Phi Gamma Delta House Corporation Bulletin  
November 2019 House Corporation Newsletter

In This Issue

Focus on What's Important

2020 Fiji Academy

Preferred Partners

Next Housing Webinar

Winter Break Checklist


Thank you for the work that you do to provide housing for an undergraduate chapter of Phi Gamma Delta. That work is important, and the Fraternity wants to provide the resources that you need to be effective. 

This message will address a number of matters that should be of interest to you. 

Focus on What Is Really Important

In our lives outside of the house corporation, we all face the challenge of getting consumed with the tyranny of the urgent things popping up that seemingly demand our immediate attention and distract us from focusing on bigger more important tasks. 

Inside the world of house corporations, we are volunteers faced with busy lives and plenty of competing time interests. We have limited time to give to our roles serving in the house corporation, yet we face that same challenge as we have in other areas of our lives, the tyranny of the urgent: something breaks, there is a problem in the kitchen, we have a staffing issue, the chapter or university is complaining about something… All our available time is consumed responding to “problems” and we don’t get around to the strategic tasks that will ensure the long-term success of our housing operation. What specifically are the tasks that are integral to long-term success?

At a minimum, every house corporation should be focusing on these five areas: 

1. Focus on Safety. We need to be relentless in our efforts to provide the safest environment for the brothers living in the house. Fire safety is one of the items at the top of the list, so making sure your alarm, extinguishers and sprinkler system are tested, and in good working order, is essential. There are many other safety concerns that you need to be focused on as well, including, but not limited to: zero-tolerance for roof access or fire escapes; installation of sprinkler covers; heat sensors in attics; water sensors to prevent water damage over breaks; safety lighting is in good working order; stairwells are cleaned of stored items; and more. We have suggested safety checklists available on the housing website for you to use. 

2. Develop a Maintenance Plan. Having a proactive plan for ongoing care and maintenance of the house will not only improve the experience for the brothers living there but can also reduce your long-term costs for repairs and maintenance. This should be a 1-5 year plan that budgets and schedules regular and periodic maintenance items ranging from carpet cleaning, refinishing wood floors, painting, deep cleaning of bathrooms, deep cleaning of kitchen, furnace maintenance, wall repairs, etc. 

3. Complete a Reserve Study. Using the Reserve Study Tool on the housing website is another way to help you determine your mid to long-term cash needs. Furnaces and roofs eventually must be replaced, as does furniture and other fixtures. A portion of the cost of replacement should be borne by every brother that lives in the house and factored into your rent cost. But if you don’t know what your costs will be, it is hard to justify adding that to your rent calculation. 

4. Create a Plan to Increase Capital Reserves. This of course ties in with items 2 & 3. What we know from our recent surveys is that most of our house corporations do not have enough reserves on-hand. There isn’t a set dollar amount we can share for what is the right amount of reserves because the size/scope of house corporations vary greatly. A very simplified approach to determining how much money you should have on-hand could be to add together: 1, having funds available for a “major repair.” And 2, having funds available to cover six months of operating expenses. But the “real” answer for how much cash you should be accumulating will come from you completing the reserve study. 

5. Implement Your Communication Plan. We have previously shared that having regular communications (6-8 communications) with members of your chapter throughout the year is not only part of your fiduciary responsibility as a house corporation, but is essential to future fundraising. As a high percentage of our house corporations will be looking to do renovations/remodeling projects in the near term, it is critical that you start improving your communications now!

Of course, being responsive to maintenance issues is important. However, if that is all you do, you will be letting your brothers down. Ignoring any of the five areas above for too long is going to place your house corporation at a severe disadvantage in the future. Hopefully, the tools that we have developed for each of these areas will make them easier for you implement. And please know that 1848 Housing is committed to supporting your efforts, so reach out to us if you need support. 

Steve Bocher

Back to top

Fiji Academy 2020 Housing Breakout Information 

The Fraternity will hold the 2020 Fiji Academy January 3-5, 2020 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Academy is designed to give new chapter officers a strong foundation so they can dynamically and courageously lead their chapters. The Academy also provides training to our graduate volunteers.

House corporation members may be interested in a housing breakout session facilitated by 1848 Housing. This session will be held during the during the Graduate Advisor track on Saturday, January 4, in the morning. Please note that most of our graduate volunteer training is tailored to our Section Chiefs and other advisors, but this housing breakout will be useful and informative to anyone who is interested.

Details regarding the 2020 Fiji Academy may be found at The Academy registration deadline is December 1, 2019.

Back to top

A Note from Our Preferred Partners

Upper Crust Food Service
It's hard to believe that winter break is already right around the corner. Upper Crust is prepared, and they have provided us with an article discussing winter break kitchen maintenance and mid-year kitchen expectations. Click here to read the Winter Break Checklist & Mid-Year Expectations article

Columns Fundraising
Have you been asked to serve as a volunteer for your chapter's fundraising campaign? Do you plan on asking brothers to assist with your fundraising goals? Columns Fundraising has provided an article discussing a volunteer's responsibilities when working on a fundraising campaign, as well as the benefits of hiring fundraising counsel to meet your goals and get the projects done. Click here to read Columns Fundraising's Volunteer Responsibilities article.

New Suggested Vendors
In our efforts to continue to provide as many resources as possible to house corporations, we have added a list of suggested vendors to the housing resources page. These vendors have very good reviews from Phi Gams who have worked with them, but we do not have an exclusive relationship with these companies. They are merely suggested vendors.

If you are a house corporation searching for a property management company, an architecture firm or property insurance, then check them out! 

Back to top

Next 1848 Housing Webinar: Building & Renovating Houses

Join us for our next 1848 Housing Webinar on Thursday, November 14, at 7:00pm ET. The webinar is about building and renovating houses.

Steve Bocher, of 1848 Housing, will be joined by Mark Krittenbrink, of Krittenbrink Architecture, to have an interactive discussion about building and renovating houses, as well as any other architectural needs. Both Steve and Mark will be available to answer any questions that you have, as we know building a renovating can be a very complex project, and we want to help as much as possible!

Click here to register for the webinar

You can also find our previous webinars on the 1848 Housing Webinars page, where we have previously discussed fundraising, new communications plans, new kitchen management programs and more. 

Back to top

Winter Break Checklist from Holmes Murphy

Winter break is a very important time for Greek houses. It is an opportunity to get inside the house when the brothers aren't there and go over a checklist to make sure everything is up to our standards.

Holmes Murphy insurance has given us a winter break checklist for you to use when doing your winter break walk through of the chapter house. Click here to view the Winter Break Checklist

The cold months are coming, and this checklist goes over the obvious safety and security issues, including issues concerning cold weather (e.g. checking water lines, hoses and furnaces). This is a very useful tool that we highly suggest saving for your house corporation's use. 

Back to top


You are receiving this newsletter because you are listed as a House Corporation member for a Phi Gamma Delta Chapter/Colony. If you are no longer a member of a House Corporation contact Thomas Lovejoy, Director of Graduate Involvement.

You may also contact Thomas to determine who is currently listed in the Fraternity's records. 


© 2016 Phi Gamma Delta

1848 Properties Inc.
1201 Red Mile Road, Lexington, Kentucky 40544-4599  |  859.255.1848