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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

Corry Smith, Indiana State University

Vance Pierce, University of Illinois at Chicago



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 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

Vol. G Issue 11 - Essentials December 2018

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

Vol. H Issue 01 - Essentials February 2019

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From questions about unrecognized organizations to groups going rogue, to #HearHerHarvard, or difficulty around recognition between a campus and inter/national headquarters, we’re all encountering something surrounding this topic. Maybe, it’s as simple as figuring out how to create an accreditation program that defines what it means to be a recognized fraternity/sorority on your campus. Maybe, you’re figuring out how to manage two separate IFCs on your campus. Maybe you’re a headquarters professional navigating 140 campuses and 140 different recognition policies. Maybe you’re a consultant assessing whether an accreditation program makes any sense at all. This edition is not all encompassing; there are voices that may be missing and perspectives that maybe couldn’t have been shared. We recognize this and are always open to feedback on how we can incorporate more voices.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Mayer, Heminger & Kreman: Independent Perspective PDF (140.03 KB)  more ] Administration 2/13/2019
Farrell: Going Rogue - Independent Fraternity PDF (98.7 KB)  more ] Administration 2/13/2019
Bonamy & Goodman: Case for Recognized Unrecognized PDF (127.78 KB)  more ] Administration 2/13/2019
Westol: Unrecognized Groups - Can’t Live With PDF (146.32 KB)  more ] Administration 2/13/2019
NPC: Process for Reviewing Rec. Agreements PDF (119.7 KB)  more ] Administration 2/13/2019
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