Alumni Advisory Board Information
Alumni enjoy several opportunities to continue their involvement in Chi Psi Fraternity. One of the most impactful of these is involvement with and participation in the activities of an Alpha's Alumni Advisory Board. These groups of volunteer mentors, coaches, and advisors are stewards of the Alpha's experience and provide a valuable perspective to our undergraduate leaders. The Fraternity's most successful Alphas rely on the support of alumni volunteers to help them maintain consistency and congruence with our values. Alumni maintain the corporate memory of an Alpha, offer a broader perspective on its history, course, and vision, and are more adept at developing executable plans. By lending their assistance, alumni can ensure that an Alpha achieves excellence in all areas of operation.
Whether you are interested in establishing or increasing your involvement with an Alumni Advisory Board or you want to start one for your Alpha, you are in the right place. This manual will provide you the information you need.
Benefits of Involvement
Continued involvement with Chi Psi through an Alumni Advisory Board carries several benefits. Your interactions will help you:
- Enrich your fraternal experience
- Network with other alumni
- Pass on your life's experiences to other Brothers
- Maintain past friendships and develop new ones
- Assist an Alpha in its pursuit of excellence
- Provide stability to Alphas in tenuous situations
- Be a role model and teacher
Alumni have played an integral role in Chi Psi's success at the undergraduate level. This support has most often been visible in the ownership of an Alpha's Lodge. Historically, Lodges are owned by Alumni Corporations, and this arrangement has provided continuity and protection. Until recently, Corporation boards had little difficulty managing all activities and providing all local support services to the Alpha's undergraduates. But the needs of Chi Psi's undergraduates have changed, and many Alumni Corporations find themselves lacking the bandwidth to manage the property and provide the support our young leaders need to succeed. The litigious climate in which our Alphas operate today compounds this difficulty and necessitates a new group of alumni to help the Corporation manage all that must be done.
From this need for additional support came the development of Alumni Advisory Boards. Corporations divested from their operation the advising and support services for the Alpha's undergraduates and transferred them to the Advisory Board. In this model, while the Corporation focuses on maintaining the property and related issues, the Advisory Board focuses on:
- Facilitating the undergraduate experience
- Assisting with conflict resolution
- Bridging the gap between undergraduates and the general alumni constituency
This model helps prevent the overextension of any one board by dispersing the many necessary activities throughout. It provides a shield from liability exposure and ensures that undergraduate advising, a high-level need for our undergraduates today, is prioritized. Finally, it provides an opportunity for specialization and allows alumni to focus on specific areas of the Chi Psi experience that interest them the most.
Why divest advising activity from the Alpha's Alumni Corporation?
- Lack of separation does not shield Lodges from property seizures
- Good property managers are not always good advisors, and good advisors are not always good property managers
- Two roles within one board often collide
- Neither role can be neglected without negative consequences
- One all-inclusive board often experiences stagnation which leads to ineffectiveness
- Spread the workload among more Brothers
- Provide undergraduates with an unambiguous go-to list
- Provide more opportunities for involvement that are less daunting and time-consuming
- Make the Alpha stronger
- It's working!
This two-board structure provides comprehensive support for Chi Psi's Alphas when each is manned at an appropriate level. Many Alphas have added a third board, a local educational foundation, that makes the support offered even more comprehensive. For this reason, Chi Psi Fraternity supports and promotes a "Three Board Model” of alumni governance for its Alphas. Of course, for many Alphas, one of more of these boards may be unnecessary in light of housing scenarios and resources provided by the host institution. However, regardless of the operating environment, each Chi Psi Alpha needs an Advisory Board.
A properly functioning Advisory Board:
- Shows alumni commitment
- Provides an "experienced” perspective by supplying the Alpha with information, expert knowledge and insight
- Provides regular and individual officer support and advising
- Assists the Alpha in making the "tough Brotherhood” decisions by helping Brothers develop self-discipline and responsibility
- Teaches techniques of good leadership and fellowship
- Assists the Alpha in working toward the achievement of its objectives and goals
- Assists the Alpha in utilizing resources more effectively
- Assists the Alpha in obtaining more alumni support and involvement
- Provides a better networking system for both undergraduates and alumni
- Provides a structure in which every Alpha leader is able to learn from someone more experienced in their area of operations
- Helps the Alpha to be mindful of and manage stakeholder relationships
- Further strengthens the fraternal experience