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Essentials E-Publication

Essentials is a monthly educational e-publication provided to AFA members to explore selected topics. Editions seek to start conversation around the way we approach our work and to illuminate innovative ways of pushing the fraternal movement forward. Editions are typically published on the second Wednesday of each month from February to November. Please note that pieces included in Essentials provide various perspectives across the field of fraternity and sorority life, and thus may not be reflective of the policies or positions of the Association.



The Essentials Editorial Board plays an important role in the Association’s Strategic Plan and ongoing efforts to provide excellent resources and services to members.

2019 Editors

Jessie Ashton, East Carolina University

Emily MitchNorth Carolina State University


2019 Editorial Board

Morgan Shiflett, Alpha Sigma Alpha Headquarters

Hannah Cotton, University of Central Florida

Alex Dudek, UNC Charlotte

Devin Berghorst, University of Michigan

Dana Finley, Indiana University

Devin Walker, University of California, Los Angeles

Audrey Graser, University of North Carolina at Asheville



Members of the Association receive Essentials as a benefit of membership.



The Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors welcomes articles for Essentials that serve as catalysts for further exploration and discussion on topics relevant to the fraternal movement. Articles published in Essentials are meant to be starting points for further discussion by the AFA membership. While the articles are not meant to be lengthy, they should be thought provoking and applicable to the daily practice of at least a large portion of the AFA membership. Click here to view the submission guidelines.


Previous Issues (more)

Vol. G Issue 01 - Essentials February 2018

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Over the last few years, we’ve seen more and more organizations and campuses implementing suspensions or pauses after major incidents. Taking this kind of action is starting to feel like the new normal way to respond when a major crisis or multiple issues arise. Are you prepared to implement your own halt, pause, suspension, etc. should your campus or organization need one? Do you know where to start to figure out if a halt, pause, or suspension is the best option to address the issues in your organization or on your campus? In this edition, two campus professionals share their experiences with suspensions or pauses of activities and offer points to consider before implementing similar measures. We recognize this is a hot topic in our field, and we appreciate our authors’ contributions to this edition. Thus, our editorial board reached out to many folks across the field to write for this edition in the hopes of providing multiple perspectives.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Murphy - Social Pause: 101 Days PDF (159.05 KB)  more ] Administration 2/14/2018
Guillory - Interim Suspension vs. Suspension PDF (131.07 KB)  more ] Administration 2/14/2018

Vol. G Issue 02 - Essentials March 2018

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Alumni/Advisor Support
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Gant & Gardner: From Butting Heads to Building PDF (116.32 KB) Administration 3/30/2018
Samples: We Have Thousands of Alumni PDF (136.04 KB)  more ] Administration 3/30/2018
Binder: Volunteer Advisors as Valued Partners PDF (117.39 KB) Administration 3/30/2018
DiRoma: Engaging Local Fraternity & Sorority PDF (115.48 KB) Administration 3/30/2018

Vol. G Issue 03 - Essentials April 2018

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Harm reduction, risk management, and prevention are essential components of our work with fraternities and sororities. How does harm reduction factor into your daily work? What are your prevention strategies for your community, organization, volunteers, staff, etc.? What resources do you use to inform your practice? Even if you can’t answer these questions right away, it is important to reflect on how you are working to reduce risk so we can continue to move the needle in the right direction. This month, our editorial board wanted to highlight harm reduction ideas with a focus on sexual assault prevention and resources in honor of April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Read on to learn about advising students to realize their influential power, self-care and recovery tips for survivors (content contains information about sexual assault which may be triggering), and prevention work with diversity in mind.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Elbert - Risk Management within NPHC & DGC/MGC PDF (192.54 KB) Administration 4/23/2018
Piper - After the Assault: Self-Care for Recovery PDF (145.92 KB) Administration 4/23/2018
Frankenberger - Teaching Women about Influence PDF (160.64 KB) Administration 4/25/2018

