• Custom design [You want your materials to look how you want them to look. We get that.] • Custom printing [Your printed pieces have never looked prettier.] • Custom apparel [Making you look good makes us look good.]
AND THAT’S JUST THE BEGINNING. Partner with us and you’ll build awareness and increase membership in your organization in a jiffy. And if you need to raise funds or even build your brand, it just happens we specialize in that, too. In fact, we’ve partnered with more than 170 colleges and national organizations to help them accomplish all this and more. It’s no big deal—it’s just what we do.
You’re always more than welcome to visit us online at www.innovacampusimpact.com
the inside starts here. FEATURES 006 // more quantity, more quality / matt mattson & josh orendi 008 // top five recruitment secrets for sororities / jessica gendron 010 // intake: have we failed the process? / angela n. king 012 // time is on your side / helen rotnem 022 // stop the insanity! / shannon j. greybar milliken
COLUMNS 002 // letter from the executive director 003 // letter from the editor 013 // one hundred ways / allison swick-duttine & tracy maxwell 014 // considering a career in student affairs? / lynsey stuart 018 // facilitation 411 / recruitment decision continuum 020 // from the road 024 // ask the experts 026 // busted! 028 // the wall
Connections is the official publication of the Mid-American Greek Council Association. The views expressed by contributors, authors and advertisers are not necessarily those of the Association. MGCA encourages the submission of content to: Lea Hanson Director of Publications email@example.com
Connections is published four times each year. Submission Deadlines: Fall 2008: September 1, 2008 Winter 2009: December 1, 2009 Spring 2009: February 23, 2009
Submit advertising queries to: Mark Koepsell Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org 970/372.1174 888/855.8670 email@example.com
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Dear Connections, As the summer has slowed some for me, I was able to read the March publication of the magazine of MGCA. I wanted to send my congratulations for a great first issue. I can’t tell you how impressed I am that MGCA has developed into such a fine organization. I was a founding member of MAPCA along with Barbara Robel and Shelley Sutherland when I was an advisor at Ball State University in Indiana. The theme of your first issue was very dear to my heart as I served on the NIC Commission for Values and Ethics for almost 10 years. Our Commission developed the “Challenges & Choices” materials that started the fraternal organizations discussing this important aspect of fraternal life. My friend, Ed King, was on the Commission with us and I enjoyed his article that touched on the work of our Commission. If you are not familiar with those materials and the “Basic Expectations” and “Confrontation 101”, it might be worth reviving the ideas. Unfortunately, 20 years later we are still dealing with the same issues of hazing, alcohol, and drug use affecting fraternities and sororities. I wish you best of luck with your publication and with our great organization of MGCA. I am so lucky to have had a small part in getting all this started. Keep up the good work. Sincerely, Judith Sindlinger, Ed.D. Executive Director Undergraduate Student Services College of Health and Public Affairs University of Central Florida
Layout & Design Steve Whitby / Warehouse 242 email@example.com Editorial Board Andrea Battaglia / Drury University Will Foran / Western Illinois University Jenni Glick / Northwestern University Carol Preston / Ohio University Andy Robison / Purdue University
Member / College Fraternity Editors Association
MGCA // 001
One thing is always the same in fraternal organizations, the fact that our organizations are always different, always growing, and always changing. The constant then is change. Change is good and change can be overwhelming all in the same breath. The process of understanding that change is inherent in our organizations and what we knew last semester and last year will be different this year is the first step toward conquering it. The next step is harnessing it and helping it work for the betterment of your organization. The recruitment/intake process is the number one opportunity to harness positive change for the future success of our organizations. Think about it. The new members that you recruit now will be the future leaders of your organization, the future alumni/ae of your organization, and the very people entrusted with the task of protecting the charter that allows you to exist on a given campus.
Letter from the Executive Director
So much time, money, and energy is spent on the recruitment process each year. And yet, it would seem to me that so many individuals don’t spend enough time thinking about the significance of the process. I’ve seen all too many recruitment chairs, alums, and even traveling consultants getting all hung up on the numerology of the process rather than on the individual people, personality, and fit of those looking to join the organization. From a council perspective, it is time to reconsider the recruitment messages. The same meaningless themes, the same messages of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, Brother/Sisterhood have all been sold in the same brochures for decades. It is time to consider the relevance of our messages. How persuasive are those messages on the undecided potential member? Are those messages encouraging new people to sign up or are our brochures and pamphlets simply providing the path for the “always joiner” to get in their paperwork? When was the last time your community actually used a little market research to measure the effectiveness of your messages? Are we or are we not located on campuses of higher learning? Are there not marketing classes and individuals/clubs that would jump at the chance to help measure the success rate of our current tactics? When was the last time you assessed the incoming class to find out what they want and need from co-curricular experiences? How did that shape the messages and the way the messages are pitched? For organizations that are always changing, it seems ironic to me that the way we sell ourselves seems to consistently stay the same. I encourage each of you to reconsider this entire process. Take a good look at what you are doing and ask the question “why?” are we doing it this way. Don’t just do it because they did it that way last year. Don’t get hung up on a theme…themes don’t sell fraternity and sorority (I might argue they are so hokey that they actually aid in turning people off ). Don’t get so hung up in the mechanics of it that you miss what is really happening. The young people who join are those that are our future. Choose them well, look for values alignment, and don’t let numbers guide your decisions. The Connections Editorial Board has pulled together an entire issue on this topic of recruitment/intake. The reality is that it is the foundation of the future of our organizations and we wanted to dedicate an entire issue to it. Don’t hear me wrong, it isn’t the end all, be all of our organizations, simply an important piece of what we do. I encourage you to think outside the box of what you already know as you flip through these pages. Look for new ideas and be open to doing things a bit differently than you have done them before.
002 // connections // 2008.summer
Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned from Sorority & Fraternity Recruitment.
> It’s important to be able to comfortable when talking to strangers. > Approaching someone who looks interesting and starting a conversation might lead to one of the best friendships you’ve ever had. > Being on time is very important. > Sometimes a theme does actually make a party a little more fun. > Although looking your best isn’t everything, dressing appropriately for the situation is necessary. > Listening and asking people questions are the best ways to show interest in someone… and it makes them feel really good. > If you don’t think you have found a group of friends that is quite the right fit for you… keep looking. > It is good to have a clean house, especially when you are expecting guests. > Making people feel like they are a part of the group is oftentimes the nicest thing you can do for them. > The best way to make a great first impression on someone is NOT by getting hammered drunk with them… the lubricated tongue is not really all it’s cracked up to be. > Judging people by how they look is bad. > Inviting someone to a party is often a very easy way to initiate a friendship with them. > If you RSVP that you will attend an event, you are obligated to attend. > Be honest about who you really are: it is the only way that you will make friends who are really like you. > It is more important to pay attention to others than to try to get them to pay attention to you. > Everyone should own a classy black dress and/or one good suit. > People are good at different things and their strengths should be utilized…. some people actually should just serve the punch. > It is nice to introduce people to other people that they might have something in common with. > A flower arrangement can do wonders for making a room look nice. > Surrounding yourself with a group of people who have shared values is healthy and fun. > Singing makes you happy.
Letter from the Editor
It’s not a joke. It’s actually true that in my various roles participating in Recruitment: as a collegian chapter member, a Panhellenic Council officer, and as a Greek Advisor, Recruitment was actually one of my LEAST favorite things to do. However, after a little reflection about transferable life skills, I have to admit that I owe a lot to those experiences. Although at the time I would have been more likely to label Recruitment as being silly, a little superficial, and SO LONG, I can now honestly say that some of the best life skills that (I would like to think) I currently posses are a direct result of my fraternity and sorority Recruitment experiences.
My experiences, both professionally and personally, have taught me a number of things about relationships, communicating with others, and the importance of self-reflection. Unfortunately, I am continually amazed by the people I meet who do not practice simple conversational skills; skills that are second nature to me and many people that I know. Yes, there are hundreds of ways to learn these skills, but if you know of an environment that is able to wrap up all of these skills and etiquette nuggets into a nice four-day package complete with clap songs and lyre-shaped finger sandwiches, I would like to know what it is.
MGCA // 003
C www.GreekYearbook.com 1-866-GREEK-YB GreekYearbook@GreekYearbook.com Find out how GreekYearbook can earn your council hundreds to thousands of dollars through one of our various fundraising programs. We sell the photos your council gets a percentage! Ask about our Composite University Referral Program, or our Bid Day Revenue Share Program today.
Is it time to increase the QUANTITY and QUALITY of your fraternity and sorority community?
Phired Up Productions we are the recruitment experts.
CONTRIBUTORS JOSH ORENDI
Josh Orendi • CEO • Phired Up Productions josh@PhiredUp.com Matt Mattson • President • Phired Up Productions matt@PhiredUp.com Matt and Josh run Phired Up Productions, a company that is quickly becoming known as THE recruitment experts. Having literally wrote the book on fraternity recruitment (Good Guys: The Eight Steps to Limitless Possibility for Fraternity Recruitment), their article gets right to the point. It addresses not only how to better recruit, but also how get higher quantity AND higher quality men; all while not being weird and scary. Their work is simple, yet compelling; perfect in sharing useful and helpful information… but keeps it uncomplicated for the “fratty” in us all. Jessica Gendron • Director of Women’s Education • Phired Up Productions jessica@PhiredUp.com Jessica’s article states the obvious and keeps it fun. As an expert in sorority recruitment and a co-author of I Heart Recruitment, the leading book on sorority recruitment, Jessica maintains an easy and effortless style to teach us the five compelling secrets that we already know. From the basics of meeting new people to being more “normal”, Jessica is thoughtful and candid. Angela King • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org Angela puts it out there. She knows intake and her article double dares her readers to do the same. Her writing is challenging and at times confrontational… but right on point. Everyone benefits from Angela’s writing; NPHC members, those who advise them and everyone else on campus will learn from Angela’s information and will ponder her challenges. Helen Rotnem • Coordinator of Greek Life • Oklahoma State University email@example.com Helen knows deferred recruitment. Her article touches on the frequently noted weaknesses of a deferred joining process and spins them into a positive. Helen points out the obvious and also offers some new ideas for campuses to try in their deferred joining process.
MGCA // 005
More Quantity, More Quality By Matt Mattson & Josh Orendi Phired Up Productions
A higher quantity of higher quality brothers. Isn’t that what we all want for our campuses and chapters?
