Monday, April 9, 2012

Don't waste this Summer! Make an Impact.

What are you going to do this summer to make an impact in your chapter?  
Have you started to think about next year yet?  
How many men is your chapter going to recruit in the Fall?  
What does the recruitment schedule look like for next year?  
What Philanthropy and Service events is the chapter going to do?

These are all questions that you should start thinking about today! 

I know, I know… You have Final Exams to think about right now, and that’s a great thing!  Academics, after all, are the reason you are in college.

Once your finals have slowed down or you manage to get a ten-minute study break, I urge you to start dreaming.  Start Dreaming BIG! 

Think about the impact YOU can make next year, if you take just a few hours out of your summer vacation to start planning for some sort of TKE event! 

Not an officer?  That doesn’t matter!  You don’t need to be an officer to be a leader in the chapter.  Start leading this summer by taking the initiative to plan for the chapter’s success next fall. 

Here are a few ideas if you want to make an impact this summer:
  • ·      Ask committee chairs or officers how you can help them plan.

  • ·      Start recruiting new members on facebook and Twitter.

  • ·      Officers: Plan a Summer Officer retreat!  Take 3 days, before August and spend some time having fun and planning out the school year.

  • ·      Talk with Sororities, Professors, and the latest new member Tekes and generate a list of names and phone numbers of incoming male freshman.  Call these guys over the summer and invite them to any and all chapter events!

  • ·      Sign-up for and Work at summer orientation events… this helps you meet and get to know incoming freshman and shows the chapter’s dedication to your school.

  • ·      Coming soon: read through the “Summer Recruitment Playbook” by Aaron Pattison and Jose Morales.  It will be available on

This is only a short list of ideas to get you started.  You’re the real genius here, so comment on this post and share your summer plans and ideas that you and your chapter are going to use to make next year even better than this year! 

“Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”   ~Lou Holtz


Lance J. Boehmer, LLT
Associate Regional Director

Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity
7439 Woodland Drive | Indianapolis, IN 46278
Twitter: @LanceTKE & @TKE_Region3

Better Men for a Better World

Monday, February 13, 2012

Now that's what I call fundraising

Writing to y'all from Murray State University (24-1 OVC) in Wetern Kentucky.  This is pretty far from the big cities of the region, but not from excellent fundraising opportunities.  The Murray State Racers have spent a fair amount of time on ESPN this year as the only (until very recently - ironically the day I got here) undefeated team in Division 1 College Basketball and because of this their games have gotten more and more attention and coverage.  Speaking from experience, I can tell you that the atmosphere at Murray State for a game is on par with that of any serious Basketball school like the Dukes and Syracuses of the College Basketball world.  Because of that, the Zeta Chi colony of Tau Kappa Epsilon decided to get in on the action and try to benefit their organization by working concessions at their home games.

Now we talk a lot about fundraising strategies in our travels as we try to get our groups to think of new creative ways to reduce the cost of their fraternity experience with fun ways of building brotherhood, but I had never participated in a chapter, or colonys, direct attempt to fundraise until I got to Murray.  The saturday following my thursday arrival date was a conference clash with Austin Peay University and the Tekes had signed up to work one of the concession booths for the game, as well as the womens game against Southeast Missouri before it.  8 hours of work (including set up and clean up) combined.  As a Teke and visiting consultant, of course I decided to roll up my sleeves and participate.  Though the rush was huge the hour before the game and during halftime, and though I was utterly exhausted by the end, it was actually a pretty great brotherhood event.  Working a concessions stand with your brothers feels like playing an IM sport with a huge team element to it.  You have wave after wave of customers running up to you and you have to use teamwork and good communication to serve everyone and make sure all have a good experience that brings them back to spend more.  We poured drinks, popped popcorn, cooked brats and dogs, spooned ice cream, and counted change for 8 hours before cleaning up shop for an hour.  The end result?  $860.00 dollars towards the colony.  8 guys, working 8 hours together pocketed a huge chunk of change for the group.  They worked two games this year and put 1600.00 dollars towards their Insurance and AMF bill, bringing down the colony costs of membership by a good amount.

I never had that sort of experience as an undregraduate, but am ahppy to say I participated in, and can advertise how one colony raised a huge sum for their group by enjoying each others brotherhood, watching a basketball game, and drinking a lot of free fountain drinks all the while.  I wouldn't rely on fundraising for dues... but it certainly can help.

