Wes Johnson, Pi Kappa Phi Chapter Adviser: Feb 2011 – Jan 2016

This post has been some time coming to this space.  As I think back about my time as the advisor to my own same undergraduate social fraternity group (although on a different college campus), I can actually appreciate why this post did not get published long back. Having to post something like this on the public web is something I just can’t help but resist it personally, especially to want to call out all the successes. My advisees knew they were doing well towards the tail end of my advising time, yet I did need to maintain an edge as the advisor to push them for achieving more. Even later, there wasn’t to be any immediate victory dance just on my own account of retiring as their adviser, and this position was so far from any simple resume fodder of mine. 

My volunteer experience of those five years, did prove to be some substantial work, but in the end, it’s something that I am proud of for myself to be able to keep up with and also that it provided me a front row seat to the accomplishments of my advisees. The success did not come quickly or easily for them, but over the years the mindset of the men had changed, their prominence on their campus and among fellow Greek life members had improved substantially, and, most apparently, their own membership numbers had increased. As mostly out of character for myself, I did choose to promote myself for the nationwide Advisor of the Year Award for the 2013-2014 academic year.  I ended up taking home the award, and had some nice recognition at the biannual conference among all universities’ chapters.  I’ll never forget the kind words that came out for my candidacy at that time and also via social media when I eventually gave notice of stepping down as the advisor.  Later on, after my Pi Kappa Phi national award, I was further recognized by the George Mason University Student Life Organization as the top Fraternity Advisor on campus for the 2015 calendar year.

Through more reflection, I see that the five years with the GMU Pikapps is even more time than I spent with my own fellow classmates at my George Washington University chapter. Somehow…weirdly(?)… in these recent years, I was able to transition from the advisor into actually a role of teammate and friend when I jumped into the mens rec league hockey team founded by some of the older undergrads I oversaw. My advising days are well behind me, but I’m beyond pleased that I took the position, and appreciative of what it still brings me to this day with fun, sport, friendly competition, and ongoing connections!

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