Many people would argue that if we focused on getting more members AND better members, a lot of our other fraternal problems would disappear. After all, more quality members means extra hands, extra energy, and extra money. It also means fewer drunks, fewer embarrassing incidents, and fewer major mistakes. Many would argue recruitment is at the heart of everything we do. So how do we recruit better? Phired Up Productions has trained thousands of fraternity members to recruit a higher quantity of higher quality men on hundreds of campuses across the country. They literally wrote the book on fraternity recruitment. This article gives you some quick, practical, proven insight into the secrets of the organization’s success. Recruitment Truths There are four basic truths about recruitment and we recommend that you base everything you do on these simple realities. Truth #1: Cure Your Scary Disease Many fraternities have a nasty disease that can be hard to cure; one that often prevents them from doing effective year-round recruitment. The name of that disease: Eventitis. Eventitis is a disease that has spread to almost every chapter. When infected, members believe that they have to spend a lot of money and time on planning a big event in order to make friends. The problem is that most big events are SCARY for non-Greeks. On most campuses 60%-95% of the normal, logical, non-Greek people would never set foot in a fraternity event because it looks like a bunch of smelly frat dudes in matching T-shirts, high-fiving each other, chanting, eating chicken wings, and talking about “brotherhood”… Sorry to break it to you, but that’s not really very attractive to most normal people. There is hope – the cure for Eventitis is Doing Small Activities. Normal people make friends by doing simple, small activities together (e.g. lunch, coffee, work out, hang out, etc...). Recruit people by doing normal-people-activities, and don’t scare so many people away with big expensive events that typically don’t get very good results. Truth #2: People Don’t Join Organizations It’s true. People don’t join organizations. People join people. Be honest, did you join a set of ideals, a calendar of activities, and a bunch of great T-shirts? Or did you join a group of guys based on your relationships with one or two of the members? Most people can pinpoint the one person who recruited them into the organization. If we know this, we can focus our time on building one-on-one relationships, and not “selling the organization.” People are going to join your fraternity because of their personal relationship with you. Therefore, there is no need to spend your time, energy and money on cool T-shirts, barbecues, parties, or events. Instead, go out and make as many acquaintances and friends as possible, and watch them turn into members. Truth #3: You Can’t Recruit Who You Don’t Know It really is a simple concept. If you want to build a successful year round recruitment process, the first step is NOT to hold big events, make T-shirts, or plan for house rotations. The first step is to get to know (just meet) as many people as you possibly can. You’ll find some ideas to do that below. Truth #4: Quantity Drives Quality Quick quiz… If you are selecting your 15 man new member class from a pool of 30 relationships, and I’m selecting my 15 man new member class from a pool of 300 relationships, who is more likely to get the highest quality men? Obviously, the more guys in a relationship pool, the more selective we can be. So, if you’re thinking that your chapter is “about quality not quantity,” that’s great! Your job first priority should still be to meet as many men as you possibly can so that you have a chance to select the best of them.
006 // connections // 2008.summer
Practical Recruitment Strategies If it is true that 1) You can’t recruit who you don’t know, 2) People don’t join organizations, people join people, 3) Small activities are less scary than big fratty events, and 4) Quantity drives quality, then what strategies drive recruitment results based on these truths? Strategy 1: Make it Easier for Brothers to Talk to Strangers Mom always told us to never talk to strangers, but if you want to have success with recruitment, you’re going to have to risk it. However, too many of our brothers are either really bad at talking with other human beings (without the aid of a beer or a keyboard) or they’re just scared to death to do it. One strategy that top-performing chapters and councils use to get recruitment results is provide skills and tools for their members that make it easier to talk to strangers.
club leaders, event coordinators, student security personnel, and even the guy who scans ID cards at the rec center. You get the idea. The more access to and influence over non-Greek men your organization has, the greater chance your members have to be “the guy” who got your future members to join. Membership Drives: Strong efforts in distinct time periods can be very effective strategies for growing your list of potential members. Consider: a second rush week later in the semester, dorm storming, three days of meeting people, information tables, cold-calling campaigns, pick-up sports games, move-in/move-out days, campus-wide open events (other than parties), etc… You get the idea. Make strong pushes that last a short amount of time to keep your members’ attention focused on the task at hand: meeting more people so you have a chance to recruit them. Strategy 3: Select Members Based On Your Values When selecting your members, how do you determine who is worthy of an invitation for lifelong membership (bid)? Unfortunately, most chapters base their bid offers on really weak criteria. Members are heard saying, “He seems like a good guy, let’s give him a chance.” Or they say, “This kid is solid,” “He’s pretty cool,” or “That dude is legit.” Well, our founders probably had slightly higher standards than these, and most fraternity leaders would agree that we should have higher standards as well.
Fraternity Recruitment Secrets Make sure every man in your chapter, or every student leader that represents your campus council is prepared with the networking and conversation skills they need to hold quality conversations. Bring in etiquette experts to teach your members how to shake hands, carry on conversations, remember names, bridge conversations to other members, talk about the value and values of your organization, and how to handle common concerns that potential members have. Learning and then practicing these skills over and over is vital to recruitment success. Another way for a council or chapter to make it easier for members to talk with strangers is to provide members with something to talk about. However, the something that they have to talk about should be of interest and value to the prospective member. For example, many interfraternal councils or chapters offer a scholarship to all men on campus – each member gets a pile of scholarship applications and uses the offer of free money for tuition or books as an icebreaker for conversations. Similarly, many fraternities and councils do a charity raffle. They offer a free flier at campus events or do a survey around campus. All of these things give members a reason to talk with a stranger. If used correctly, members can also get the name and contact information of each person they meet, and try to build a connection so they have a reason to meet again later. Strategy 2: Go Beyond Formal Rush Rush is simply a short period of heightened recruitment activities that centers around huge events, pressure, fake conversations, and chicken wings. If your campus has Rush, then the strategy of going beyond that practice is simply meant to help you go beyond that “rush” process for better results. If “rush” works for you, okay, but ask yourself two questions: 1) Does this process actually lead to the highest quality members? and 2) What could we add to our normal rush process to get even more high quality guys?
The best chapters in the country are, in fact, very selective about whom they ask to join. Before they even consider whether or not a prospective member is a “good guy,” “solid,” or “legit,” they screen them through objective and measurable criteria that are based on their organization’s values. For example, if a strong chapter believes in brotherhood, charity, intelligence, and patriotism, then they make sure that each potential member they give a bid to has demonstrated exemplification of these values. They break these values into measurable criteria and ensure that each member meets their standards. This is called a “Values Based Selection Process,” and is what chapters that truly believe in quality make certain to use. Strategy #4: Seek Out Expert Advice If you want the best recruitment system, you need to ask advice from the best advisors. Seek out people and groups who know what they’re talking about. Start with your campus fraternity/sorority life professionals: they are there to help you succeed. Call your inter/national organization’s headquarters for advice; these are men who have dedicated their lives to helping your organization succeed. Seek out internet resources on blogs, websites, Facebook, etc… that can teach recruitment and organizational growth skills and systems. Ask alumni who are leaders in sales, who run companies, and who work for non-profit organizations to come in to teach you what they know. If you want to be the best, you have to ask the best. Seek out some of these best practices and implement them within your chapter and council. Don’t settle for the mediocrity that surrounds you or for your local “traditions”. Many of these things may actually be holding your organization back. Around the country, fraternity recruitment is changing dramatically; many argue that a revolution is taking place. Fraternity councils and chapters are revolting against the mediocrity of their past traditions which have yielded only “just good enough” results. There is a movement taking place to dramatically change the old, static, worn out methods of “frat guy rush,” and replace it with strategies that drive true results. Are you a revolutionary? If you realize these truths, utilize these strategies and seek out more information about this movement to revolutionize fraternity recruitment, you can truly be a leader in the effort to bring fraternities to true greatness. Recruitment is at the heart of everything we do as fraternities, so make sure the recruitment practices you use give you the best chance for success. G
about the authors For more information on Phired Up Productions and their industry leading Dynamic Recruitment training, books and resources, visit www.PhiredUp.com, call (630) 965-1779, or E-mail Info@PhiredUp.com.
Here are some ideas to meet non-Greek men that go beyond the traditional formal “rush” process: Referrals: Reach out to the following groups for referrals of men that would improve your organization: sororities, professors, alumni, university staff members, resident assistants, multicultural affairs staff, organizational leaders, local/ campus religious leaders, volunteer services office leaders, etc… Member Positioning: Make sure your members are in positions on campus with access to, and influence over, nonGreek men. Think about these positions: resident assistants, orientation leaders, campus tour guides, organization and MGCA // 007
The Top Five Recruitment Secrets for Sororities
by Jessica Gendron Phired Up Productions
Secret #1: You Can’t Recruit Who You Don’t Know. What do you think of SPAM (the cold, gooey, gelatinous meat byproduct that comes in a can)? Some of you are probably making the face of a ninety-year-old woman who just lost her dentures; it’s likely that you are thinking, “eww”, “gross”, or “disgusting”. But wait… have you ever actually tried SPAM before? If you said “no”, that’s perfect for what you are about to learn!
There are ‘anti-Greek’ people on any college campus and these people don’t usually describe fraternities and sororities in a favorable light. If I were to walk up to any random non-affiliated on any college campus and ask them what they think about sororities, many would express negative opinions. But, most of these people have never been affiliated, either. This is similar to the reaction I get when I mention SPAM to most people: they have an immediate negative reaction but most have never actually tried it. You’re probably wondering where I am going with all of this… let me explain. Over 70% of college students describe themselves as being either opposed or neutral to fraternity and sorority life at the time that they get to college. You might have been one of those people, but something, somewhere, somehow changed your perceptions. That “something, somewhere, somehow” was, for many, the process of making friends with someone that was affiliated. The world can have a pretty negative idea of what fraternities and sororities are about, but when individual members take the time to build a friendship with a person, that persons perceptions of what sorority or fraternity is all about changes. If you don’t make friends with lots of people, you’ll never have an opportunity to recruit them. With this first secret in mind, consider the beginning of your recruitment process and challenge yourself to focus your energies on getting to know as many women as possible before the recruitment process begins. This can also give women who weren’t considering exploring Greek life a reason to do just that. Secret #2: People Don’t Join Sororities. People Join People. Think of the name of the person or persons responsible for you being a member of your sorority. Got it? You thought of a name of a specific person almost immediately, didn’t you? This brings forth second point: people don’t join sororities, people join people. People don’t join chapters because of the fancy desserts, cool t-shirts, or the chapter’s intramural record; they join because of the friendships that they build with the members. True, we all grow a deeper affinity for our organizations over time but we initially joined because we developed a friendship with a member. Therefore, the old idea that it takes your entire membership to recruit one person is backwards because it only took one woman to recruit you. Friendship is at the very heart of sorority recruitment. Building friendships is not only what sororities are all about; it is also what recruitment is all about. Making friends and future sisters is why we recruit. People don’t join sororities. People join people. Secret #3: We Scare People. Be More Normal. Unfortunately, the stuff that we typically do during sorority recruitment can really scare people. It even scares fraternity men and that’s hard to do (and look at some of things THEY do). Typical sorority recruitment activities are not illustrations of normal behavior nor are they the way we normally make friends. Fifty sisters crammed into a doorway, chanting in unison at the top of your lungs, and banging on the doors and walls so hard that you could put your hand through the drywall does not say “Welcome to our home.” Spending all of your time trying to find the perfect t-shirt slogan, dessert, or theme for a round of recruitment does not focus on the core purpose of recruitment. For those of you that get easily distracted thinking about decorations… write this on your forehead so you are reminded each time you look in the mirror: “the core purpose of recruitment is to make friends”.
