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Focusing on Our Future: 
A New Model to Build Courageous Leaders

Phi Gamma Delta is focused on the future. The future of our organization, the future of recruitment and the future of our members all start with a New Model to Build Courageous Leaders.

Phi Gamma Delta is moving away from the pledging model of joining in favor of a modern approach to recruitment, assimilation, and member development. The delegates to the 174th Ekklesia in August 2022 voted to eliminate pledging in Phi Gamma Delta, clearing the path for implementation of the New Model.

Why the New Model?

We recognize the need to find, pilot and deploy innovative ways of becoming a Phi Gam to eliminate hazing, strengthen the Fraternity with a Smart-Growth philosophy, and enhance the undergraduate experience for years to come.

The New Model: 
  • Supports our efforts to eliminate hazing by reducing the power dynamic associated with traditional pledging
  • Strengthens our values-based recruitment model to identify and attract good fraternity men – including those who would not typically avail themselves during formal rush – and fully evaluate prospective members before inviting them to join
  • Extends learning beyond the first 6-8 weeks of membership, teaching all brothers the skills necessary for Courageous Leadership and giving them an edge in their lives and careers

Two New Programs

Built to Lead iconThe New Model is a product of two programs that complement each other in a holistic approach.

Using the Growth System, chapters will recruit men who embrace the values of Phi Gamma Delta and aspire to be Courageous Leaders. Through Built to Lead, we will give brothers the tools for courageous leadership, provide a more fulfilling undergraduate experience, and prepare them for future success.

 Growth System

A continuous, values-based recruitment system allowing a chapter to make a full and honest evaluation of a prospect before extending him an invitation to join. (Continuous means recruitment happens year-round and is not limited to the formal recruitment setting typically organized by an IFC.)

Recruitment Workshops

  • Social Excellence: Developing the soft skills needed to build better relationships
  • Dynamic Recruitment: Developing a plan that includes best practices in education and use of technology
  • WeValU: Using the Fraternity’s values to evaluate potential members

To learn more about these workshops, click on the link below:

Recruitment Workshops

Leveraging Technology: ChapterBuilder

ChapterBuilder is a customer relations management (CRM) tool designed for fraternity recruitment. It helps chapters organize and manage their relationships with prospects, including evaluating and sharing comments among brothers.

Advisor Support

The BCA Recruitment Advisor will support a chapter in its day-to-day recruitment work, including:

  • Mentoring and advising the Recruitment Chairman and his committee
  • Participating in or leading recruitment workshops
  • Coaching on the use of ChapterBuilder
  • Guiding the chapter on using membership selection criteria

Interested in providing direct support to an undergraduate chapter as a Recruitment Advisor? Contact us to learn more. 

 Built to Lead

Built to Lead is a multi-level development experience that begins on day one of affiliation and extends throughout the undergraduate experience, focused on building and strengthening skills necessary for Courageous Leadership.

Level 1: Foundation of Courage

  • Discovering the power of brotherhood
  • Forging bonds with brothers through shared experiences
  • Acclimating to fraternal life and its responsibilities

To learn more about Foundation of Courage, click on the link below:

Foundation of Courage

Level 2: Putting Courageous Leadership into Practice

  • Where the brother spends most of his undergraduate experience
  • Assuming leadership roles inside and outside the chapter
  • Engaging in deeper learning around the Fraternity’s values, ritual and curriculum

Level 3: Looking Ahead

  • Brothers reflect and pass on knowledge gained during their undergraduate experience
  • Sharpening their skills in project management, public speaking and developing mature adult relationships
  • Learning about the benefits of graduate membership

Level 4: Not for College Days Alone

  • Brothers learn to appreciate the lifelong aspect of membership and opportunities to engage with Phi Gamma Delta in new ways

Advisor Support

Board of Chapter Advisor support is integral to a chapter's success by advising undergraduate chairmen in planning and execution, helping to educate undergraduate brothers, and working closely with other advisors to assist in successful implementation of the New Model. 

Interested in providing direct support to an undergraduate chapter as a Foundation of Courage or Built to Lead advisor? Contact us to learn more. 


