The Fraternity and Trust have announced a collaborative effort to increase the presence and impact of the Chi Phi City Clubs. City clubs are one part of a larger l effort to increase engagement, comradery, and networking among Chi Phi Alumni.
Grand Alpha-Elect Ron Frank, Nu Delta 1981, added “Chi Phi Clubs are an important component of our Fraternity. They provide a conduit for our Alumni membership living in metropolitan areas to meet up periodically and socialize, as well as network. As part of our goal to improve Alumni outreach, we will begin establishing more Chi Phi Clubs across the country. It only takes a few interested Alumni willing to volunteer their time to promote periodic events such as happy hours, luncheons, cookouts, and sporting events to start a new club.”
The history of the alumni clubs dates back nearly a century, as the nation’s oldest club, the Chi Phi Circle of Philadelphia, was chartered in 1916. In fact, the clubs continued to gain momentum leading up to World War II. The most active clubs included Chicago, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit, New York City, Northern California, and Washington D.C. Former Executive Director and Grand Alpha Carl Gladfelter, Alpha-Tau 1938, continued growing city clubs throughout the 50’s and 60’s. Gladfelter understood the importance of perpetuating the spirit of Brotherhood beyond the Undergraduate years and saw Alumni Clubs as an opportunity to provide this atmosphere for graduate members.
The clubs served as much more than merely a means of socializing, as many of the clubs actively participated in undergraduate affairs. The Florida Chi Phi Association orchestrated a state wide summer rush program where incoming freshman of the University of Florida among other universities were invited to meet undergraduate and Alumni members at group events.
Just down highway 95 the Miami Club, which was chartered in 1936, actively recruited rush prospects for the Theta Delta chapter through their social events. Additionally, the Atlanta Club assisted in the summer rush program for the Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia chapters. Under the recommendation of Brother Gladfelter, the club would grow to sponsor an annual basketball tournament which would host the Southeastern chapters. Alumni clubs also supported the national Fraternity, with New York, Philadelphia Circle, Detroit, Columbus, Cincinnati, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Birmingham clubs all sponsoring Congress. Club officers were also very involved in the national office as many of the leaders would go on to become members of the Grand Council or Educational Trust. Additionally, the reach of the Clubs extend beyond local affiliations. When properly registered, Clubs are permitted to send one non-voting delegate to Congress.
Despite their storied history in the first part of the 19th century, interest in Chi Phi Clubs began to decline in the mid-60’s, and by the early 70’s many of the clubs were no longer active. Many factors contributed to the demise, with groups citing the cultural change of the era, businesses and families moving to the suburbs, and increased workloads in a developing economy. Despite the long absence, many members have openly discussed their desire for a communal bond among regional brothers through the Chi Phi Clubs. Both Alumni and staff orchestrated efforts have led to a resurgence of Chi Phi Clubs throughout the country. Currently there are seven active Chi Phi Clubs located in Boston, Atlanta, New York, Southern California, Indianapolis, Phoenix and Washington D.C. Efforts are underway to develop additional clubs, with a goal of establishing membership throughout all regions of the United States.
Both Trust and Fraternity leaders are looking to identify those members interested in starting a Club in their area. Support can be provided to those members in various forms, including the promotion of the club regionally, local membership rosters, and much more. The National Organization has developed a simple process to aid in the creation of Clubs.
Interested members should begin by contacting John Fisher, Director of Development with the Chi Phi Trust by phone (404.231.1824) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). John will work with the leaders to host and promote a kick-off event or meeting. Once the initial event has commenced, the group will work to develop Club by-laws and hold elections. Finally, the process will culminate with the application for a Club charter.
Chi Phi Clubs offer an opportunity for networking, fellowship, socialization, and progression all in the spirit of Brotherhood. The National Fraternity looks forward to working with alumni members to promote and grow Chi Phi Clubs with the understanding that Chi Phi is not just four years, but for life.