Want to know a secret about sorority recruitment? How about 5?
Sorority recruitment seems complicated. It seems like there are lots of “secrets” to making recruitment really work the way we want it to, but the truth is there are about five basic, simple, yet important secrets that lie at the heart of it all. In fact, they’re probably so easy that we don’t even realize their ability to help reach maximum potential during recruitment. And, when I say “maximum potential” I don’t mean “quota” or “total”: I mean the highest quantity of the highest quality women for your organization and in your community. So, would you like to hear these secrets?
008 // connections // 2008.summer
Take a good hard look at what you do during recruitment. If we saw 50 men doing some of the same things that we do during recruitment on the streets of our town in an effort to get dates, would that be appropriate? 99.999% of the time the answer would be, “HECK NO!” We need be more normal. People don’t join because your chapter house magically looks like the interior of an airplane (one of my favorite themes to make jokes about) or that you can make more noise than other sororities. Women join because of the friendships they establish. If recruitment is about making friends, we should try to do things that we would do in “normal” life to make friends. The way we normally recruit scares people. Be more normal. Secret #4: Focus on the Value-Added. Do you know what value your sorority adds to the lives of your members, your campus, and your surrounding community? Can each of your members communicate these things in an effective way? Let’s try a really quick activity. Draw a line down the center of a blank piece of paper. On one side, write down all of the benefits that your sorority provides to your members. On the other side, write down all of the benefits that your college can provide to any woman on campus. Now take a look at both lists. Notice anything? Most of the time, the lists are almost identical and if they’re not, they could be. Most of the stuff that sororities talk about in recruitment as a value-added benefit of membership is stuff that most women can get from a general college experience – they don’t need a sorority to experience that stuff!
Here’s an example: Each fall we host a volleyball tournament that for the entire campus. It raises money for our philanthropy, Habitat For Humanity (FEATURE). The event is really great because you get to spend lots of time bonding with the sisters, but you also get to meet new people from around campus. However, the best part is the money we raise and the cause that we help. Personally, I like it because I feel like I am making an impact and helping others (BENEFIT). Last year we raised enough money to build an entire Habitat House and some of us were actually asked to come along to the opening. We were able to tell the receiving family that they were getting the house, you should have seen the looks on their faces! The mom cried and gave us all hugs. It was really cool. The family asked us to be present when they got the keys; they wanted us to share that day with them since we played such a big part. I can’t wait (SUPPORTING STATEMENT). If someone would have talked about sorority in that way when I was going through recruitment I would have said, “Sweet, where do I sign, how much money do you need, and when can I start?” This is a way to talk about your organization in a way that feels genuine and sounds educated – plus the potential member understands that the sorority could make their life better (there’s the added value again). If you don’t know what value your organization adds, you need to find out and start teaching your members how to effectively communicate those things. Again, focus on the value added.
Teach your members how to talk about the value that your specific organization provides in a good and memorable way. And, not the way we typically talk about it: “Ummm, we do this philanthropy. It’s a volleyball tournament in the fall that raises money for this organization, blah blah blah.” Potential members hear an identical conversation, with a few minor changes, at every chapter they visit. That’s not memorable! Try using this pattern of conversation: Features*Benefits*Supporting Statements. Take the feature of membership (philanthropy, friendship, academics, etc.) while also describing how they will benefit from that feature. Finally, back it up with some supporting statements (also known as personal experience).
Secret #5: Grow Your Social Network. When sororities first started to come about, it wasn’t because someone got a bright idea out of thin air. The college environment for women in the mid-to-late 1800’s was not a very welcoming one; women weren’t allowed to do a lot of things, including having the same majors as men, using the same buildings, having the same classes, being in the same clubs or activities, or even using the same union. This was the catalyst for sororities to originally be formed. They were created as a means for women to socially connect and support each other in an environment that wasn’t otherwise welcoming. It’s important that we stay true to that founding and continue to offer those things by being socially connected to all women on campus including non-Greek ones. Whether you give bids out one day a year or all-year round, you should work to grow your social network 365 days a year. Keep track of your social network by using a Names List. A Names List is a list of all of the non-Greek women on campus that you are socially connected to. These can be women you know from your classes or other organizations, women from your hometown, women that live (or lived) on your floor, etc. Take your Names List and continue to add to it and create friendships with these women. One day, you may want to talk to them about being a part of your sorority or they may even ask. If it is true that you can’t recruit who you don’t know, but your chapter knows everybody – then you can recruit the highest quality women on campus. Growing your social network is the simplest and best way to maximize the opportunities to recruit the highest quantity of the highest quality women for your organization. Grow your social network. Okay, so there they are – The Top Five Recruitment Secrets for Sororities. Are you surprised? Probably not. The truth is they aren’t really secrets at all! So now that I have liberated you with the truth, go and recruit… and by recruit I mean just make new friends without scaring too many of them away! G
IN TA KE MEMBERSHIP
Have We Failed the Process? by Angela N. King Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Former Chair of the Membership Intake Workgroup for AFA
The current Membership Intake Process (MIP), now nearly twenty years old, continues to be met by much criticism and controversy by both undergraduates and alumni. Although under scrutiny, it is the process that has been selected by our leadership to continue to build and solidify our futures as thriving organizations. Is the MIP perfect? Absolutely not! With that said, it can be effective and workable when done correctly. Each member must make the decision to become an active participant in the Intake Process and determine how to make it work for their organization. As members, we can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines and complain about how we have been failed by the process; perhaps it is time to explore how we have failed the process.
Discretion The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) organizations value discretion when facilitating MIP. Frequently, we are concerned about the integrity of MIP being compromised by outsiders, but most often we are our own confidentiality nightmare. Between best friends, pillow talk, and loose lips, we share more than we should about our MIP. In the end, our confidentiality is compromised and we blame everyone except ourselves. In reality, the truly confidential aspect of the process is the actual ritual, but the process itself should be transparent to headquarters staff, leadership and university administrators. It is the responsibility of the undergraduate chapter to build rapport with the university to ensure a safe and successful MIP. Take initiative! Set up a meeting with your Fraternity and Sorority Life Office to introduce yourself, discuss your organization, and MIP. Meet with your Fraternity and Sorority Life Advisor before they have to request your presence in their office. The key to a successful university relationship is to be proactive. Be sure to provide any essential MIP information to your Fraternity and Sorority Life Office. Many offices require chapters to complete a MIP information packet that may request the names of aspirants, the date of rush or informationals, dates of initiation, as well as the beginning and end of the educational period. This should be an easy task for organizations seeking to be truly transparent. If necessary, the Fraternity and Sorority Life Office can obtain this information from the graduate advisor or your national office; however, it shows good faith on the part of the chapter if they are able to provide this information. Why is it essential to provide this information to the university? Simply put, you are a guest on the university campus. Yes, you may have some legal right to be apart of the campus community, but you do not have the right to ignore university policy or be a distraction. If you fail to follow University policy, it is impossible for University administrators to serve as an advocate for your chapter. In the unfortunate event that your organization should be the target of unwanted scrutiny, it is advantageous to have a positive relationship with university officials. Elevate the Standard Is your chapter GPA a 3.0 or better? If so, you are on the right track and are moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, chapters like these are the exception. Academics continue to be a consistent struggle for many NPHC organizations. First and foremost, we often have difficulty honoring the guidelines set forth by our national headquarters. We ask for exceptions to the GPA rules so that we may initiate members who do not meet the basic requirements of our illustrious organizations. If your chapter GPA requirement for aspirants is a 2.5 and a potential candidate has a 2.0, he or she may find it increasingly difficult to maintain satisfactory academic progress once presented with the additional responsibility that comes with being a chapter member. Aspirants have to learn to juggle academics along with the requirements of being a productive member of your organization. You are doing both your organization and the potential candidate a disservice by lowering academic standards for membership. For some, I am sure the shear honor of being a member of your organization will be enough to prompt them to turn their academic career around. For others, the increase in responsibility and demands could ensure academic failure. Some chapters decide that it is necessary to put aspirants “on hold”. This can be the demise of your chapter. Stop telling potential candidates that you will initiate them once their grades are up to par! If you are consistently unable to initiate the aspirant, this is sure to cause a problem for your chapter. This can result in bad feelings, negative publicity for your organization, and unwanted scrutiny. You are leading the candidate on and promising something that you may not be able to deliver. While academics are an important aspect of the NPHC organizations, there are other components that drive them. Aspirants should be honorable men and women of character who demonstrate a commitment to serving others. They should be active and upstanding members of the university and community. If the potential member is known to have problems with the university administration or the local authorities, chances are they will not make a good candidate for your organization. Keep It above Ground Your Intake process should be one of integrity; if your founders were living, they should be proud to be apart of the process. Conducting a process filled with integrity means that you are following the rules outlined by your organization as well as the university. It means that neophytes are having a meaningful experience because they were given the tools needed to be productive members of your organization. They should not emerge from the process mentally and physically wounded, humiliated, bitter, or unsure as to why they chose your organization. Far too often, news reports and public legal battles indicate that this is the experience of many neophytes. This is unacceptable and a detriment to the longevity
of organizations whose mission is based on the concept of uplifting its members and community. This behavior is inconsistent with the mission and vision of our founders. Are you truly willing to risk it all to say that you were “made”? Are you willing to have your name displayed on your organization’s website as an offender? Do you get a warm fuzzy feeling when you think of your name and picture being displayed at your national convention as an organizational delinquent? Perhaps you want to thank your parents with a costly and embarrassing lawsuit in which you are the defendant. If you choose this route, you risk going to prison or losing your parents’ home as this could serve as payment for your transgressions. Is it logical to risk it all to be “made” when there is a chance that you will be expelled from the organization or lose the opportunity to ever become a member? While the above sounds terribly bleak, please note that there is a more attractive option. You and your chapter can make the active decision to follow the process outlined by your organization. You should show aspirants and neophytes what it means to love your organization. If you truly love your organization, you will choose to cherish and protect it. Aspirants are often deterred from doing the right thing because they are afraid of carrying the stigma of what many call a “paper” member. Many believe that if you participate in an underground process, you will be a better member. This is not always the case. While some may be committed, many fail to actually do the work of the organization. Instead, they focus on the time they spent being “made” and how they can pass the negative aspects of this experience to others. In contrast, there are many members who are hard workers committed to the service of others that make the decision to conduct a legitimate process. These can be some of your best members if given the appropriate support and resources to be successful. The Big Reveal If your chapter desires to have a coming out show, step exhibition, or new member presentation, you must first obtain permission from your organization and the appropriate university administrators. It is imperative that you adhere to the policies set forth by your organizational leadership and university. Obtaining clearances will help to ensure that your event will go smoothly and that you have the support of your stakeholders. Be tasteful when creating your performance. Respect the campus and the Fraternity and Sorority Life community. Steer away from making insulting and demeaning remarks during your performance. While mild teasing has become a tradition during performances, chants should not be vicious, nor should they show the Fraternity and Sorority community in a negative light. Change the Process “The process is too short!”“It is too easy for aspirants to join the organization!”“There are too many restrictions during the process!” All of the above are common complaints regarding MIP. Such claims might have some validity, however, we have yet to demonstrate that we can efficiently execute the current process. We must show and prove that we can abide by the organizational policies already in place. Be an active and willing member. Have you met your financial obligations to be an active member? Do you regularly attend and participate in chapter meetings? Have you served on a committee or the executive board? When was the last time you attended a regional or national conference? If the answer is no or never, then why do you deserve a say? It is unlikely that you will be taken seriously if your only commitment is to be a letter wearer. Get involved and exercise the privileges afforded to you as a member. Make the Process a Success It is possible for any process to fail if it is not implemented properly. Do not continue to blame others for an unsuccessful MIP; instead, examine your role in the process and determine how you can be a change agent. Your chapter can be the model for a positive and successful MIP. Build trust and rapport with your organization’s leadership as well as university administrators. Embrace aspirants and neophytes as they are essential to the future success of your organization. Elevate the standards for your organization and solidify your existence in the fraternal movement.
