Fraternity Statement on the 155th Chi Phi Congress, July 31-August 2, 2020:
It is with regret that we inform you that the 155th Chi Phi Congress has been canceled. This decision was not made lightly, but with the ongoing worldwide pandemic the Grand Council unanimously chose to put the health and safety of our Brothers and guests first.
As noted in previous messages, the Grand Council and National Office have been closely monitoring the spread of the virus and we have previously canceled other summer programs. The impact that this global situation continues to have on our day to day lives cannot be understated.
We anticipate that our Brothers will have questions about the cancellation of Congress, so we have provided an FAQ on the topic and a summary of our reasoning for your review. Click here for more details on Chi Phi’s ongoing response to COVID-19.
Health and safety of our members and friends is vital, and Chi Phi is committed to any measures we can take to minimize your exposure to large crowds and especially close-quartered travel. Some estimates have the spread of COVID-19 lasting into the summer and fall, putting you at risk to travel to Congress.
Leadership often requires difficult decision-making with complex timing and with incomplete or uncertain information. The great volume of questions remaining around this global pandemic deserve as much decisiveness and relief that Chi Phi as an organization can readily provide.
Planning for the future by undergraduates, Alumni, volunteers and National Staff has grown increasingly difficult as circumstances have evolved. Medical experts continue to express concerns about the longevity of the spread and stress that we should brace for extended periods of physical distancing. Establishing some form of certainty for our summer events can help individuals, Chapters, and the Fraternity at-large dedicate time and dedication to activities that are better suited to sustain our local Chapters and support our Brothers during this trying time.
Finances have never been immune from crises such as this, and the resources available to our Brothers and Chapters must be considered. The costs associated with the Delegate fee, travel to Congress, and lodging are much more than some of our Chapters can take on at this time. Fortunately for the Fraternity, the decision to cancel Congress was made before we incurred any fees for service from the hotel slated to serve as our host. Further efforts to conserve our financial resources on the national and local level over the next few months must remain at the forefront of our minds.
Historical precedence has demonstrated Chi Phi’s ability to adapt to outstanding circumstances. Throughout our Fraternity’s existence, we have gone several years without a Congress, including throughout both World Wars, and taken exceptional steps to curb costs during times such as the Great Depression and Great Recession. And though it did not weigh on the Grand Council’s decision, it is worth noting that many other organizations have taken similar steps for their summer programs in 2020.
As we approach the fall term with uncertainty, it is important that we all remember that Brotherhood comes before all. Take the time to reach out to each other, catch up, and partake in some distanced camaraderie. Though we cannot be sure how much longer our day-to-day lives will be altered, we know that the bonds of our Fraternity will continue to bring us together.
We thank our Chapter Alphas for taking the time to inform the National Office and Grand Council of their thoughts – two thirds of whom expressed that they would not feel safe attending Congress. Some questions we received from Alphas and others about Congress are addressed in the FAQ.
If you have any additional questions about Congress or Chi Phi’s ongoing response to COVID-19, you can download our resource guide or contact the National Office. Our staff continues to work remote, but are available via email and our direct phone lines; please visit our website for a staff listing and linked emails. The Grand Council and National Staff remain committed to maintaining the same level of service to our membership.
Full text of the FAQ:
What happens to our Delegate fee?
A $1,200 credit will be applied to each Chapter’s account. If you have already paid your Delegate fee, cash refunds will not be given. For Chapters who have not paid, the credit will even out to show a zero balance for the delegate fee.
What will happen with Grand Alpha elections?
Grand Alpha elections will not be held this summer, so there will be no Grand Alpha-Elect to serve during the 2020-2021 academic year. Instead, the next election will be held during Congress in 2021 and the winner will assume the office of Grand Alpha immediately, without a transition year. This scenario is not unprecedented; such elections have occurred in the past and went smoothly.
How will Chi Phi’s annual budget be approved?
The Grand Council will assess the budget submitted by Executive Director Michael Azarian for approval. Once it has been reviewed, the Grand Council will vote on the budget for FY 2021.
Can we host Congress in the fall?
Unfortunately, this option is not logistically possible. With the short notice of arranging for a host facility, Congress would be exponentially more expensive. In addition, many institutions are uncertain if they will be physically open for the fall term, making it even more difficult for our Brothers to get together for a fall Congress.
When will the next Congress be held?
The next Chi Phi Congress is scheduled to take place July 30, 2021- August 1, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada, at Bally’s Las Vegas.
Will the Awards Program still take place?
Yes! Chi Phi’s 2020 Awards Program is still set to take place. The deadline remains May 29, 2020 at 11:59pm (Eastern). An alternative to an in-person ceremony will be arranged so that we can continue to recognize the work and dedication that our Chapters and Brothers put into our Fraternity.
As a bonus reminder, Accreditation submissions for this spring are NOT required. All Award submissions are based on the merit of their own materials.