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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.

2018 Editors

Amne Harrington, University of Delaware

Jessie Ashton, East Carolina University


2018 Editorial Board

Caitlin Dobson, Illinois State University
Vance Pierce, University of Illinois at Chicago
Emily Mitch, North Carolina State University
Stacy Rowan, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
Tara Fuller, Johns Hopkins University
Drew Hopson, Triangle Fraternity
Devin Walker, The Ohio State University
Annalise Sinclair, Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity
Natalie Brewster, Furman University
Kyle Fowler, University of Iowa



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. F Issue 01 - Essentials February 2017

Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Seeley - An Election on Empathy PDF (123.27 KB) Administration 2/7/2017
Keller - Be the Fire Supporting Our Students PDF (107.07 KB) Administration 2/7/2017
Dever - Understanding Racial Identity PDF (121.15 KB) Administration 2/7/2017

Vol. F Issue 02 - Essentials March 2017

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As I scrolled through our list of past Essentials articles to find the “further readings” for this edition, I was struck by the amount of vulnerability on display each month in these publications. It’s not easy being vulnerable in the inboxes of 1500+ of your peers, but yet, our author colleagues are courageous enough to take that risk in order to share their insights and better our field. It takes vulnerability to write for this or any other publication, but it is also an immensely valuable and developmental experience. Read on as this month’s authors model the way and share the importance of vulnerability in our work.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Adamec - The Problem With Hiding PDF (112.06 KB) Administration 3/6/2017
McCreary - More than Just a Buzzword PDF (135.21 KB) Administration 3/6/2017
Griffen - Let's Talk About Johnny PDF (105.55 KB) Administration 3/6/2017
Naab - Vulnerability Saved My Life PDF (134.18 KB) Administration 3/6/2017
Fredendall - Modeling A Culture of Vulnerability PDF (125.32 KB) Administration 3/6/2017

Vol. F Issue 03 - Essentials April 2017

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This edition’s authors represent a wide variety of experiences – a recent alumna, a hopeful and excited graduating senior, a development officer, and organization-based professionals – all with different stories or strategies for supporting seniors and recent alumni. One of the many things we are sold as prospective new members joining our organizations is lifelong alumni friendship and career support, but that benefit doesn’t always materialize. How can we capitalize on the energy and passion of our graduating members, including one whose story you can read below, to ensure we aren’t letting mutually beneficial relationships wither? Have thoughts or ideas? Let us know using #AFAEssentials.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Westra & McKenzie: Delivering on the Sales Pitch PDF (138.5 KB) Administration 4/11/2017
Bouska: Five Ways to Engage Young Alumni PDF (110.9 KB) Administration 4/11/2017
Smith: From Programs & Probates to Conferences PDF (117.94 KB) Administration 4/11/2017
Deutsch: 4 Years Made Great - Reflections PDF (109.09 KB) Administration 4/11/2017

Vol. F Issue 03 - Essentials May 2017

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As the academic year comes to an end, many of us are preparing for a transition. Maybe it is our own transition to a new job, institution, or field, or the conscious decision not to make a transition. Maybe instead we are preparing to support the transition of students into and out of their roles. Transition is not always easy, but we may find some guidance in the words of our friends and colleagues. Read on as this month's authors discuss their own transitions and the transitions of students.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Shirley - And Then, We Say Goodbye: Reflections PDF (122.32 KB) Administration 5/10/2017
Murphy - Deciding to Stay PDF (105.44 KB) Administration 5/10/2017
Stanglein - Tales from the Dark Side: I was a FSA PDF (104.89 KB) Administration 5/10/2017
McKeown - Staying Put PDF (125.96 KB) Administration 5/10/2017
Ryan - Timing is Everything PDF (120.8 KB) Administration 5/10/2017
Carnell - Recruitment Counselors and Transition PDF (151.48 KB) Administration 5/10/2017

