• 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 // reframing new member education / jason bergeron 008 // improve your chapter GPA, one grade at a time / dan wrona 010 // the top five things... / sara jahansouz & symphony oxendine 012 // super-charge your career development / mark mikelat 022 // a candidate’s role / ryan o’rourke
COLUMNS 002 // letter from the executive director 003 // letter from the editor 013 // national hazing prevention week update 014 // academic incentives 018 // facilitation 411 / the SWOT analysis 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 Submit advertising queries to: Mark Koepsell Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org 970/372.1174 888/855.8670 email@example.com
Connections is published four times each year. Submission Deadlines: Winter 2009: December 1, 2009 Spring 2009: February 23, 2009 Send address corrections to: Mid-American Greek Council Association 3308 Snowbrush Court Fort Collins, CO 80521 970/372.1174 888/855.8670 firstname.lastname@example.org Layout & Design Steve Whitby / Warehouse 242 email@example.com
Editorial Board Andrea Battaglia / Drury University Will Foran / North-American Interfraternity Conference Jenni Glick / Northwestern University Carol Preston / Ohio University Andy Robison / Purdue University
Correction: Helen Rotnem, a featured author in our previous issue, was noted as being employed at Oregon State University and at Oklahoma State University. Neither are correct, Rotnem is the Coordinator of Greek Life at The Ohio State University.
Member / College Fraternity Editors Association
MGCA // 001
Letter from the Executive Director
One of the most challenging things about working with fraternity/ sorority organizations is the never ending revolving door of leadership positions. It seems that just as one group of officers is just getting trained and working effectively, their term of office is up. That is why effective officer transitions and officer training on the front end are so important. What we do have going for us is the fact that most of these transitions happen simultaneously across our organizations (unlike businesses and many other organizations where people come and go sporadically). This simultaneous transition opens the door to create opportunities where training and transition can happen more effectively. Officer transition and officer training are not the same thing, nor should they be treated as such. Officer transition is the process of effectively passing knowledge, resources (notebooks, notes, contacts, etc.), records, and suggestions on to the next person. How often do we find outgoing officers wanting to simply be on their way without taking the time to effectively transition the next individual? Wouldn’t it seem plausible that after putting a year of their hard work, energy, and commitment into a position, they would not want to see the position backslide? This is often not the case. Creating structured opportunities and experiences to effectively transition is paramount to the success of the next council or chapter leadership. Officer training is the process of leadership and skill development aimed at providing a solid background and education to aid the new officers to be most effective within their positions. This can take the form of individual training workshops, retreats, and/or reading materials. It may happen within the construct of campus resources and within the local community, or it can happen at a regional/national meeting or conference. We at the Mid-American Greek Council Association are dedicated to this process of officer training. Whether through resources (like this issue of Connections Magazine) or through our annual conference, we have made it our mission to aid and assist those of you on campuses across North-America toward the successful implementation of training on your campuses, as well as providing excellent training and education through our annual conference. This year’s conference is gearing up to do just that. Educational programs will address the training and leadership development needs of chapter and council officers as well as cabinet members. No matter if it’s about being an effective president, treasurer, community service coordinator, academic chairperson, or any other executive or cabinet position, we’ve got you covered. Watch for more details about the conference as they unfold on our website at www.mgca.org. As you approach another transition time within your chapter and council organizations, we wish you well and hope that next year may be even better than this past year. If you identify ways that we can assist you in that process, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Happy Elections!
002 // connections // 2008.fall
Welcome to Issue Number Four Why is it that so many people think that the only important leadership positions are those that are at the top of the organizational chart? Does the word ‘president’ or ‘director’ really mean that much? I think, unfortunately, it does to many people. But, here’s the thing. It’s just not true. Many people believe that true leadership comes from within, that we are born with it. But the reality is that most leaders have had a lot of time to work on it and enhance their skills over time. Think of all of the most influential people in your life; were they really the ‘president’ or the ‘director’? And, since when does such a word magically give people leadership skills? The truth is, it doesn’t. There are not many people who have a born, natural, instinctive ability to be great leaders. People don’t simply exit the womb, they take a breath, and SHAZAM!, it’s a leader! Okay, there might a be a few out there, but the vast majority of us do not fall into this category… as much as we’d like to think we do. Leadership is something that is learned over time through endless amounts of positive and negative experiences, trials and errors, and repetition. We learn communication skills, conflict resolutions skills, management skills, and the ability to inspire and encourage others throughout our lives and there is always more to learn, no matter how far up the ladder we are able to climb.
Letter from the Editor
The highest position that I ever held in my chapter as a collegian member of my sorority was Song Chair. As I write this, it sounds like some sort of confession, like you should say “Hi, Song Chair!”. It’s like a leadership coming-out: the first step is saying out it loud, admitting to all who know and love me that I do not come from a long line of leadership on a pedestal and that, yes, I was, only the Song Chair.
It is for these reasons, among others, that the members of our Councils’ cabinets, those that are not members of the Executive Board, don’t get enough credit. Whether these positions are elected, appointed by the Executive Board, or appointed by member chapters, they are important leadership positions. Where would a president be without her vice president? Where would the vice president of recruitment be without his assistant? Here’s the deal: oftentimes it is the man behind the man, or the woman behind the woman who is actually in charge. Think of a group that you are a part of: your chapter, your family, your church, your student organization, etc. Who is the president? Now, who is actually in charge? The answer is not quite always the same, is it? So, this issue is for all you a cabinet members out there, a big shout out to the people behind the scenes. You may not be at the top of the organization chart, but without you and your position, the person who is perched up there wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.
MGCA // 003
C re*charge February 12-15
Saint Louis, Missouri Rennaissance Grand & St. Louis Convention Center T.J. Sullivan // The Apathy Myth Delatorro L. McNeal // The 5 Pâ€™s of Your Greek Success! Dr. Will Keim // Demythologizing the Animal House Dr. Mari Ann Callais // From Ritual to Reality Dr. Lori Hart Ebert // Making Greek Great Peter Bielagus // Money Management for Greeks Tish Norman // Calling All Greeks to the Floor Erle Morring // Hazed and Confused Robert N. Page, Jr. // Living and Leaving a Legacy
MGCA&NBGLC2009 FIND MORE INFO & REGISTER ONLINE AT MGCA.ORG
Jason Bergeron • Asst. Dir. of Student Activities • Michigan Technological U firstname.lastname@example.org Bergeron is the real deal. His article provides real and simple solutions that can be applied to any chapter or any council. Whether you are a Multicultural, Pan-Hellenic, Greek, Panhellenic, or Interfraternity Council, his ideas can be implemented in your council. Bergeron challenges readers to stop regurgitating information and the same old same old and to stop, evaluate, and take the time do think of something new and innovative that will establish a firm foundation with new members that will guide them toward a values-based, committed future in your organization. DAN WRONA • Ceo & Project Leader • RISE Partnerships email@example.com If you have not already have heard of Dan or RISE Partnerships, you either need to get your head out of the sand or you had better be a new member. Wrona provides useful and easy to follow tips that you can use personally or implement in your chapter. Wrona wants everyone to be involved in your chapter’s academic performance, even the smart people… especially the smart people! What’s best is that he offers his advice is a straightforward, professional, and approachable manner. Sara Jahansouz • Director of Greek Life • UNC Pembroke firstname.lastname@example.org Symphony Oxendine • Assoc. Dir. of Student Life • UNC Pembroke email@example.com These two ladies put themselves out there when they wrote this article. Learning from others’ mistakes might be a valuable life lesson, but it’s even better to avoid such mistakes by learning from those that others made before you. Jahansouz and Oxendine outline mistakes which may seem simple and easy to avoid… but that’s the whole point. Mark Mikelat • Speaker / Trainer / Coach • Building Inspirations firstname.lastname@example.org Mikelat doesn’t want to keep his secrets to himself; he wants you to get a job and he is just the person to give you tips on how to get your foot in the door. As a known professional speaker, trainer, and coach, Mikelat is also an effective writer and offers helpful insights on networking in the ‘real’ world.
