The award was presented at the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity Convention June 21-23 in San Antonio, Texas.
“To get this award really means a lot,” said Elwood Voss, Phi Delta Theta chapter president at Southeast. “We are just very excited, and we’re super proud of this.”
“It’s exciting to hear we actually won,” Voss said, especially since this is the first time the chapter has been honored with an international award.
The Phoenix Award, created by the Valley of the Sun Alumni Club in 2002, recognizes a chapter that has shown dramatic improvement over the course of the previous academic year. Southeast’s Phi Delta Theta chapter was selected based on its improvement in 14 critical areas of chapter operations as well as additional information provided by the Phi Delta Theta Province president, General Headquarters staff and University officials.
Voss said it is very gratifying to know the hard work and effort the chapter has invested in the past couple of years in increasing members’ grade point averages, service hours and philanthropy efforts is paying dividends. The award is an indication the chapter “is on the right track,” he said.
Voss said Phi Delta Theta is founded on the principles of friendship, sound learning and high moral standards. The organization, he says, has made strides in all these areas.
The chapter saw an improvement in virtually all areas of chapter operations during the 2017-2018 academic year. The chapter began the 2017-2018 academic year with an extensive executive retreat, at which they clearly outlined several tangible goals for the upcoming year. Included within these goals was increased alumni involvement, improved recruitment tactics and an increased focus on philanthropy and community service.
Voss said Southeast’s Phi Delta Theta chapter has partnered with the national Phi Delta Theta organization in the Live Like Lou campaign to benefit ALS. Among those efforts, the Southeast chapter participated in a Run Like Lou endurance run benefiting ALS patients and their families and research to cure the disease. The organization also held a Hot Pepper Challenge in December to benefit ALS research. Southeast President Carlos Vargas participated in that challenge, eating a Carolina Reaper, the world’s hottest pepper.
Phi Delta Theta also stepped up its community service efforts this past year, Voss said, assisting in a number of initiatives, including with the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Missouri.
The fraternity also was successful in establishing a chapter house on Greek Hill where 14 members resided during the 2017-2018 academic year.
As the year came to a close, the chapter proudly announced it had met each one of their goals, far surpassing several of them. As a result, the chapter saw remarkable improvement in the involvement of brothers and a significant increase in overall GPA.
Phi Delta Theta is one of 10 fraternities in Southeast’s Interfraternity Council. Phi Delta Theta currently has about 50 members.
**Top Photo Caption: From left are Ryan Frenz, Phi Delta Theta province president and Southeast alumnus; Zack Koeller, past president of Phi Delta Theta at Southeast; Seth Myers, Phi Delta Theta chapter warden; and Jeff Davis, former Phi Delta Theta national president and Southeast alumnus.