Amendments to Fraternity Laws

At the 174th Ekklesia, important changes were made to move the Fraternity away from the pledging model of joining.

Those amendments mean:
  • Pledging will be eliminated at all chapters by July 1, 2024.
  • Chapters may choose to initiate members without pledging beginning fall 2022. Chapters which continue to pledge members until 2024 must limit the new member period to a maximum of four weeks and utilize Foundation of Courage as their new member education program.

Smoothing the Path With Early Adopters

What Is an Early Adopter?

The name Early Adopter applies to chapters that take the initiative to begin implementation of the New Model prior to July 1, 2024.

Early Adopters are provided with a trained coach to assist undergraduates and graduate advisors with creating an implementation plan that best fits their chapter. These coaches also: 

  • Collaborate with campus partners and the IFC to navigate campus policies and procedures
  • Provide support in execution
  • Give and receive feedback
  • Familiarize and prepare chapter advisors

 Additional Benefits Early Adopters Are Eligible to Receive

  • $5,000 in Courageous Leader Scholarships
  • $5,000 in Built to Lead implementation grants
  • Up to 50% reduction in liability insurance fees

The most significant benefit to Early Adopters is the opportunity for more targeted support and the ability to ease into the new model at a pace that best suits their chapter and campus culture. These chapters are not implementing the new model overnight but with transitions they are able to plan themselves.

 Become an Early Adopter

Chapter leaders who are interested in making their chapter an Early Adopter should discuss first this with their chapter officers and graduate advisors, and then complete the Early Adopter Chapter Sign-Up Form.

To see all resources and implementation tools, visit the New Model Resources page

If you have any questions, contact Senior Director of Chapter Services Noah Reetz.



 Why is Phi Gamma Delta implementing the New Model?

The Fraternity recognized the need to find, pilot and deploy innovative ways of becoming a Phi Gam to bolster our efforts to eliminate hazing, strengthen the Fraternity with a Smart-Growth philosophy and enhance the undergraduate experience. This process resulted in development of the New Model.

 How is the New Model better?

Among the benefits, the New Model:

  • Puts a greater emphasis on quality, values-based recruitment to identify and attract good fraternity men, including those who would not typically avail themselves during formal rush
  • Shifts the mindset so that initiation is the beginning of a man’s PGD journey, not a goal that comes at the end of pledgeship
  • Better assimilates and engages brothers throughout their undergraduate experience
  • Reduces the power dynamic associated with traditional pledging and at the heart of hazing activities

With the decline of male college enrollment and a significant portion of college men holding a negative perception of fraternities, Phi Gamma Delta’s future success hinges on providing a hazing-free joining experience and retaining members with meaningful development throughout their college years.

 When will all chapters be required to implement the New Model? What happens before that time?

On August 13, 2022, the 174th Ekklesia amended the Laws of the Fraternity to immediately allow for initiation without pledging and to eliminate the pledge status and pledging process at all chapters no later than July 1, 2024.

A two-year implementation window was provided to allow chapters time to plan their own transitions. Chapters that continue to pledge members until July 2024 must limit the new member period to a maximum of four weeks and utilize Foundation of Courage as its new member education program.

 When are chapters expected to initiate members under the New Model?

When joining without first pledging, new members will be initiated within four days of accepting an invitation to join. Or if acceptance occurs prior to an academic term, then within four days after the beginning of the next academic term.

 Will chapters be expected to initiate members without evaluating them?

Just the opposite. The New Model helps a chapter to make a full, honest evaluation of a man before he is invited to join. Through quality recruitment efforts, chapters will often take a much longer period to get to know a prospective member and determine if he is a good fit based upon the particular chapter’s joining criteria and the values of the Fraternity.

 Do other fraternities operate with a no-pledging joining model?

Phi Gamma Delta becomes the seventh men’s fraternity to adopt a no-pledging joining model. The other organizations are Alpha Gamma Rho, Alpha Kappa Lambda, Lambda Chi Alpha, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Zeta Beta Tau.

 Will the New Model eliminate hazing?