MGCA // 005
For many of our organizations, new member/associate member/pledge (NMAMP) education is a student’s first introduction to truly understanding their fraternal organization. Not only is it a student’s first real opportunity to understand not only the operational aspects of our organizations, but more importantly, the values upon which our organizations were founded, values we use to identify ourselves. NMAMP education has the powerful potential to establish the importance of continual learning, education, and reflection within the organization, or has the opportunity to address meaningless issues and potentially promote unsafe behaviors. Needless to say, our intention is for the former to occur. However, too many of our NMAMP education programs have evolved into a simple process of passing on as much information as we can into an ever decreasing amount of time. We have become more than adept at communicating important information to members such as organizational values, organizational history, open creeds and mottos, names of our founders, etc. But questions beg to be asked: Are our new members actually LEARNING anything? Are we creating an experience that supports their learning and critical thinking or that only shoves knowledge at them with the intent to regurgitate it later on (potentially on some sort of quiz or test)? If this is a time that is supposed to introduce our members to an experience that promotes lifelong learning and reflection, then shouldn’t our NMAMP education programs support that same outcome? The use of learning outcomes within fraternity and sorority programs is quickly gaining momentum and recognition as an effective method to promote student learning within the fraternity/sorority experience. In other words, chapter leaders ought to be able to identify what we want members to learn at the beginning of their experiences, make statements regarding what we expect members to learn (learning outcomes), provide environments and dialog that support those learning statements, and assess and evaluate whether they learned anything at the end. Although it sounds tedious, it is a simple process that can be put in place to confirm that learning is the center of what we do. It also ensures that each experience that we structure for our new members is supportive of what we wanted them to learn in the first place. No “fluff,” only substance! In the spirit of promoting student learning, some preliminary steps have been included to assist you in reframing your new member education process.
Reframing New Member Education by Jason T. Bergeron Michigan Technological University
Making sure we teach what’s right, and new members truly “learn” it.
006 // connections // 2008.fall
1 // Identify all of the missions or values that guide both your fraternal experience AND your college student experience. Our organizations’ mission statements, open creeds, and histories provide a strong base from which to educate our new membership, but we are selling ourselves short if we think that is ALL that they do. True, educating members to be good fraternity men and sorority women is important, but a large subset of that education should include how to be a good college student and a contributing member of our campus/local/ global community. Take a good hard look at your organization’s mission, the mission of your fraternity/sorority life office, and the mission of your college or university. Each one plays an important role in facilitating meaningful learning for your new members and demonstrates a connectedness to all of the organizations and individuals that support the fraternal experience on your campus. Aside from NMAMP education, this can serve as a great tool in learning what those statements are and
how the chapter’s actions may or may not be congruent with them. 2 // Use common themes to identify learning outcomes for NMAMP education. Know the difference between what you want members to learn and what they actually need to learn. Most likely, in comparing the open purpose and/or mission statements of all the aforementioned parties, you will find congruencies that help to identify a few key themes. Making statements that surround these themes can assist you in identifying what learning will occur in your NMAMP education program. In the world of higher education, these statements are called learning outcomes. Learning outcomes serve as statements that detail what members will learn and what they will be able to do as a result of that learning experience. This allows us to focus on teaching the desired competencies that we want members to learn and to spend less time, energy, and resources on teaching the competencies that do not directly support those outcomes.
learned that support our predetermined outcomes, or are they learning things that were not previously defined as being important? In other words, are we wasting time and energy on things that have no purpose? The conversation about breadth vs. depth also arises here. NMAMP education programs all too often become an opportunity to give members as much knowledge as possible about everything we think they need to know and the focus is more on hurling the information than on knowing if actual learning is occurring. Unfortunately, breadth may have to be sacrificed in order to enhance the depth of learning. Ask yourself: are we expecting members to learn all the information, knowledge, and skills within a NMAMP education program that will fully prepare them for lifetime membership? Therefore, the role of the NMAMP Educator really is to provide a base so that learning and growth can continue to occur throughout membership; many times that means providing depth on some issues and setting the foundation for continued (breadth) learning post-initiation.
4. Assess: ask questions and collect information.
How do we know if our NMAMP education process is being effective? To create a culture of learning, it is important that we place mechanisms throughout the process that can give us continual feedback on the success of a NMAMP education program. Ways to assess effectiveness can manifest in a variety of ways:
For example, if within those open purpose statements you find themes that reflect the importance of intellectual development, a sample learning outcome might look like this: Members engaged in the new member education program of Alpha Beta Gamma fraternity will identify strategies for academic success and incorporate them into their daily lives. This tells us that as a result of the NMAMP education process members of Alpha Beta Gamma will not only learn how to succeed academically, but also find ways to incorporate those strategies into their daily lives, whether they are engaged in fraternity/sorority activities or not. This could include study skills, time management strategies, and intellectual conversations within the chapter. This also reinforces exclusion of strategies that fail to support academic success including social events that reinforce poor time management, academic integrity, and others. 3 // Structure experiences that support these outcomes and deemphasize or remove elements that don’t support them. While outlining what we want members to learn might be easy, implementation is more difficult. We may identify activities/programs/experiences within NMAMP education that do not support the outcomes we have defined. If this happens, remove them from the process or reframe them so there is a positive student learning focus. Be ready, arguments of tradition or “this is the way we’ve always done it” may arise within the chapter. Approaching the conversation from a student learning focus will give ammunition to these conversations regarding purpose: What is the purpose? Where is the focus on learning, and what is that focus? Are competencies being
they are engaging in real
Look at the facts. Is there a trend in new members performing more service and philanthropy? Is classroom attendance and/or academic performance high or low? Do they show a demonstrated knowledge of the creed/ mission/purpose of the organization or not? More subtly, look at the culture. How are men/women behaving and reacting during meetings and events within the chapter? Is there excitement to become more involved or is it feeling like a chore? Engage mentors within the chapter. Big brothers/sisters can serve in this role if they are used in the chapter. Those who provide the most support for new members are often most aware of whether or not learning.
