An important element of choosing which Fraternity to join, or in some cases form, is determining what experiences you want from the Fraternity. What are your goals and motivation for joining? While many fraternities offer great experiences, from athletics to academics to social events, very few offer the complete package and encourage not only participation but leadership. It is in the area of leadership that Theta Xi, to excuse the pun, has taken the LEAD in nationally.
In 2005, National President Michael Pitcher announced Theta Xi’s Leadership Initiative to cast Theta Xi as America’s leadership fraternity.
In fact, one major component of this Initiative was already in place. The Vredenburgh Presidents Academy was introduced in 1999 and has distinguished itself as Theta Xi’s premiere leadership training program. Over its 13-year history, the initiative has impacted more than 500 Brothers as they have stepped up to become President of their chapter.
Over the past six years the Leadership Initiative has moved steadily forward. Here’s a review of our progress thus far:
TWO MAJOR COMPONENTS OF THE INITIATIVE:
1. Programming directed toward building leaders at the individual level:
The undergraduate chapter experience is a daily leadership laboratory that has historically, and will continue to be, the best opportunity for an undergraduate Brother to hone his personal leadership skills. With the Leadership Initiative, we are further enhancing the personal development of our young leaders by providing:
Rising Stars Academy is a values education and leadership training weekend for first-year initiates. Introduced in 2006, 400 newly-initiated Brothers have attended an Academy, and more than 60% have stepped up to chapter officer positions.
Newell District Leadership Academies (NDLA’s) are a revamping of the former Regional Conferences which had a chapter operations focus. NDLA’s have a 50/50 split focus on personal values education and individual leadership skills training. Each of the NDLA's are hosted by an undergraduate chapter in each of the Fraternity’s eight districts. This allows us to provide a central location at a low cost which allows for maximum attendance. Over the past six years, more than 1,600 undergraduates and alumni volunteers have attended and overwhelmingly raved about their DLA experience.
2. Programming directed to strengthen chapter operations:
Adopted 9 Standards of Operations in 2006 (Ritual, membership, scholarship, finances, membership education, chapter operations, campus and community service, alumni relations and housing) have raised the bar on chapter operations. The average chapter met 3.9 of the 9 Standards the first year these expectations were introduced. Since 2006, there has been steady positive progress to improve.
Chapter Annual Accreditation Program was introduced in 2006 to hold chapters accountable to Theta Xi’s historic Core Values. To be accredited, a chapter must demonstrate that it meets at least 7 of the 9 standards.
All True Men Chapter Designation provides a challenge for undergraduate members and their alumni leaders to take their chapter to a higher level of operations. All True Men Chapters adopt a contract of mutual promises with the Grand Lodge whereby the chapter commits to high achievement in return for additional resources in the way of visits, mentors for undergraduate officers and funding to support leadership programming. Currently, 11 chapters have received All True Men Chapter status.
The current All-True Men Chapters (as of March 2017) are:
- Gamma, Steven Institute of Technology
- Iota, Washington University in St. Louis
- Upsilon, University of Washington
- Alpha Alpha, Louisiana State University
- Alpha Zeta, University of California, Los Angeles
- Alpha Eta, University of Colorado
- Alpha Iota, Kansas State University
- Alpha Psi, Missouri University of Science & Technology
- Beta Alpha, Georgia Institute of Technology
- Beta Omega, Virginia Polytechnic & State University
- Gamma Phi, Georgia Southern University