Zeta Association of Psi Upsilon
Meeting of the Board of Trustees
October 12, 2013
A meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Zeta Association of Psi Upsilon (the “Board”) was held on October 12, 2013 at 10:00 am at 7 West Wheelock Street, Hanover New Hampshire.
The following Trustees were in attendance: Adam Platz, Don Cutter, Bud Stacy, Rick Billings, Jon Taylor, Errik Andersson & Mark Antal
The following other participants were also in attendance: Doreen Cutter, Frohman Anderson (undergraduate House Mgr.) & Luke Suydam (undergraduate Archon)
Adam Platz presided over the meeting as Chairman. In the absence of Secretary Michael Holick, Adam Platz recorded the minutes of the meeting.
Adam Platz called the meeting to order.
Approval of last year’s minutes – Adam Platz
A review of the minutes was given by Adam. Motioned by Rick Billings to approve the minutes and seconded by Mark Antal. The motion was approved unanimously.
State of the House – Don Cutter
Don started by mentioning that it’s been a pretty good year, the best the physical plant has looked in quite some time / the lawn is looking nice due to the discontinuation of parking on it. Regarding the physical plant, Don added that everything we do now is industrial strength. There still seems to be some ambiguity about who pays for what, the undergrads or the Zeta. That said, the Zeta Association (alumni) will typically pay for capital improvements the first time around. Any subsequent repairs are on the undergrads.
In an attempt to uphold Mrs. K’s legacy, we encourage the undergrads not to play upstairs pong. That said, they are allowed to (and do so regularly) under the implicit understanding that they MUST redo the floors every year at a fairly hefty price tag. Last year they paid 15k for a new floor. The floor didn’t hold up as well as hoped. We’re going to have to sand it again and eventually will have to replace it. Mark proposed every class pay a certain amount of $$ into a fund so that one class doesn’t get stuck with a large check down the road.
The next major repair for the House, Don says, is the Kaiser room. In its current state it is uncleanable. The drainage is shoddy at best and the floors aren’t even, making pooling water an issue. Should we construct a larger trough drain or take a look at other ways to make that a feasible room? Christmas time would seem as good a time as any to gut and rebuild the Kaiser. The main objective is to be able to clean it. This is the next major project for the house.
Undergraduate Reports – Undergrads
Frohman Anderson (House Mgr) – With the arrival of the new pledge class, the house is trying to set a standard with positive upperclassman behavior. This means insisting that upperclassman respect the house more and pitch in with cleaning. Currently there is an attitude that once you become a senior you can trash the house. That is not acceptable and will be a main focus of the House Mgr.
Frohman then explained of the sewer project undertaken by the house this past year. There had been some backup through the drains to warrant the project. These pipes were very old. We dug up the sewer pipe all the way back to the road. Put in a new 6 inch sewer pipe all the way to the house. Cost $6500.
Black hole renovation – For many years, a substandard toilet had been in the basement of the house. Plans to get rid of it were delayed. Finally this year, the house took care of it. Stripped down the wood. Bricked up on the walls. Put in a new urinal. Ramped up the sides of the walls so that there are no right angles. The results have been a success. It is easier to clean and leads to much more acceptable aromas in the basement.
In addition, the house has undertaken the following projects in the past year: New meetings room floors, painted the meetings room walls, painted the outside of the house, updated our fire alarm systems, added CO detectors, new fencing on our property line (which we shared with the church).
Adam asked about our relationship with the church .
Luke mentioned that relationships with the church are improving. We shared the cost of the fence, we paid for the trees. Back alleyway is always a problem. Theta Delts claim that they have a right of way in the alleyway, but we doubt that they have a right of way on our property. Regardless, it becomes a nuisance for the church.
Rick Billings has a question about the church – does the church have any fundraising efforts that we could volunteer at. It would be good for the brothers and an act of good faith towards the church. Good PR for us. Luke Suydam says we and they would be receptive to that.
Luke Suydam (Archon) – Things have been very good since he took the reins in the spring. Relationship with the school is good. We have been proactive with the new alcohol policy, and the college has noticed. GLOS has been helpful getting us to meet the standards we need.
32 new pledges. An outstanding delegation. Our new member education policy was constructively developed with the help of Wes Schuab and as a result GLOS in support of our policy. The house has begun to think about the size of the classes. They are getting big. It’s on people’s radar. The goal is to keep the house cohesive.
