A Great Visit to The Beta House @ Oregon!

Yesterday, Jeff White, Eagle Scout and a proud (sophomore) member of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at Oregon, took me on an hour-long tour of the Beta House. First, picture a spectacular House with eight tall stone pillars, each one representing a Founder of the Fraternity. Now, picture a big, beautifully landscaped front lawn that overlooks the Mill Race — Oregon’s “canal” that runs east and west right through the campus of the University. Here, below, is what this beauty looks like!

Next, picture when you walk into the House being “greeted” by  a living room, dining room, television room, and kitchen that is as immaculate (and beautiful) as any Sorority on the campus – and that is saying a LOT! Now picture a bright young man, polite, smart, upward bound, full of energy, ambition, good ideas and a work-ethic that any employer could only wish for. That’s Jeff White. Now, for the rest of this very pleasant morning…. read on.. –

After the tour of the rest of the House, I then spent about 75 delightful minutes with Brandt Bunting, a Duck, Beta, and hard-working alumnus of the Fraternity. Brandt is also a property manager – owner of Brandt Bunting Management – so we had a lot of “property management” issues to talk about.  When I left, I promised I would send an email that summarized my thoughts.  Most of it is as follows. I share it here in the hopes – and the utter conviction – that we, together, can make “it” happen.

E-Mail To:  Brandt Bunting, January 21, 2014 RE: Visit to the Beta House January 20.

MAKING BETA THETA PI  @ OREGON THE MODEL FOR ALL GREEK FRATERNITIES

This undertaking calls for what may seem to be a radically different experiment but is in fact in perfect alignment with the prime goals of all Greek Houses:  To enrich the lives of those who sleep inside the House by providing them with experiences of incalculable lifetime value.

The ultimate goal is to make the Beta House @ Oregon THE model for all Greek Houses everywhere.  This won’t happen overnight. But it won’t happen at all without the Alumni embracing these premises:

+  That there is general agreement that Fraternities are widely perceived as “Animal Houses” – and if we don’t “Drive a Stake through the Heart of Animal House” –  we are all cooked. There is no use “nibbling at the margins”. The perception of frats as homes for ‘Animal House’ behavior is as grave a risk as one can imagine. It’s a perception shared by parents, the community and the University. We can change this perception, but it will take lots of work.

+ That the whole entire House should be viewed more like an Enterprise Zone for Youth Empowerment than what the community now sees us: As ” frat house for frat rats’. That what I propose here, generally, is not just the very best way to build the bonds of Brotherhood — but is also the path to fully optimize human potential, collaborative relationships, respect for the Property and return on capital.In short, we should run it like a 21st Century business – transparent, innovative, collaborative, high-energy, high-ambition, no-nonsense.

+ That part of what we should do, all year, is hold regularly scheduled meetings (at the House) with those of like-minds, — whether Greek or otherwise. Make these meetings for those with Big Ideas and Big Plans — and how to make them become reality. Treat these meetings as important as any “regular” Chapter meeting. If we do this “right”, we will have made a good start toward a Flipped Fraternity,  One that produces optimum revenue and optimum opportunity — Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall.

+ That in the summer, every summer, we should optimize the many, many opportunities of the House, the community, the campus facilities and the human capital available to us both on the campus; and by Skype. Eugene is the perfect place for this undertaking. Arguably the best place in the whole USA! (Learn more here.)

+ That there are substantial revenue opportunities through three summer-time revenue streams:

(a) by ‘cramming and jamming the House with “Campers” (ages 11-17) drawn from Youth Organizations listed here;

(b) by holding one and/or two-day Seminars focused on fund-raising, social networking, on-site property management, crowd-funding. (Example here)

(c) By optimizing sponsorship opportunities aimed at helping the “Campers”. Learn more here

+ That this won’t happen overnight, or in summer 2014. But every year we can expect – and demand – that “Camper Programs” will get better.And better. And better. That from all of this we will develop a model useful for other Greek Houses. Where will we get the “Campers? –> We will draw the “Campers” from these organizations.

+ But we must accept that most of the 2014 summer is going to be spent sanding, painting, polishing, waxing, repairing – in cooperation with Youth Organizations like YouthBuild (and in Eugene Youth Corps) — coupled with ‘catch as catch-can” occupancy rentals for “cheap labor’. ….as was successfully employed when I was inside the Theta Chi House at Oregon.) (photos of TC workers here)

+ That associating ourselves with “Youth” – Most especially to include YouthBuild  – that these relationships should be part and parcel to all of our outreach – and needs. (I learned a lot about this by my role in finding sponsors for Construction Career Day and the success we enjoyed with involving Oregon’s Governor and the mayors of Springfield and Eugene.)

+ That “Crowdfunding” will be integral to all of this. And Mike Dilley, President of the Eugene Film Festival, and creator of a fabulous Fraternal documentary, will be a big part of this effort! Learn more here

+ That one of the “end goals” is a close relationship with Tracktown USA. (We are – both of us –  ‘in the business of youth empowerment.’) What we have in common is far more than how we are different. And that the Junior World Championships, July 2014 offer new opportunities for new revenues and new relationships. Ones we should not pass up!

+ That Very Special Recognition of Luminary Beta’s is an outstanding method to improve the facility — with the ultimate goal that the entire House becomes a “Living Museum“. That we should put this Luminary Program  in place immediately.  (using Kickstarter to the max!!!) We need the “machinery” for sponsors for the summer Campers. Let’s do this right away! {Check out the videos on this undertaking here.)

+ That the appropriate title (and job description) for “adults” — now known as either Resident Adviser or House Mom or  House Dad – should become On Site Property Manager….with appropriate compensation directly related to bottom-line results.

+ That we are already well into the second decade of the 21st Century – and we can no longer operate the House as if it were in the 1920’s — or even, ‘back in the day’.  That this is the Age of Rapid Change, a hyper-connected world, where innovation, creativity, collaboration and a “24/7/365 mindset is crucial; that we are in the Age of Sharing…where just about everything is monetized!

+ That John Hibbs, Matt Noble and Fraternity Management Group have the proven histories, that can bring all this together.

John

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About oregonhibbs

Just past 70 I'm passionate about improving access to education, worldwide, sailing, Duck football (I live in the shadow of the University of Oregon in Eugene) and connecting with people with ideas and work that "can change the world".

Posted on January 21, 2014, in A Youth Alliance/Oregon Jamboree, Flipped Fraternities & Restoration. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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