In 1974, members from the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), Fraternal Executives Association (FEA), and the Fraternity Advisors Association saw the need for collaboration between the different groups. This led to a joint meeting in 1976 where individuals from across the country gathered in Williamsburg, VA to commemorate the bi-centennial of the fraternity movement. In that meeting, these individuals created the concept of AFA. The original purpose of AFA was:
- To provide a forum through publications, meetings, and informal interaction for the regular sharing of ideas among student personnel administrators with responsibilities or interest in fraternity advising;
- To offer informational services to campuses and individuals with questions or problems related to [fraternal] organizations;
- To raise the visibility of and support for fraternity advising on college and university campuses;
- To encourage interested and qualified individuals to seek college and university staff positions which include job responsibilities related to [fraternal] organizations;
- To assist in maintaining positive, supportive relationships among student personnel administrators, fraternity executives and staff, the National Interfraternity Conference, and related organizations;
- To stimulate educational programming and student development concepts among fraternity chapters; and
- To promote research related to [fraternal] organizations.
Thanks to the support from FEA and the NIC, AFA was able to grow from a concept to a full association. The first meeting of the membership was hosted in 1977 in Indianapolis, IN and included eight educational sessions for the 70 participants. Then, in 1981, the first AFA award was established to recognized outstanding work in fraternity/sorority advising, and it was named after Dr. Robert H. Shaffer, who many consider a legend in the interfraternal world.
In 1982, AFA was determined to be in stable condition, both financially and in membership growth. The founding organizations, FEA and the NIC, mutually agreed AFA should be a group unto its own. This year marked the feeling in the field that AFA was a true professional organization committed to contributing to higher education and the interfraternal movement.
Ever since the beginning, AFA has been committed to the fraternity/sorority advising profession.