ALUMNI CHAPTER OPERATIONS
(Modified from 1986 and 1987 Communicators)
The amount of time a Brother spends as a collegiate Brother pales in comparison to the time spent as an alumnus. Our founding fathers recognized the significance of this portion of the continuum. They incorporated it into solemn alumni obligations to address the post-collegiate years. Much like a formal education, an individual can spend the collegiate years developing leadership, organization, time management, empathy, active listening, self-confidence and self-reliance skills, in preparation to set out and make a difference for the profession and the community in which the individual finds him or herself. The potential positive outcomes of the “collegiate grooming session” are limitless, bound only by the individual.
The following chapter describes the current alumni initiatives of the Fraternity. It is documented here, within the collegiate manual, as a means to promote its existence among current collegiate Brothers and to passively encourage the collegiate Brother to consider what his or her role may be when it is time to move to the next phase of the fraternal continuum.
Brothers for Life Contract
The “Brothers for Life Contract” is a symbolic contract entered into by a collegiate Brother and his or her initiating Chapter as he or she begins the transition from collegiate to alumnus status. This document can be used to re-affirm a collegiate Brother’s fraternal love and commitment by pledging continued support and advice to the Chapter. The signing of Brothers for Life Contracts may accompany the graduation ceremony held during an academic session’s final meeting or a special senior banquet or similar events. The contract is located in the Appendix F.
The Graduation Ceremony honors collegiate Brothers who are beginning their journey to the next segment of the fraternal continuum. The “Delta Phase” transition from collegiate to alumni status, complementing the transition from didactic student to extern to new practitioner/graduate student/resident, is not an easy change even for the most prepared individual. Collegiate Chapters can prepare an individual for the change by reminding he/she of the fraternal roots established that do not diminish regardless of the nature of the individual’s growth and extension from this foundation.
Mutual expectations are set during this celebration ceremony: Chapters serve as centers of information and reunion for alumni and alumni serve to provide advice and support. Collegiate Chapters must understand that the nature of an individual’s participation will change during this time and should unconditionally encourage individuals to contribute whatever resource he/she can spare and provide opportunities to do so. Alumni Brothers must understand that they have become the mentors whom the collegiate Brothers will emulate and should unconditionally provide guidance and advice. It is only through this expectation that our fraternal legacy can continue to be written.
Worth Alumni Liaison
Secondary to the WCC and the WC, this is the most important collegiate officer role. The Worthy Alumni Liaison (WAL) serves as a conduit between the current collegiate Brothers and the alumni in the community (from the same collegiate Chapter and others who have moved into the area, post-graduation). More importantly, this position is entrusted with preparing the collegiate Brother for life beyond the walls of the college or school of pharmacy and the collegiate Chapter. By introducing collegiate Brothers to alumni topics early, the transition to alumni status will occur naturally and with ease.
The WALs role must not be underestimated. Alumni Brothers, current and future, depend on the effectiveness and efficiency of the WAL. The following areas may be easily delineated as WAL-specific activities (or an alumni committee designed to be chaired by the WAL).
Promote national alumni membership and dues:
The WAL should be prepared to provide each graduating Brother with information concerning the national alumni dues. The WAL should be prepared to answer questions regarding annual dues versus lifetime membership dues. An explanation of the current dues structure can be found in Chapter 3 (Membership).
Maintain regular contact with Regional Director for Alumni Affairs (RDAA):
The WAL should establish a solid communication line with this regional officer. The RDAA is one-third of the regional team assigned to directly support collegiate Chapters. The WAL should rely on this regional officer for guidance and support regarding the dissemination of alumni information for collegiate Brothers to consider as well as the reigning in of alumni Brothers in the community. RDAA demographic information can be obtained from the WC or from the national web page at
The WAL conduit to the Regional Team (along with the WC, WCC and advisor) must remain patient in order to optimize chapter benefit. The Regional Team cannot adequately care for the region without correct names, addresses, email address and other general information from the Chapter.
Manage the alumni database:
There are two distinct phases of address lists: getting addresses and keeping them current. Prior to the start of the “Delta Phase”, the WAL should solicit and insist on current and permanent addresses from collegiate Brothers. Assure that all collegiate Brothers are part of the chapter’s electronic mail listserv prior to departure from the college and request that all email address changes occur immediately according to the procedure outline on the national web page and in Chapter 3. All postal correspondence should be mailed first class with the notation, “address correction requested”. This will keep your database clean and the location of vagabond Brothers known. It is worth the extra expense—without accurate names and addresses the database is worthless. Remember to rely on collegiate Brothers, alumni Brothers (faculty and local practitioners), the chapter registry, the school of pharmacy, alumni or continuing education office(s) and the Phi Delta Chi National Office to locate missing Brothers.