Vol. F Issue 04 - Essentials June 2017

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This edition’s authors offer a variety of viewpoints on interfraternalism – the role it should play, how to define it, how it impacts our work, and how to improve our practice of it. Interfraternalism may be another buzzword in our field, but it is also touted as a worthwhile quality and is the basis of recognition for awards across many inter/national organizations and campuses. Why is interfraternalism deemed so important yet lamented by many as being challenging to enact? Without relationships, collaboration, and new perspectives, it will be nearly impossible to rise to the challenges facing our industry. We all have a stake in moving fraternity forward, but how willing are we to work together to do so? Learn how some authors have found meaning in working for other organizations beyond their own, how the power of relationships or the lack of validation impacts one’s experience, and how to better practice interfraternalism.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Hudec - An Interfraternal Collection PDF (2.49 MB) Administration 6/13/2017
Schwartz - Advancing Sorority But Not Your Own PDF (120.73 KB) Administration 6/12/2017
King - Define & Practice Interfraternalism PDF (121.55 KB) Administration 6/13/2017
Keller & Brock - Interfraternalism from the Women PDF (106.91 KB) Administration 6/12/2017
Jefferson - Leaning on the Shield: A Page Out PDF (138.38 KB) Administration 6/13/2017
Garcia - La Familia Thoughts on Latinx Interfrater PDF (132.04 KB) Administration 6/12/2017
Ehrmann - Cooperation Wearing Greek Letters PDF (147.34 KB) Administration 6/13/2017
DiRoma - The Tale of Two Ships PDF (132.58 KB) Administration 6/13/2017
Cutler - Partnership, Courage & Interfraternalism PDF (98.22 KB) Administration 6/12/2017
Chatten - Fraternity Recruitment for Adults PDF (127.39 KB) Administration 6/13/2017
Campbell - Forgotten But Not Alone: Finding Solace PDF (106.71 KB) Administration 6/12/2017

Vol. F Issue 05 - Essentials July 2017

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Fear is something I've thought about quite a bit over the last few days, since taking a trip to Cedar Point – a roller coaster filled amusement park in Ohio – over the holiday weekend. Of course the fear of getting stuck on a 300 foot high roller coaster is vastly different from the fear we might face at work, but the way we might handle both of those types of fears is the same. The more I walked around the park putting off riding the one roller coaster I deemed to be the scariest, the more I built it up in my mind as something I couldn't do. But, the sense of accomplishment I felt after following through and riding it anyway increased my confidence. I'm sure lots of us wish our professional fears could be faced as quickly as a two-minute ride, but I guarantee that the sense of accomplishment and increased self-efficacy we'll feel after tackling our biggest professional fears will be much more rewarding. Here's to doing what we don't think we can do!
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Shaak - Social Barriers to Challenging the Process PDF (130.57 KB) Administration 7/11/2017
Bellamy - A Few Thoughts After Reading Thousands PDF (130.94 KB) Administration 7/11/2017
Steiner - Addressing the Burn PDF (166.19 KB) Administration 7/10/2017
Fuller - Professional Fears of Truthfulness PDF (163.85 KB) Administration 7/11/2017
Hinds - Navigating the Intersection of Fear PDF (136.39 KB) Administration 7/10/2017
Walker - The Fears of Being a New Professional PDF (128.18 KB) Administration 7/11/2017
Stephens - NoLetters? NoProblem! Or, is it? PDF (128.23 KB) Administration 7/10/2017
Kahn - Walking On Eggshells PDF (119 KB) Administration 7/10/2017
Evans - Fear: The Truth and The Struggle PDF (119.38 KB) Administration 7/10/2017
Smith - Self-Care for the Selfless PDF (144.94 KB) Administration 7/10/2017

Vol. F Issue 06 - Essentials August 2017

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For many of us, questions guide our interactions with others on a daily basis. It’s not always the easiest or fastest way to reach agreement or share information, but asking questions helps people articulate what they believe, and can ultimately help everyone get to a better place. It is a good practice for us to periodically reflect on the questions we ask and consider whether we are we using the best questions to uncover the most useful information. Read on as our authors share some of their favorite questions.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Wheeler - Questioning the Questioners PDF (126.04 KB) Administration 8/10/2017
Hudson - Undocumented and Greek PDF (205.36 KB) Administration 8/11/2017
Westol - I See We Have a Question PDF (150.71 KB) Administration 8/4/2017
Lugabihl - Time-Tested Questions PDF (118.27 KB) Administration 8/4/2017
Ford & Finley - How to Approach Conversations PDF (169.73 KB) Administration 8/7/2017

