Phi Gamma Delta House Corporation Bulletin - February 2020   
February 2020 House Corporation Newsletter

In This Issue

• Chairman Message
• Note from Our Partners
• Webinar Recap
• Cold Weather Tips
• Plan for Pig Dinner
• Insurance Coverage
• Plan for Spring Break
• Recognize Graduates


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. 

A Message From Steve Bocher - Chairman of 1848 Housing

What's Working & What Isn't?

One of the challenges many of us struggle with is taking time to access our performance. We are all busy and in our fraternity role, we are all volunteers. Taking extra time to evaluate programs may not be something you are thinking about or, perhaps, something you don’t have time to do. However, not doing any evaluation often results in operating with the status quo. In the case of housing, having a “status quo” approach can be a serious detriment, as it is possible that small problems can be repeatedly overlooked until they become bigger issues and that can cost the house corporation more money.

The way you evaluate your operations can vary based on the size and complexity of your operations. An evaluation can include an involved review, or it can be a quicker, more simple process where you pause to consider how well a part of your operation is running.

So, what are some areas that you should be evaluating?

  1. Safety: Clearly, we need to be tireless in our efforts to keep our houses safe! Using the Safety Checklist regularly will help you identify most safety concerns. But you can also do random checks focusing on a few areas when you stop by the property. For instance, you could look for whether doors are shut or propped open, look for items improperly stored in stair wells, or if the exterior lights are coming on at the right time and in good working order.
  2. Market Competitiveness: Evaluating where your house stands on campus is highly relevant. It can impact the chapter’s ability to recruit, which impacts the ability of the chapter to meet the house corporations’ financial needs. When was the last time the board walked campus to see other houses? When is the last time the board has toured other houses?
  3. CapEx Needs: Has the board evaluated its capital expenditure forecast and compared that to funds on hand or anticipated funds on hand?
  4. Feedback from the Chapter: Is the house corporation getting regular (at least annual) input from the chapter on the undergraduates’ satisfaction with the chapter house or areas which they wish were improved?
  5. Food Service: If your house operation includes food service, is that program running well? Are the men happy with the quantity and quality of the food that is being served? Is the kitchen noticeably clean and organized? Are items in the cooler labeled and dated? These are simple areas where you can do spot reviews.
  6. Maintenance Program: Is the house clean and being well maintained? Whether the men oversee cleaning, or you are hiring out maintenance, it is important to periodically evaluate whether the plan in place is getting the results you expect. 

There are of course many more areas to evaluate, these are just some suggestions that you could start with. Don’t forget that there are many new resources on the Housing page that you may find helpful.

Also, I mentioned food service above, if your food service program is not getting rave reviews from the men, we’d encourage you to reach out to our preferred partner, Upper Crust Food Service, and talk about options. Did you know that food service is a profit center for many houses?

As always, we are just a phone call away to help you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.

Steve Bocher - Chairman

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Message From Our Preferred Partners 

Upper Crust Food Service:

As the spring semester rolls around and the weather begins to change, so do our undergraduate brother’s appetite and food choices. Upper Crust has provided us with an article discussing healthier food options, customizable meal plans and some pertinent mid-year reminders surrounding your kitchen’s current services. Click here to read more about Upper Crust's Health Options & Kitchen Reminders.

Columns Fundraising:

Is your chapter planning a fundraising campaign? Columns Fundraising has provided an in-depth look at the different types of fundraising and various auxiliary benefits that can come from capital campaigning efforts. Click here to read Fundraising: A Different Animal.

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1848 Housing Webinar Recap

Pete Welsh (Wittenberg 1974) and John Ziza (Ohio 1978), two 1848 Housing Committee members, provided an in-depth look and discussion into Leasing Property for a Chapter House. In this webinar, the discussion highlighted some benefits and risks associated with the leasing process, a breakdown of the process itself and some considerations to take as your housing corporation looks to lease a property. 

Click here to watch the Leasing Property for a Chapter House Webinar. You can also find previous webinar recordings on the 1848 Housing Webinars page, discussing topics such as building and renovating spaces, fundraising, new kitchen management programs and more.

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Cold Weather Tips

As a part of our Chapter House Inspection Checklist there are a handful of cold weather tips and things to check in your chapter house. We will list a few here, but we encourage you to take a look at the checklist and do a walk-through of the house.

Cold Weather Tips:

  • Check for evidence of holes or damage to walls/ceiling
  • Inspect the roof to make sure it is in good condition
  • Make sure the exterior walls are in good condition
  • Make sure the exterior doors are in good condition
  • Check that the windows are in good condition to keep moisture out and heat in
  • Inspect that the electrical system is in working condition, especially in the cold weather
  • Plumbing: make sure to check that the pipes are working in cold weather and check for any signs of mold
  • Examine the furnace/hot water heater to ensure it is in working order
  • Examine the outside of the house (yard/garden). Is it being taken care of in the wet months?