Find ways to share those outcomes with new members. Throughout the process, solicit feedback from new members to see if those outcomes are being met. A simple “on a scale from 1 to 10, how do you feel about….?” can provide useful information in determining if learning is occurring. If it is found that learning is not occurring, the chapter can discuss how to refocus the energy within the program. Looking at (class) performance as an active member. If NMAMP education serves as a preparation for active membership/initiation, then successful members may be the product of effective and meaningful new member education. Conversely, underperforming and struggling members may have had a poor foundation in a poorly designed and assessed NMAMP education program. If an entire new member class seems to be struggling to contribute to the chapter, the potential is there that it could be a foundational issue within new member education. 5. Reframe This final step requires leaders to take the feedback (both good and bad) and use it to create a better process. Target areas where there may be some gaps in learning. Also, if the educational process demonstrates that a specific outcome is being met, those strategies can continue to be used and built upon for future NMAMP education programs. Remember, there is a reason that many organizations title positions ‘New Member Educator.’ If we are intentional in identifying what we want new members to learn, and providing venues where that learning can be promoted, we are being true to our role as educators. Strong NMAMP education has the potential to build strong, values-centered members of our interfraternal community. G
MGCA // 007
Improve your Chapter GPA, One Grade at a Time
Change the Approach In an ideal world, all members are “A” students. Since this is rarely realistic, we spend most of our time ensuring that everyone meets the minimum standard. When the standard is overemphasized as the sole academic goal, our highest performers become alienated, we begin to think that everyone is performing poorly and rifts can develop between high and low performers. As a chapter leader, you can overcome this tendency by changing your approach: make everyone responsible for the chapter’s academic improvement, not just the low performers. Expand your focus from, “meeting the standard” to, “ensuring that every member is achieving at his/her top potential.” You can do just as much good helping 20 members to improve by a quarter of a point as helping five members improve by a letter grade. You are also more likely to be successful!
by Dan Wrona Tailor your Strategy CEO and Project Leader Each member is different. Not everyone is motivated by the same incentives, nor does everyone RISE Partnerships face the same challenges. We all have different goals and abilities. Tailor your academic program
It is easy to say, “we’re here for school first and the fraternity/sorority second.” It is even easier to consider academics to be, “an individual thing that everyone should have to worry about on their own.” In an attempt to do some good, we hold study hours, keep a test bank or submit early warning sheets even though they are not always effective. If you truly hope to improve your chapter’s standing, use the outline below to craft an academic plan that will address the fundamental problems and produce more tangible results. Even after you have perfected a plan, members may be sensitive, resistant and full of excuses when you begin to implement it. Follow the script provided to combat the most common of these reactions. Check your Status Before debating standards, incentives and programs, start by evaluating your current standing. Find out the chapter GPA. Learn how you compare to the council and the community. Analyze members’ performance. Investigate what is helping or hindering their progress. Is everyone in the same general range, or are there pockets of members at different levels? How do class years compare? Are members over-programmed? When, how often and how long does each person study? What classes are members taking? How many? Even a quick scan of these areas can help you pinpoint critical concerns and a simple solution.
to the specific needs of your membership. To see how this works, assume your chapter’s performance resembles a typical bell curve. A handful of members do really well, a few do poorly, and the majority hover somewhere around the mean. Evaluate each segment to see exactly why one size does not fit all. Below the Standard Members who fall below the standard may do so because they are distracted, unconcerned or seriously challenged in their ability to achieve better grades. Enforcing the standard will push them to at least remain above the bare minimum. In order to improve, they may simply need a brother or sister’s helpful ear or they may require more serious assistance that only a professional tutor, advisor and other academic resources can provide. Above the Standard The members in this segment perform well enough to meet the minimum. “Most-improved” rewards are the likeliest motivator. They may want better grades, but lack the focus, skills or resources to do so. Connect them with a supportive brother or sister as a mentor. Deliver programming on career planning, setting academic goals, practicing study skills, managing time and balancing priorities. Above the Mean Those above the average chapter GPA exceed the minimum expectation, and may even toe the line of the Dean’s List and most honor societies. They fall short of being the top performers, and their higher grades prevent them from receiving an award for being the most improved. A better motivator would offer recognition for unique accomplishments such as scholarships, departmental awards and special credentials. Help these members improve by encouraging a few more hours in focused study or providing the gentle guidance of a tutor, mentor or older, wiser brother. Top Performers Minimum standards and punishments are irrelevant to this segment. They are motivated by top GPA awards and are likely to be more concerned with excellence in their career or field of study. Help them improve by ensuring that they are meeting with professors regularly, putting in extra effort in the lab or choosing the right partners for a project. Design a Program Use the analysis you have completed so far to begin developing an academic plan. As you may have interpreted from the segmentation above, the most successful academic programs intertwine a few basic elements: goals and expectations, motivation and support. Goals and Expectations Draw lines that establish definitive targets of performance. In addition to basic expectations, ask every member to set their own personal improvement goal. Some may use GPA, while others may cite staying active, joining an honor society or getting an internship. Transform this into a larger chapter objective to which everyone can aspire.
008 // connections // 2008.fall
Motivation Academic achievement should be a reward in itself, but extra motivation goes a long way. Offer tangible rewards to a broad base of members. Providing benefits to a larger group will have more impact than providing individual awards. Example: Offer a special dinner to everyone who meets their improvement goal, in addition to a plaque for the most improved. Publicly praise members who show significant accomplishments. Although a sister might not qualify for a ‘best’ or ‘most improved’ award, she might be meeting her academic goals while working 30 hours per week and attending every required event. She is certainly worthy of recognition, she is a great inspiration to other members, and she would continue working hard if recognized for doing so. Rather than waiting for the end-of-semester results, find creative ways to monitor and celebrate progress throughout the semester. Track the number of “A” or “B” papers, projects and test scores. Count the number of classes attended. Collect a running tally based on estimated grades from Blackboard or the class syllabus. While imprecise, all of these are valid indicators of an academically successful chapter. Remind members with constant updates on how the chapter is tracking towards its goals. Celebrate the “scholars of the week” who are making the greatest contribution. Support Beyond motivational tools, give members the resources they need to succeed. With little exception, few of us were taught the practical skills for succeeding academically. Partner with university staff to teach learning techniques, time management, career planning, goal setting and other skills that will boost performance. Provide peer support by pairing members to track one another’s progress, wake each other for class and offer coaching or encouragement. An additional wealth of expertise lies just outside the chapter: get assistance from academic professionals by offering tutoring sessions, study groups, etc. Finally, foster a more conducive academic environment by establishing quiet hours, designating a study room and posting important academic information. Discuss academics more often during meetings, and work with other officers to prevent over-programming. Build Momentum Once you have a plan in place, getting members to participate and take it seriously is a common challenge. Standing up in a chapter meeting to pitch a new idea rarely works. Instead, solicit buy-in and support from individual members. Slowly and carefully build momentum as you align everyone’s ideas around the same plan. Identify the members you must approach first. Who is the thought leader in your chapter, the person to whom everyone listens and follows? Who is the final decision-maker? The naysayer? Who uses the most airtime during meetings? These key members will help your cause. Approach them individually to discuss academic strategies and to solicit their assistance in developing and implementing the plan. Resist the temptation to immediately institute mandatory participation. Instead, identify a dozen members who are anxious to participate. Coordinate the program with these individuals and any other volunteers. Share the results, report their improvements and recruit more people to participate during the following term. This gradual growth will allow you to adapt the program, ensure its immediate success and establish a tradition of achievement within the chapter.
