August 24, 2011: Oxford, Ohio—Jeff Steller, Kentucky ’06, serves in several leadership positions within Phi Kappa Tau, including Domain Director and Regional Conference assistant dean. He has been a supporter of not only the Fraternity, but also the Phi Kappa Tau Foundation since his undergraduate days.
The Phi Kappa Tau Foundation caught up with Steller and asked him several questions about his time as a Phi Kappa Tau volunteer and loyal donor. He shares some of this thoughts here:
Foundation: Reflecting on your years of association with Phi Kappa Tau, what is the one thing that stands out as a point of pride for you?
Steller: The constant pursuit of improvement. Since I became a member, I have watched and participated in making our strategic plan a reality. There are so many volunteers who work alongside the staff to ensure that we are always looking for ways to improve our programs and the experience we deliver to the undergraduates. Few organizations can say they are so dedicated to active and constant improvement.
Foundation: You are a generous supporter of Phi Kappa Tau, with you time, your expertise and your financial gifts. Why is that so significant to you?
Steller: I think the best way to pay back all of the Foundation donations and volunteers hours that made my undergraduate experience possible is to continue doing the very same for the next generation. Giving back to the Fraternity, financially and with our time, embodies many of the values we hold dear: the lifelong commitment to brotherhood, the loyalty to college and chapter, and the obligation to others.
It’s also important because as a recipient of Foundation scholarships and a participant in Foundation-funded events, I know firsthand the profound impact it can make on an undergraduate. If in some small way I can give that to others, I feel I’m doing my part to better our organization.
Foundation: As you look at the young men on campus today—whether it is at Northern Kentucky University, where you’re doing your graduate work, or throughout your work with Phi Tau—what challenges do you perceive that they face and how might Phi Kappa Tau play a role in equipping them to meet those challenges?
Steller: Young college men face of a host of challenges these days, ranging from the poor job outlook to the role of technology in their lives to the stereotypes that persist about the greek community. Phi Tau equips them to meet all of these challenges head on. Our education programs, such as Regional Conferences, provide them with answers about how to use technology positively, such as in recruitment, but keep their use in line with our values. Other programs like Leadership Academy instill in the young men how to lead a values-based life. Given that actions speak louder than words, by teaching these men how to conduct themselves in a manner reflective of our Cardinal Principles, it helps them show what true fraternity means.
Foundation: Do you have one particularly fond memory that stands out from your time volunteering with Phi Kappa Tau?
Steller: The best memory from all of my volunteering is the yearly “light bulb” moment at Leadership Academy. It’s the moment when the curriculum starts to click with the undergraduates and they really see the bigger picture. That’s the moment I know all the time and effort put into the programs was worth it. And when I see some of them presenting for Maxwells, it’s really great to see how powerful the impact of our work can be.
Foundation: What encouragement would you offer to a graduate brother who has not yet engaged with the Fraternity as an alumnus, whether as a volunteer or donor?
Steller: From a financial perspective, I know times are tough. Yet, if you stop to think, it’s easy to find a way to donate. A couple cups of coffee here, a night in instead of a movie there and choosing not to eat out saves a lot of money quickly. If every brother adopted this attitude, the results would be phenomenal.
More importantly though, I would tell someone who hasn’t engaged that Phi Tau has had many bridge builders during its 105 years. Those bridges don’t maintain themselves. It is now our turn to take up the responsibility to honor our past and pursue a great future.
|Get to Know Jeff
Profession: Post-bacc student at NKU, pursuing medical school pre-reqs
Favorite Sports Team: The Boston Red Sox
Favorite Hobby: Other than Phi Tau … antiquing
Life Philosophy: Every one of your actions has a domino effect. Act positively and you’ll change the world.