherhood and sisterhood we were greeted with.

You taught us so much. You shared with us so much. You cared for us so much. But above all else, you ignited within us the fire and passion for the work that we do.

We knew before the Annual Meeting that more men and women in fraternities and sororities can change the world, can make the world a better place. But now, because of you, we are empowered to grow fraternities and sororities more than ever. We are more committed, more focused, more passionate about the chance we have to help more men and women join our organizations because of what you are doing with it. You proved to us in each and every moment of the Annual Meeting the awesome power of fraternity and sorority.

We strive each day to help grow our movement, to help you find more men and women to bring into your organizations, and to help more men and women find you. At this year’s Annual Meeting, you showed us exactly WHY we believe in our work. We find ourselves filled with more urgency, agency, and passion for growing our organizations, because of you.

Thank you for generosity, your acceptance, your expertise and your passion. Thank you for showing us exactly how fraternity and sorority makes this world a better place.

PS: Whether you’re a Obligator, a Questioner, a Rebel or an Upholder, we heard from Gretchen Rubin that relationships with you are the key to our happiness. Let’s stay in touch!

Taylor Deer:  @TaylorPhiredUp / taylor.deer.7

Paul Manly: @Manly_Paul / paul.manly

Tina VanSteenbergen: @TinaRaeVan / tina.vansteenbergen