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Jordan Gushurst '95 has played a big role in leading Phi Phi in his alumni years. He is co-chair of the Centennial Campaign, a graduate board member, and project manager on the basement renovations. When he's not volunteering for AXP, he works as an independent software consultant for the energy industry, focusing on energy trading and risk management. In this Q&A, he shares a bit more about himself and why he is giving back to Phi Phi in such a big way.

 

Why did you join AXP as an undergraduate? In your opinion, how did/does it stand apart from other fraternities?
I joined AXP because that was where my freshman year friends and I had the best time during the fall. I rushed a couple of other houses but just liked the brothers better at AXP. We didn't fit into any one stereotype.

Why do you choose to donate your time and volunteer as an alum?
Because I am insane (just kidding!). Perhaps I decided to get involved in my middle age instead of buying a motorcycle. I also happened to meet my wife at an AXP-Chi Omega mixer at the chapter house.

You are a long-time supporter of Phi Phi Club. Why do you financially support the alumni chapter?
I enjoy my memories of my years at Penn and living in the fraternity. If you treasure something you should be willing to help maintain and improve it.

Why is it important for other alumni to get involved in giving back through time, talent, and treasure?
Primarily because it is a lot of fun (except for that flooding thing). Let's face it, the "real world" is a lot more work than college was.

What is your best memory from your undergraduate days?
I don't think I have just one but I certainly remember the scavenger hunts, water battles, cooking late night cheesesteaks and French fries, and pranks like carrying sleeping brothers on couches to remote locations for a photo op. I also enjoyed the glory days when you could charge admission for big parties.

What is your best memory from your alumni years?
Our class has a tradition of getting together for most 5-year reunion dates. We generally participate in the university events during the day and TJ Zane has helped organize an evening dinner in a private room at some nice restaurant in Philly. It's hard to believe but we've got a 20th anniversary coming next year, and I'm hoping we can make it happen again. I would strongly encourage all other classes to do the same, because it's just a heck of a good time.

How does it feel to be involved in the Centennial Campaign that will position AXP for a positive future? How can other alumni help in this effort?
It is a lot of work and we don't have as many alumni engaged as we would like. We need more help and have been brainstorming on how we can get more participation. We are looking at doing video conferences or even just regular conference calls so that alumni outside Philly can get involved. The flood was a HUGE distraction and very stressful because we had to do a lot of renovation quickly but we still wanted to do it the right way. If our campaign is to be really successful we need to have some of our wealthier alumni really step up with big donations and matching funds. We are working to get detailed cost estimates for all the other projects we would like to do so people can feel confident the money will be spent wisely. We also need the time to make the personal pitch to our potential large donors. It is really nice to start to see the fruits of your labor. This past Homecoming I think everyone who was there was really excited about how the house is starting to shape up. The new basement and bathroom look fantastic and things are starting to really shape up in other areas of the house.

What could be the negative ramifications if the capital campaign fundraising goals are not met?
I think the safety improvements (e.g. electrical system replacement) are essential and we will complete those improvements regardless of the total amount raised. Meeting our financial goals will allow us to the kinds of projects that really make our house and back yard stand out, and also make it a much more affordable place to live. High quality, affordable facilities will help enable us to recruit and retain the best new brothers and that is part of our mission.

What are you most looking forward to at the centennial celebration of the house in 2017?
A big party will certainly be fun however I'd like to see a younger generation of alumni start to step up and position themselves for future leadership of the Phi Phi Club. I think many of us recognize that John Hawkins and Jared Miller have done an amazing job and dedicated a lot of time to the house but it only fair that others help out and carry the flame into the future. Now is great time to get involved because we are starting to gather the funds needed to do great things.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I want to say a big "thank you!" to all those who have made contributions to our campaign so far. We hope you come back and see the improvements and continue to give as the campaign moves forward. Better yet, plan an event with your class for a 5/10/15/etc. reunion and find a project your class can sponsor.