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involved. Chapters should connect with each other to host collaborative events in facilities or in some on-campus location to demonstrate the value of community and discuss the benefits of membership with interested attendees. Traditional open house events or an evening of “Meet the Greeks” can be successful, but it may also be beneficial to think outside of the box to come up with an event that may be more beneficial to your community than another all-Greek BBQ. Also, remember, not all events need to be large or costly. Connecting on a more individual level allows chapters to establish meaningful relationships with potential new members, ensuring participation in the deferred joining process later that year.
Deferred recruitment. Love it or hate it, it is a reality for many fraternity and sorority communities. Arguments exist both for and against delayed recruitment, but in most instances, campuses that have adopted it are not going back anytime soon. Therefore, fraternity and sorority communities need to learn how to best strategically utilize the time at the beginning of the year to spread the word about Greek life and generate interest in membership. Asking some basic reflective questions is part of that process: How do we utilize those first few weeks on campus? What are some strategies for generating interest in the fraternity or sorority experience? The following are a collection of thoughts that can be used to generate conversation within your community on how to inspire interest in fraternity and sorority life on your campus: Manage Time Wisely Community leaders (both council and chapter) have time on their side in a deferred joining system. They have the benefit of having an entire semester (or quarter) to market the Greek experience, they are able to reach a new population with both freshmen and transfer students, and are able to establish a connection with current students that may have missed joining previously. All of this means that fraternity and sorority campus leaders should be prepared when the fall semester begins: events should be planned, the calendar should be set and the marketing and promotional materials should be ready for distribution. In other words, by the time the fall semester begins, leaders should be on auto pilot in order to maximize “face time” with the current non-affiliated population. With this approach to scheduling, the end of the academic year and summer months can be spent making the necessary arrangements in order to get the most exposure in the fall. Establish a Comprehensive and Consistent Marketing Plan A comprehensive marketing plan can go a long way in generating campus interest… and this doesn’t mean printing more t-shirts! Councils and chapters should take time to critically examine websites, printed materials/brochures, and other marketing or promotional items for consistency in both message and design. Too often, councils, and even Fraternity or Sorority Life offices, create something new year after year that ends up watering down the “Greek brand”. In addition to websites and the printed materials, utilize word of mouth and networking to generate interest. Establish connections with other student organizations; visit their meetings to provide an overview of what is happening in the fraternity and sorority world. Consider partnering with residence halls and residence advisors to host educational programs for on-campus residents. Sponsor a lunch in your commuter student lounge. These are just a handful of ideas to consider with a marketing plan. Part of successful marketing is distribution. Is sending materials out through email or Facebook the best way to reach the target audience? Are table tents in the dining halls the way to go? Do you need to create a ‘Go Greek’ or ‘Greek Street’ team to assist you in distributing your message? Conduct focus groups, survey friends, find ways to evaluate whether your message is reaching its intended audience. Realize that, as with anything, name and product recognition yields loyal consumers. Fraternity and sorority life is no different. Establishing a brand that is both recognizable and consistent ensures that you will not be ignored. Host Events There are endless ways to showcase the fraternity and sorority experience. Work with the councils, other chapters, the Greek Advisor(s) and other university administrators to host events that meet the needs and expectations of everyone 012 // connections // 2008.summer
Get Out and Meet People So maybe you did not have as many people beating down your door as you thought; perhaps your event was successful, but you would still like more people to register for recruitment or even check out the whole Greek life scene. Let’s be honest: only a very small percentage of students (the “always joiners,” if you will) will come to an event on their own. It is up to each individual fraternity or sorority member, to introduce yourself: talk to people in class, sit next to someone you do not know in the library or dining hall, join in on a pick-up game that is happening on your quad. Put yourself out there; you are the Greek expert and the best one that can sell the experience. Build a Coalition Great marketing, great events, and relationship building with potential new members are great starts to preparing for a successful recruitment. However, there are many other individuals on your campus and within your community that can assist you with identifying outstanding potential new members. Meet with faculty and staff to generate support and to obtain recommendations of outstanding students. Consider connecting with alumni; oftentimes, our alumni, both older generations and other recent graduates, know incoming students that may be interested in membership. Reach out to parents of new students to gain support. And, do not forget about building partnerships with the residence halls, off-campus student services and the multicultural center(s). The more campus support you have for the Greek experience, the more likely you are to have students check out joining when recruitment comes along. Don’t Forget About the Upperclassmen Your campus may be a deferred joining campus, but that does not mean that you should forget about your current pool of eligible students; sophomores, juniors, and even seniors are all excellent candidates. In some ways, these students have an advantage: they have had time to adjust to the college scene, are comfortable in their surroundings, and have probably made connections with other students that could also be recruited for membership. Be sure that some of your events and marketing materials target this population of students. Stop Making Excuses It is easy to make excuses about how deferred recruitment affects membership numbers. Realistically, all of those excuses are irrelevant when considering the fact that fraternities and sororities should be providing a college experience unlike any other on campus. The message that you send to potential new members should be one that is strongly built off of your community’s values. Be sure that your fraternity and sorority community members can clearly articulate why they joined a fraternal organization and what they have gotten out of their membership. Practice What you Preach None of the above steps matter if you do not have something of value to “sell” to your potential new members. Potential new members need to find value in organizational membership or else they simply will not join, regardless of whether or not recruitment is deferred. Encourage collaboration between membership educators, recruitment chairs, programming coordinators, and other campus professionals to create a membership experience that is intentional, valuable, and meaningful. Regardless of when your campus hosts recruitment, utilizing any of the above strategies allows the opportunity to build relationships with potential new members. By the time the formal process has begun, much of the legwork in the recruitment process should have already been accomplished. It is important to realize, however, that success during formal recruitment process should not just be measured by membership statistics alone. An effort needs to be made in order to understand the qualitative effect that marketing and preparation efforts in the fall had on publicizing the community. Not everyone that hears about fraternity and sorority life will be interested in membership; however, everyone on campus should at least know about the opportunity, understand what membership has to offer, and think highly of the experience so that, over time, effective member recruitment can be achieved.
Time is On Your Side: Strategies for Making the Most of a Deferred Joining Process by Helen Rotnem Oregon State University
Potential new members need to find value in organizational membership or else they simply will not join, regardless of whether or not recruitment is deferred.
We offer two campus-based recruitment programs. Depending on your needs as a campus, we can find a program that works best for you. Choose from: s Traditional 12-hour program s 3-hour program s Canâ€™t get enough? Add a day!
