Chat Transcript from Chat held on
September 10, 2003
(Grand Epiprytanis Mark Fite, Grand Histor Brian C.M. Barrett, Director of Communications Heather Redeske)
Wes (MOD) : greetings
Wes (MOD) : Ryan Sather will be a little late today, he asked me to serve as moderator until he arrives.
Wes (MOD) : Please feel free to start submitting any questions you have.
Wes (MOD) : Q: How are things going with the new TKE University? (When
will it be available, content ext...)
Heather Redeske : Mike Mokros, Director of Programs is putting the finishing touches on it, and hopefully it will be up and running before too long.
Wes (MOD) : Do we know yet what sort of classes it will have?
Heather Redeske : The first class will be on Risk Management and later will be courses developed specifically for the chapter officers and advisors in mind
Wes (MOD) : Q: Brian C. M. Barrett Asks: I would like to ask how the visits by the Chapter Servicing Team (staff and volunteers) are going?
Heather Redeske : From a staff perspective, I know that most of our Regional Consultants have been very busy on the road for roughly three weeks now; they have all developed a great PowerPoint presentation on Recruitment and have been using it in their visits.
Brian C. M. Barrett : Thanks, I would like to hear the perspective of
volunteers or collegiate members should they have any comments on how these are
Wes (MOD) : I personally see them as a great step in the right direction for developing the structure to maintain our chapters. The chapter that I serve as a Province Advisor has not started school yet.
Frank Sanders : It seems to me that while the visits are short and highly topic-specific, that it has worked well in helping mentally-prepare the UG's for recruitment
Wes (MOD) : Q: Asks: What advice can you give on starting an area alumni association from scratch with no funding?
Brian C. M. Barrett : Well, the two chapters I am most familiar with (i.e. KX and Tau Omega) both have started alumni associations. KX is an older chapter but has had a period where alumni were not really contacted and records were lost. A couple of key alumni at KX have started to instigate small gatherings that have progressively larger attendance. This activities range from informal gatherings, hockey games, dinners at a restaurant etc. This re-kindles the flame and generates more interest. Similarly Tau Omega has a good group of involved alumni and do similar alumni events ---everything from "Man Nights" ---Sully can explain---
Charles Trabold : Regarding the Geographical Alumni Association question: check with your Regional Director to see if he can help with the mailing. Another thought would be to ask the Chapters to write to their alumni in the area. Others have done it by getting a few alums together each month and spreading the word to other alums. Don't forget to use the TKE web site. Just some quick ideas . . . . .
Brian C. M. Barrett : Oops --- pressed the enter button by mistake... one of the things I would like to explore with more vigor is the establishment of geographic alumni associations that would attract Tekes from all over...so many of us are very mobile now in our jobs this makes eminent sense to me to encourage involvement from Tekes from various chapters who end up living in a particular area --- I hope over the next two years to focus on this -- we really need to get the infrastructure in place (a good alumni data base) and that is starting to take shape with the new computer system at OGC.
Michael_Brink : Frater Barrett, I am the GPA out here in Northern California. We are trying to bridge the gap between older and newer alumni from the late eighties. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks much
Brian C. M. Barrett : One thing to remember --- and a good principle to follow--- collegiate chapters should have a "class secretary" for graduating fraters --- that person would be responsible for maintaining contact with fraters he is graduating with and getting back to OGC and the chapter to transmit info and contact data for alums from his year. I cannot tell you how essential this is...once you loose your alums it takes a great deal of work to find them --- the longer the period the harder it is.
chris sullivan : My chapter is trying to get in contact with Tekes who live in the city, but are from other chapters. This is one thing that we discussed at our consultant visit
Charles Trabold : Another place to check for alumni addresses is the school's data base. Most are willing to share this information with the Chapter on their campus. Usually, they have better addresses than we do.
Brian C. M. Barrett : Frater Brink...you need to find something that would be common ground...e.g. graduates from the seventies might enjoy a retro night especially since some of the things that are happening now seem to be a repeat of the seventies ... homecoming is a great time to involve old and new fraters...if you would like to get in touch with me by e-mail we can explore some other ideas
Frank Sanders : And the Web can also be a cheap method for allowing alumni to identify themselves for possible involvement in an Area AA. That has been a big factor here in Atlanta. More often than not, they find us, instead of the other way around.
Michael_Brink : yes, that would be great, frater Barrett...I am former histor and VP of my alumni assoc too..my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian C. M. Barrett : Frater Brink --- my e-mail is email@example.com
weege306 : how's the life loyal TKE initiative coming along? anyone know?