Aaron "Patti" Pattison
Associate Regional Director
Tau Kappa Epsilon

Monday, February 6, 2012

Xi Omega - From Unrecognized to Top Contender

When a chapter is told by a University that for that chapter it is game over, lights out, or you're gone a group can react one of two ways.  They can fight the power and stupidly challenge that authority until they are eventually evicted and their presence is eradicated, or they can reevaluate the organization they have become and can take active steps to improve themselves and attempt to return back to campus as a recognized group at the end of their suspension.  More often than not, our chapters try to be Rambo and take the former path.  This rarely, rarely ever results in anything other than risk management nightmares and ruined reputations on all parts.  Going "Underground" might seem cool at the time, but I promise you no matter how tough you think you are, or how great you think your organization can be, it is the wrong way.  A university has a much longer memory than an undergraduate, and if you try to recruit, party, and be frat guys without the support of the University and International Office, your group will die, and may never come back.  I have seen too many groups go down this road and they never come up again.  If, however, a group has the maturity and wisdom to take the other road, redemption is possible.  This is the story of Xi-Omega.

In 2009 the future was looking very bright for Virginia Tech TKE.  They had just won a most improved chapter award, and had recruited several back to back semesters of great, involved and smart leaders into their growing chapter.  Though the reputation TKE has as an animal house and party fraternity was still present, the emerging chapter was transforming itself into a real contender.  They were placing in sorority philanthropies, they were winning IM's, they were recruiting better, and having a safer time than they had in the past.  They were only a couple years off making a push for TOP TEKE and Top chapter at Virginia Tech.  Then disaster struck.  A pledge book - a remnant tradition from the older days of the chapter that was being phased out - was uncovered by concerned parents of a new member and was turned into the school.  The school rightly took issue with several parts of this item but mainly were concerned with several dirty teke chants and songs that were recorded in the book from the history of the chapter.  This had not been the first incident the University had been concerned with regarding their TKE chapter and a long history of unregistered parties helped build a case around the group that compelled the university to suspend the chapter entirely, with a chance to petition for recognition in two years. 

Imagine being in that chapter after getting that news, especially imagine being the new guys.  They were recruited by individuals who wanted to change the culture of TKE, and be a top tier fraternity at Virginia Tech.  They were close guys, smart guys with high G.P.A's, growing reputations with the sororities and a recent history of success in Greek competitions.  What they were told was that despite all that, they were done for two years minimum.  The chapter was faced with a choice.  Ignore the sanctions and regress to the old party frat they used to be without regard for the university...Or embark on an epic crusade to face the sanctions, remain active without actions, and make an attempt to return in two years with whoever they had left to rebuild.  This group of remarkable men chose the latter.  It was my first interaction with a group that would rather play the game rather than try and change the rules.

It was tough.  Oh it was tough.  They could not recruit, they could not hold socials, they couldn't do philanthropies, they couldn't wear letters, and in all reality they couldn't do anything besides hold informal meetings.  And yet, they paid their AMF's on time, and paid their insurance as well.  They paid their international fees for the experience that they were unable to have at their campus.  Every semester, they would meet men who wanted to join, wanted to be TKE and were willing to do whatever it took to become a member, and every semester the chapter turned those individuals down, following the sanctions and telling those men to either wait till they were recognized or find another Greek experience because they were committed to following the rules.  The chapter conducted full membership reviews and got the alumni involved.  The alumni came through huge.  Though many alums still saw TKE as the party fraternity they wanted it to be, there were some who believed in a vision of TKE as the respected, top level chapter they wanted to be.  Led by former CAC member Tom Kuhn and Xi-Omega Little Sister Tammy Bagnato the alumni rallied and raised money to fix the house, create an alumni association, reach out to other chapter advisors and prepare TKE for the long slog towards re-recognition.  Tammy went as far as to rent a house in Blacksburg for a year so that she could be there to help the chapter leadership prepare for recognition and to build relationships with the entire faculty and staff that played a role in Greek Life.

I was introduced to the chapter on a warm day in November during the first part of my Virginia visits.  I was blown away by the charisma, intelligence and brotherhood of this chapter in exile.  One of the members had biked across America the previous summer to raise money ($4,400) for MS.  8 of the 10 graduating seniors all had job offers with Fortune 500 companies.  The chapter G.P.A was a 3.17 (a full .2 points above the all-Greek average) and the guys were fun, social gentlemen.  I immediately felt welcome by the chapter and knew I would do everything in my power to make their recognition my priority this year.  A couple cool things about this chapter that are worth mentioning are that they have retained every single composite, award, paddle, and crest that have ever received or had made and treat all things with respect.  I made plans with Tammy, Tom and several exec board members of the fraternity to follow up with a series of conference calls to plan our presentation to the IFC in January and set on a plan to make the best possible pitch to the University as to why they should recognize us.