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Participate in a Ropes Course | Teambuilding Activities (can be facilitated by NME or campus professional – there are hundreds of these activities that you could use) | Participate in and/or plan a Community Service Project | New Member Surprise Party hosted by members | Have a Resume Writing Workshop presented by Career Development Center | Attend Educational Speaker of new members choice and discuss as a chapter | Leadership Book-of-the-Month/Semester Club facilitated by new members | Invite Faculty Advisor to lunch with new members | Have a Discussion about the Relevance of the Creed today | Study Skills Workshop presented by the Learning Center | Successful Alumni Speaker to talk about how f/s gave skills to succeed | Arts and Crafts for a Cause | Participate in a Recruitment Workshop | Invite IFC/PHC Officers to Speak about Community Governance | Invite Coordinator of Greek Affairs to speak about lifetime membership | Dinner and a Movie | Shadow an Officer and assist in planning of a program/event | Create a vision and goals for the organization | Plan a fundraiser to pay for initiation fees | Include new members in chapter meetings | Include new members in regularly scheduled chapter activities | Discuss fraternal values and how they apply (or don’t apply) | Plan and present a speaker on a health/wellness topic | Require active membership in at least one organization outside the group | Evaluate the process during and after new member education | Host a Family Weekend activity | Have consultant or national visitor talk about national programs | Discuss what “national” does for “us” with dues money | Attend a Panhellenic or Interfraternity Council meeting | Participate in all-Greek events (e.g. Fall Fiesta, A Week to GIVE, Up ‘til Dawn) | Review parliamentary procedure and its purpose | Ask leadership experts to discuss issues such as motivation and group dynamics | Have new members take the Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Inventory and discuss | Ask a faculty member discuss ethical decision making | Ask a faculty member to facilitate a conversation on diversity in fraternities and sororities | Ask campus health educator to do a presentation on eating disorders or depression, etc. | Ask university police to discuss the prevention of violence against women | Ask Coordinator of Greek Affairs to describe what the college offers fraternities/sororities | Plan a philanthropy project for a local charity | Have a contest for who can recruit the most new members to join and reward the winner with a fully-paid membership badge or initiation fee | Members and new members make “secret sisters/brothers” gifts for each other | Discuss risk management and liability with the university counsel | Brainstorm ways to recruit new members to present to chapter | Have an all-campus or all-fraternity/sorority community “Meet Our New Members” Picnic | Have new members play on the chapter intramural team | Plant a new member class tree | Sponsor a big/little academic challenge with free textbooks to the winner | Have a candlelight/pass the gavel ceremony about what fraternity means to me | Have a senior Student Affairs administrator talk about history of fraternities/ sororities at the College | Brainstorm ways to improve scholarship (other than study hours) | Attend theatrical production or athletic event of the new members choosing | Ask the library to give a lecture on effective research methods | Attend a program or event another organization is sponsoring | Have a discussion about membership standards and expectations | Have a chapter goal-setting retreat | Ask new members to accompany members to regional leadership conferences | Attend the campus Leadership Conference or workshops | Deconstruct past hazing activity to determine intent and brainstorm alternatives | Write a “letter to the founders” to thank them for the opportunity (not to be shared) | Attend an Executive Board meeting | Have new members help Executive Board develop an icebreaker for each meeting | Develop a leadership “wish list” or time line of chapter and campus activities | Invite the Chapter Accreditation Program Coordinator to speak about the rationale and benefits of the program | Invite the Learning Center or Career Development Center to explain their services | Develop a faculty advisor appreciation gesture | Chapter and new members collaborate on a house improvement project | Develop an event with a non-Greek organization that requires new members to ask the Student Association for additional allocations or to apply for a campus grant | Have new members develop a list of ways to end chapter motivation issues | Ask the Mayor to discuss city issues and how the group can help | Ask the Elections Commissioner to discuss politics in the city/county/nation | Require members to register to vote. Give an incentive to those who do | Require members below a 3.0 to attend a study skills program | Develop a program that allows you to begin calling them “new members…” rather than “pledges” | Discuss the founding of the group and how the organization has evolved over time while maintaining the vision, and if it hasn’t, how can the group return to its’ roots? | Attend the Greek Diversity Enlightenment Program sponsored by the Centers for Greek Affairs and Diversity, Pluralism & Inclusion | Review the history of hazing, the evolution of Greek new member education and the direction f/s recruitment is headed | Discuss the “old way” of pledging versus the “new way” with a panel of alumni, administrators and council officers | Develop or co-sponsor a program or event with another sorority if you’re a women’s groups or a fraternity, if a men’s group | Have a professional discuss the “Millennial Generation” and how groups can better recruit based on this research | Offer a discount or reimbursement of part of the initiation fee if a new member completes Alternative Winter or Developed by Allison Swick-Duttine Spring Break. Extra money if completes Greek Alternative Spring Break | Give highest new member GPA recipient a plaque Coordinator of Greek Affairs & or $25 gift certificate to nice restaurant | New member who develops best recruitment plan (or scholarship plan) gets a Leadership Development free ____ | Ask Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) graduates to speak about lessons learned and opportunities Plattsburgh State University of New York to attend | Do a chapter fundraiser to send a new member to the North-American Interfraternity Conference’s FuturesQuest Program or UIFI | Have a discussion about why new members wear pins and not members | Attend New Member Contributed by Tracy Maxwell Workshop with the Coordinator of Greek Affairs | Check a book out of the Greek Resource Library to read and have a HazingPrevention.Org chapter discussion about | Allow new members time for themselves to do and be what they want. Don’t monopolize PO Box 440470 their time | Have a weekly forum for the new members to discuss their feelings | Invite another group to develop a proAurora, CO 80044-0470 gram to benefit the entire Greek Community | Invite a Campus Fitness Specialist or Dietician to discuss dietary fads – pros 303/325-7831 and cons | Ask each member to list the offices/chairs they would be interested in. Have them list five things they would firstname.lastname@example.org do differently about each. Compile results without names attached and have a constructive conversation | Develop one memento of the new member class to present to the campus | Eliminate the creation of pledge class “paddles”, no matter their use. They’re symbolic of hazing. Come up with an alternative | Ask a professor to do a workshop on etiquette | Have lunch together once a week in a dining hall with the entire sorority/fraternity | Invite faculty advisor to new member meetings | Visit the national headquarters | Question each activity and evaluate the program each semester with the help of the advisor and Coordinator of Greek Affairs.
Ways to Create Good Members Without Hazing
Do you wonder how your Greek Advisor got his or her job? Are you involved on campus and love it so much that you do not want your involvement to end? Let me share one simple secret to achieving these things: a career in student affairs. In a broad sense, the field of student affairs focuses on the learning experiences that occur outside of the college classroom and the engagement of students in all aspects of campus life. Careers in student affairs can include working specific functional areas such as fraternity and sorority life, residence life, judicial affairs, academic advising or even admissions and financial aid. If you are passionate about your current level of involvement and want to make a difference in students’ lives and experiences in higher education, then you should consider a career in student affairs. Where to Begin? Talk to one of your advisors; ask them how they got their job, why they chose student affairs, and what they find most rewarding about their position and experiences. The next step is to research relevant graduate programs. Your research will uncover programs that exist throughout the country, each emphasizing different aspects of the field. One of the most important factors when researching is determining the kind of experience you want from a graduate program. Consider these questions during your research: > Do you want to go somewhere different than your undergraduate institution? > Do you want to experience a different region of the country? > How large do you want the school and program to be? > Do you need financial assistance to pay for graduate school? > How long do you want the program to be? > What emphasis of student affairs do you want the program to have?
Considering a Career in Student Affairs? by Lynsey Stuart / Virginia Tech
What are the Different Types of Student Affairs Programs? Student affairs programs originally evolved from counseling programs. Today, programs range from counseling to higher education administration. Programs typically focus on practice or on theory as the educational foundation. Practicebased programs tend to have a professional practice emphasis that helps students get practical, in-the-field experiences where theory-based programs tend to offer a heavier college counseling or administrative emphasis that examines student development theories in depth. Many programs have had success in integrating these approaches and provide strong practical experiences that are grounded in theory, as competencies in both areas are essential to becoming an effective student affairs professional Graduate programs are generally two years cohort programs and range from 30-60 credit hours to graduate. Another difference can be the program faculty; exploring how many full-time faculty exist and who is among the group may be important to you. The Application and the Interview Every program has a different application and interview process. In most cases, you will be required to fill out a program application and provide reference letters, transcripts, test scores (most often the GRE), a resume and application essays or personal statements. Do not take the application process lightly. Sit down and take the time to fill out the application, review it, and especially in the case of essays and personal statements, have a mentor review them. Most programs require an interview with the program faculty and assistantship supervisors; many programs hold “interview weekends”. If you cannot attend a particular weekend, make sure to schedule phone interviews with the faculty. Throughout the interviewing process, remember to be yourself and make connections with both the faculty and the current students in the program. Interview weekend will likely include interviews for graduate assistantships; assistantships are crucial. Not only do assistantships typically subsidize tuition and provide a monthly stipend, but they serve as one of the most important practical experiences you can obtain while in graduate school. Approach this experience as an opportunity to gain new experiences as well as build skills in your current interest areas.
Tips to Remember The process of choosing a graduate preparation program may be overwhelming, but below are tips to make the process simpler. > Talk to professionals you know about the field > Choose the location of your program wisely > Get to know the program faculty > Contact students who are currently in the program > Look at the program’s graduation and placement rates > Get involved on campus when you are in graduate school Graduate school is what you make of it, so make the most of your time and experience. Working in student affairs can be a very rewarding career.
SEE YOU IN
SAINT LOUIS 2009 MGCA Conference
Renaissance Grand Hotel & Suites with the Americas Convention Center
In the last issue of Connections, our Facilitation 411 article focused on how to define and discuss organizational purpose by asking the question, “Who are you and what do you do?” This simple question is a quintessential step in building a foundation for recruitment and should be discussed at least annually during chapter retreats, officer transition workshops, and membership education events. Every chapter needs a shared vision and purpose that connects its members and creates buy-in. Without this, a chapter is not a unified group but a simple collection of sub-groups that share the same space.
Several chapters of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity use the phrase “Scholars, Leaders, Athletes, and Gentlemen” to broadly define their organizational mission. This simple phrase, often shortened to the acronym “SLAG” in conversation, also doubles as a values statement, allowing all members to immediately recognize a shared vision. At the national level, Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity has declared itself “America’s Leadership Development Fraternity” and their programs and priorities reflect this mission statement. Fraternity and sorority chapters cannot be all things to all students, so it is important for your chapter on your campus to create a niche for itself and define what makes it unique. Once a chapter identifies its defining characteristics and mission, recruitment and membership education will be easier. In other words, to use an oft quoted phrase, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do.” On which road is your chapter traveling? These concepts can apply to all types of recruitment activities, intake procedures, and new member education programs. First, identify and define your chapter’s organizational purpose and mission, and then build a recruitment and membership development plan around those key concepts. These processes are both an art and a science, and they cannot be done quickly or without some thought. Once a chapter has defined itself, it can take better advantage of numerous outside sources for assistance with recruitment mechanics and planning strategies. There are numerous speakers and experts on this topic, both within the fraternity/sorority world and in other related academic disciplines such as sales, organizational behavior, cultural anthropology, and management.
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Getting Started This activity assumes that your chapter has at least a basic mission statement in place. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you should have something on paper or at least within the verbal knowledge base of the membership. If you don’t have a mission statement, consult with your inter/national office or alumni advisors to find a starting point. You can also refer to the winter 2008 issue of Connections for the Facilitation 411 article dealing with how to create a mission statement or vision. Room Set-Up A large room is best, with movable chairs or a large aisle. A wide hallway or outdoor green space can also be used. Provide copies of the chapter mission statement to all members, or display on a poster board, newsprint, or projection screen. The room should easily accommodate several small group areas for seven or eight students to work uninterrupted. Obviously, the larger the chapter, the more space is needed. Estimated Time 25-30 minutes are needed for a basic set of questions. Time can be extended based on length of small or large group discussion. Learning Objectives At the end of the program, participants will have personally identified and discussed their view of the chapter mission statement, thoughts about areas of recruitment/intake that need to be improved, practiced conversation skills, and provided feedback to others. Instructions The facilitator introduces the activity as a “decision continuum” and informs the participants they will need to “agree” or “disagree” with a series of statements by placing themselves along a continuum line. The facilitator marks one end or area of the room as “strongly agree” and an opposite end or area of the room as “strongly disagree.” The area in between can be designated as neutral ground or a sliding scale of agreement or disagreement. The facilitator announces a series of statements or questions regarding the chapter’s mission or priorities and the members place themselves along the decision line by walking to a self-chosen point on the agree-disagree continuum. Once all members have positioned themselves, the facilitator can move among the group and ask for volunteers to share why they chose to stand where they did; getting two or three examples from each side of the line usually works best. It is best to start with non-threatening questions or statements first, to ease the members into the activity. Once the instructions are understood and members are comfortable with the activity, the facilitator can move to deeper, more advanced, or controversial questions or statements. If a decision continuum that involves all members is impractical or impossible to accomplish due to room size or chapter size, split the chapter into groups of seven or eight for small group discussion of the same questions. Using a whistle or bell, the facilitator can read each statement and give the groups a short amount of time, say seven or eight minutes, to discuss each statement and prepare brief remarks to share with the whole group. These ideas and statements can be written on newsprint or verbally shared with the entire group. The key is to have a scribe write down or collect all materials and use these group statements and reactions to amend or edit the chapter’s mission statement.