Confront Resistance You will inevitably face resistance. Academics are often seen as a private, individual matter. Members are sensitive about their performance, especially when it is less than stellar, and raising the issue may lead to defensiveness. Do not wither in the face of confrontation. Use the arguments below as antidotes to the most common excuses. Repeat after me: When you took your oath, you promised me that you would ‘strive to attain the highest possible standards of scholarship,’ or something like that. I took an oath to help you and to challenge you to a higher standard. Therefore, your grades are my business. GPA is not a perfect measure of academic performance, but is currently the most accurate, relevant and universally accepted standard of performance. Until there is a better measure, this is what matters. Being a good brother or sister means doing your share to improve the chapter. Neglecting your studies diminishes the chapter’s average GPA, reputation and vitality. Therefore you are not being a good brother or sister if you are neglecting your scholastic responsibilities. There are minimum expectations in many dimensions of fraternity and sorority life. Overachievement in one area does not compensate for underperformance on another. We must all meet a basic level of achievement in each dimension. Maintain Accountability Perhaps the most difficult question with academics is when and how to draw the line. There are two options regarding timing: You could string members along as their GPA dwindles, waiting to intervene, watching them struggle and slowly worsen to the point that they leave school. Or you could express your concern for a brother or sister who is not achieving their potential and intervene with a tough conversation that could change someone’s life. It is the responsibility of every member to take this difficult step. Obviously, the earlier you raise concerns, the better and easier the conversation will be. When considering how to approach a member about their academic performance, remember that your brother or sister’s success should be your primary goal. Express your concern, ask questions, and work to understand what might be preventing them from success. Your goal is not to punish with an automatic sanction or withhold benefits of membership, but to help them develop a plan to achieve their best. Of course, this approach is not an instant, automatic cure-all; you must genuinely care about the person! Members who refuse your help present you with an easy, yet unfortunate answer. If they are unwilling to work, they are unwilling to fulfill their commitment to the chapter. They have to go. In other instances, members will accept the assistance and work hard to boost their academic performance. Some will be successful, which again, provides an easy answer. A select few will work hard but fail to meet the academic standard. This is the most difficult deliberation for a chapter, and though experts may offer an answer, this is a time for the chapter to come to its own conclusion. Chapters who show academic improvement tend to follow the patterns outlined above. They identify a broad goal, address their unique situation, provide relevant motivation, offer missing support, and partner to help one another achieve individual goals. Though it only scratches the surface of academic success, applying this model will help you begin to boost your chapter’s academic performance, one member and one grade at a time. G
MGCA // 009
by Sara Jahansouz and Symphony Oxendine
The Top Five Things We Wish We Would Have Better Understood as Council Officers.
As we look back on our days as former council leaders we have realized that there are just not enough fingers and toes to count all of our mistakes. But, below are the top five things we wish we would have better understood as we were leading our fraternity and sorority communities as undergraduates. We hope that you will learn from our mistakes so that your learning curve is far shorter than ours. Treat your academics as seriously as you treat your officer responsibilities. // Sara When I was the Panhellenic President, I was placed on academic probation the semester before graduation. Clearly, at the time, leading a sorority community took precedence over achieving academic excellence for me. But, now I can look back and realize that my definition of leadership was more about management of others and less about holding myself accountable to the shared values of our community. 010 // connections // 2008.fall
Unfortunately, that reality really didn’t hit me until I began my job search and applied to graduate school. At that point, it became evident that future employers were well versed in the difference between a good and bad grade point average and did not share my philosophy of “D’s earn degrees”. They also had little to no clue or care that serving as Panhellenic President at My Big Twelve University mattered. In hindsight, I wish I would have spent as much time in the classroom and library as I did hanging out in the fraternity and sorority life office. I also wish I would have better understood that balance is key to everything, even as an overworked council leader that deserves to sleep in, but really needs to be in class. 5 // Collaboration isn’t just about inviting NPHC to step at your event. // Symphony While I was serving as President of a newly formed Multicultural Greek Council (MGC), I noticed that most times when approached for collaborative efforts with other councils, the underlying purpose was for us to serve as “entertainment” for events. I really struggled to communicate that we were more than open to collaboration within our interfraternal community, but that shouldn’t be defined as performing at events. We consistently struggled to gain credibility within the community because our “smaller-than-Panhel-and IFC” membership size was unfortunately viewed as being insignificant. During my senior year, Greek Week was particularly frustrating as we partnered with an organization that didn’t bother showing up, but a week later asked us to be the opening act for their fundraising week. Instead of being proactive and going to each council meeting to discuss how to collaborate and build unity, we just sat back and complained about it. I realize now that was the wrong thing to do if I really was committed to changing the environment and the culture. I wish I would have done a better job communicating our similarities rather than our differences. 4 // Where we spend our time and energy clearly defines what we truly value. // Sara Plain and simple, if we spend the majority of our time planning Greek Olympics for Greek Week, we value physical competition. If we spend the majority of our time designing and ordering t-shirts, what does that say about us? That’s right, we value wearing a t-shirt nobody else has because they are not a member of our group. Like it or not, our daily actions outline what we value. If our solution to helping others understand our mission statement is to put it on our website (or a t-shirt), then we just don’t understand our organizations’ purposes. We need to do what we do, not what we say we do; when it comes to living our values we can’t just give them lip service. Can you imagine what we could achieve if we took all the time we spend updating and interpreting policies and procedures into service efforts? I truly believe our campus communities would be featured on TLC rather than MTV. Which would our founders be more proud of? 3 // It’s your obligation to serve others, not prohibit their livelihood. // Symphony Many people who know me remark that I am a mover and a shaker. Not only did I serve as a founding sister of my undergraduate sorority, I also served as a founding member of our MGC. What I found along the way is that there are always enormous obstacles blocking desired progress. I know that this is only one small example of the misconstrued notion that a well established community doesn’t need to change. I now realize that the councils that were built to unify organizations that shared similar ideals of uplifting mankind are not always willing to lend a helping hand or acknowledge the existence of new council additions. As a council officer, it is your responsibility to educate your members regarding the importance of community and also to lend a helping hand to emerging organizations joining your campus. Who are we to determine whether or not a new organization fits the needs of your student body? If we are truly serving others then we should be willing to provide a sense of community to all students, not just the ones who are already affiliated with our own organizations. 2 // You can either talk about it or you can be about it. // Sara & Symphony As you can see, we haven’t discussed a couple of minor mistakes throughout our collegiate careers, but rather it was quite a few. But, of all of the mistakes noted, the biggest mistake was our basic inability to be the change we were constantly talking about with others. As we discussed reducing risks within our campus communities, we didn’t think make the connection that it all applied to council officers… including us. As we talked about the role of unity within community, communities continue to segregate themselves from others that aren’t “like” them. At the end of the day, talk is cheap. A friend of ours once said, “There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who talk about it, and those who be about it.” Who are you going to be? Thank goodness we have had people enter our lives that have challenged us and helped us to learn and grow from our mistakes along the way. And interestingly enough, they have often been fraternal brothers and sisters. Thank goodness they “got it”. G
MGCA // 011
Super-Charge Your Career Development with Informational Interviews by Mark Mikelat // BuildingAspirations.com