I went about my travels looking forward to returning to Tech and making their return successful and strong.  Life threw me a curveball that December and I was involved in a terrible car crash that had me severely injured.  The physical recovery may have taken several weeks, but the mental recovery just seemed to be impossible.  I lost interest in things I had previously enjoyed and became a shell of my former extroverted self.  Leaving Indianapolis to head to Blacksburg for the visit I was not myself, I just couldn't get back to that level I had been on where I was happy and excited to do my job.  It took 5 minutes in the company of the Xi-Omega brotherhood to change that.  They fired me back up about what TKE can be when 5 or more winners are allied in the pursuit of building something great.  Within an hour of my meeting I was ready to be a TKE consultant again and lead our fraternity from the staff level.  The next week was spent building our presentation, refining it, making it seamless, prepping all speakers for questions and getting ready.  On the eve of the presentation I couldn't sleep, and made a resolution to myself.  If I couldn't use my ability to somehow get the group that had saved my TKE spirit recognized, I would send in my resignation as an ARD the next day.  The presentation was 45 minutes; we had 7 different speakers and emphasized the members’ qualities, the alumni support, our commitment to service, and finally the strength of the international organization and the Blueprint as a model to build the chapter around.  I finished with a personal appeal to the chapter as a group that followed all sanctions when all the pressure in Blacksburg was on them to break the rules.  We answered the many questions asked and then had to wait for a week for the IFC to vote and decide.  The past three petitions by other organizations had been unsuccessful, so we were rightly nervous.  On Thursday the IFC President, in the company of the Greek Advisors informed us an overwhelming majority they wanted to welcome us back to the IFC!  WE HAD GAINED RECOGNITION!!!  Celebratory fist pumps and high fives followed before we got back to work on the next step, recruitment. 

The men of Xi-Omega proved to be as good at recruitment as they were disciplined at following their sanctions and I write this article a week into our recruitment where we are working on a list of over 50 interested men as we choose the first candidate class for Xi-Omega in over 2 years.  Rush is not over, but the word is out, the sororities know we are back, other chapters are aware and supportive of TKE, and this group has it in them to go all the way to the top of the Greek Ladder now, with some of the best alumni I have ever seen.  I won't be here for bid night, and to see all the new candidates’ receive their blueprint and register as members, but regardless of whether this chapter gets 15 or 50 new members, the lessons learned by this group are life lessons I will never forget.  These are good men, who looked at elimination in the face and conquered it.  I will never forget how they relit my TKE spirit and gave me the resolve to go out and challenge our competition again. 

Xi Omega followed the rules, lived through the sanctions and now returns as a top contender.  What will you do?

-Aaron "Patti" Pattison
Associate Regional Director
Tau Kappa Epsilon

Friday, February 3, 2012

TKE RLC San Francisco Alumni Event

Fraters and Friends,

Greeting from beautiful San Francisco, California, today marks the beginning of five consecutive weekends of Regional Leadership Conferences all across TKE Nation.

Last night we held a TKE Alumni event for networking, reengaging, brotherhood, having fun, recruiting volunteers, and much more. This event could not have been better. We discussed the direction of each chapter, how we can all work together, and how we can make a good chapter a Top TKE Chapter.

Tau-Beta, Sonoma State University Alumni
There is no better time to network when you feel the pre buzz of 250+ Fraters from all over the country about to TKE-Over the Hyatt. This weekend marks the largest RLC on the West coast, how incredible of a feat is that?! These men have fought to be dominate on their campuses, this weekend will be a fantastic time to learn from each other, from our incredible facilitators, and keynote alumni so that they can dominate their province and become Top TKE Chapters.

I look forward to a fantastic weekend. I’m sure I will be able to sneak away and blog about a few success stories from the weekend.

YITB/Thanks you!
Michael Russell
Associate Regional Director - West

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A RAM Success - Gamma-Beta Flourishes

Dear Fraters and Friends,

What a fantastic time to be a Teke in Colorado! I am currently on the campus of Colorado State University Gamma-Beta Chapter helping these men prepare for 2012. 

The one thing that surprises me every day is the vitality of Tekes all across the world. With their backs against the wall, Gamma-Beta started the year with 4 men. I am proud to say that Gamma-Beta initiated 12 men last semester and look to be a 25-30 man chapter by the end of this year, only graduating one!

These 12 men are beyond exemplary, true leaders that represent ‘Better Men for a Better World.’ I strongly believe in this group and know they are on their way to a Top TKE Chapter in just a few years.