Vol. G Issue 04 - Essentials May 2018

Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Perlow & Bureau - CAS as a Framework PDF (121.9 KB) Administration 5/7/2018
Berghorst - Providing Language to Crisis Response PDF (212.44 KB) Administration 5/7/2018
Schwartz - Emotional Intelligence PDF (121.46 KB) Administration 5/7/2018
Monroe - A Crisis Within the Crisis PDF (187.36 KB)  more ] Administration 5/14/2018

Vol. G Issue 05 - Essentials June 2018

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There are many aspects of compliance throughout our work with fraternities and sororities. Students often have to balance being in compliance with requirements of both their host campus and their inter/national or local organization, including accreditation programs, roster updates, and event registration forms. We as professionals have expectations as well, whether it be completing mandatory trainings, submitting statistics or information for annual reports, or serving as Campus Security Authorities (CSAs). While we have our own requirements, there are also federal and state laws we have to abide by. Most of us have likely heard of The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (known as FERPA) or The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crimes Statistics Act (known as The Clery Act). In selecting this theme, our editorial board wanted to highlight how these laws and their resulting policies and procedures impact our work.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Gregory - Proactive Member Accountability PDF (103.39 KB) Administration 6/11/2018
Sammartino - Beyond Law Enforcement Examining PDF (157.64 KB)  more ] Administration 6/13/2018
Hambleton & Zavadil - Responding to the Unexpected PDF (135.31 KB) Administration 6/19/2018

Vol. G Issue 06 - Essentials July 2018

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Whether they’re parents, guardians, or families, students’ support systems are integral stakeholders in their collegiate experience. It’s important to recognize the places fraternity/sorority professionals can be more inclusive or aware when engaging this valuable resource. At the core, they want exactly what we want: the success of their students. You’ve all probably seen references to “helicopter” or “bulldozer” parents, but what if we flipped the narrative and worked to understand what they bring to the table, avoiding these cheeky nicknames? Support systems can often offer insight into the experiences of students we may not interact with on a day to day basis. Whether this offers a new perspective on leadership development, the new member process, risk management, or sisterhood/brotherhood experiences, we’d be remiss not to listen and learn.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Park - Helicopter Parents: Supporting Those PDF (127.25 KB) Administration 7/12/2018
Goodman - We Should Talk About Mom & Dad Programs PDF (134.18 KB) Administration 7/12/2018

Vol. G Issue 07 - Essentials August 2018

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As shared in last month’s Association Update, summer is a great time to reflect on our work and connect with colleagues and partners considering what we are doing right and what we need to improve. While we instinctively think of those questions, have you asked yourself how are you doing? What makes you want to do this work? More importantly, what makes you keep showing up each and every day?

For our students, resiliency is present throughout the fraternity/sorority experience, even if we aren’t always conscious of it. Whether it is helping a student who has heard “no” for the first time through the recruitment/intake process, guiding an upperclassman through not getting the chapter officer role they had worked toward, or helping a campus community navigate the path forward after a problematic incident, resiliency is the cornerstone of the fraternal experience ...
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Berris & Glassmann: Forget Work-Life Balance PDF (146.39 KB)  more ] Administration 8/7/2018
Steiner: Bubble Wrap Your Career PDF (131.46 KB)  more ] Administration 8/7/2018
Thorn: Self-Care for the Selfie Generation PDF (127.4 KB)  more ] Administration 8/7/2018
Murphy & Scogin: Some Days You Move Mountains ... PDF (139.54 KB)  more ] Administration 8/7/2018
Lesperance: Addressing Resiliency in Gen Z PDF (134.36 KB)  more ] Administration 8/7/2018
Jeffries: Building Resiliency through Student ... PDF (132.16 KB)  more ] Administration 8/7/2018
Gravelle & Lowe: Building Resilience Through EI PDF (149.79 KB)  more ] Administration 8/7/2018
Hyde & Pierre: Not-So-Healthy Coping Mechanisms PDF (133.88 KB)  more ] Administration 8/7/2018