Hazing is a problem that extends well beyond fraternities. Research suggests that 50% of men have experienced hazing before coming to college. We recognize that the elimination of pledging is not a complete solution. However, combined with continuing efforts in education and accountability, it is a significant step to prevent hazing by changing the power dynamic inherent in the pledging/probationary model.

 How does the New Model work with campus/IFC policies and rules related to recruitment?

While many campuses and/or IFCs have policies around recruitment, few have such strict rules that chapters cannot choose to get to know men better over an extended period. In fact, our experience thus far is that many barriers chapters perceive do not actually exist, and no campus or IFC policy prohibits implementation of our Growth System or recruitment strategies.

A benefit of being an Early Adopter is that the chapter Coach will work with the chapter and campus to navigate these policies and develop a customized implementation plan.

 How will chapters that participate in “formal rush” on their campus get to know men well enough to invite them to join?

Simply put, by not solely relying on the campus formal recruitment period to attract new members, the New Model helps chapters to identify new recruitment pipelines rather than a “rushed” process where time to learn about men is limited. Recruitment of members becomes a more natural process of building friendships, learning backgrounds and then inviting them to join – regardless of time of year.

Where chapters continue to participate in the campus formal recruitment, they will make efforts to get to know prospects before the period begins or wait to invite them to join until they are comfortable and have made a full evaluation for membership. Also, new recruitment education will help our members develop more meaningful relationships in a shorter amount of time.

 Will members be expected to learn about the Fraternity as they typically would during pledge education?

Yes. The New Model does not abandon education and learning – it embraces it and makes it a significant part of how a chapter operates. The Built to Lead member development framework extends learning about the Fraternity beyond the first 6-8 weeks of membership, as typically occurs in the pledging model. It is also more intentional when engaging brothers throughout their undergraduate experience.

Built to Lead focuses on the whole chapter, not just the pledge class, and provides brothers opportunities and skills that fit them where they are in their undergraduate careers, providing value throughout their fraternity experience.

 How will new members bond without pledging?

The New Model seeks to help chapters have better, stronger bonding experiences for all members. A primary focus of the first level of Built to Lead is helping our newest members forge bonds not only with each other, but with older brothers, through shared experiences. This early assimilation into the full chapter will improve retention and engagement of new members.

 How will chapters evaluate academic performance without getting grades prior to initiation?

The best predictor of future performance is past performance. In recruitment, chapters will set standards to evaluate a man’s commitment to our foundational value, Knowledge. Without over-programmed pledge activities, brothers should have plenty of time to focus on their academics. Additionally, they can draw upon the experiences of mentors and upperclassmen and will be held to the same academic expectations of all members of the chapter.

 What does it mean to be an Early Adopter?

Early Adopters are chapters which choose to implement the New Model prior to July 1, 2024. In doing so, they agree to fully implement the two programs that the New Model is built upon – the Growth System and Built to Lead to:

  • Initiate men immediately after accepting an invitation to join
  • Work with a Coach to develop a customized implementation plan
  • Provide feedback that will benefit chapters that implement later

 How are Early Adopter chapters supported in their transition to the New Model?

Early Adopters are assigned a Coach who:

  • Works with them to create a customized implementation plan
  • Helps them identify Fraternity and local resources to implement programming for all members
  • Provides education and training to undergraduates and graduate advisors
  • Provides support throughout implementation
  • Collects and provides feedback

In addition, Early Adopters are eligible for scholarship funds to attract and recruit quality men, grants to assist in implementation, travel costs to attend the Fraternity’s recruitment and leadership training events and discounts on their insurance assessment.

 How can I help?

There are many ways graduates and friends of the Fraternity can assist Phi Gamma Delta and its chapters with implementing the New Model.

  • Make your support known to your chapter and the graduates advising it. If your chapter is not already an Early Adopter, contact its officers and encourage them to consider it. 
  • Provide direct support to an undergraduate chapter as a Recruitment, Foundation of Courage or Built to Lead advisor. The support of advisors, beyond the Purple Legionnaire, is important to our chapters’ success in implementing the New Model. Contact us to learn more. 
  • Make a gift to support implementation of the New Model. Your gift will help Phi Gamma Delta best equip the next generation of Courageous Leaders and implement the New Model at all undergraduate chapters.