State of the Chapter-October 2nd

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State of the Chapter – Now I am become Death, Destroyer of Meetings – 575 words

Something historic happened tonight and if you weren’t at Executive Meeting, you missed it. We held this chapter’s last executive business meeting (We also voted to eject Trevor from meeting for funsies – you can do that!) That’s a bit weird to read, I know.

I’ll be blunt: Executive Meeting as it is now (And nearly every incarnation of it that I’ve seen) accomplishes nothing. The new meeting format made this even more apparent. Executive Meeting was never intended to just be “Diet Chapter Meeting-Lite” but that’s what it became. That’s not good – so we’re going to change it.

But – that meeting credit isn’t going away. Starting next week, that time will now serve as a place for Branch meetings (On a rotating basis to be determined. One week will be Membership, another will be Leadership, so on and so forth.) Everyone is welcome to attend in order to give feedback and take a peek at how a branch is run. You’ll still get credit for attending, and I’ll do my best to make sure another event is scheduled around the same time. The notable exceptions will be when we make changes to Opsman and Bylaws, and when we open nominations for elections – Only then will we hold a traditional Executive Meeting.

It seems that every day I’m reminded that I’m proud to be your chapter president. And October, being as busy as it is, makes that even more apparent. There’s OU Weekend, Longhorn Halloween and Blood Drive. Along with countless other great recurring events (Like Elmercise, for when you inevitably eat too much fried food at the fair next weekend). All the officers involved in all of these projects (And all the others I didn’t list) have put in a fantastic amount of work planning them. Seriously, they deserve more praise than the occasional applause at meeting – the dedicated and fantastic officers we have are what make this chapter work. And this change to Executive Meeting represents us as a chapter respecting their time more. Officers should spend time planning and doing, not sitting in Al Kiva passing the same motions they will on Sunday anyway.

To shift gears a bit – Heismeyers, I’m so happy you’re here. Your skits are great and I love the enthusiasm you’ve brought to our chapter so far. I’m trying hard to get to know all of you, but don’t be afraid to shame me if I botch your name. Recently, you elected your pledge class officers, who will go on to make many important decisions for your pledge class. I’ve heard that a lot of you ran for positions– which is awesome. I want to congratulate everyone who ran, seriously. It takes real courage to run for an officer position, and whether you got the position or not, you’re a valued member of this chapter and have a lot to offer everyone. I mean hey, I ran for pledge class service chair of the Krenek Pledge Class and lost, so not getting a position isn’t that bad. Your fellow Heismeyers and brothers support you no matter what.

This chapter has a great future ahead of it. And we’re all building it together – piece by piece, day by day. As always, reach out to me on facebook or at president@texasapo.org if anything is on your mind, or use the form https://goo.gl/forms/svcLoROZyQY4JrMm2 . I love to listen.

Tony Cummings

Chapter President

State of the Chapter-September 8th

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BRHOthers,

Times, they are a-changing. Meetings, they are a-changing. 389 words.

Meetings are important. And yet, meetings are boring. Attendance and participation are at times poor. It shouldn’t be this way, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

A lot of people don’t like coming to meeting – and they have every right to feel that way. If you’re not an officer, your role at meeting is to spend an hour listening to people rattle off whatever is written on a slide and then shout “Ayeeee” or “Nayyyy” – and occasionally add to discussion if you disagree with something. But, being normal people, we don’t debate that an hour service project is worth an hour, or that spending time at a flag run is in fact worth a flag credit. Sure, you learn about the events going on that week, but you don’t get anything out of meeting that you can’t get somewhere else.

We spend more time going through the motions of meeting than we do actually talking to each other. Chapters that are almost twice as big as we are spend almost half as long on meeting.
So, starting this Sunday, meetings are going to be different. Starting this Sunday, we’re not going to pass every item line by line. We’re going to be grouping things into slides, and passing them as blocks – if you want to discuss a specific topic in detail, you can pull it for further discussion, like we do for requirements. Meeting slides will be available further in advance, and presented on screen for review. Big events will still be passed separately.

