Ignite Empowers Young Leaders

Posted by: Taylor Williams - August 28, 2015


Between 1977 and 2006, the Beta Tau Chapter at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln won 20 Hugh Shields Awards. For nearly a decade, however, the prestigious flag for chapter excellence has eluded Beta Tau. So, how does it once more gain recognition as one of the Fraternity's very best? A good place to start is by sending four delegates to the Fraternity’s emerging leadership experience: Ignite.

Jake Pfeifer, Andrew Driscoll, Henry Dobson and Evan Wiese attended the 2015 Indiana Ignite at Camp Tecumseh in Brookston, Ind., on July 10-12.

Ignite graduates return to their chapters as mindful, enthusiastic young leaders with an arsenal of skills and strategies to benefit the chapter. Participants have candid discussions on chapter strengths and struggles and develop methods of improvement utilizing the values of the Fraternity. Beta Tau performs well in many facets of chapter operations, but a commitment to excellence requires constant growth. In the case of Beta Tau, progress in academics and overall chapter involvement are the current necessities, and the Beta Tau Ignite participants brainstormed ways to utilize their unique abilities to bring the chapter back to Hugh Shields status.


Jake Pfeifer

Jake Pfeifer (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2018), who maintains a commendable 4.0 GPA, has his sights set on tackling the lagging chapter GPA. Beta Tau began the 2014-15 academic year ranked fifth academically but dropped seven spots to 12th in the most recent recording semester.

“This upcoming semester, we’re going to have to work really hard in that area,” said Pfeifer.

In the past, Pfeifer took a passive approach to leadership by listening to the executive board’s instructions and implementing them as an administrative chairman. Now, after attending Ignite, he plans to have a more active role in the decision-making process and speak up more readily on areas he’s passionate about, like academic excellence.

“After Ignite, I really want to dive in and have my opinion voiced and move Delt in a better direction at Beta Tau,” said Pfeifer. “Leading the way, especially with academics, is what I believe in and is what I’m going to do.”


Active engagement from every member is a problem area for many chapters. But when membership numbers hit triple digits, it becomes even trickier.

“It’s difficult to get 110, 18- to 22-year-olds to buy into something and put forth a lot of effort to making something great,” said Pfeifer, who wants to lead by example, and be the proof that it is possible to be actively involved in the Fraternity, to achieve academic success, and to maintain a social life in college.

Andrew Driscoll

Andrew Driscoll (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2018) believes communication is a key factor in instituting chapter-wide involvement and buy-in. The communication strategy presently used is efficient for members living in the shelter, but loses its effectiveness with upperclassmen living elsewhere. It is the off-campus upperclassmen who often disengage and lose touch with the chapter.

“The chain of communication does not go all the way through every time, and the 40 or 50 who live out are disconnected,” said Driscoll. “The big change will be communicating more and making sure everyone understands what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Henry Dobson

According to Henry Dobson (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2018), along with a more fluid communication strategy, the Beta Tau Chapter needs better transitional education throughout the four collegiate years. A cohesive education program, like The Road: Journey to Excellence, would keep upperclassmen actively engaged and returning to the shelter at Beta Tau through relevant, topical programming.

Each Beta Tau Ignite participant brings back a unique perspective to the chapter, and with the leadership styles they’ve honed and values-based knowledge they’ve acquired, there is no doubt they’ll make the impact they desire.

Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to make a difference in your chapter! Register today!