Phi Alpha Les Mann III, Phi Lambda ’73
Brothers: Just over a week ago, more than a hundred and sixty nine years after our founding, we celebrated another annual convention of Zetes. More than 250 actives and elders were present to participate in leadership training, camaraderie, and most importantly this year, in depth discussions of Zete Forward.
The Grand Chapter meeting on Saturday included my election as your Phi Alpha. For those of you I have not met, allow me to introduce myself. A 1973 graduate, and former undergraduate Phi at the University of Washington, my bio includes four years of active duty as a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy, 38 years in business with a focus on sales and marketing, and 11 years as a member of the Executive Committee of Zeta Psi International and Zeta Psi Educational Foundation.
It is an honor and distinct privilege to serve as your Phi Alpha.
This year’s convention was, in the view of many, the most important convention in years. On the one hand the Greek system, and Zeta Psi specifically are incredibly healthy. Membership is up, number of chapters is up, grade point averages are up, and post-graduate networking is proving that the fraternity experience can provide value far beyond the undergraduate experience. On the other hand the Greek system is under attack by many college administrations, and the negative publicity that accompanies poor behavior amongst Greeks is more visible and widespread than ever.
In the midst of all this, the self-assessment conducted by Zeta Psi last year has led to our launching the most significant cultural and procedural transformation in our history. The catalyst was our potential loss of insurance, but the launch of Zete Forward is about far more than insurance. It will propel us to the forefront of the Greek community to be a leader in risk management and the provisions for the safety and health of all our members and guests.
Convention included numerous seminars and sessions focused on Zete Forward. The Grand Chapter approved several changes to our constitution, by-laws, and policies including several important provisions for Zete Forward. All these will be shared broadly in the near future.
Let me close as I did at the Grand Chapter meeting with a request. The implementation of Zete Forward will require more than just active and elder leadership. It will require broad engagement so that the best of Zeta Psi is retained, while the areas we need to improve become our strengths. Everyone’s energy is needed. We hope to benefit from yours.
In TKPhi, Les