I’m so confused! I’m taking all of these classes and assessments and still cannot figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life! Why? What is the point? I feel stress, pressure and confusion. There are so many career choices. How can I pick the right one? Even if I can figure out what job I want, how can I get it? You are not the only one with these questions. Career issues are on the minds of nearly every college student. This article will present some answers to these questions by introducing the concept of informational interviews – a powerful tool to help you develop a career strategy and a professional network. Informational interviews are a simple yet powerful tool for career development. This type of interview lets you make a sincere, honest, and genuine connection with another person. What Are They? An informational interview should not be confused with a formal job interview. The purpose of a job interview is to get a job, whereas the purpose of an informational interview is to get information. It is critical to appreciate that in an informational interview you never ask for anything other than a person’s time and some information. People are naturally inclined to help other people, and if you are sincere, kind, and professional in your requests, people will respond in a very positive way. Careers are built on person-to-person connections. Informational interviews are one of the most excellent ways to increase your professional and personal network. What Do You Actually DO? First, start with a short list of five to ten dream companies or organizations for which you want to work. You might want to work for them because of their products, their services, their reputation, or their location. Use Google, Yahoo! financials, your local newspaper, your Chamber of Commerce, industry associations and trade magazines to research your target companies. Next, leverage the existing network you already have to get to the decision makers in those companies. Contact the alumni office on your campus or alumni clubs in your area; some colleges have their alumni networks online. Consider past managers, employees and co-workers of any company or organization with which you’ve been associated. Other useful sources of networking connections are your church, social clubs, and professional or fraternal organizations such as your fraternity or sorority, student organizations, Jaycees, Toastmasters, the Rotary or Kiwanis. Several online networking databases are also available, such as LinkedIn, (www.LinkedIn.com). Once you have a target list of people in your dream companies, contact them and ask to schedule an informational interview. E-mail tends to be less personal so I recommend calling them on the phone. Practice phrasing your request in the form of a 30-second commercial; simply ask them for their time. This is a non-confrontational approach that is clear, concise, and specific and will entice them to help you. The following is a good sample to emulate. It is concise, has the basic information, and is not aggressive or threatening. My name is Mark Mikelat, and I am developing a career as a professional speaker to the college market. I am not looking for a job at this moment, but I am doing some career research. I have read a lot about your training company and I would like to learn more. Do you have time to meet me for coffee in the near future? Being unsure of your career direction might make it harder to create a fantasy list; it can be difficult to know what career you will like until you know what careers are out there. Informational interviews are still some of the best tools for you to start this exploration; your mission simply changes a bit. Rather than finding your dream job, you should focus on finding out what your dream job is. In other words, you are doing the best type of research there is to learn how you and your personality fits into a specific career path. There is something inherent in all of us that makes us want to help other people. If, however, somebody is really unavailable to meet with you, just move on to the next name on your list. It is easy to arrange a quick visit to someone’s office, a coffee break, or a quick lunch. If you are inviting someone for lunch or coffee, you should pay. 012 // connections // 2008.fall
Through personal experiences, I have found time and time again that strangers will often go out of their way to help. Why is this? I am real, authentic, sincere, and I have a genuine interest in them and their business. I make a point to ask them about themselves and their product. If I do not get a job, a client, or a financial reward immediately, that’s fine. Remember, an informational interview is not about looking for an immediate reward, it’s about planting seeds. With enough patience and care, your seeds will grow. When you meet with someone, follow some basic rules. First, do not ask for anything other than their time and information. Second, be kind, considerate, on time, and professional. During the time you are with the contact, make sure that you give them your full respect and attention. Turn off your cell phone, use the bathroom before your meeting, and keep your schedule flexible. For example, if a Senior Vice President of your dream company wants to give you an impromptu tour of the facility, accept this gracious invitation. During the interview, ask sincere questions. Avoid simple questions that are time wasters. You should do enough research prior to the informational interview to cover basic facts and allow you to lead with a higher level of questioning. I like to make people think with challenging questions, such as, “Tell me about the hardest decision you ever needed to make in your job and why it was so hard?” However, at the end of your time together, do ask one basic question that can lead to more informational interviews. The following is a good example: Thanks for taking the time to speak to me. I would enjoy the opportunity to talk to more owners of similar companies. Are there other people in your network to whom you can introduce me? After you ask this question, remain silent. Resist the urge to say anything more. Your host will think about people to refer you to. The question they ponder will not be “Should I help this person?” but rather, “How can I help this person?” If you are authentic and sincere people will help you and will likely refer you to others in their network. Remember, the informational interview is a process you can repeat again, again, and again. By simply being out there and talking to people, you will develop connections and things will begin unfolding in a positive way. When you finish your original conversation, your connection with that person is not severed. Follow up by sending a thank you card. Relationships don’t expire. There is nothing wrong with contacting this person months later, even if you are not looking for a job. If you made a positive connection with the person you interviewed, make a point to keep in touch with them. Successful people know that they need to hire and work with people with positive attitudes, enthusiasm, and professional communication skills. If you follow this basic plan, you will be emphasizing these most valued traits to potential job decision makers. You want to be on the top of these peoples’ minds. They want to hire professional candidates and you could be that person. Regardless of where we are in our careers, we have commonalities with other people. We enjoy the opportunity to help others and share our stories. When we approach people for informational interviews from a place of sincerity, people will respond to us in positive ways. At the end of the day, if you use the informational interview correctly and efficiently. It can be your career-development super-charger! G
Mark Mikelat an award winning motivational and career success speaker to the college market. His campus programs are laugh-filled, information-packed tools to unlock explosive personal potential. His program Networking To Your Dream Job has enabled and empowered college students nationwide. You can learn more about him and his books at www.BuildingAspirations.com, or contact him directly at Mark@BuildingAspirations.com.
MGCA // 013
NATIONAL HAZING PREVENTION WEEK National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW) was observed by campuses and organizations across the country throughout the last week in September. Thousands of students and professionals participated in banner, poster and essay contests; received education from workshops, speakers and round-table discussions; and raised awareness through information tables, bulletin boards, video and media messages and newspaper ads. Whether your campus observed NHPW or will do so at another time of the school year, visit www.hazingprevention.org for resources, contests opportunities, informative links and much more. MGCA is proud to be an organizational sponsor of HazingPrevention.Org. Here are some highlights of what a few did to recognize National Hazing Prevention Week. If you think your campus should be recognized as well, send Connections an email! Greeks at Grand Valley State University created a whole week’s worth of events that included several speakers, a community blood drive, and a case study competition. Speakers included Kevin Snyder, Sam Centellas, and S. Bear Bergman. When all was said and done, everyone gathered for a friendly bowling tournament. Boston University IFC/PH sponsored a contest funding (up to $1000) an activity involving the entire chapter during the new member period that demonstrated the organization’s values and didn’t involve hazing or alcohol. Alpha Sigma Tau National Sorority sent out an electronic message to their members highlighting their anti-hazing policy, providing links to video offered on the HazingPrevention.Org website about the Hidden Harm of Hazing, and reminding them about NHPW. Sigma Nu, Delta Gamma, Lambda Theta Phi and Phi Delta Theta sent similar messages and videos to their individual members. Rider and Texas Christian both submitted schedules for their entire week of activities and events. Elon College and the University of Vermont both raised money for HazingPrevention.Org through a Wings Night and Penny Drive, respectively. A few specific announcements from HazingPrevention.Org: Thank you to CalGreeks from Berkeley who sponsored this year’s NHPW Photo Contest. Cash prizes will be given for the top three photos of students participating in NHPW activities. Your campus can become a sponsor of HazingPrevention.Org or simply show support through donations or volunteering your time. There are volunteer and sponsorship forms available on the website – check out the opportunities for you to get involved in fighting hazing. Sponsors receive copies of the brochure What Every Student Should Know About Hazing and also the 50+ page NHPW Resource Guide. G
Academic incentives are an important part of a chapter’s scholarship program. It is vital to provide members with a variety of incentives; what motivates one member might not motivate another. Incentives should be both monetary and non-monetary. Review the academic incentives your chapter provides every semester/year to account for changing chapter goals, and in order to improve their effectiveness and efficiency. All chapter members should be involved when determining incentives so that they “buy in” to the incentives program. Also, the scholarship chair should monitor the incentives program the chapter utilizes to ensure that its value for improving academics does not become subordinate to the purely competitive aspect (if competitive incentives are used).