Recruitment Decision Continuum
Possible Questions The facilitator should customize the decision continuum questions based on each chapter’s unique situation and campus niche. The questions that follow are examples to get you started. Our chapter size is too big/small Our chapter should focus more on academics/athletics/community service The recruitment chair is solely responsible for recruitment Recruitment is fun and worthwhile for members to participate in We utilize parent, alumni, and student referrals in our recruitment We utilize recruitment teams within our chapter effectively We depend too much on passive measures in our recruitment efforts We depend too much on chapter reputation in our recruitment efforts We depend too much on entertainment or gimmicks to draw people to our recruitment events We truly get to know our potential new members before inviting them to join Usually, it is beneficial to begin with questions that are low impact and move toward more controversial ones. This is especially helpful if the chapter tends to deal with specific problem areas from year to year. The key is to select topics that will spark interesting and applicable discussions for your members, specifically. For example: Our chapter takes the campus’s recruitment rules seriously Our chapter adheres to a substance free recruitment These questions, and the resulting responses to them, will show either consensus or a wide range of opinion on each topic. Using a decision continuum forces everyone to make a choice, and it keeps the most talkative members in the chapter from dominating discussions or swaying votes. Members will be making a personal choice in where to stand on the agreement line before hearing the opinions of others. Wrap Up As the author and humorist Will Rogers once said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” There are so many things that a chapter can do to take action! Define your chapter’s organizational mission and build a recruitment plan that plays to your chapter’s niche on campus. Practice conversation skills and organizational knowledge among all members. Design a membership education program that assimilates new members into your chapter and teaches organizational mission. A good chapter mission statement should be able to serve as a template for all chapter activities, and a constant reminder of priority, place, and purpose for your chapter.
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FROM THE ROAD Oklahoma State University - NPHC Recruitment/Intake In an effort to increase membership, educate current members and potential members, the NPHC at Oklahoma State University has put their membership intake processes under construction. Over years the Oklahoma State NPHC has received minimal campus publicity which has lead to a decrease in numbers. In an effort to increase exposure and attract new members the council begin to collaborate with PHC and IFC in recruitment efforts. These collaborations range from Greek Discovery Day (geared to high school seniors), Greek Week, summer freshman orientation luncheons, and Camp Cowboy (for new freshman), in addition to NPHC sponsored events. The council as a whole has come to realistically understand that in order for the council to grow we must be known by the campus community for our good deeds and involvement. Along with increased campus visibility and marketing efforts, NPHC members were educated on hazing and created a membership intake petition policy. This intake policy requires the chapters to verify the academic standing of potential new members through the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs prior to any intake. This past year of implementing new intake policies has been tough but it has yielded more student responsibility in sustaining chapter membership, accountability to the University, and has also increased unity among all Greeks on campus. The Oklahoma State NPHC has begun a process that will yield tremendous results for the council and all of the councilâ€™s chapters in the future.
From the Road is a chance to highlight best practices from Fraternity and Sorority communities across the nation. What has your campus done lately that deserves recognition? If you would like to be featured in an upcoming issue, go online to www.mgca.org/services/connections and submit an overview of a great activity that your council or community has done lately.
Kansas State University - IFC The Kansas State University Fraternity Community uses an informal 365 day/year recruitment model. However, chapters do the majority of their recruiting during the spring and summer months. K-State allows freshmen to live in fraternity houses, and most fraternity members actually join before they ever set foot in a college classroom. High school seniors and transfer students may join beginning the 3rd week of April each year. In an average year, the fraternity community will sign 450 new members and 90% will join before they get to campus. The average new member class is 18.75 per chapter, with a range of 4-35 across the entire fraternity community. Most chapters elect (hire) one or two members to serve as full-time recruitment chairmen during the summer months. These paid individuals begin recruiting PNM’s in the fall of their senior year of high school and many chapters have the majority of their new member class filled by an April deadline day. Recruitment chairman make home visits much the same way collegiate athletic recruiters do, and plan recruitment events such as attending a major league baseball game, a day at the lake, or a trip to the paintball park. Chapters that elect hard-working motivated recruitment chairmen usually reach their recruitment goals. These individuals are supported by adequate financial and supervisory support, involving all members in recruitment, and utilizing referrals from members and alumni. K-State also utilizes technology systems provided by Interactive Collegiate Solutions (www.icsmg.com) to manage the potential new member (PNM) database and have evolved the snap-bidding process so chapters can offer and PNMs can accept electronic bids online. This technology has made it easier to maintain PNM and member databases, secure PNM and Chapter information, and reduce the impact of high fuel prices on chapter recruitment budgets.
Colorado State University At Colorado State University, it seems that more and more new students arrive on campus already having decided whether or not they want to join a fraternity or sorority. To positively impact this trend, the Greek leaders at CSU are working to create new partnerships around campus and their surrounding community. Two initiatives that are proving beneficial to the growth in their membership are the High School Outreach Program and the Partially Delayed Recruitment/Pre-Recruitment Events. The High School Outreach Program allows fraternity and sorority members to join high school seniors once a week for a two-hour “advisory” class. These fraternity and sorority members work with teachers to develop and present workshops teaching life skills needed after high school, such as financial management, interview skills, resume building, interpersonal skills and tips for succeeding in college. Members wear letters and are able to share their collegiate experiences all while dispelling typical stereotypes associated with Greek membership. For the students who enroll at CSU the following year, they see many familiar and friendly faces on campus, and for those who attend college elsewhere, it is the hope that they are actively seeking fraternity and sorority membership on their chosen campus. An additional event is in partnership with CSU Residence Life. Over the last three years, the CSU fraternity and sorority community has partnered with the residence hall staff in an effort to positively recruit first-year students. By pushing recruitment to the end of September, the governing councils encourage students to adjust to residence living, college requirements and class schedules before making the commitment to a Greek organization. While still utilizing other mediums across campus to advertise that “Recruitment is coming,” CSU council leaders wait until around the fourth week into the semester before recruiting in the Residence Halls. When unveiled, the residence hall marketing campaign consists of various advertising media in and around each hall, on the living floors, lobbies, hallways, and dining halls. That same week, the councils and Recruitment Counselors host a variety of sponsored events including ice cream socials, game nights, trivia and movie nights, and informational sessions. Partnering with the CSU Department of Residence Life provides our chapters the ability to safely and positively recruit new members. Recruitment numbers have shown a positive outcome from this newly designed avenue of recruitment, and the Greek organizations are happy with the success of the partnership.
l a m r o F c i n e l l e h Pan ... k r o w t o n s e o d t Recruitmen . y t i s r e v i n U l at DePau There, I said it.
ould be doing a cam Many campuses sh In t. en tm le of recrui pus customized sty Paul University de De , the fall of 2004 r ou ize m e to custo cided that it was tim recruitment. to say that the stu I would be remiss st ju I d an cision first dents made this de mpus advisor, how ca a went with it as h ug ro th eate buy in ever, I was able to cr the Panhellenic ith w conversations of g the possibilities leadership regardin d an e tiv ea that was cr creating a change campus. customized to our
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During the fall of 2004, DePaul University participated in its last formal recruitment. Typically, potential new members (PNM)s are required to sign up before the first day of rounds, and if a woman failed to show up for an event, she was booted from the process. Additionally, the process happens over consecutive days for everyone (PNMs and chapter members), which meant many students neglected their academics and got very little sleep. After observing this first recruitment, and being aware of the new National Panhellenic options for recruitment styles, I suggested changing the style for 2005 about a year in advance. According to the recruitment statistics from 2004 at DePaul University (with four Panhellenic chapters), we had a quota of 22, and matched 76 PNMs. However, we had 125 register for the process. Our campus total at the time was 45. On a campus of 13,000 undergraduate students, only 76 affiliated and 125 registered seemed to be missing a great deal of our available audience. We focused on the sophomores doing the recruiting, the new members of the chapters, and the women who withdrew. Realistically, recruitment is not about the chapter members, so we found that creating a process to attract potential new members is a much smarter business. Thus, after finding some key students that were interested in improvements and creating buy-in with the Panhellenic President and Panhellenic Recruitment Chair, the three of us spent a great deal of time brainstorming what the ideal recruitment would look like at DePaul as well as thinking and dreaming about the overall big picture. In January and February of 2005, after researching and developing many calendar possibilities, we presented the three calendars with the most potential to the chapter recruitment chairs. In March and April we met weekly and all modified
Finally, another large change was rolling registration. In PSR, women can register until the chapters only have 2 events left, meaning she can still meet the requirement the chapters set for staying active in recruitment. For DePaul, that means we are able to use the women who attend during the first 5 days of recruitment to be our marketers, tell their friends how much fun it was, and bring them the next day to register. Typically, we have 100 more women sign up between the first day of recruitment and the last day of registration. Overall, the statistics from our first partially structured recruitment in 2005 speaks for itself: quota of 48 (remember total was 45), and 230 women registered and paid for the process. We had 167 women placed, and only 145 active women at the time. It was one of my favorite days of work ever, getting to call the chapter recruitment chairs and tell them quota was 48, and the screaming in excitement or the silence of shock was a great time! When we originally starting planning for PSR, we thought we were dreaming big hoping for a quota of 30, and it ended up being so much larger than we had ever anticipated. As a result of the number of women placed, we started the process of expansion and have since brought two more chapters to campus, and have raised total to 60. Customizing your Panhellenic recruitment is a fantastic opportunity, openly endorsed by NPC with the alternative recruitment methods. The key to customizing though is not to duplicate, as is common with formal recruitment, but to do what works for you, ask yourself why women drop out, can women actually attend your events at the times they are, and many other questions.
Stop the Insanity!
Primarily, remember to customize based on our customers, the potentials – what works best for them may not be your by Shannon J. Greybar Milliken / DePaul University favorite traditions, but it will allow more women to have the fantastic experience our actives have had.
How DePaul University Customized their Panhellenic Recruitment the calendar until all chapter representatives felt it was fair.
As a small group, we agreed to tell the general Panhellenic population that we were switching to partially structured recruitment (PSR), but kept most of the details within the group until we had all decided many of the details. From the chapter perspective, the commitment looked much the same as it had in formal recruitment – each chapter had 4 events now before preferences, and only 2 in formal, and preference looked the same as it did during formal. The length of time of the events was the same, events lasting an hour, and preference an hour and fifteen minutes.