We’ll start advertising specific events during announcements so that pledges and actives can get information at the same time. This way, we don’t have to listen to things twice, and officers don’t have to repeat themselves. This is going to make meetings shorter. We’re going to start using that time to hold mini-events. Resume Review, Family Feud, Packet/Card Making. You can start to expect these events and more at meeting.

So, in short: We’re killing bureaucracy to make meetings shorter, more meaningful, and more interactive. We won’t just be listening to officers talk forever. We’re going to use the time we save to get to know each other better, and hold events for credit.

Tony Cummings

Chapter President

State of the Chapter-August 20th

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I never considered myself a leader before I joined APO. And there’s a chance that someone reading this might not consider themselves a leader now. These officer positions represent an opportunity to grow, and to try new things. You’ll be joining a genuinely incredible and supportive group of people who will support you every step of the way. Even when you falter, and even when you feel like giving up.

It’s never fun; having to reopen officer positions or advertise them continuously. It’s easy to get the impression that this means there’s a lack of interest in the chapter, or that we’re shrinking or the sky is falling or what have you. But I don’t believe that’s true. If you subscribe to that line of thinking, you’re ignoring the dedication and loyalty of 144 active brothers. You’re ignoring the selfless dedication, loyalty, and brotherhood that make Alpha Rho great.

You’ll never see an award given out to the brother who drives another brother to the doctor’s office. You’ll never see a facebook post about the brother who gave another brother the courage and motivation to get out of bed and face the day. And the brothers who helped me face my anxiety and consider myself a leader will never receive Elmer. Brotherhood is its own award – and it’s something that we don’t recognize and celebrate enough.

What you give to this chapter, it will give back to you.

But we can also be hurtful to one another. Our now former LVP resigned for very legitimate personal reasons. This chapter can give you things that you did not give it – and sometimes harmful cycles can be hard to break. But brotherhood is what breaks those harmful cycles, and brotherhood is what helps you move past the hurt and focus on creating the good.
There is a genuine and awesome desire in this chapter to do great things, and to be great to one another. The stress of life and university can sometimes make that seem ridiculous or silly. But at the end of the day, it’s all that everyone wants.

We’ve got a very exciting semester ahead of us. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope y’all are too.

As always, you can message me on facebook, or send me an email at president@texasapo.org if you want to talk about anything mentioned here. I’m an open book.

Tony Cummings, Fall 2016 Alpha Rho President

State of the Chapter-March 29th

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BRHOthers,

We are quickly approaching the very first Girl Scout University!!! This is a very exciting event that our Girl Scout University Coordinators have been working very hard all year to put on successfully! They and their committee have been working so diligently on this event, and it will show on Saturday! Our first GSU is going to be great due to their hard work. If you are a volunteering at GSU,  thank you for helping make this event a success! If you see either of our coordinators, make sure to thank them for all of their hard work.

This weekend is also Pledge-Active Picnic. This is a very important event for our chapter, and our Fellowship Chairs have been working diligently to plan a fun and exciting event. This is an event that, every semester, allows our chapter to come together as one. We will have a chance to just relax in this beautiful spring weather as one chapter. This event allows our chapter to come back together every semester. Wear your pledge class shirt, no matter how long ago you pledged. Use this event as an opportunity to come back together with your pledge class, use it as a big-little event, and use it as a time to meet a new bRHOther. This event has always been one of my favorite events of each semester, make it one of yours.

Today we will be passing our Operations Manual changes and starting discussion on this year’s Bylaws changes. This semester we are making some significant changes to both documents. I encourage you to approach these changes with an open mind. During meeting, ask questions, give your opinions, but please do not shut down changes before a constructive discussion has had a chance to occur. Our Bylaws and Operations Manual Chairs have worked so hard all semester to hear what the chapter wanted to change. They have made themselves available regularly to hear changes from all members. Now is the time for the chapter as a whole to look over these changes and approve which ones they feel will allow our chapter to continue to grow. Always remember that no change will go into affect without chapter approval.

The chapter has been able to accomplish great things so far this semester. I am so proud of our chapter officers and our chapter members and everything they have done this semester. Our officers this semester have shown so much dedication to the chapter and I thank each and every one of you. I encourage you all to keep up the hard work on this home stretch. We are one chapter, one officer team, and I hope that we can continue the great we all strive to accomplish as this semester continues.