Vol. F Issue 07 - Essentials September 2017

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In our line of work, it can be challenging to slow down and focus in on the present. We have multiple constituents who need our attention and a to-do list that never seems to stop. Despite the challenges, our authors make the case for the importance and ease of adding mindful practices to our daily lives. Read on to learn more about simple habits to increase your mindfulness, the science behind mindfulness, and a book to help you on your path to mindfulness.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Rimmaudo - Mindfulness in Five Minutes or Less PDF (121.32 KB)  more ] Administration 9/11/2017
Jabs - Being Mindful in YOUR Path to Peak PDF (148.33 KB)  more ] Administration 9/11/2017
Kamenetsky - Mindfulness in a Nutshell PDF (109.43 KB)  more ] Administration 9/11/2017

Vol. F Issue 08 - Essentials October 2017

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A commitment to social justice is an expectation in our student-centered profession. Native American students are an underserved population we may not often focus our attention on in the fraternity/sorority community. These students face unique challenges that we must seek to understand, just as we do for other populations on our campuses and in our organizations. Explore this month's edition to learn more about the experiences of these members and what we can do to better support and serve their needs.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Whitebear: Indigenous with Greek Letters PDF (151.14 KB) Administration 10/9/2017
McMillian: Native American Students in Higher Ed PDF (139.37 KB) Administration 10/9/2017
Oxendine: A Call to Action PDF (237.31 KB) Administration 10/11/2017
Sasso: Supporting First-Nation/Native American PDF (181.84 KB) Administration 10/9/2017

Vol. F Issue 09 - Essentials November 2017

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Transgender/non-binary inclusion: I can't think of many other topics as significant in our field right now. We've come a long way in just the past few years as far as our collective understanding of the topic and what it means for our organizations, and the conversation is unlikely to stop any time soon. Regardless of where our organizations or campuses stand, we all have the opportunity to examine our beliefs, which may raise some uncomfortable questions at times. Our authors this month raise several questions and offer recommendations of their own. They are offered not as a final word on the topic, but as a jumping-off point for future conversations.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Martinez & skye - Our Nonbinary Voices PDF (143.45 KB) Administration 11/7/2017
Zimmer & Kinney - Beyond the Binary PDF (129.57 KB) Administration 11/7/2017
Hilliard - Active Ways to Make Fraternity/Sorority PDF (225.36 KB) Administration 11/7/2017
Andrean - Men's Fraternities Should Be for Women PDF (170.83 KB) Administration 11/7/2017

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
Samples: We Have Thousands of Alumni PDF (136.04 KB)  more ] Administration 3/30/2018
Gant & Gardner: From Butting Heads to Building PDF (116.32 KB) 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
Schwartz - Emotional Intelligence PDF (121.46 KB) Administration 5/7/2018
Berghorst - Providing Language to Crisis Response PDF (212.44 KB) Administration 5/7/2018
Perlow & Bureau - CAS as a Framework PDF (121.9 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
Hambleton & Zavadil - Responding to the Unexpected PDF (135.31 KB) Administration 6/19/2018
Sammartino - Beyond Law Enforcement Examining PDF (157.64 KB)  more ] Administration 6/13/2018
Gregory - Proactive Member Accountability PDF (103.39 KB) Administration 6/11/2018

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
Goodman - We Should Talk About Mom & Dad Programs PDF (134.18 KB) Administration 7/12/2018
Park - Helicopter Parents: Supporting Those PDF (127.25 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
Teitelbaum & Steele: Homecoming - Partnerships PDF (113.25 KB) Administration 9/20/2018
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

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
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