Heather R. : I think that would be a wonderful question that Greg Roskopff can better answer for you, as it was his brainchild.
Brian C. M. Barrett : The last I heard about the Life Loyal Teke Program is that the numbers were lower than we had hoped but they are growing...we (all of us) need to get out there and support and promote the concept. .
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Scott-DU111 Asks: Names and contact information for
province volunteers don't appear to be available anywhere on TKE.org. Is this an
oversight, or am I just missing them?
Mark Fite : Frater Scott, I'm not sure why you aren't finding this contact information. I use a directory from the office and don't use the site. We can certainly look into it.
Charles Trabold : Based on what I understand, the appointment letters have just gone out. Would assume the list will be up before long. Heather: can you check on this with Brian/Topher?
Heather_Redeske : No - you're not missing them. Topher is still working on compiling the data for the new website. Unfortunately, he's been swamped with virus scares these past few weeks.
Brian C. M. Barrett : I am not sure if they are or are not on the site --- I have asked Topher to develop the site a little more perhaps with drop down menus from the main headings --- I found the site to be a little more difficult to navigate and find things compared to the previous site.
Heather_Redeske : In the meantime, please feel welcome to contact Jill Konija at TKE OGC ... she'll be more than happy to get your information to you.
Scott-DU111 : Amen, on the more difficult to navigate comment.
Charles Trabold : Heather: along with the Province Officers being listed, I would hope we will also include the various Committees and at least the Chair and Staff and GC Liaisons.
Heather_Redeske : Charlie: Well noted. I will discuss this with Topher.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : oops, here's the full question: Rand couldn't join in but he wanted me to ask the status of the Platinum book, understanding the costs were prohibitive to make hard cover feasible, could it be released soft cover? It would be a shame for all the work to never be seen.
Mark Fite : The Centennial History needs three things. Graphical layout work, fact checking and printing. Unfortunately, we haven't had the money to get it done.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Is there any foreseeable timeline for this?
Mark Fite : There really is no plan or timetable at this point. We will probably do it in pieces over a period of years.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Also, in a previous chat the question was raised on when the Black Book might be online, what's the status of this, has any progress been made?
Mark Fite : We do have a digital version of the Black Book. I like it because I can use it at Grand Council meetings. I believe the reason we have not published it on the web site is because people trying to sue us and others could obtain it more easily.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Frater Fite, isn't the black book essentially public record as it is the bylaws and constitution under which the 'Business' operates, or am I mistaken?
Mark Fite : Frater, the Black Book is certainly a public document. All chapters are sent copies and we have it readily available.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : chtank2 Asks: I find that, for the most part, the "find a chapter" section almost useless, primarily because one seems to keep their contact info current, especially over the summer and it takes way to long to update in the fall. Is there anything that can be done to help this situation?
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Fraters, The website questions are probably better suited for Topher, I'll continue to post them for those Staff & G.C. members to try to answer, but I'll see if I can arrange for Topher to join one of these for those questions)
Brian C. M. Barrett : Frater, from my experience when I need to contact someone in a specific chapter or just feel like "dropping in" I link to their own web site and most chapters have electronic directories that at a minimum have e-mail links to their executive and in many cases to all collegiate members.
Heather_Redeske : Tank: Ii understand, and especially this time of the school year, there are many chapter websites that are 'currently under construction'
Mark Fite : Fraters, we are working with our new Publications Committee. What suggestions do you have to improve THE TEKE?
RedAntTeke : I think THE TEKE needs more historical articles. Why not start off by reprinting some of the great stuff from past issues.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : I think The TEKE for the most part is great, it seems slightly geared a bit more towards our Alumni, perhaps some additional features that appeal to our Active members might generate better interest from them
Scott-DU111 : One suggestion for The Teke-- isn't it time for it to come fully into the electronic age and be updated with greater frequency? Chapters should be able to contribute their material electronically--something like the blog concept.
wes : I remember reading some of the old magazines my home chapter had on file, I would love to read more on some of the historical things, like the article on how the current crest was chosen.
Frank Sanders : I believe the summer issue of The Teke should be more focused on serving as a recruitment tool for chapters ... I think we can do this while still covering the "alumni angle"
chris sullivan : How about adding brief updates as to what the GC or committees are working on?
RedAntTeke : I agree....a lot of chapters put it out for Rush. If you look at the pub schedule it should allow us to alternate focus
Heather_Redeske : as I was trying to speak on before, since I joined staff last October, we are trying different content approaches. And welcome any and all suggestions!