Remember, formal recruitment does not work for everyone. Since 2005, DePaul has been doing PSR which has resulted in a quota of 26 in 2006, and 30 in 2007, and the total number of women involved in Panhellenic has more than doubled since 2004. I once was told by an English professor, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.” If formal recruitment is not working, and has not for years, changing the process will only make it better, not worse – as my professor would say, “Don’t be insane!”
The increase in the number of events allowed the chapter to get to know the women better before deciding on whom to invite to preference. However, because we were not having every chapter go every night, the amount of time the active women were recruiting was exactly the same. Instead of having all 4 chapters recruit on Thursday and Friday as is typical during formal recruitment, 2 of them will go on Monday and Wednesday and the other two went on Tuesday, Thursday. In other words, chapters were able to recruit in about half of the time, with better results. Once we established a calendar, we needed to establish rules. One of the biggest changes in the rules was eliminating the silence period prior to and during recruitment. The women recognized the need to market more and get more women signed up to increase quota, and decided to have the entire Panhellenic population be part of the marketing team, allowing the actives to talk to unaffiliated women until strict silence, which is between the time after preference events are complete and bid are given out. Changes in the rules since 2005 have included changing chapter themes (for example, C’est La Vie Alpha Phi, Come fly with Delta Zeta Airlines) to be just the chapter. So now Delta Zeta will only use the colors of their chapter (pink and green) and turtles and their chapter flower for decorations. The changing of the themes has allowed chapters to reuse materials every year, and gives the active women something to talk about with PNMs, no matter what they look at in the room. Additionally, when a PNM recalls chapter room decorations, they are not thinking of frivolous decorations, but rather decorations with some meaning. Attendance requirements of PNMs also changed with PSR. Each chapter required PNMs to attend their chapter event twice, out of the four events. During formal recruitment, we had two rounds before preference, so chapters are ensuring they spend the same amount of time with the PNMs before preference as they did in formal. If a PNM chooses to come to all four events, then she has done more than required, but will get to know the chapter that much more.
Shannon J. Greybar Milliken is the Program Coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life at DePaul University. Shannon also is a member of the Board of Directors of MGCA, a facilitator for CAMPUSPEAK and does independent consulting work on college campuses across the country. Shannon has done over 30 presentations on Partially Structured Recruitment at conferences and universities across the country. Shannon can be reached at email@example.com.
My chapter has alcohol at almost all of our recruitment events. The exec board’s reasoning behind it is “We want to make sure guys are not creepy when they have been drinking. It’s part of making sure he’s a gentleman and meets our membership standards.” I know it’s wrong but I don’t know how to tell them. HELP!
My institution just instituted a policy that requires us to tell them when we are taking a line and who we are taking. But my chapter has a policy to keep that information a secret from everyone. The people in charge are not members of NPHC so they don’t get it. Can they make such a policy? How can I help them understand my point of view?
Chad Ellsworth / University of Minnesota
Chad Ellsworth / University of Minnesota
One way you can address the issue with the chapter in a less confrontational way is by spending some time developing formal membership standards for recruits (and members). These minimum standards should be grounded in the collective ideal image of the chapter and the organizational values (i.e. if you value academic success, then the chapter should have a high minimum grade point average). In the development and discussion of those membership standards, you create an open space for discussing the place of drinking in the recruitment process without being confrontational or judgmental. Odds are that you are not alone in your chapter in your opinion, and a discussion like this can give others an opportunity to speak up.
Policies like this can seem invasive, but they exist to protect individuals and organizations. Many campuses have policies like this to protect the integrity of the membership process. Some NPHC organizations require chapters to meet with their campus fraternity/sorority advisor before taking a line and to verify the enrollment status of any potential members. The best advice I can give you is to have a conversation with your fraternity/sorority advisor and talk with them about ensuring the integrity and privacy of the process. Also, don’t forget Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s Habit 5 (from the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”): Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Jennifer Leung / college of william & mary
Jennifer Leung / college of william & mary Perhaps instead of just telling them it’s wrong, you can ask if the chapter can have a conversation about how to best recruit new members. In that conversation, have the chapter think about what qualities they are looking for in good members and to think of the types of events or activities that are good ways to find out if potential members have those qualities: community service, intramurals, etc. Also point out that a great way to recruit members is by introducing them to events and activities the chapter regularly participates in (assuming your chapter doesn’t spend 100% or even a majority of its time drinking or around alcohol). Try to find allies in the chapter who agree that this is not the best method of recruiting the best members; some people might be hesitant to speak up because they think they are alone in their thinking. Finally, forget drunk and creepy, it will be more important to make sure these guys aren’t creepy when they are sober! John Pfingston / kappa alpha order Confronting members about negative traditions is one of the hardest things to deal with in a chapter. You may indeed find out what a guy is like after he has consumed a few drinks or maybe your active members need some liquid courage before they feel comfortable talking to a potential brother. But what kind of prospects will the chapter attract when alcohol is used to recruit—especially if this is one of the first encounters with non-members? People are rarely themselves when alcohol is involved and I would venture to say that a vast majority, if not all, of the individuals going through recruitment are younger than 21 (so be aware of the potential repercussions from your National Office and with the law). It is ironic that your chapter’s leadership believes that consuming alcohol is the way to ensure that someone is a gentleman and would use that to gauge an individual’s ability at meeting membership standards. Instead, your members should talk to these men soberly, inquire about their interests, and inform them on what your chapter’s expectations will be if they decide to join. I am glad you know that this behavior is wrong and are seeking to correct it, but if you yourself cannot stand up and address the chapter’s executive board, find someone who will. It could be an older member, past officer, involved alumnus, or possibly your Greek advisor. Sometimes the right thing to do is not always the easiest.
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Ask “the people in charge” if you can set up a meeting to talk about the policy. Before going into the meeting, do some research; it may be your chapter’s policy to keep the information secret, but is it your national organization’s policy? What are other campuses in your area doing, what do their policies and practices look like? During the meeting, explain why your chapter feels it is important to keep that information secret, but also listen to others’ reasons as to why the policy was instituted; usually policies are not created just for the simple sake of having another policy. Help be part of the solution by sharing ideas that help both parties come to a resolution that is reasonable. Sarah Torretta / delta delta delta fraternity During the intake process, it’s important to be as open and honest with the university as possible. The university has a responsibility to provide for the safety and growth of the students in its care and to ensure that the activities that it sponsors are in accordance with policies and procedures that fit the campus. It’s absolutely okay for the university to have a policy requiring a chapter to share when they are taking a line and who they are taking, and the chapter should be supportive of this policy in order to build valuable relationships with the campus community. Without the support of colleges and universities organizations like ours would cease to exist as we know them. Who knows, by informing the university of your intake process regularly, the support they provide could help your chapter grow stronger!
this month’s experts: Jennifer A. Leung // College of William & Mary John E. Pfingston // Kappa Alpha Order Chad Ellsworth // University of Minnesota Sarah J. Torretta // Delta Delta Delta Fraternity
Our campus Panhellenic Council is trying to lower the cost to participate in Panhellenic Recruitment but we are having a hard time cutting our council budget or finding other ways to compensate… what are your ideas for creative ways to cut costs?
Chad Ellsworth / University of Minnesota
Sarah Torretta / delta delta delta fraternity
Don’t be afraid to be creative. For example, you could create an advertisement section for any published recruitment materials or you could look for “in kind” donations, such as discounted food, paper supplies, or T-shirts in exchange for including logos on banners, brochures, flyers, T-shirts, etc. In reducing expenses, the best advice I can give you is to remember that more people join because of personal relationships than because of impersonal advertisements, events, flyers, etc., and coincidentally, it’s much more cost-effective, too! Consider assigning recruitment counselors to residence halls, and asking them to join hall-specific Facebook groups or eating lunch in the dining centers with first year students. There are also several free alternatives to advertisements in the campus newspaper, chalking is one common one.
As a Panhellenic Council, there are several things you can do to cut costs. First, you can examine your campus and determine that you are participating in the best recruitment style for your environment (partially-structured, minimally structured, etc.). This can save time and money, and might help more women find the best fit for their Greek experience. Second, try creative advertising and scheduling. Place information online, instead of printing costly papers and booklets. Avoid scheduling recruitment activities during meal times, which can be costly. If you pay for t-shirts or other “goodies” (for example recruitment t-shirt to wear the first night, or a photo frame), you might seek local businesses and sponsors to keep costs down and thus keep the potential new members from having to absorb a higher fee. Lastly, savings typically occur when you partake in “no frills” recruitment. Remember that the point of recruitment is to get to know the PNM, so that you can determine if they are the kind of person who will be a lasting and productive member of your organization or not. Don’t feel that you have to ‘wow’ the PNM with the ‘bells and whistles.’ If you haven’t already, start having a Philanthropy night and make a project to give to a charity. Keep decorations tasteful and not over-the-top. You don’t want to intimidate them with balloons and streamers, keep it real. One chapter I worked with got together before recruitment and made their nametags out of cardboard. They painted the cardboard chunks (not all the same size) and then added their own photos, paper, and decorations to personalize. This saved money, provided a sisterhood activity, and gave each active member something to talk about with the PNMs during Recruitment.
John Pfingston / kappa alpha order
ask the experts
Without seeing your council’s budget, it would be hard to say what areas could be reduced or possibly cut. I would suggest calling other institutions that have a similar size Greek community and ask what they charge or what techniques they incorporate to lower costs. If that doesn’t help, you could always seek out local businesses in the community or close to campus that college students support and see if they would be interested in helping co-sponsor sorority recruitment. For example, Paul’s Pizza, Bill’s Bookstore, and Kate’s Coffee could sponsor Panhellenic Recruitment and in return get advertising around campus (banners, flyers, radio time, t-shirts, etc.). I have also seen some campuses put together Greek Life Recruitment books and sell ads in them to help cover the costs—similar to the process that newspapers and magazines use when selling ads. Keep in mind, however, that all this takes a lot of planning and depends upon how well members can sell and market these ideas to local business owners.
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University of North Dakota Gamma Phi Beta put on probation for Indian party A UND sorority that hosted a party where students wore mock Indian clothing and red face and body paint was placed on a yearlong conduct probation…. The Gamma Phi Fall Fun Date party in November featured sorority members wearing feather headdresses and Indian maiden dresses, while some male party guests wore only makeshift loincloths and slathered their bodies and faces with red paint.
