Tuesday, December 6, 2011

In the Land of What If...

Following is an excerpt from the acceptance speech given by Mark Koepsell, AFLV Executive Director, at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors this past Saturday evening. Mark was this year's recipient of the Jack L. Anson Award, one of the Association's highest honors. The Anson Award is presented annually to a well-respected individual not in the field of higher education, who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the fraternity/sorority community beyond his/her respective organization. At the ceremony, Mark was congratulated for his partnerships with higher education and the interfraternal community, his efforts in making positive change to advance the fraternal movement, and his role modeling to students and professionals in fraternity/sorority life.


It's (my) collective (network) that inspires me. This huge network of individuals and organizations provides my fuel. And, it's from here I have gained the viewpoints and perspective that I have. Many of you have heard me speak on strategic planning, change management, and other general leadership topics. One thing that is always consistent in those presentations is my transparency about my love of a little place I like to call 'The Land of What If.' Just ask the AFLV staff and Board, I speak enthusiastically about visiting there in almost every conversation. Tonight I welcome you to join me in a quick journey to The Land of What If.

These comments are presented in the form of tweets. 140 characters or less providing a glimpse into The Land of What If. Sometimes there is as much power in the right question as there is in the answer. I'm not pretending to have all these answers, but I do believe the questions will at least get us thinking about where we need to go.
  • #WHATIF we spent our undergraduate years preparing for a lifetime of membership in the org & didn't get initiated until we graduated?
  • #WHATIF there actually was a minimum standard for members & chapters and real consequences for falling short? #greekchat
  • #WHATIF all campus F/S award programs actually measured meaningful outcomes instead of rewarding the most creative writers?
  • #WHATIF Fraternity/Sorority advisors weren't so often the youngest directors in the division of student affairs? #sachat
  • #WHATIF the staff to student ratio for Greeks looked more like we find in most residence life programs on campuses? #sachat
  • #WHATIF we didn't need an org like the @FraternalValues in our communities because 100% values alignment was already achieved?
  • #WHATIF every chapter had the conviction, motivation, talent, and drive that we find in most colonies?
  • #WHATIF new member education truly prepared men & women for a life of values based action? @preventhazing
  • #WHATIF all F/S members valued making a positive global impact as much as they do the fun of brotherhood and sisterhood? #ServiceImmersion
  • #WHATIF the money raised through F/S philanthropy all actually made its way to the advertised beneficiaries? #greekchat
  • #WHATIF philanthropy wasn't so often a sorry excuse for another social event and members actually believed in the cause more than the path? 
  • #WHATIF we had a better vehicle for grassroots fundraising and support of causes within the fraternal market? @GreeksForGood
  • #WHATIF the behavioral expectations & enforcement were the same at the #AFA2011AM as they are at undergrad conferences? #CFLNBGLC #WFLNCGLC
  • #WHATIF F/S professionals stopped prioritizing their largest efforts into Greek Week, Homecoming, and Formal Recruitment? #greekchat
  • #WHATIF Headquarters and campuses agreed that what matters most is building an environment that supports the + development of our students?
  • #WHATIF there were grants available to help individuals & orgs focus on efforts that can make a real difference in the fraternal world?
  • #WHATIF we built a system that allowed House Directors to play a valuable role as support mechanisms and paraprofessionals?
  • #WHATIF all our chapters could prove that membership would positively impact retention and GPA? #GammaSigmaAlpha #OrderofOmega
  • #WHATIF professionals didn't see F/S advising as an entry-level job or stepping stone to something "more important"?
  • #WHATIF universities valued the profession at a level where there was upward movement available without leaving the field?
  • #WHATIF F/S professionals  spent more time creating sustainable change & less time in stupid meetings talking about it?
  • #WHATIF we worried less about who is "taking over the world" and focused more on who is "getting good things done"?
  • #WHATIF Fraternities/Sororities could PROVE their worth to higher education at a level where they were begging for more? #FraternalRelevance
  • #WHATIF F/S professionals were more actively engaged in the higher education arena? (That means IN ADDITION to fraternal matters) #sachat
  • #WHATIF F/S professionals were conducting more research and assessment to better illustrate the validity and worth of the experience?
  • #WHATIF our chapters were known as places of tolerance & acceptance as opposed to exclusivity & petri dishes for the 'isms' that plague us?
  • #WHATIF we had less fewer silos & more orgs working collaboratively to create F/S that are the most trusted orgs of integrity and ethics?
  • #WHATIFI actually felt comfortable that my daughters could join ANY sorority chapter & enjoy a developmentally rewarding experience?
  • #WHATIF all of our members understood that true leadership exists in doing the right thing and isn't related to power or position?
  • #WHATIF we spent more time figuring out how to effectively recruit & support alum volunteers as coaches & mentors?
  • #WHATIF we provided tools to every member to step up in the face of controversy & ridicule for the pursuit of values? @FraternalValues
  • #WHATIF it were nearly impossible to win the Shaffer or Anson Award until the twilight of your career? #dontthinkimnotgrateful
  • #WHATIF every F/S community & office was inclusive & supportive of EVERY org that we represent? #NALFO #NAPA #NPHC #NMGC
  • #WHATIF all fraternities created a culture of respect for women instead of a den of hyper-masculine attitudes & behaviors?
  • #WHATIF alcohol didn't have a place in our houses were a majority of members are underage anyway? @PhiDelt #substancefreehousing
  • #WHATIF the only thing synonymous with 'frat move' equaled actions that are the highest in character and values? @Combat_Frat
  • My quest is not only to dream of the land of #WHATIF but to find the path to get there. Do you want to be part of that journey? #LandOfWhatIf
Thank you again for bestowing this incredible honor onto me. Thank you for providing me the opportunity to work in a field where I find such passion, commitment, and dedication by those around me. Thank you for allowing me to do what I love every day.


And, we think we can speak for everyone in thanking Mark for working to make our fraternal world a better place.

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