Vol. G Issue 08 - Essentials September 2018

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This month, our editorial board wanted to focus on topics related to homecoming. While homecoming can be an exciting time full of celebration and folks reconnecting with their alma mater, it also tends to be a high-risk period depending on your institution’s traditions and norms. As organizations touting lifelong membership, homecoming presents an opportunity to live this principle out by engaging alumni returning to campus. This opportunity has its benefits and challenges, as some alumni are positive influences on our students and others are not. As staff, homecoming can also provide us the opportunity to collaborate with campus partners we may not often get to work with. Read on to learn from our authors about critically assessing homecoming programming, creating a culture change in fraternity tailgates, and the importance of collaboration on homecoming programs.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Evatt-Young: Whose Home? Critical Perspectives PDF (133.36 KB) Administration 9/19/2018
Lopez & Welch: Reshaping Fraternity Tailgating PDF (116.22 KB) Administration 9/19/2018
Teitelbaum & Steele: Homecoming - Partnerships PDF (113.25 KB) Administration 9/20/2018

Vol. G Issue 09 - Essentials October 2018

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With many national organizations announcing substance-free housing, and the NIC’s national ban of hard alcohol, it seems alcohol-free is the way of the future for fraternities and sororities. But what does this mean? How does this translate to our students, and how do campuses and organizations start to implement this change? We know culture change doesn’t happen overnight. We also know that education for our students around alcohol is needed, whether you utilize #ASTPFacts, AlcoholEdu, BASICS, GreekLifeEdu, or all of the above, how is this helping our students? Is it working? Our authors this month discuss the lessons learned in implementation of past alcohol policies, while offering advice for the future. We hope their stories will inform your work and as we look to the future of fraternity and sorority, and the changes that need to be made.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Ford, Cotton, & Ashton: Finding Middle Ground PDF (122.48 KB) Administration 10/23/2018
Joyce & Ramsey: Lessons Learned in Campus Culture PDF (131.83 KB) Administration 10/23/2018
Biggs: Brotherhood, Our Substance of Choice PDF (132.2 KB) Administration 10/23/2018

Vol. G Issue 10 - Essentials November 2018

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Plain and simple, partnerships are essential to our work. What’s not so plain nor simple is making sure our partnerships are collaborative and furthering our shared interests. We all know there can be tension when folks start talking about the relationships between campuses and inter/national organizations. But at the end of the day, we are all working toward advancing our members’ success through the fraternity/sorority experience. Yes, how we do the work or how we approach the work differs. Even our philosophies differ or may be in conflict, but that’s why working across differences is one of AFA's competencies. If we want to make change or elevate our practice, we have to work together. This month our authors share their tips, advice, and perspectives on why partnerships are important, how to cultivate strong partnerships, and how to avoid pitfalls. Our editorial board hopes these articles spark conversation, so let us know what you think by using #AFAEssentials.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Barerra & Fischette: Partnership Pitfalls PDF (127.98 KB) Administration 11/12/2018
DiRoma: Collaborations with Headquarters PDF (107.31 KB) Administration 11/12/2018
Finley: Strengthening Relationships PDF (117.62 KB) Administration 11/12/2018

Vol. G Issue 11 - Essentials December 2018

Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Mangrum - The Elephant in the Room: Privilege PDF (160.57 KB) Administration 12/19/2018
Vega - A Panhellenic Woman in a CBFO World PDF (189.58 KB) Administration 12/19/2018
Shirley - Approach: Advising Across the Spectrum PDF (162.06 KB) Administration 12/19/2018
Pettitt - What I continue to learn from CBFOs? PDF (212.1 KB) Administration 12/19/2018
Lowery - Intersect to Connect PDF (169.83 KB) Administration 12/19/2018
Hudson - Community Cultural Wealth & Funds PDF (229.26 KB) Administration 12/19/2018
Hubbard - Hello from the Other Side PDF (157.7 KB) Administration 12/19/2018
Hartwig & Horton - Thank U, Next: CBFOs Founded i PDF (177.32 KB) Administration 12/19/2018
Garcia - Complicit: Let’s Do Better PDF (164.29 KB) Administration 12/19/2018
Ford: Don’t Forget About Us PDF (221.63 KB) Administration 12/19/2018
Cromwell & Cole - Do it for the Culture PDF (237.23 KB) Administration 12/19/2018
Brown: Walk It Like You Talk It PDF (147.72 KB) Administration 12/19/2018
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