Cassie Isbell

Chapter President

State of the Chapter-March 20th

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BRHOthers,

This past week was Spring Break, and our brothers got a well needed break from the rigors of college life. Many of our brothers, myself included went on vacation. Others enjoyed SXSW, including some brothers who volunteered at the event. I hope each and every one of you enjoyed your Spring Break, I know I did.

During the week before Spring Break, we had our second Chapter Appreciation Week, #CAW. Our Active Motivation Chairs planned a laid back week of events that allowed for chapter bonding during a very stressful school week for many of us. It was a great way to celebrate the new bigs our pledge class received and the new littles many of our actives received!

This week we have the Beads for Better Active Project Fundraiser that our SVP is putting on and the Fundraiser for Flint put on by our Public health and Emergency Preparedness Chair(PHEP). These two events will both be going towards great causes, and I encourage you to go out and volunteer at them. They will be occurring Monday-Thursday.

This Tuesday we will also be electing our last officer, the Elections Chair.  This officer will be responsible for running our chapter elections on April 24th. They will choose a committee that will be responsible for setting elections rules and choosing the questions that will be asked of all candidates running for elected office. This position is open to all actives in good standing, including those currently holding an officer position. You may not run for this position if you wish to run for an elected position. I encourage all actives in good standing to attend Tuesday’s full chapter meeting and to consider putting their name in the running for this position.

This Tuesday we will also be starting discussion on Operations Manual Changes. Our Operations Manual Chair has worked very hard all semester to make sure that the changes put before the chapter are worthwhile changes that will benefit the chapter in the long run. I encourage all members to be lively participants in the debates over these changes so that we can leave our chapter in better shape than we found it. In the past, many Operations Manual changes have failed due to lack of chapter participation in the vote. When it comes time to vote on these changes, please pay attention and please vote. If you don’t understand one of the discussion points, please ask a question!

In a little over a month, we will have chapter elections and our 7 Elected Exec positions will be chosen by all actives in good standing. I encourage all members to start thinking about if you would like to apply for an officer position. Elected positions require one active semester, BUT all of our appointed positions are open to the Frishman Pledge Class. If you think you might be interested in an officer position, check the Operations Manual, which can be found under files on the Texas APO Members Facebook page to see a list of all officer positions in our chapter. Talk with the current person in the position or you can always talk to me or any brother you are close to about officer positions.

We are at that point in the semester when requirements are starting to creep up on us. Make sure you are staying on top of your requirements and finishing what you can when you have free time. Don’t leave everything till the last minute because I can almost guarantee that is when you will have exams. Requirements Chair and other officers are there for you if you need help or have questions. Utilize the resources of this chapter. We are one chapter, one brotherhood. We all care about each other and all you have to do is ask if you need help with anything, including non-APO things. Never forget that.

Cassie Isbell

Chapter President

State of the Chapter-March 8th

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BRHOthers,

Last week I attended the monthly Texas Round Table(TRT) meeting. At this meeting, we discussed the possibility of a Spirit Group Week. This would occur during the first few weeks of the semester. The entirety of Texas Round Table saw this new event to be a great way for us to show our impact on the community as the top Spirit Groups on campus. We would display our service hour total, money raised, people helped, etc to show the UT community what this community does. There was a discussion about 3-4 groups each day doing an activity/showing their impact together to allow for more collaboration in this community of leaders. The discussion went to ending the week with a weekend long Sportsball tournaments, with all profits from this event possibly going to Texas Thon. Texas Round Table will be forming a committee to discuss how we can make this event great! I look forward to working on this project and seeing what it can do to help our organization increase our presence on campus.

This past weekend we had Big/Little Reveal. Pledges received their bigs and their families. This is a great time in our chapter, one that allows our Frishman Pledge Class find out the actives that will help mentor them, members that will help these pledges call APO home through the amazing bonds of each line and in each family. Pledges, take advantage of your new bigs, they can be your biggest allies and your biggest supporters as you continue to navigate your pledge semester. Actives, work with your new littles, help them, mentor them, and become the family they need in APO. It is an amazing thing to be a big, and every one of you is what your new littles need right now. Take this responsibility to heart. Every one of you is amazing and was chosen because the individuals in Match-ups felt you could be a great big to one of our pledges.

