TEXAS BETA PHI DELTA THETA UPDATE
From: Damon Shekari - Rush Chairman
I first want to give a general update on the overall chapter health. We currently have 40 active members and are looking to take in a 20+ man Phikeia class in the fall. For the past three years we have leased the Acacia house. Although the House Corp tried to extend the lease, Acacia was ready to take back the house as they planned to co-develop the property and keep a portion for the fraternity. The campus housing market has been really hot for over 5 years with prices of properties over the top. The House Corporation has been actively looking for a house for us!
Meanwhile, some of our active members leased a house located in the heart of West Campus at 715 Graham Pl, Austin TX 78705. The house is two stories with eight bedrooms and four bathrooms – we have seven actives living in the house. The living room is large enough to hold Chapter Meetings, and the house a nice patio in the back with a projector screen. We have designated a room as a study room where we maintain scholarship resources and display chapter awards and have been decorating the interior and exterior of the house; photos are attached. We made sure to hang up composites in the new chapter house because 1) we really enjoy them and 2) it’s a great way to chat with prospective new members and guests about our history. We have worked incredibly hard on decorating the inside of the house with good entertainment systems, lighting and are making sure we keep it clean and in the condition of an official chapter house.
With a growing chapter, Texas Beta had many unprecedented accomplishments during the spring semester 2019. We teamed up with our neighbors, Alpha Delta Pi, to raise over $1,500 for the Live Like Lou foundation and Ronald McDonald house charities during our second annual “Picnic” philanthropy event. This contributed to the $2000 raised by Texas Beta over the semester which was donated in full to Live Like Lou, Phi Delt’s official philanthropic organization, which directly supports families affected by ALS and funds research toward a cure. On campus, Texas Beta was awarded the “Excellence in Leadership” award by the UT Sorority and Fraternity Life Office and maintains active member involvement in many other organizations including Camp Texas, ROTC, team captains of UT Lacrosse, and various major specific professional societies. Additionally, we have teamed up with UT advisor and long-time Phi Delta Theta mentor, McKinlay Harkavy, to revamp our scholarship program to include a more individual brother focused approach. With respect to the fraternity at large, PDT General Headquarters piloted its annual Province Retreat program and Texas Beta was chosen to assist in planning and hosting the retreat for the Texas region where 11 chapters sent their top leaders to discuss and take on challenges facing their chapters. The Texas province retreat was a huge success and was chosen as the model retreat featured in GHQ’s promotional video of the program.
In terms of social media, we have revamped our Instagram page (@texasphidelt) that we update regularly to show what we are up to as a chapter, as well as a new website (https://www.txphidelt.com/). This website also has a recruitment page that prospective new members can fill out to demonstrate their interest in joining Texas Beta or where alumni may recommend incoming students – it has worked well so far!
TEXAS BETA RUSH
I picked up the rush position in early July and have been working non-stop since then. I began to text prospects on the Texas IFC list and adding them onto our rush spreadsheet. I personally texted over 125 individuals to find passionate young men interested in rushing Texas Beta. I drove all around Houston to grab lunch with prospective members and elected driven active brothers in the Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin areas to take prospective members to lunch over the summer. This strategy is already paying off because many of the incoming freshmen already had a close personal connection with one or more of the actives before coming to our official fall recruitment events! Subsequently, we have been in regular contact with our prospects and well over 100 incoming freshman have received our official recruitment calendar.
This chapter means the world to me – the history and traditions of this chapter are outstanding & I want to see Texas Beta be the best chapter it possibly can be. When I first pledged Texas Phi Delt, my goal was and continues to be to leave the chapter better than I found it, and for future generations of young men to all strive to become a Phi when considering Greek Life at UT. For those reasons, I took the rush chairman position. After our first two events, we have extended 12 bids to students who exemplify the characteristics of friendship, sound learning, and rectitude and have been very enthusiastic about contributing positively to the chapter.
After rush, my next goal is to prioritize alumni relations. I recently spoke with JP Bryan and he gave me extremely valuable advice. I want to bridge the disconnect between the active members and alumni. Out of all the chapters on campus, no one rivals Texas Beta’s alumni and history, and for that reason, we need to put a much heavier focus on alumni. I would like for all of our brothers to have personal connections with our Texas Beta alums; as JP Bryan said, our people are our asset. In terms of our rush prospects, we have been in contact with young men who are studying petroleum engineering, business, economics, and international relations as well as many more majors. Due to the large number of prospects demonstrating interest, our chapter is able to invite them out to events and hand pick who we believe will uphold our fraternity values, and be a positive addition to the chapter – as always, we want to aim for exceptional individuals.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or the President, Garrett Evanson.
Damon Shekari’s number: 281-635-1791
Garrett Evanson’s number: 210-683-4287