Stupid Things that You Have Done Lately
So, let’s make sure we get this straight. At a campus that is challenged by perception issues related to its athletic mascot and nickname, the Fighting Sioux, a sorority hosted a date party with a Native American theme in which members and guests dress in stereotypical Native American clothing and costumes. Wait, it gets better. The party occurred in November, during American Indian Heritage Month. An initial complaint was filed by some of the campuses’ American Indian students who found photos of the event on the chapter president’s facebook page. We will concede that this might be a much more complicated and delicate issue at the University of North Dakota than it is at other institutions. Not only do we have a chapter making a poor decision, and hopefully learning from that decision by engaging in an educational process with the university, but we have chapter leadership that saw nothing wrong with these choices. To the chapter’s credit, they did issue an apology to the campus community. This happened after another chapter officer (the president at the time of the event) noted that the party was actually a cowboy themed party and that “we had no control over how they chose to act”. (Bismarck Tribune, 2008) Everyone is entitled to make mistakes and have the opportunity to learn from those mistakes. However, we as fraternity and sorority members keep repeating the same mistakes. In regards to party themes and costumes, these things keep popping up. In recent history, there have been numerous events across the country that have been either racially or ethnically inappropriate for a multitude of races and ethnicities. On top of that, we keep publishing photos of these events on social networking and photo sharing sites. Once they are published, anyone can view them, and even if the online photo album may be removed, some of the photos are still online and can be found with minimal effort. And through it all, we keep wondering why people on our campus and in our communities have a bad perception of us. References
Marks, J. (2008, April 22). Sorority put on yearlong probation for Indian party. [Electronic Version]. Grand Forks Herald. Sorority party at UND prompts discrimination complaint. (2008, March 23). [Electronic Version] The Bismarck Tribune.
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Tulane Fraternity Suspended for Alleged Hazing The fraternity, commonly called PIKE, now faces allegations that members poured boiling water on the bodies of pledges and caked them with flour, crab boil, vinegar, cayenne peppers, and wasabi sauce. The victims were treated at a local hospital with second and third-degree burns, according to New Orleans police…The two victims, along with other members of their pledge class, entered the fraternity’s house on “Hell Night” and found the lower floor sheathed in plastic… The evening marked the end of the four month pledge process and began with fraternity members pouring flour, vinegar, cayenne pepper, crab boil and extremely hot water on the pledges. Eggs were thrown at them. When one of the victims tried to leave, the fraternity members ordered him back into the room and continued to douse him with hot water and the spices, which now included wasabi sauce. More eggs were thrown… One of the pledges told police a fraternity member poured two gasoline containers filled with hot water on pledges. One of the containers was poured on his genitals, he told police. After more than five hours, the victims were released by fraternity members and the two pledges went to a hospital for medical treatment… “The victims were instructed by the fraternity president not to disclose what had happened and to fabricate a story,” a police officer wrote in the warrant. (McCarthy, 2008) According to an attorney representing one of the victims, his client has “severe second degree burns to his back, buttocks, shoulders, arms, and over 20% of his body” (Foster, 2008). The news articles state that chapter has been suspended by both Tulane and Pi Kappa Alpha (kudos, at least, for this). Ten members of the chapter have been charged with aggravated second-degree battery, a felony which carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and maximum $10,000 fine. There are many thoughts that come to mind when reading these allegations and so much that can be said. Clearly, it is actions such as these that paint such a negative picture of fraternity and sorority life. While it is easy to ask, why would anyone in their right mind subject themselves to activities such as this to be a member of an organization, there are many more disturbing questions. Why would any values-based organization, subject its new members to activities such as this? What goes on in someone’s mind that makes this a good idea, or even something worth trying? If stories like this do not bother you and your organization, you should reassess your fraternal experiences and values. Instances and allegations like this affect all fraternity and sorority members, regardless of whether or not you are a member of Pi Kappa Alpha or attend Tulane University. In one article, an IFC officer referred to this alleged incident as a “tragedy” (McCarthy, 2008). He is right. It is a tragedy, and it is a travesty. It is a tragedy on so many levels. A tragedy for the victims, a tragedy that this is what many now believe what fraternity membership may be based on. It is a travesty that the fraternity allegedly held onto the new members for several hours before allowing them to seek medical attention, on their own, a travesty that the chapter president allegedly told the victims to make up a story. Again, in what context does any of this make sense? How does any of this build a better chapter, or build a better brotherhood? It doesn’t, and in this case, a fraternity has been suspended, ten chapter members are facing felony charges, and two victims have been significantly injured. No amount of community service, philanthropy, or good works will ever justify this behavior. Hazing is one of our biggest challenges as a global fraternity and sorority community. National Hazing Prevention Week is in September. Now may be a good time to ask your Greek Advisor what your campus is doing and what you can do to help. References
Foster, M. (2008, May 7). Tulane fraternity suspended after alleged hazing. [Electronic Version] The Times-Picayune. McCarthy, B. (2008, May 7). Suspended Tulane frat’s reputation is hardly brotherly. [Electronic Version]. The Times-Picayune. Jordan, E. (2008, January 22) Pot case spurs closing of U of I fraternity. Des Moines Register. Retrieved March 4, 2008 from: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/ pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080122/NEWS02/801220393/0/ENT01
Fraternity Questioned After Teen’s DUI High school students are spending their weekends drinking at college fraternity parties, according to local police. And now a 16 year old girl is in the hospital after driving home drunk from one of these parties… In case anyone of you are wondering why fraternities and sororities have risk management procedures for BYOB and invitation only events, read the first two sentences of this story again. To summarize, a 16 year old female high school student attended a fraternity party with some other high school friends. After leaving the party at about 4:30 am, and while driving intoxicated, she wrecked her car, resulting in a dislocated hip and broken femur (for those of you in the dark, the femur is your thighbone, which is the largest and strongest bone in the body). She ultimately had a metal rod inserted in her leg that runs from her hip to her knee and will take months of therapy to learn how to walk again. Now, this woman made her own choices to attend the party, consume alcohol and then drive home. She recognizes her own responsibility in that. In addition to that, there may be plenty of blame to go around in this incident. However, what is the responsibility of the fraternity? Put aside all of the policy violations that likely occurred to have this party in the first place, why are there 16 year olds at this party? Underage, but college-aged is bad enough, but 16 years old? Every fraternity has procedures in place to provide events that are safe for members and guests. This includes events that are either BYOB or managed by a third party vendor, and are invitation only events. From the statements of those involved in this alleged incident, it appears that open events with high school students in attendance are a regular occurrence. As fraternities and sororities, we must do better. While this is a matter of policy and procedure, it is much more. As valuesbased organizations, how does allowing minors to attend events and consume alcohol that may be provided by our members reflect our missions? Even if you take the approach that we are social organizations, and parties are part of the social experience, where do 16 year old high school students fit into that equation? They don’t. References
Grant, M. (2008, March 13). Investigation launched at Fulton fraternity. Retrieved June 12, 2008 from KRCG; http://www.krcg.com/news/news_story.aspx?id=108586
The goal of Busted! is to call attention to an event, situation, or practice that has actually occurred and utilize it as an experience that others can learn from. It is commonly said that fraternities and sororities suffer from unfair stereotypes and are undervalued for our true purpose as values-based organizations. Unfortunately, some fraternity and sorority members commonly mock these stereotypes by behaving in ways that only solidify them in the minds of others. Busted! aims to confront these stupid decisions via direct confrontation. Actions such as these do nothing but reinforce the negative stereotypes of today’s fraternities and sororities. Embarrassed? Then knock it off.
What do you wish that you could tell all (pick one: potential members, current members, council members, administration) about recruitment/intake? I would tell anyone going through recruitment to keep an open mind, try not to stress out, and really enjoy all the great people you get to meet. I came to Drury thinking that I did not want to join a sorority. I am so glad that I went through recruitment, met the women who are now my best friends, and made a decision to join a sisterhood that will last forever! Angela Tarricone | Drury University | Pi Beta Phi Chapter President It is a quality process that determines the legacy our chapter will carry on in the future. It is vital to each chapter individually as well as to the Greek system as a whole to recruit quality members who will represent us well and do so for life. For active members the many different aspects of the recruitment process prepares you many times over for life situations in future careers, community positions and family lives. For PNM’s it gives you the opportunity to experience something you will never again have the opportunity to do, choose the legacy and sisters you will have for life. Brittany Welton | William Woods University | Alpha Chi Omega Chapter President Intake and recruitment are a once in a lifetime opportunity for anyone interested in joining an organization. It is amazing to think of all the diversity among organizations, and the privileged and selective intake process that each person will embark on when they choose to join an organization; an experience that not everyone will get to explore during their college careers. The memories that any Greek will take away from their intake process is priceless and the relationships that are created not only have the makings for friends for life, but family. Jennifer Macias | Colorado State University | Multicultural Greek Council President
If you were completely in charge of recruitment/intake, what changes would you (or did you) make? I personally love recruitment. The mutual selection process works perfectly to not only ensure each chapter is taking the members they want but also the members who want them. Recruitment allows active members to choose who will carry on their name. I completely believe we as a chapter have a right to in a sense “be picky” when considering the quality of a woman based on our membership criteria Academic, Financial Responsibility, Personal Development, Character, and Leadership, when they will be the ones to represent us for life. Brittany Welton | William Woods University | Alpha Chi Omega Chapter President In an effort to help with the recruitment of the Multicultural Greek Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council, this year the council presidents are working together to try and bring greater awareness to the availability of non-social Greek organizations. This will allow these specific Greek organizations to not only provide students on campus with information about their individual chapters, but also give the organizations an opportunity to educate students on their philanthropies and important topics affecting minority students on campus. Recruitment for MGC and NPHC organizations differs from social sororities and fraternities, and this years intake process will hopefully bring greater unity within these two councils, and also a greater awareness of campus of the different Greek organizations that make up our campus. Jennifer Macias | Colorado State University | Multicultural Greek Council I think I would try to make events more casual. The Greek recruitment process, especially for sororities, is extremely formal. This works well on a campus with a large percentage of Greek students where everyone wants to go Greek and is willing to jump through the hoops. But on a campus like CSU where we are barely 7% Greek, we really need to do more to appeal to the average student. We should play up the leadership and philanthropy aspects of membership as well as the networking/bonding social opportunities. Sure we all have fun with our songs, chants, and decorations, but getting women to join your organization is, at heart, about getting to know them and making good connections. Tricia Lemmer | Colorado State University | Panhellenic Council President
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I would tell current members and council members that you absolutely cannot recruit who you don’t know. Talking to as many people as possible about the positive aspects of your Greek experience will make them more likely to want to join and also have that positive experience. Recruitment should not be about trying to impress people. It should be about being real with them and showing them what Greek membership has done for you and how it can do the same for them. Tricia Lemmer | Colorado State University | Panhellenic Council President
We know you have opinions and advice to share with your fellow Greeks! If you would like to be featured on The Wall, go online to www.mgca.org/services/connections and submit a response to the posted question. If your response is chosen for publication, you will be contacted for a photo.
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