of the Week. || Create a scholarship bulletin board in the chapter house to recognize members who are a part of Order of Omega, Gamma Sigma Alpha, and other honorary societies. || Hold a competition within the chapter for the highest GPA pair. Pair the brother/sister with the highest GPA with the brother/sister with the lowest GPA and so on down the line. || Create a team competition and give a prize to the team with best cumulative GPA, most As and Bs, or fewest classes missed. || Establish a friendly GPA competition with another chapter on campus. A “traveling trophy” can be the prize. || Set aside 5-10% of your dues budget for academic incentives. || Inform chapter members of local and national scholarships. || List member’s majors on the phone list for members to use to contact others if they need assistance. || Create a list of all the classes members have taken so that other members know who to go to for advice. || Enforce quiet hour policies if you have a chapter house. || Hire a tutor for 100-level classes with which new members are struggling. || Establish chapter standards to hold office, play intramurals, attend socials, big brother/sister etc. || Have scholarship resources available at house and in new member meetings about writers lab, math lab, study skills lab, etc. || Make the goal of sound scholarship the first emphasis of all your publications in your chapter, especially those that deal with recruitment. || Maintain your academic requirements for recruitment higher than those of your respective council. || Mention at every chapter meeting some item relating to the importance of good scholarship. || Make sure social events are not scheduled during mid-terms and finals. || Provide chapter members with a calendar at the beginning of each semester with all required chapter events (such as initiation and recruitment) so that members can plan ahead with their schoolwork. || Hang up schedules on a bulletin board and hold people accountable when you see them missing class. || Base Designated Driver/ Sober Sister or Brother on study hours per week. || Find a faculty advisor who works with the chapter on academic issues. || Invite a different faculty member to dinner monthly and have her/his discuss her/his expertise. || Invite the Counseling Center to do a study skills seminar for new members. || Invite student affairs professional to do a presentation on time management skills. || Invite the Career Center to do a resume/ interview seminar for members. || Invite the Coordinator of Greek Affairs to dinner to talk about scholastics. || Invite an academic advisor to talk to chapter about scheduling for classes. || Incorporate study skills as part of new member education program. || Invite speakers on scholarship topics to speak to new members.
Academic Incentives The following are examples of activities or programs that chapters and councils can use as academic incentives and rewards. Chapter Activities
Create a brother/sister of the week, month, semester, year, with academics as a part of the selection process. || Create a scholar of the week, month, semester, year, which the scholarship chair selects. || Reward members who improve their GPA by .20 or more. || Reward members who achieve a 4.00 or Dean’s List status. || Reduced dues for members with a specific GPA (such as 3.5) or higher. || Provide incentives for high GPA, such as preferential room picks for housing sign ups, roster number for new members determined, etc. || Pass around an “A” box at chapter, have people put their name in it if they have gotten an A on a test or quiz in the last week, and draw a name and give a prize. || Collect money from those who skip class. Create teams to hold members accountable for attending class. Structure as follows: If someone from Team A sees someone from Team B skipping class, he/she should go to them and ask them to put a quarter in a designated jar. Use the money from the jar to purchase something for the chapter resource room or library at the end of every semester. || Hang engraved plaques or framed photos of members who receive academic awards and/or scholarships. || Have a “Pi” dessert celebration and reward members for GPAs with 3.14 and higher by eating pie. || Dean’s List Dinner. || Hold a “Scholarship Awards” dinner or dessert reception. All members should attend and invite council officers, the Greek Advisor, the Dean of Students, alumni/alumnae, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Student Affairs, and faculty members. || Reward the entire chapter if the chapter GPA is above the all-undergraduate, all-men’s, or all-women’s average. || Create an honor roll of brothers/sisters with high GPA’s and post it in the chapter house. || During Mom’s/Dad’s/Parent’s Day, announce all academic accomplishments – inductions into honor societies, Dean’s List, 4.0s, etc. || Nominate members for awards, both local and national. Share the nomination letter with them. || Brag board to recognize people who got As and Bs on tests and papers. || Nominate people for Greek Scholar
Ideas for Rewards
A personal check. || Framed certificates. || Hand-written thank you notes. || Congratulatory notes and cards. || Newspaper ad in newspaper. || Recognition in alumni/alumnae newsletters. || Recognition in parents’ newsletters. || Name and/or picture on academic excellence bulletin board in chapter house. || Lapel pins. || Dangles (for sororities) that their chapters have for high scholarship. (Example—Pi Beta Phi has a pearl to hang on their pin/badge when a member achieves a 3.5). || Gift certificates to local stores or malls. || Gift certificates to local restaurants. || Gift certificate to the campus bookstore. || Chapter memorabilia, such as t-shirts, jewelry, sticky notes, etc. || University memorabilia, such as clothing, bumper stickers, water bottles, etc. || Small plaques or trophies ($15). || “Traveling” trophy or medallion that is passed to a different member each week. || Chapter dues discount. || Better room in the chapter house. || All or part of the Gamma Sigma Alpha and Order of Omega initiation fees for members. || Tickets to an on or off-campus event, such as a play, movie, sports event or concert. Thanks to Bowling Green State University’s Office of Greek Affaris.
A Division of Courage Communications
Your source for •Newsletters •Annual Campaigns •Event Promotion ...and more! www.couragecommunications.com email@example.com
...helping undergraduates to work with their alums... Workshop subjects include: •Alumni Communications •Campus Housing Infrastructure Act www.thealumniguy.com firstname.lastname@example.org
SWOT Analysis Is Your Chapter Players or Posers?
This edition of Facilitation 411 will teach student leaders and advisors a simple way to involve the entire chapter/council in examining the health of your organization. The term â€œSWOT Analysisâ€? is well known within the business, leadership development, and organizational behavior community. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats: four essential themes that affect every organization, no matter their size, age of members, or type. It is a commonly used model in strategic planning practices, as well.
Fraternity and sorority leaders should analytically assess the health of their chapters, councils, and communities every year. An annual evaluation process is healthy for all organizations and should provide more than enough material to further the mission of your group by fueling the development of goals, objectives, and priorities. In other words, when it comes to street credibility, is your chapter/council/community a player or poser? If you are relying upon popularity, reputation, or coolness factor in your organization, the answer is most certainly the latter. Real players with good skills are members who know how to lead their organizations. Anyone in your organization can be a leader; you donâ€™t have to be an executive officer to lead.
018 // connections // 2008.fall
GETTING STARTED This activity requires a large indoor space so members can comfortably move around. Materials required include: organization members, Post-It notes, newsprint or poster board, tape, markers and pens. ROOM SET-UP As with most facilitated events, a large room is best, with room to navigate on multiple sides. Select four main work areas in the room, preferably along a wall. If wall space is not available, easels or large desks can be substituted for work areas. In a pinch, you can even use the floor. The facilitator places a piece of large newsprint in each work area, each labeled individually with one of the SWOT designators: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, or Threats. LEARING OBJECTIVES Participants will individually identify and contribute to what they believe are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for their organization. These individual ideas and thoughts will then be organized, discussed, and prioritized through small group discussion. The resulting product will be goals and objectives for the organization to use as a strategic plan.