Mark Fite : We are explore the idea of a digital eTeke version of the magazine. What do people think of that idea?
RedAntTeke : In addition to or in place of?
chtank2 : it is a great idea
wes : I love the idea. it would even give the ability to stream video about chapters and events.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Great Idea, it would probably help substantially gut down on Printing & mailing costs
RedAntTeke : I think the answer depends on who the core focus of THE TEKE is.
Mark Fite : The idea for the eTeke is that it would be a cost effective way to get in touch with thousands more fraters. It is currently envisioned as something in conjunction with the printed magazine.
RedAntTeke : Speaking from past experience....it always took more time to reformat THE TEKE or TKE TODAY for the online world. I think all the news releases Heather has been doing are a much more effective approach.
Brian C. M. Barrett : At this point, I think Frater Fite is right --- at least at this point in our history we need to consider some of our fraters and other "publics" that will still prefer a print version of the magazine...or have no electronic means to receive it.
Heather_Redeske : We have about 50% Alumni audience and 50% collegiate audience for THE TEKE. What have you enjoyed lately? What didn't you care too much for?
chtank2 : the Teke and all the newsletters are an historical record, just as is the newspaper, it would be great if all were electronic
RedAntTeke : There's no replacement either in the chapter or as an alum when you get THE TEKE in the mail. I would suggest publishing less frequently with greater substance...and using TKE.org as the standard for regular communication from the OGC.
Mark Fite : Your are right Frater Steve, the digital approach would, in my view, need to be a very different format to be most useful.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : I agree, you can't cut out hard copy altogether, in fact I just had a similar discussion with a chapter last night
Scott-DU111 : I wouldn't mind a purely digital Teke, but we still have a lot of alumni that are not connected, so some provision needs to be made for them.
Heather_Redeske : One challenge that our designer and myself face is how we do not get as much chapter or alumni news as we would like or need.
RedAntTeke : Having seen a lot of issues of THE TEKE from the archives and the struggles of the 90s I think the current format really shows improvement. Glad to see a lot more chapter news.
Mark Fite : Heather has been doing a great job improving the magazine! Lot's more interesting stuff.
Heather_Redeske : Thank you Mark. Our designer is Katie Sayre and Maury Boyd prints.
Heather_Redeske : Katie has been with TKE OGC for almost 36 years.
Brian C. M. Barrett : I'll second that --- Heather has done a great job, too, getting the media releases out
Mark Fite : Heather raises an interesting point. How can we get chapters
and alumni associations to submit more news?
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : I think the form needs to be more prominent on the site
Heather_Redeske : I believe so - or at least there should be. While I have a captive audience, please forward me any and all news about Fraters in the Military.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : And because pictures typically accompany many stories, the form would need to be written as synch to accept images
wes : I believe that if we can prove to chapters and alumni associations that by submitting their information and events, they will get a bigger benefit (bit it publicity or turnout) they will turn more in
RedAntTeke : Getting the news through an online form is one thing...but the key is the photos. You would need to be able to upload images...and UGs need to know that you'll need high-res images for print.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Heather, typically when you get images from a chapter, by the time they are shrunk to fit the magazine, they have a high enough resolution right?
chtank2 : usually, 300 dpi is quite good
wes : And also if we get the word out to the advisors of chapters to get more information turned in, that would also be an effective way to get someone close to home telling them to submit information
Heather_Redeske : Another challenge Katie and I have is the digital photography submissions. Typically, they are not at the right dpi (300), and only convert to about 1-1/2 inches tall & wide. Many fraternity magazines are no longer accepting them.
Heather_Redeske : Sometimes, we try pull photos off of the chapter's website to use. But there again - the dpi is usually only 72
RedAntTeke : Uploading 300 dpi is easy...but you're right that they might not know what quality to send. I would just work up a little how-to guide on the form...and make it more prominent.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Perhaps a set of guidelines can be established by the Publishing committee that the chapters will have a copy of for when they submit stories, this might even help with the amount of submissions, as some probably don't know how to
RedAntTeke : Digital cameras are everyone on campus these days...for better or worse...and so this should actually get better. We just need to get the word out that we want news.
Mark Fite : Good suggestions. I will pass them along to Frater Al Meng and the publications committee.
Heather_Redeske : I've found that outside of personally contacting the chapter when I hear of a story, the Annual Chapter Awards/Service Report submissions usually give us something.
