Archie Messersmith-Bunting


  • Alcohol/Drugs/Recovery

  • Wellness 

  • Risk Management/Member Safety

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about Archie

Archie Messersmith-Bunting is a passionate and dynamic speaker who brings a dose of authenticity and vulnerability to every program he delivers. He is widely known as a thought-leader and risk management expert in the interfraternal community. Archie has the ability to engage college students in difficult conversations by sprinkling in humor, self-deprecation, and a bit of good-natured ribbing. 


Over the past two decades that he’s supported and served college students he has worked on a campus advising multiple student organizations, for his Fraternity Headquarters (Sigma Phi Epsilon), and most recently served as the first ever Director of Health & Safety for the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC). He’s not afraid to tackle difficult topics, he never shies away from tough conversations, and when he says that he cares about you, he actually means it.


When he’s not traveling the country speaking to college students about alcohol, drugs, recovery, men’s mental health issues, and risk management, he resides in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his husband, Bill, and their son Kade. He is veteran of the New York stage but now uses his vocal prowess to sing his son to sleep at night. He attended Samford University for his undergraduate degree and then Illinois State University for his master’s.


Bros, Blow, and Bourbon: An Honest Conversation about Fraternity Men and Substance Abuse


College. You’re on your own for the first time. You’ve achieved a new level of control with no one telling you what you can and cannot do. You’re offered a bump at a party and you take it. Why not – right? It’s just one. And it’s not a big deal.


Or, maybe it will end up being something more. 


Maybe, it’s the first step toward a lot of horrible things. And if not for you, then maybe for that friend, brother, or sister with you.


It’s conventional wisdom that a majority of students will at least dabble in alcohol use, and perhaps some experimentation with other drugs. It’s normal, right?  Yet it’s also conventional wisdom that many people who ended up in very bad places started innocently – with just one bump at a party. 


How can we possibly know the difference between what’s normal and what will become problematic? 


In this powerful and raw program, Archie shares openly and vulnerably about his struggle with alcohol and drug addiction – something that started fairly innocently. He’ll also share the glaring warning signs that he and others might have recognized. He will also talk about the role of friends – those who tried to help, and those who enabled the worst behavior – and challenge audiences to take seriously the level of influence they exercise. 


This program is ideal for either new or existing members of fraternities and sororities as well as University Convocation or Freshman Orientation programs. Archie will provide your students with much needed tools to build healthier chapters and campus communities.

Learning Outcomes

Audience members will...
  • Gain perspective on alcohol and drug addiction and how it might impact themselves and their brothers and sisters 

  • Identify potential warning signs that someone they care about might be struggling with alcohol or drug abuse

Ideal Audiences
  • Fraternities/Men's Organizations
  • Health/Wellness Promotion
  • Alcohol/Drugs/Recovery 

  • Keynote
  • Workshop
  • Virtual

It's Okay to Not Be Okay 

Depression is real. If you’re ever suffered from it, or had a friend or family member who has, you know. It can completely hijack a person’s life.

"Growing up in the Deep South, I learned to hide my feelings, " Archie said. "I stuffed them so far down they would never get out. I didn’t acknowledge them, and I certainly didn’t talk about them."


Sound familiar?
While a third of new college students will struggle with a mental health related issue, there is still great stigma that prevents young men from asking for help. The issue is often very difficult to see.  We live behind Instagram filters showing us as masculine, tough, independent, and in control.  But there isn’t an Instagram filter strong enough to hide the hurt and overwhelming sadness that many students carry inside.


Archie has been championing mental health awareness and education for college men for more than a decade. This program will allow students to first assess their own mental health care and identify ways they can improve their daily self-care plan. They will identify signs their friends may be struggling and learn action steps they can employ to encourage help-seeking. They will also discuss less-than-helpful things so many say to someone who is struggling with depression.
If we want healthier men in our college communities, we must embrace and normalize discomfort and stand beside men who are struggling. We must make help-seeking an acceptable part of becoming a good man.

This program is perfect for new student programming, fraternity new member seminars, or men’s issues events.

Learning Outcomes

Audience members will...
  • Review the most common mental health issues facing college students today and will learn symptoms of each one

  • Identify non-verbal signs that a friend might need support

  • Be empowered to engage in help-seeking behavior

Ideal Audiences
  • Fraternity Life
  • Healthy Masculinity Programming
  • Keynote
  • Workshop
  • Virtual

The Student Leader Who Says "No"

At the heart of strong student leadership is the ability to be alert, focused, and productive. But how is that possible when you are spread too thin? How can you serve your members and your organization’s mission if you’re constantly running from one stressful situation to another.


Can today’s student leaders realistically find the basic balance they so badly need to succeed in relationships, academics, fitness, and mental health? Whether motivated by ambition, guilt, or peer pressure, many of today’s college students have forgotten how to say one very simple word – NO.  


NO to another unnecessary meeting, NO to another committee membership, NO to another task that seems urgent. How can we be more selective about the student leadership demands that come at us every day? How can we choose to get off the YES treadmill? And how can we do it without disappointing others?


This program will encourage students to first say YES to themselves; to begin to live a life where they always put their own oxygen mask on first, before assisting those around them. Students will identify the reasons they find themselves overcommitting and understand the psychology behind the human difficulty to say NO. They will also explore simple ways they can reclaim their time and refocus on leading with purpose and direction.  


Over-committing and burning oneself out is a result of a conscious or an unconscious choice. In this program, you will learn that choosing a thoughtful NO is an act of empowerment. You will learn specific strategies you can start implementing immediately to take control of the demands of your student leader experience.

Learning Outcomes

Audience members will...
  • Review the most common reasons people overcommit

  • Consider how they can begin to say NO with grace 

  • Identify ways to create focus in their lives and regain focus in their leadership responsibilities

Ideal Audiences
  • Leadership Development
  • Fraternity/Sorority Life
  • Keynote
  • Workshop
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