This week is Chapter Appreciation Week. This is a week where we celebrate each other and how great we are. Our Active Motivation Chairs have planned great events all week for our chapter. Earlier this semester, they created the Alpha Rho Compliments Page, a way for you to compliment and give shout-outs to your fellow bRHOthers. I encourage you to go like the page, and submit compliments to the page. A tradition during Chapter Appreciation Week is to post on members walls what you appreciate about them. I encourage you to go post on your new big/little’s wall, your family’s walls, your friend’s walls, and any members who have touched you this semester.

This week, our Service Vice President has planned this semester’s active project. Active Project has always been a way for our chapter to come together at one project. This semester, the active project will be benefiting a great cause, The Trevor Project. I encourage each and every one of you to come out to this event to help support a great cause. She needs more people to sign-up on APOonline to table on Thursday and Friday in order for this event to be a success.

Tonight we have the Mid-Semester Evaluation, and this is a great way for members to give feedback, and for members to hear the main points from the Mid-Semester Survey. I encourage ALL members to come out. It will be a great event where we all come together to discuss how we can continue to improve as a chapter. I look forward to seeing all of you tonight at this event.

Cassie Isbell

Chapter President

 

State of the Chapter- March 1st

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BRHOthers,

We have approached one of our biggest weeks of the semester, Match-ups! This is a time for our pledge class to get their dream bigs and and their family. Our MVP, PT, PTC, and OC are working hard to make sure that every pledge has the perfect big. This system is designed to give every pledge a mentor to help them succeed in our amazing organization. Pledges, reach out to actives if you want them to be your big, Actives, meet those little requirements and put your trust in the hands of the Match-ups process to find a great little for you.

This week is our Semi-annual Blood Drive, and our Blood Drive Coordinator Emily James has worked so hard to plan this amazing event. Go out and support the event, hold up signs to help bring in donors, donate, if you can, tell your friends outside APO to come donate, and  wear blood drive shirts or APO shirts all week. This was one of the more difficult Blood Drives to plan. The construction on Speedway has made Blood Drive more difficult, but Emily has stepped up and done a fantastic job organizing a difficult event. I know a lot of you are still tired from MBU and are in the middle of mid-terms, but please go out and earn those nation hours!

Next week is our Mid-semester Evaluation, and we will be gathering to constructively analyze our chapter programs so that we can continue to improve as an organization. Every members opinions can be heard at this event. We want to hear your constructive feedback on how we can improve our chapter. We are the best chapter in the nation, and we can use this event to help make us even better. Make sure you fill out the Mid-semester Survey by today at 5pm.

This week we have so many amazing events, from the Explore UT and Texas Independence Day Parade Flag Events to the Armadillo Camporee to the American Short Course Swim Meet to #NerdNight to the Negotiation Tactics Seminar to so many more things happening over the next week. We have a very full calendar with so many events, some designed to help you find a little and meet those requirements, others are to allow you to serve so many different organizations and to find service projects that you connect to.

Cassie Isbell

Chapter President

 

State of the Chapter-February 22nd

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Fellow bRHOthers,

This past week, we just completed our biggest event of the year, Merit Badge University. Our MBU Coordinator, Brian Ellis, and his entire committee worked so hard to put on such an amazing event. If you see Brian make sure you congratulate him on a job well done! This was one of our best ones yet!

Last week, our Pledgetrainer, JC Rudy, and our Old Couple, Sarah Dilworth and Eric Garcia, held Pledge Retreat. This was a great event that allowed the pledge class to not only learn more chapter traditions, but bond with each other while doing a great service project at Lost Pines. As well, the pledge class just elected their officer board. These pledges are a great group that will now have a chance to serve their fellow pledges in leadership roles. They will accomplish great things this semester!

One big thing we do have coming up is the Mid-Semester Evaluation. This is a time for the chapter to come together to evaluate itself. I encourage all members to fill out the survey and attend the evaluation. Elected Exec wants to here what you have to say about how we can improve our chapter programs.

