During the weekend of Jan. 25-26, the Lambda Chi Alpha Board members, Student Advisory Committee (SAC) members, and International Headquarters staff attended a strategic planning retreat on Jekyll Island in Georgia.

Jeff Stuerman (Culver- Stockton, 1982)

Before the group arrived, Board Chairman Jeff Stuerman (Culver-Stockton 1982) asked the attendees to think about the forces impacting today’s college student: the delivery of higher education, mobile technology platforms, and housing choices, combined with the plethora of clubs, sports, and activities available to men that continue to re-define the ideal college experience.

“Lambda Chi Alpha possesses a rich history, but that won’t be enough to secure its future,” Stuerman said. “We must re-imagine, re-invent and re-energize Lambda Chi Alpha and its role on campus and in society.”

For more than a century, Lambda Chi Alpha has remained committed to helping men become the best possible version of themselves, building good brothers into better men.

“We collectively share the responsibility to ensure the same for the next century,” he said. “Strategy formulation requires making tough choices, and we must prioritize ruthlessly.”

Dr. Steve Swafford (Kansas State 1985)

The strategic planning discussion was facilitated by Dr. Steve Swafford (Kansas State 1985). Swafford is a former educational leadership consultant and a long-time volunteer for Lambda Chi. Professionally, he has worked more than 30 years for and with non-profit and education-focused organizations in areas of strategy, leadership, volunteer development, communication, and executive management. Swafford currently serves as full-time practitioner faculty for Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School. He is an original co-founder and CEO of Leadership Outfitters, LLC.

“Having the collegiate student perspective at the table with the Board and staff definitely helped validate and enhance the conversations,” Swafford said. “The students are the ones on the ground, at the chapter level, on the campuses, living, breathing and making Lambda Chi happen. Without their voices, the Board and staff would be missing a key stakeholder.”

In August, Stuerman challenged SAC to develop recommendations to present to the Board based upon Lambda Chi’s new mission.

Ian McFarland (North Texas 2019) and Lucas Lund (South Dakota 2019)

Colin Shearmire (Oregon State 2020)

As a result of that challenge, SAC members Lucas Lund (South Dakota 2019), Ian McFarland (North Texas 2019), and Colin Shearmire (Oregon State 2020) presented their collective ideas about what Lambda Chi Alpha should start, stop and keep doing. These three presenters, along with Matthias Ebeyer (Indiana 2020) who was unable to attend, make up the four voting members of the Board.

“Steve did a great job at getting people engaged from the very beginning, and setting the tone of what the objectives were for the retreat,” McFarland said. “He also did a good job in beginning the conversation by asking some issues that we see are prevalent in today’s fraternity society.”

SAC’s presentation was entitled, “Transformational Programming and Generation Z”. Gen Z, who are defined as being born in mid-1990s to the early 2000s, is the next generation of incoming college students after the Millennials. The SAC presentation focused on three areas: Leadership Development, Service & Philanthropic Engagement, and Professional Development & Alumni Engagement.

“I was hoping that our presentation would be well received and that the time and energy we invested in this task yielded fruitful dialogue and actionable ideas,” Lund said. “Thankfully, the staff and GHZ members seemed to be quite receptive.”

Saturday afternoon’s session continued the discussion about the strategic initiatives.

“I went into the week excited to present what SAC had worked on and excited to learn more about the inner-workings of Lambda Chi Alpha,” said Shearmire. “The strategic planning itself was exciting, and I felt like we made progress although it took a lot of talking in circles to get there.”

The SAC members say they are eager to see the how the results of Saturday’s discussion evolve into actions.

“Opportunities such as this retreat are unquestionably standout experiences of my collegiate career and certainly of my involvement in Lambda Chi Alpha,” Lund said. “I am excited to navigate the remainder of my term as Grand High Sigma, continue my work with SAC and the GHZ, and to keep charging forward with our efforts to make Lambda Chi Alpha the best possible fraternal experience it can be.”

At the conclusion of the retreat, three tentative strategic initiatives were agreed upon: Membership Experience, Growth, and Strategic Partnerships. Over the next two months, the IHQ staff will formulate work groups around each of these areas that will consist of alumni volunteers, Board and staff members. The Board will review the progress and draft plan at the April 26-27 Board meeting in St. Louis.

“My experience was phenomenal,” McFarland said. “Everyone seemed very engaged and ready to think about the future of the fraternity. I am taking away some great experience in strategic planning that I would not have had without this experience.

“As an undergraduate, there is rarely a time where I think heavily like I did during this retreat.”

Board Chairman Stuerman echoed McFarland’s enthusiasm about the time together: “I’m incredibly proud of the quality of SAC’s great work and recommendations. We will continue to engage them as we build and execute our strategic plan around Lambda Chi’s mission to help our members grow, serve, and lead.”

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