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Plan for Pig Dinner
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Most of our undergraduate chapters will be hosting their Pig Dinner in the coming months. The house corporation has a vested interest in the success of the annual Pig Dinner. This provides an opportunity for the HC to be involved in the planning process. We suggest the HC work with the Purple Legionnaire and BCA (Board of Chapter Advisors) in planning and executing Pig Dinner. The Pig Dinner weekend also provides itself an opportunity for the HC to update all graduates on the housing projects and needs, as well as recruiting new members to serve on the HC.

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Insurance Coverage

The International Fraternity purchases general liability coverage, as well as directors and officers (D&O) insurance, which includes house corporations, their officers and directors as insureds. (Purple Legionnaires and other chapter advisors also are insureds.) Effective with our March 1 renewal, the current coverage limit on the primary general liability is $1 million, and the current limit on the excess coverage is $4 million. The D&O limit is $5 million.

The Fraternity’s general liability coverage excludes from coverage anyone directly involved in a violation of the Risk Management Policy that results in a claim. This includes the construction and/or use of water features, towers, platforms and other similar. Our claims experience shows that these structures pose a significant risk of injury. The prohibition applies not just to Fiji Island parties, but to all chapter events.

We suggest that you, along with the Purple Legionnaire and BCA, reinforce with your chapter that the Fraternity’s Risk Management Policy, including the provision regarding pools and construction, is to be followed at all times on chapter property. The policy and provisions are also to be followed at all other locations, but we emphasize chapter property here because of your house corporation’s role and interest in the property.

This exclusion does not apply to a brother, advisor or house corporation that is not directly involved in a violation. 

Commercial Crime Coverage:
The insurance program of the Fraternity also provides coverage for theft, forgery and alteration of checks by house corporation, chapter officers or employees. The coverage limit per claim is $50,000. To maintain coverage and to avoid the opportunity for claims, all chapters and house corporations should be certain that (1) all checks require the signatures of two people and (2) the bank statements are balanced by someone other than the individual who has check writing authority. It is also highly recommended that house corporations annually have an independent third party conduct an audit of the corporation’s financials. 

Property Coverage:
The Fraternity does not provide property coverage, which all house corporations who own property should have in place. If you would like information on agencies that specialize in property coverage for fraternities, please contact Rob Caudill.

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Plan for Spring Break
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What is your plan or policy for spring break? Many house corporations follow the lead of the campus dorms, if they close then the chapter houses closes. Other groups will “close” but allow some members to stay at the house over break, but food service and other services might not be offered. Obviously, your planning will be dependent on what your policy is, but here are some considerations as you plan for spring break: 

  • Notify campus security or police what you house status is so they can patrol/monitor your house accordingly.
  • If the house will be closed, verify who is responsible for securing the house (doors/windows, etc.) and who oversees making sure everyone has left.
  • For houses where winter weather is still an issue, ensure that steps are taken to avoid frozen pipes. Consider a mid-week inspection to insure all is well.
  • For houses that remain open, we strongly recommend that there is no kitchen access. (Commercial kitchens and equipment should not be used by non-professionals for safety reasons.)
  • If the house is open over break, who is in charge? If there isn’t someone available to be in that role the house should not be open.
  • Set clear expectations about what can happen at the house and who is allowed in the house over break.
  • Evaluate. At the end of break, evaluate the condition of the house and the level of compliance that was observed to house corporation/chapter rules so you can determine if you want to have the house open during break again.

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Recognize Graduate Brothers
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We often get requests or questions related to how Phi Gamma Delta recognizes its graduate brothers for their contributions and/or accomplishments. Generally, on the International Fraternity level, these fall into two categories: Individual Awards and the William A. Martin III Distinguished Fiji Award

Individual Awards for Volunteers:

The Fraternity's awards competition provides a number of individual awards to recognize deserving brothers for their contributions as graduate volunteers. We encourage you to nominate deserving brothers by submitting an application no later than March 31. These awards include:

  • Coulter Cup: Graduate brother who has contributed the most to an undergraduate chapter through service in a capacity other than as a Purple Legionnaire or General Officer
  • Crowder Cup: Outstanding Faculty Advisor
  • Durrance Award: Outstanding Purple Legionnaire
  • Haynes Award: Most Effective Section Chief

William A. Martin III Distinguished Fiji Award:

Each year, the Archons select up to six accomplished graduate brothers for their faithful and unselfish service to Phi Gamma Delta or their special contribution to mankind and society at-large, recognized by the William A. Martin III Distinguished Fiji Award. We encourage you to nominate deserving brothers by April 1 for consideration this year. Additional information and past Distinguished Fiji Award recipients are listed here.

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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 Dio Protopapadakis, Director of Graduate Engagement.

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


© 2016 Phi Gamma Delta

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