WRAP UP & DEVELOPMENT OF THE STRATEGIC PLAN After each group is finished reporting, all notes and newsprints should be collected and the information typed up for future use. From this large group activity, the executive committee or a goals committee should be formed to separate out the most important concepts and create a list of goals and objectives for the organization to consider. The committee then presents a strategic plan with measurable goals, all firmly rooted in the individual comments of each member. This strategic plan should be discussed and approved by a full chapter vote within three weeks of the SWOT analysis activity. ESTIMATED TIME Total time, about 70 minutes: 10-15 minutes of silent time to generate brainstormed list for each segment of SWOT 20 minutes of small group discussion 20 minutes for group sharing 15 minutes of wrap-up discussion This could take longer depending on the size of the group and how involved they become in the activity.
INSTRUCTIONS This activity is split into four basic parts: introduction, silent brainstorming, small group discussion, and large group sharing. The facilitator will also need to provide a brief closure to the organization, outlining the steps needed to put ideas generated during the exercise into action.
FACILITATION CONSIDERATIONS The most important part of this exercise is the data generated by the notes, which represent the individual thoughts of each of your members. In many cases, member will write things through this relatively anonymous exercise that they would not say in front of the larger group.
INTRODUCTION & SILENT BRAINSTORMING The facilitator introduces the concept of a SWOT Analysis, explaining how this simple but powerful business concept can help the chapter conduct a self-examination. The key to the first stage of this facilitation is silence. After the facilitator gives instructions, chapter members should write their comments and walk around the room placing their notes on the newsprint in silence. As with brainstorming, there are no right or wrong answers at this stage. Some members will focus on tiny details of organizational life, while others focus on big picture items or values. Let it happen – every note is important. There will be some pranksters who write silly things or inappropriate remarks – let it go for now. Any note that is off-topic will be weeded out later.
The concept of strengths and weaknesses are fairly easy to identify, while opportunities and threats are more complex. Strengths and weaknesses are more numerous because participants have the benefit of knowing the past and present behavior of their organization. Furthermore, these two concepts are accessible to all members, regardless of their leadership positions. Opportunities and threats require a higher level of knowledge about the campus community as a whole and how your organization relates to the rest of campus. Don’t get bogged down with the number of items in each section, focus instead on prioritizing three to five items for each category.
So, the basic charge is simple: each chapter member gets a pen (or Sharpie marker) and a supply of Post-It Notes (hint: break each pad of notes into four smaller pads, and distribute these one per member). After a point of saturation is reached on the post-it notes, the facilitator closes the brainstorm activity and prepares to move to the next stage. SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS & LARGE CROUP REPORTING Break the group into smaller groups to organize and analyze their set of notes. Depending on the group dynamics of your organization, simply counting off by fours will work. If your chapter is larger than 50 members, try counting off by eights and have two groups for each segment of SWOT – there should be enough notes to supply each group. Instead of splitting each group by random numbers, a predetermined grouping of chapter members can also work. The advantage of a predetermined grouping is placement of key leaders for each group or to split up known cliques within the organization. After the small groups have organized the notes and settled on three to five key concepts, each group should report their findings to the large group.
WRAP UP More often than not, this activity generates enough ideas to fill up three or four years worth of action plans or goals. All notes should be saved, typed up for reference use, and the concepts used to fuel future goals and objectives. The key is to prioritize and focus on the top two or three issues in each section of the SWOT analysis. If those issues are completed or solved during the semester or academic year, then move to other items on the list. It is also wise to post the goals and objectives generated from this exercise at your meetings, and when goals are achieved, mark them off the list in dramatic fashion and/or otherwise celebrate those milestones. There is no such thing as a perfect organization, so there will always be room for improvement and new goals or tasks to complete. This is one of the dirty little secrets of leadership: the job is never done because leadership and your organization are in a constant state of evolution and change.
MGCA // 019
FROM THE ROAD
DEPAUW UNIVERSITY // DEVELOPING CABINET OFFICERS: RISK MANAGEMENT SERIES The development of the men and women in fraternities and sororities is important and necessary for the growth and progression of Greek Life. One area that is imperative to address and provide training on is managing risk. At DePauw University, the coordinators of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life conduct a Risk Management series. The series is for both the council risk managers, as well as the chapter risk managers. Risk managers for each chapter must attend the once a month training in order to have any registered event during that month. The series consists of a meeting that is formatted to provide information, policy reminders, as well as a venue for students to ask questions and talk with their peers about best practices and how they have handled certain situations within their chapters. Speakers come and address topics such as “Your Role as a Risk Manager”, “Fire Safety, Sexual Assault & Drugs”, “Event Registration and Policies”, “New Member Education and Hazing”, and “Spring Break Safety.” Students are able to gain valuable skills and are better equipped for handling situations that have the potential to be risky. Not only is the development of students cultivated through being trained, but the council Vice Presidents of Risk Management participate in developing topic ideas and finding presenters for the meetings. The motto of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life is “Owned by students, Respected by all” and through this training, students are not only taking the first steps of holding themselves accountable for the management of risk within their chapters, but they are starting to hold others accountable as well.
020 // connections // 2008.fall
OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR MAY BE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR 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.
Centre College // Developing Cabinet Officers Over the past year, the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils at Centre College have been looking for ways to strengthen their individual efforts by bridging the gap between fraternities and sororities on campus. The gender divide amongst the Greek organizations on campus hindered the ability of the separate councils to plan and implement effective, fun, and meaningful events for their chapters. It is the hope of Centre’s Executive Council members that tackling these gender issues will result in a more productive year. In doing so, each council looked for ways to include and incorporate the strengths of the other to produce better programming and outcomes together. From the very beginning, the councils worked jointly to set goals for the upcoming year as a part of their leadership training and development. The executive officers planned events together including a reception for the fraternity and sorority members that qualified for the Dean’s List, planning an All-Greek Service Plunge in the local community, and developing a newsletter to highlight the achievements of all chapters on campus. Additionally, the executive officers encouraged their constituent chapters to work together. The fraternity and sorority recruitment chairs jointly planned a “Welcome Back Go Greek Cookout” for the new students on campus, which enabled them to use their resources more efficiently and increase their network of potential new members. By learning to rely on one another and to depend on the innate abilities found within the other council, the Executive Council members were able to develop their leadership skills and expand their abilities to work with other leaders in other avenues.