Today I worked with the chapter on a few subjects such as: specific officer roles, the keys to a Top TKE Chapter, recruitment, academic success and we installed the Blueprint Program. This chapter visit has really reiterated my belief that any chapter, no matter the size, can rebuild and be a Top TKE Chapter with a solid recruitment class.

You can see David Adkins and I's previous blog, A RAM Welcome about our first visit in Colorado and I will update you at the end of this year on Gamma-Beta’s continued success! 

If you are going to be at the Wichita RLC, you will see four men there, ask about how they did it. I can already tell you their answer; they rolled up their sleeves and did work.

YITB/Thanks you!
Michael Russell
Associate Regional Director - West

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Action. Alpha-Omicron "Better Men for a Better World"

Fraters and Friends,

Gabe Anaya, OGE

It is not every day you get to talk to an Order of the Golden Eagle award recipient, Tau Kappa Epsilon's most prestigious award. This month I have been blessed to work very closely with two, Frater Buckwheat Perry and Frater Gabe Anaya. Wow. Two great men that have truly helped build Better Men for a Better World.

Today was particularly an exciting day because I had an opportunity to help build a better community by working in the soup kitchen where Frater Anaya is on the board of directors. I helped serve, walk trays to tables for children, got drinks for wheel chair stricken individuals and even washed dishes. The entire time, all I could think of was the power of the TKE Network.

Last night, I helped the men here at Alpha-Omicron realize their strengths and weaknesses and opportunities thorough some tough conversations.  These men have some of the strongest brotherly ties, a dedicated support system and a beautiful place to call home. The next step for these men is recruitment training and education, which is what we focused on the most.

I strongly believe in these men and I know they believe in themselves but as many have said belief only gets you so far, action is what makes the world go round. Action and pressure will help these men reach their recruitment goal of 15. Action will help these men show New Mexico State University that the men of TKE are gentleman, with high character, morals, and a determined factor for success.  Action will give these men to motivate themselves to do bigger and greater things in their life.

Action begins now!

Thanks again to the men and woman that support me, I know without this great fraternity and family, my drive, my passion, and my action would not be as prevalent.

YITB/Thank you!
Michael Russell
Associate Regional Director - West

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Host Family

People are always fascinated to hear how much I travel. The question I get most often is where do I stay? Sometimes hotels, sometimes fraternity houses, but I am a simple man who doesn’t mind couch surfing. Tomorrow will complete my first week back on the road, I have already been to 2 ½ chapters (The University of Cincinnati was a surprise visit). After the University of Louisville I had plans to visit my friends at Northern Kentucky University, Pi-Omicron chapter. I did not really know for sure where I would sleep the first night, so I cashed in on someone’s “you’re always welcome here” invite. 

My host family as I had called them all weekend was a group of friends I had met the last time I was here in August. Erin Jenkins is a former president of the NKU chapter, so his girlfriend Katie and roommate Will opened up their apartment to me. Great story about the couple, Eric is a member of TKE and Katie is a member of Delta-Gamma. When I was here in August I sat in one of the weekly chapter meetings. The meeting was animated to say the least. During new business Eric asked to present to the chapter, he was sweating bullets and stammering, both characteristics’ unlike him. He began to address the chapter about his feeling towards Katie and then asked if he may lavalier her, I had no clue what he was talking about but I swear he was about to pass out because of how nervous he was. Lavaliering is a fraternity tradition where a boyfriend gives a girl his fraternity's letters. It is symbolic of stronger commitment than just dating, but not an engagement. You have to ask your fraternity because they have the privilege of deciding whether she is a good match for you. If you don’t have the chapters blessing she cannot wear your letters. Obviously I was lost, but the chapter agreed. He lavaliered Katie during a candle lit ceremony at her chapter meeting

The couple took me in and played the role of awesome host. They insisted I try the local favorites and brought home dinner. Skyline chilidogs are awesome; they are swimming in cheese and southern goodness. Katie even baked homemade confetti cookies on the last night. I did not know you could make the best cake in the entire world into cookies. Will Koeing was the ultimate friend; he introduced me to everyone and showed me around town. When I was not working, we were master mining the Morehead State expansion strategy. Will is planning on taking a few days off work and coming to Morehead with me to help generate some recruitment excitement. He tagged along during the Cincinnati visit and has begun to coordinate events between the two chapters. That’s what I do; I inspire people to help others.  My experience with the host family far exceeds staying at a hotel, it’s good to get the sense of family every once in a while when you are on the road, and I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality. No one really explains to us staff members where we are suppose to stay every night. With some luck you find yourself in situations where you get to meet some good people. If I refer to them as my Host Family, I am sure they think of me as F.E.S; the foreign exchange student from that 70’s show.

José Morales region 2