Community-specific alumni Brother outreach:
Reach out to all alumni Brothers in your vicinity, regardless of the originating Chapter. The National Office can provide you with membership printout in zip code sequence to identify Brothers from other Chapters who may have migrated to your area. These individuals may be looking for a fraternal outlet, particularly if a formal alumni Chapter does not exist or exist beyond the local vicinity for this individual. Create a standard center of reunion for all alumni Brothers.
Profiles of Alumni Brothers:
During Formal Meetings, profile one alumnus who is making a difference in the profession. Create a short narrative introducing this individual so that the current collegiate Brothers get to know this person more intimately. List their accomplishments during their time at the collegiate level and outline the career and professional activities this person is involved in. Encourage all collegiate Brothers to personally contact any profiled individual to say hello and thank them for their service and good example. Promote exploration of the information learned through this exercise. Create a photo collage highlighting particular alumni and send this documentation to the profiled alumnus along with a small token of appreciation (e.g., pair of slippers for a pharmacist who stands all day or a lunch gift certificate or a box of chocolates).
Highlight historical information located in the History of Phi Delta Chi Book:
Work with the chapter historian or the Worthy Prelate to provide information regarding the chapter’s past events during Formal Meetings or during an informal chapter brown bag. Conduct discussion sessions (including the Chapter Advisor) regarding specific topics or times in the chapter’s history or during a specific time in the profession. Promoting the chapter’s history can facilitate a collegiate Brother’s dream of the kind of impact he/she would like the Chapter to reflect on years from today.
ALUMNI CHAPTER CHARTERING MANUAL
Why form an alumni Chapter?
The reasons for chapter existence are extremely important and may vary from alumni group to alumni group and within an alumni group from time to time. Formal organization may permit the reasons for existence to be documented. Furthermore, chapter entertainment, communication and governance can be developed and flourish.
Alumni Chapters must exist to meet the needs of the alumni Brothers comprising them. Consider the following reasons for establishing Alumni Chapters:
- Continuation of fellowship:
The spirit of fellowship and the common bonds, known to us as Alpha, Omicron and Omega, which initially led us to affiliate with Phi Delta Chi, do not dissipate when an individual’s status changes from collegiate to alumnus. Affiliation with an alumni Chapter helps to assure continuity of the fraternal spirit developed thus far.
Collegiate Brothers who understand that the collegiate years are a microcosm compared to fraternal life in its totality tend to evaluate the activities of the collegiate Chapter more broadly. Considering whether collegiate Chapter activities will meet the needs of alumni Brothers benefits the collegiate Chapter. Considering if there is content interest for alumni Brothers provides a degree of strength to the Chapter. It means that collegiate Brothers understand that service to alumni is important; providing a sound and healthy place of reunion is important. It also means that collegiate Brothers are beginning to think about what might be of interest to them (if they were indeed alumni). Such forethought can only enrich the collegiate Chapter.
- Organizational role model for collegiate Chapter:
Its orchestration of activities, sound financial planning, and commitment to professional pharmacy practice greatly influence the collegiate Chapter’s perspective on its own affairs.
- Need to organize and belong:
Everyone needs to feel like he/she belongs and may derive a great deal of happiness in organizing and being with others who are of like mind or who compliment the traits of the individual, exposing him or her to unconsidered perspectives and activities. People enjoy recognizing and being recognized for professional accomplishments.
- Need to keep informed:
An alumni organization helps the Brother keep informed about his/her alumni Brothers (from his/her collegiate Chapter and beyond) and the collegiate Chapter. In many cities, the alumni group represents an effective, informal professional pharmacy association.
- Need to lead or to follow:
Fraternal organization allows both leaders and followers to find success within the Fraternity (holding a Regional or Grand Office) or within the profession (providing a basis for support).
- Support of a national organization:
An alumni Chapter can support the national agenda of the Fraternity much like it supports the collegiate Chapter agenda. A Chapter can provide suggestions for policy, participate in elected or appointed positions, contribute to the capital initiatives, and write articles for fraternal publications, as examples.
- Philanthropic functions:
The crowning glory of Phi Delta Chi is to serve. A fraternal alumni association can be a tremendous asset to a community by providing volunteer manpower for service organizations, financial contributions, and speaking engagements for medical associations and/or the community (i.e. long term care facilitities).