RedAntTeke : Or better yet...why not use the web submissions to your advantage. If you only get a 72 dpi jpg then post those stories online. You could probably do that on a much more frequent basis.
Heather_Redeske : But, that's not very time-sensitive.
Scott-DU111 : One suggestion for The Teke-- isn't it time for it to come fully into the electronic age and be updated with greater frequency? Chapters should be able to contribute their material electronically--something like the blog concept.
Angel Quiroz : sorry about adding to the dpi discussion late, I was called into a meeting-- to correct the low resolution low picture size problem we use a program called ( I believe) Lizard graphics true fractals. Maybe this can help to get more images from the chapters in our publications
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Scott-DU111 Asks: Ryan - How about a section on the TKE Central message board regarding promoting alumni relations. The board doesn't seem to get much use, but could be a terrific forum for exchange of ideas.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Scott, a great idea, the boards have just bee created
Scott-DU111 : Ryan, thanks for the quick work on the alumni sections on the message board. Does everyone know about these boards? you can promote them on the [listservs]
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Brian C.M. Barrett Asks: Can someone explain "the blog concept"?
RedAntTeke : Sure...it's an online journal or diary. Blog is short for web log.
RedAntTeke : I've been blogging for about 2 years now. Got some good press from Fortune and some other pubs.
Scott-DU111 : One thing the blog concept does is allow users to comment on articles, sort of like online letters to the editor. Great for interaction.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Scott-DU111 Asks: Is the recruitment PP presentation
Mark Fite : Which recruitment presentation are you asking about?
Scott-DU111 : The power point presentation that Heather indicated the staff were hitting the field with.
MOD NOTE: Perhaps check with the Regional Consultant when they visit, as they have the copy of it that's 'in production'
Frank Sanders : Have we considered incorporating local chapter or alumni association Websites into the TKE awards program?
Mark Fite : Frater Frank, Great suggestion about web site awards. I will pass that along the Recognition Committee.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Frater Fite, the committee appointments are complete now, correct? If so, when will members know who the chair is & get the committee member's contact info?
Mark Fite : Grand Prytanis Romig has made all the committee appointments. Letters of appointment have been mailed and I believe newsletters will be distributed soon with the details.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Launchpad 230 Asks: What is the best way to thank those alumni that help us out during the semester?
Frank Sanders : Say "thank you" ... It works wonders
Mark Fite : An alumni awards night is a good idea. Special recognition certificates, etc. at Homecoming are helpful. You could also submit a small blurb and photo for publication in THE TEKE recognizing great alumni service.
Brian C. M. Barrett : Thanking alumni can include (and should include) simple things like a thank you note ---not an e-mail although that isn't bad --- a handwritten note ---a more formal recognition would be done at a Homecoming event with even a simple printed certificate of recognition/appreciation or a more expensive version --- a plaque...or even simply being mentioned in a program or used as an example in a speech as someone who continues their LIFE LONG commitment to TKE.
RedAntTeke2 : Send a thank you note with sigs from all the Fraters in the chapter. TLA does something like this...and that does it for me every year.
Heather_Redeske : Gentlemen ... I hate to depart in the middle of such a lively conversation, as I have been taking notes on your suggestions and ideas, I thank you for inviting me to join in the chat! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or questions you have regarding the magazine, or any other communications from the OGC.
RedAntTeke2 : The WWI period of TKE has always been pretty spotty on history. Any interesting finds when the archives was in your garage Mark?
Mark Fite : Some of the most interesting things about World War I involve the sheer number of Tekes who went off to war. About 2/3rds of collegiate members shipped out.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Launchpad 230 Asks: Why was Scorpion chapter allowed to keep that name?
Mark Fite : Scorpion struck a good deal when they affiliated, as a local fraternity, with Tau Kappa Epsilon. The name was part of the bargain.
Launchpad 230 : That was a long time ago, right?
RedAntTeke2 : Scorpion was founded in 1914. The coat-of-arms still hangs on the wall at Westbourne Manor.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : Fraters, though the discussion was had on the listserv's about the documentary Frat Boys, does anyone have any other thoughts?
wes : seeing the historical value of it, I went ahead and made a stream of it, and also one that's only the history
wes : it will be available later tonight at http://mywebpages.comcast.net/wes_517/real/index.html
wes : you will be able to both stream it and download it
Mark Fite : I heard the Frat Boys show was fairly balanced but promoted Phi Delta Theta.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : That hits the nail right on the head Frater Fite
Scott-DU111 : Though the listserv discussion on FRAT boys was interesting, it is kind of disappointing that a TV show and the current Masonic connections discussion generates so much interest, while recruitment, scholarship, leadership and philanthropy discussions just don't seem to take root.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : It was a good show in all, but it was a pretty good commercial for Phi Delt
RedAntTeke2 : I only caught the last 10 minutes of it...where they were leading the guys off for initiation.
wes : If you'd like to watch the full video, it will be available using the RealOne player
wes : it comes to just under an hour without commercials
RedAntTeke2 : What's the latest on Alpha-Zeta? Last I knew the house was going to be opened up to students.