In the coming week there are many great events I encourage you to sign up for. Sign-up for the Project 2016, the X Marks the Spot Coin Packing, the Big 12 Swim Meets, the Women’s Basketball game Flag Run, Steel Pandemonium, and many more!

Next week is our BLOOD DRIVE! This is one of our biggest events of the semester, and our Blood Drive Coordinator, Emily James, has been working so hard all semester to plan a very successful event and I encourage each and every one of you to mark your calendar for this great event! This will also be a great event to meet a potential big or little.

On that note, Match-ups is next Friday, so continue to be looking for a potential big or little and continue working on those little requirements(for actives only). Actives, even if you haven’t met your dream little, I encourage you to still apply for a little and leave it up to the Match-ups process to get up your dream little. Pledges, if you are worried about who your big will be, talk with your group leaders, your PT, your OC, they can help calm your fears about this whole process. This process is designed to make sure every pledge is given the perfect big, and PTC, OC, PT, and MVP will not stop until every pledge has their dream big.

Cassie Isbell

Chapter President

State of the Chapter-February 8th

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Hello,

My name is Cassie Isbell, and I am the Spring 2016 Alpha Rho President. This semester I will be posting weekly updates on the state of the chapter to allow actives, pledges, and alumni a way to know about the many things that occur in our chapter every week.

One of the most important things that happened over the last few weeks was the acquisition of a new Elmer T. Zilch. Elmer is one of our chapter’s most important and longest standing traditions, and it feels great to have him back. Here is a photo of the new Elmer while our wonderful Membership Vice President Jennie Gaston paints him:

Elmer

Elmer means a lot to our chapter and our chapter brothers, and it just feels right to have him back in the chapter.

We are now three weeks into our semester, and we just ended Recruitment by Installing 65 pledges into the Spring 2016 Abe Frishman Pledge Class. Our Recruitment Coordinators, Maira Flores and Andrea Mata, worked very hard to plan and implement this successful Recruitment season. Our Pledge Trainer, Old Couple, and Pledge Training Committee are all very excited to start helping our newest members become great leaders in APO.

So far this semester the chapter has worked 1,508.5 hours of service at over 50 different service events! The entire Service Branch has been working incredibly hard to create a diverse and accessible service program that allows all members to help as many people as possible. Currently our top brother in service is Stella Miller with 69 hours of service so far, and we have over a dozen brothers with 50 or more hours of service at this point!

This past week was Active Appreciation Week, and our Active Motivation Chairs, Nathaniel Belachew and Patrick Campbell, worked very hard to create a friendly environment where all bRHOthers can feel they belong. They planned 5 different laid-back friendship events and encouraged members to post on each other’s Facebook walls tagging the posts with #AAW. They also started an Alpha Rho Compliments Page to better spread the love in the chapter. I encourage all actives, pledges, and alumni to go like the page.

This semester the Elected Exec has been working very hard to bring back a few old traditions, and start a new one. Member and Officer of the Week have been brought back. This past week’s Member of the Week was Davion Antwine because during Active Appreciation Week he posted kind words on everyone in the chapter’s Facebook walls. He has been awarded Elmer for the week for his kindness. The Officers of the Week are Nathaniel Belachew and Patrick Campbell, our Active Motivation Chairs, for their hard work planning Active Appreciation Week and the Superbowl SEISCCSMOS Potluck event. Our Secretary, Catherine Mazenko, and our Reporter, Claire Slote, have also brought the ARAPOUT tradition back to chapter meetings through an incredibly well planned presentation that you can view again here. Lastly, our awesome Service Branch has decided to start a new tradition, the Service Shovel, which is to be awarded to someone who steps up at a service event. It was awarded for the first time this week to our Flag Coordinators, Emily Hannon and Lauren Loper for all of their hard work at the Report to State Flag event/Boy Scout Event.

While this isn’t everything our wonderful chapter has done recently, it is a good overview. If you ever have any questions about APO, I encourage you to reach out to myself or any of our officers, whose names and contact information you can find here.

Cassie Isbell, Spring 2016 Alpha Rho President