Learning From Mistakes (Student Voice Coalition Announcement)

To the Fraternity and Sorority Members at Willamette University, and to every student we've ever worked with:

Thank you. You've been our teachers. We've learned so much from you over the years. You've made us better and smarter. You've asked us to continue to improve. You've helped us evolve as a company and as people, just as fraternity and sorority has evolved over the years.

Recently, you called us out on some careless, insensitive, and exclusive things we've said - to you. During our time with the Willamette community on September 6th, we unknowingly, unintentionally, but unforgivably created an environment that was not inclusive. We created an environment where not everyone felt safe. We chose some sexist and ignorant attempts at humor that didn't represent who we want to be. That was an embarrassing and stupid mistake - and a mistake that we take very seriously. For that, we are truly, deeply sorry.

We, at Phired Up, pride ourselves on a culture of excellence in everything we do. We strive for excellence every day. We strive to be the best exemplification of what it means to be a fraternity or sorority member. In that endeavor, we failed you. It's unacceptable to us, that you received less than excellence from us. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to listen to your experiences and learn from you. It has had a profound impact on all of our team members.

We hope this doesn't come off as some corporate PR move. We hope you hear our genuine desire to continue to learn, but also our genuine desire to make this right. We applaud the Willamette students (and any student that's ever challenged us) for courageously speaking up.

More than anything we hope you know we're sorry.

An apology is just words, though, unless it's backed up with action and change. We've learned that we have work to do. We've learned that we need to continue to do the hard work of learning what it means to truly be inclusive, create safe learning environments, and recognizing the bias that we bring to every interaction. We've started doing that work this past summer with a Social Justice Expert, but we still have much more work to do in this area. We will continue to do that work - and continue to learn - everyday moving forward. We will also strive to be part of the solution - not the problem - helping to bring awareness to others.

Every failure, if you're listening, is an opportunity to learn, grow, and become better. We have, in a very short time, learned a lot from the students at Willamette in particular. We've also taken your advice. You very loudly told us that we need to include more of the undergraduate voice - to seek your guidance and feedback more frequently in our work. November 1st, 2014 we will be launching applications for Phired Up's Student Voice Coalition, with the intent to launch the group at the start of 2015. We seek to gather a group of diverse students together for the sole purpose providing us feedback from a student perspective. We want to continue to strive for excellence - and we want to ensure that no student ever feels excluded again - but we need the help of students like you - who are brave enough to let their voice be heard - to help us.

To the Willamette Fraternity and Sorority Community, truly we are sorry for a less than excellent experience. We hope we can continue to work to make it right.

To every student we've ever worked with and to every student we have yet to work with, please know that our intentions are always to provide a learning experience that is empowering, inspiring, and seeks to do one thing: Grow Greek Life. We believe in fraternity and sorority. We believe it's ability to change people's lives for the better. We believe in it's ability to make the world a better place.

We hope you will continue to help us be better. We hope you will continue to let us help you grow Greek life.

Your Phriends at Phired Up

"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing." - Henry Ford


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