- Service to a school of pharmacy:
A fraternal alumni association can be an invaluable asset to the school through the provision of clerkship sites, internship sites, prospective student interviews, financial contributions to the school of pharmacy, community “career” day speaking, speaker bureaus on “practice” related topics or career-enhancing topics.
- Fulfill the alumni obligation by providing advice and support to a collegiate Chapter
An alumni Chapter can provide advice and support to a collegiate Chapter. An alumni Chapter can provide suggestions for chapter policies and procedures, financial support for chapter activities, sponsor collegiate attendance to Regional Conferences, Leader-Development Seminars, and Grand Councils, provide manpower for service projects, professional projects, and fundraisers.
- Provide scholarships to Brothers of a collegiate Chapter
An alumni Chapter can develop scholarship criteria and fund scholarships to collegiate Brothers recognizing Brotherhood and dedication to the Fraternity, scholastic achievements, and/or outstanding leadership.
Requirements of the National Office
- Submit a petition signed by a least ten (10) Phi Delta Chi alumni Brothers requesting chartering to the National Office at least 60 days prior to expected chartering date.
- Submit a copy of the Chapter’s Constitution and Bylaws to the National Office as well as a list of its officers. This should be sent along with the petition.
- Update National Office of newly elected officers.
- Maintain continuous contact with the appropriate Regional Director for Alumni Affairs.
Laying the framework for an alumni Chapter
The genesis for the creation of an alumni Chapter is varied. An alumnus may decide to attempt organization or a collegiate Chapter may seek out an alumnus to start the process. Collegiate Brothers who are approaching the “Delta Phase” of their participation in the fraternal continuum may want to start an alumni Chapter to assure them a place to belong as they approach the twilight of their collegiate experience.
No time limit has been established for this entire process. As one might expect, the progress of the group will determine the time structure. Generally a term of 6 to 12 months is suggested. However, the process should not be rushed in order to fall within these guidelines. Much thought, planning and hard work must occur for this endeavor to be successful. Of utmost importance is constant communication with the Grand Vice President for Alumni Affairs and the Regional Director for Alumni Affairs. This is imperative! Don’t rush it. Establish a firm base to build upon. Patience is rewarded!
- The Core Group:
Form a core group of 3 to 6 members. Contact Grand V.P. of Alumni Affairs to tell of your intentions and to receive further instructions and help. Hold a meeting of core members to discuss direction and purpose of your organization, identify leaders within the group for purposes of establishing responsibility of each member and continuity of the group, and formalize an organizational chart (President, V.P., etc.) and possibly set up committees to plan activities.
- Address List:
Once the decision to establish a Chapter is made, an address list should be compiled. All possible resources should be used to accomplish this task: collegiate Brothers, alumni Brothers (faculty and local practitioners), chapter registry, school of pharmacy or continuing education office and the Phi Delta Chi National Office. Other professional pharmacy organizations at the state level and boards of pharmacy may provide further assistance for the “locating missing Brother” initiative.
Additionally, utilizing the fraternal listserv, state and national pharmacy journal ads, and college of pharmacy publication ads may also be effective ways to locate alumni Brothers and promote the desire to formally organize.
The logical next step is to expand the core, organizing Brothers by developing a communications network. Concentrate on individuals from as many distinct graduating or prospective Brother classes as possible. Finally, branch out to contact every Brother within each group.
Personally solicit financial support to procure seed money to offset the costs of organization and start-up. This is essential to assure the health and well being of the Chapter during its infancy. Let your contacts know that all types of support will be necessary to build a strong Chapter: financial, human capital, database management, publications/writing, supplies, etc. Create a budget and share the information with your contacts. Find out your contact’s expertise and skill, match them with a specific task and personally invite the person’s participation.
- Chapter Operation Documents:
Begin to create chapter operation documents to support the organizational initiative begun thus far. A newsletter can lend form and substance to a new organization. Bylaws should be created early on and basic chapter officers established (at least for a point of contact—goals and objectives of the alumni Chapter will dictate the need for a full compliment of officers).
- Needs Assessment:
Conduct a needs assessment for your Brothers to discover their ideas, desires for self and for this new organization and abilities to contribute. Obtain opinions from prospective members on important information such as number of meetings yearly, dues structure, distance willing to travel to attend function, additional goals, etc. This will enable the organizing Brothers to create an action plan built on the input of the whole to best position the fledgling Chapter to grow and flourish.
- Recruit Membership:
Mail a membership application with the chapter’s mission, vision, values and goals to alumni. Initial outlay of money is usually secured from core members.