Mark Fite : Charlie Trabold recently visited Alpha Zeta. I heard they had a good rush but don't know about the housing issue.
wes : Wouldn't opening AZ's house to outside students severely hurt their reputation on campus? (I've heard at Perdue that's unheard-of no matter how hard up you are)
RedAntTeke2 : Well when you have to pay the mortgage...reputation kinda takes a back seat.
Mark Fite : You're right, opening the house does present PR issues.
Brian C. M. Barrett : Fraters, I am going to sign off now --- Frater Ryan and Frater Mike "Wes" , thanks for organizing and moderating this...this allows for some valuable dialogue and we certainly appreciate it. Fraters, all, thank you for your participation...I look forward to next time.
Scott-DU111 : Have to go now fraters. Thanks for the conversation, the ideas, and the straight answers.
RedAntTeke2 : Mark...I once heard something about a secret tape of Tex Flint and the NIC or something like that. Jar my memory
Mark Fite : There is an audio tape of Tex Flint delivering the Ode to the Skull.
Mark Fite : We are working with the Member Recognition Committee. What alumni recognition should we be doing at the International level?
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : I think the programs in place are a great start. The Volunteer of the month feature in the TEKE is great, perhaps that could also be posted online?
RedAntTeke2 : Something about how you can recognize a Teke....and the excrement on his boots.
wes : What about recognition for fraters when they initially make the transition from alumni to volunteer?
RedAntTeke2 : I would try to do recognition for CAs, PAs, GPAs on the regional level. Gives guys some recog in their backyard
wes : Or something for developing forward thinking programs? (either on the local or regional level)
wes : in an effort for our fraters to keep thinking ahead
Mark Fite : These are all good suggestions. I will pass them along to the Member Recognition Committee.
RedAntTeke2 : What's new with the CFC program? Is there any push to get
more vols trained and tested?
Mark Fite : We have probably not promoted the CFC program effectively. I suspect many do not know what it is.
MODERATOR (Ryan S.) : After several conversations my understanding is the CFC is in a holding pattern, though it will become part of the new online training
MOD (Ryan S.) : And from my understanding it will become a yearly re-certification process
MOD (Ryan S.) : Does this sound right Frater Fite?
Mark Fite : Frater, I haven't heard of any plans for annual recertification. I have heard of an online course to for the written curriculum.
Mark Fite : The online course content is not developed yet for CFC.
MOD (Ryan S.) : If someone had some of the portions passed already, once this new process is online what happens to the previously passed sections?
Mark Fite : The CFC approach is a great way to get our volunteers learning more and meeting a standard of excellence and I would encourage everyone to seek the designation.
Mark Fite : I would expect that any previous course work would be blended with the new process. That only makes sense. We need all the CFC's we can muster.
MOD (Ryan S.) : Or how could one complete the remaining section(s) in hard copy soon (prior to the online?)
Mark Fite : For now, anyone interested in CFC work should send me an email and I will get the process moving. email@example.com
wes : It was mentioned before that Life Loyal Teke membership wasn't as high as expected, what steps are going to be taken to get membership up?
Mark Fite : Past Grand Prytanis Lon Justice is heading up a very active high powered committee to promote Life Loyal over the next two years. Mailings, online promotions, newsletters, magazine articles and live events will follow.
Mark Fite : Tremendous! We are rolling with well over 200 already and the charter membership period has been extended to January 10, 2004. Hope others will join the ranks.
MOD (Ryan S.) : For those that have signed up, membership materials will be going out in Mid October according to the letter I just received
Mark Fite : Fraters, I'm going to have to sign off. I really appreciate all the interest and feedback tonight. We are off to a great start this school year and recruitment results are coming in strong. Thanks for all you are doing to keep TKE the greatest college fraternity!
wes : thank you for taking time to spend with us frater. we appreciate it greatly
MOD (Ryan S.) : Thank you Frater Fite!