According to Luke and Don, GLOS has begun the excellence program based on all of the positive things we (Greek Houses) do. Much to our disappointment, there has been a significant drop in our success over the last 2 years. In year 1 we received a score of 79 (out of 100). In year 2, we received a 54 (out of 100). Don and Luke both attribute that to the fact that we couldn’t substantiate our claims of our positive works. For example we can claim a certain number of volunteer hours but with no formal hours tracking, we do not qualify for the points. Better tracking and documentation will allow for us to increase those numbers. A top priority for Luke. We have a lot of the systems in place but need to document them.
Philanthropy – Psi U has begun a relationship with the Upper Valley Haven – a homeless shelter and food kitchen. Psi U is seeking a long standing relationship with this organization. This summer, about every week, we had volunteers over there, cooking serving. We and they are excited about this relationship.
PARR competition – we won it in the first year with $3,000 raised for two charities. We raised 15k this past year and won again. No longer in the lead this year but still actively fundraising.
Our relationship with National is good. We won the diamond award, given to the outstanding psi U chapter at last year’s national convention. GLOS was happy about that. We won 3 out of 5 awards at the national convention.
The house has elected a sustainability chair. It’s part of changing the house culture. Change is slow, but we have someone elected to handle that at the very least.
Budget Report – Bud/Doreen
Numbers are down with regard to the number of donors. Engagement needs to be our top priority. Especially with the younger classes, whose giving rates lag considerably. Maybe designating a chair for each class to handle giving would prove effective. Rick mentions that his high school has class agents for each class and as a result they continue to have high giving rates. Class agents hold term for 5 years and are then re-elected.
Doreen highlights that we will most certainly have sources over expenses in the negative this year. Concerns are an unpaid insurance bill as well as high capital expenditures this year. Atypical year in that regard.
Bud – would it be helpful to have projections for capital expenditures? General consensus, yes.
Adam – would it useful to institute financial reporting from the house? Luke says it could be done and maybe a good idea to set a standard whereby undergrads do report. They currently receive 45k of room rent. Where does that money go? And to Bud’s point, it would help us project expenditures when combined with Don’s knowledge of the house.
Rick – Going forward, let’s also make sure that the treasurer is invited to this meeting
As an aside to this topic, Don raised the issue that property insurance has always been through the college. Last year decided to change liability insurance from national to the college. We anticipate a rate change in our favor. Tom fox was not happy. Same coverage but better rates through the college. Now we have to pay for directors and officers insurance. Liability and D/O from the college should be cheaper than national.
Website update – Chris via Adam
Adam explained that the website is up and running well. We’ve seen over 20% of our alumni donations come in from paypal, which is a great number. Last week, Adam received over 40 years of Zeta newsletter from Huffman and plans to upload all of those to the website soon. We’d like to use the introduction of the Zeta’s onto the website as content for our next newsletter.
The conversation shifter as Doreen mentioned that she believed there has been a lot of confusion with the initial push for the email/hard mailing distinction. People were confused about what to do. How can we fix this? Should we hard mail to everyone for the next few years? Jon, Doreen, Rick express support for this. Adam agrees. Similarly, we can send out follow ups confirming people’s choices. Would it make sense to explain how to write checks on the website.
Kaiser Fund Update – Jon Taylor
Jon explains how the Kaiser fund works. Anywhere from $1500 – $3000 a term for books. Our balance is about 20k. Perhaps we go to an endowment model so that we don’t have to cannibalize donations from the house. We pay national 5% to manage the program and 2.75% on each CC transaction. One issue with the Kaiser Fund right now is that none of the undergrads know about it.
Trustees Manual Update – Rick
Rick presented his schedule for the completion of the handbook.
2014 Outlook – Adam
Engagement – this is going to be my top priority, finding ways to increase giving rates especially amongst the younger classes. Class agents are potentially a good solution for this.
Creating more communication between the undergraduate leadership and the alumni leadership. The undergraduate treasurer needs to be held more accountable and assist the alumni in maintaining accurate projections for capital expenditures. An undergraduate secretary would also be valuable in ensuring a timely completion of the Zeta.
Kaiser day – I think that we should begin the process of outlining a potential Kaiser Day. I will reach out to Robin to see what she thinks about this.
Website – development of the website and clarity on the different giving opportunities. All alumni should be aware of the distinction between the newsletters and the hard mailing. I think this can be cleared up easily but will require a bit of work on our part to educate.
There being no further business to come before the meeting, upon motion duly made and seconded, it was unanimously resolved that the meeting adjourn.