International President's Letter
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“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”
-Sir Winston Churchill
Welcome to the Winter 2017 Triad of Acacia Fraternity! Just as the World around us continues to change; we too, at Acacia, continue working toward building a better, stronger, and more effective Fraternity that enhances brotherhood, educational opportunities for our undergraduate brothers and chapters, and are working to strengthen alumni engagement at the local chapter and with the International Fraternity.
Since our Summer 2017 Triad, we’ve had many exciting developments which I’ll now share with you.
Acacia International Council and Acacia Fraternity Foundation Joint Meeting
In addition to the undergraduate programming at Acacia Leadership Academy, two other meetings also occur—the summer in-person meetings of the International Council and of the Acacia Fraternity Foundation Board of Directors. Traditionally, the two entities meet each summer (whether at Conclave or ALA) for their respective International Council or AFF Board meetings and then jointly meet for a short-time, as well. But, this past summer’s meetings in Bloomington were different. Instead of the typical hour-long, joint meeting that traditionally had been held between the two governing entities; the boards felt it was important that we not only meet jointly for more in-depth discussions, but also to determine strategies in which both organizations (the Acacia International Fraternity and the Acacia Fraternity Foundation) would be able to more effectively maximize/leverage our resources (financial, personnel, volunteer leadership, etc.).
Over the course of two separate, half-day joint meetings during ALA between the International Council, AFF Board, and Headquarters staff, a common question was posed: “What does alumni engagement ‘look’ like?” While we all agreed alumni engagement can take-on many forms; however, from the Fraternity’s perspective alumni engagement is often in the form of volunteerism through serving as a member of a chapter advisory team, as a housing corporation board member, alumni association volunteer or volunteer leader with the International Fraternity. From the Foundation’s perspective, alumni engagement is often in the form of attending alumni gatherings in various regional areas, being a financial supporter of scholarships or educational programming for the Fraternity underwritten by the AFF, or serving as an AFF Board or committee member. This lead to a further discussion about how both the Fraternity and the AFF can enhance alumni experiences, to which we all agreed begins with increased communications between the Fraternity and Foundation, with our broader stakeholders and within our Fraternity and AFF headquarters operations.
The joint meeting discussions also provided an opportunity for the Fraternity and Foundation to discuss how the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) is changing its operational model and its impact on Acacia (more information regarding the NIC 2.0 initiative can be viewed online at: nicindy.org/about/2-0), issues that are occurring on college campuses and the need for developing additional educational resources for our undergraduate and alumni volunteer leaders on how to address challenges/issues at their campus, and how to better meet the needs of our undergraduate chapters.
While it would be great to share that through our joint meetings at ALA we identified the necessary solutions to address all
challenges and issues, that would be erroneous and irresponsible on my part. However, both the International Fraternity and Foundation have recognized and identified several challenges and issues facing Acacia and now the hard work begins to develop resources and solutions, which we are committed to do going forward.
The joint discussions between the International Fraternity and Fraternity Foundation proved to be much-needed and it was further agreed-upon that having a unified Strategic Plan (to be approved at the 2018 Conclave) will be beneficial for both the Fraternity and Foundation, rather than a solely Fraternity-driven strategic plan, which was the basis for the past three strategic plans.
Acacia Strategic Planning Committee
In the coming months, and in preparation for the 2018 Conclave, several of the goals and strategies identified during the joint meetings of the Acacia International Council and Acacia Fraternity Foundation will be more clearly defined as we develop our next Strategic Plan that will guide the Fraternity and Foundation in the coming years. To do this, we’ve jointly-appointed brothers (representing various stakeholders of Acacia: undergraduate brothers, undergraduate chapter leadership, alumni brothers, chapter advisors, local corporation boards, Headquarters staff, AFF, and International Council) to serve as members of the Acacia Strategic Planning committee.
The Acacia Strategic Planning committee will be surveying our brothers (both undergraduate and alumni) for feedback and input, as well as to evaluate our metrics (where we’ve been, where we’re at, and where we’re going) for both the Fraternity and Foundation.
While both the governing entities recognize the challenges ahead, we believe the Strategic Planning process we’ve embarked upon will allow us to build a stronger, more effective Acacia Fraternity. If you’d like to learn more about our current metrics, visit: acacia.org/strategicplan. We’ll also update this webpage with our draft 2018 strategic plan (early summer 2018, prior to Conclave).
Educational Resource Development
As our International Fraternity endeavors to develop and deploy educational resources to our undergraduate brothers and chapters, this would not be possible without the support from our alumni brothers, as either volunteers or through tax-deductible financial contributions to the Acacia Fraternity Foundation, or both. Inside this issue of The Triad, you’ll find an envelope pre-addressed to the Acacia Fraternity Foundation. As you’re planning your next year’s gift, we humbly and sincerely ask you to consider making a tax-deductible gift to the Acacia Fraternity Foundation. Your financial support today will allow the Fraternity to continue its work in delivering top-notch educational resources to our undergraduate chapters. As Acacians, we have a responsibility to ensure the next generation of Acacia undergraduate brothers have an enjoyable and fulfilling undergraduate experience with our beloved Fraternity. As such, I ask you to join me in making a contribution to the Acacia Fraternity Foundation this holiday season either online at acacia.org/donate or via the enclosed envelope in this Winter 2017 edition of The Triad.
And so, have a safe and Happy Holiday Season and best wishes for a successful and prosperous 2018!
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Jeremy N. Davis, Iowa State '00
International Council of Acacia Fraternity