University of Wisconsin-Madison // Partnering with Campus Leadership Organization to provide Chapter Officer Training The Interfraternity Council, the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC), the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and the Panhellenic Association at the University of Wisconsin have teamed up with a non-Greek Campus Organization, Student Leadership Program (SLP) to provide better programming to Greek chapter officers and members. For the past five years, the Greek Community has partnered with SLP to host a “Greek track” of programming at the All-Campus Leadership Conference early in the spring semester. At this conference, chapter officers are able to find programming that is beneficial to their individual officer needs and aids them in their transition to their new leadership position. Past and present fraternity and sorority council officers and campus professionals present the programs, giving chapter leaders an opportunity to meet, learn from and network with council officers, peers, university administrators, faculty and staff. The presentation titles were as follows: From House Parties to 3rd Party Vendors; Hazing or Not Hazing? Greek New Member/Aspirant Programming Best Practices; Intentional Open Recruitment – Where to Toss Your Nets!; Greek Scholarship Initiatives – How Can We Help Our Members Be Successful?; Public Relations – The 1:10 Ratio; Greek Life Listening Session with Associate Dean of Students, How to Be an Award Winning Chapter!; Community Service and Philanthropy – Opportunities to Give, Learn, and Have Fun!; Walking our Talk – Greek Values Congruence; and Alumni Relations – Effectively Communicating With Your Alums. The half-day leadership conference consists of a keynote speech, lunch, two break-out sessions and endnote, which is done by the same keynote speaker. The conference is followed by an evening President’s Leadership Retreat, specially tailored for chapter and council presidents coordinated by the UW’s Greek Community Programming Board, the All Greek Council. Each governing council requires mandatory attendance of every chapter’s executive board officers. For the complete program descriptions, contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs at the University of Wisconsin.
MGCA // 021
TAKING ACTION by Ryan Oâ€™Rourke
Developing Your Council: A Candidateâ€™s Role in Creating the Future So, are you thinking about running to be the next council president? If so, the time to start developing your future council officers and member chapters starts now. If you are really the person for the job, now is the time to prove it. I want to speak to the next council president. Are you thinking about running? Are you next in line? Well guess what? The time to start developing your council officers starts now. Too many times the next council president waits until he/she is elected before they start working, and in this is a pitfall that can lead one down the path to mediocrity. Think about it, do you think our U.S. Presidential candidates are waiting to get elected before they start putting their plans in motion? Before they start assessing their possible situation? Before they start identifying partnerships? Are you the person for the job? Well now is the time to prove it. I offer up the following five key strategies that you can utilize before and immediately following your election to council office. If implemented, these strategies will put you, as the council president, in a position to serve the needs of your chapters, while developing the skills of your council officers.
022 // connections // 2008.fall
Identifying & Evaluating the Needs of Your Constituents
As you begin to think about your plans for the future, ask yourself some basic questions. What are the needs of this council? What are the needs of the member chapters? Where is the council succeeding? Where is it failing? How is the community relevant? It’s important to indentify who your constituents and key stakeholders are within your community: Chapter presidents, chapter delegates, other fraternal councils, and your fraternity / sorority advisor are all examples. Identifying these stakeholders will assist in evaluating their needs. Assumptions can often be made regarding what an organization, council, or community wants and/or needs. Unfortunately these assumptions don’t necessarily lead us to the point of truly serving our base. A true leader understands the importance of gathering data before determining the state of their community. Evaluation and assessment are words that get thrown around, but here are a few tips of how to secure the information that you are looking for: evaluation and assessment are important pieces when taking your community to the next level. These two concepts allow you to discover where the community currently is and where your constituents would like to see it go. Here are a few possible techniques: > Face to Face Interaction // Hold focus groups with current council officers, chapter leaders, and the campus fraternity / sorority advisor to analyze the specific strengths and specific areas for improvement. > Start Fresh // Your focus should be on asking questions. You are not there to provide the answers; you are there to find them. > Paper / Internet Tools // Several assessment tools exist that can provide a self-assessment for current council officers and/or evaluate the constituents of your council. The North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) has an outstanding paper assessment tool that can be used by campus IFCs; this assessment model can also be modified to be a useful tool to all campus governing councils. > Timing // This evaluation must happen at least a month in advance of the election of new council officers. If you spear-head the assessment, this can do two things for your candidacy: Provide you with information to form a platform; Demonstrate to member chapters that their feedback is of the most importance.
Select your Running Mate(s)
Three weeks before elections, you have your evaluation data and have gained great perspective on what the key issues are to your council. Who in this community will help you address these issues? Create a list of all of the open positions for this election and start writing the names of people in your community that would be ideal to serve in these roles. Remember, you’re not making decisions for people; at this point you have no idea if they are interested. Also, think of people who really would be the best for the job; it is not about who is cool, your friend, or who is in your chapter. The last step in this process is to reach out to these people to discuss the key council issues, and to discuss how their involvement is vital to the future success of the council.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT The next step in this process comes when you and these “running mates” get elected. It may be much easier said than done, but if you are truly using the data that you collected from the focus groups, chapters will respond positively and you will be successful.
Go to Camp David…Hold a Cabinet Retreat
Now it’s time to go to work and your first step should be to plan a council retreat; this retreat should early into the term. Reach out to your resources, namely your campus fraternity / sorority advisor, to assist you in the planning. Being elected to a leadership role might mean you are viewed as a good leader, but it does not mean that you know anything about leadership development. Lucky for you, your advisor should; work with them to provide leadership development training as a component of the retreat. Another important aspect of a planning retreat is discussions around vision. A vision statement is sometimes called a depiction of your organization in the future. A vision reminds you of what you are trying to build and will be something that you can always refer back to be check your values alignment. A vision statement does not describe how to achieve goals; however, it does set the direction for the goal planning. Next, you must examine your community’s values. There are many exercises that can assist in identifying these shared values; talk to your fraternity / sorority advisor to get some ideas. Once these values are indentified, use them as guiding principles that you intentionally incorporate into your decision making. Finally, it is time to move toward goal setting. Goal-setting takes on many forms to many people; therefore, the process must be flexible. Here are some tips: Create SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) For each goal indentify specific details, who is responsible, and create a deadline.
Address the Nation
One of the biggest failures that council leaders do is keep information to themselves. Once returning from the retreat, be sure to share your motivation with others. The first council meeting following the retreat should be a review of the retreat; discuss the vision, focus areas, and the goals and ask “what we are missing?” “What do you like and dislike?” The key to gaining credibility as a council is to be transparent with your work. Real development will occur when you and your officers are held accountable to public goals.
Seek out your Approval Rating
This is simple. Ask stakeholders periodically how they think the council is doing. Implement the evaluation methods already referenced and use that to gauge your council’s effectiveness. This should be an on-going process, so it is up to you to make sure the dialogue continues.
MGCA // 023
ASK the Experts The IFC and Panhellenic Councils at my school have a GPA requirement of 2.5 to be elected to (or maintain) a leadership position on both the Executive and Cabinet boards. However, this requirement has not been enforced for several years and we currently have 5 officers between the two councils/ cabinets who fall below this requirement… what should we do?
Most chapters on my campus have some type of philanthropy “week” that our chapter donates money to. Other chapters end up donating money to our week, but it’s always the same amount of money that we donated to them. I feel like we are really just ‘trading money’ rather than ‘raising money’. How can we change this culture to include actual fundraising?
Chad Ellsworth / University of Minnesota
Chad Ellsworth / University of Minnesota
I don’t think it is fair to jump in with both feet when enforcing a policy that had not been enforced previously. In many instances, individuals may not be aware of the policy. Of course, it is always important to enforce policies consistently, so I’d suggest phasing in the enforcement of the policy. For example, the councils/cabinets could ask the individuals to submit an academic plan for the semester (including references to resources available on campus) in order to assist the individual with improving their academic performance. A nice side effect could be an increased focus on academic performance by others as a result of their role modeling.
Actually, I’d challenge you and your organization to go to the next step and organize hands-on community service projects each year. In my experience, one of the barriers to actual fundraising is that (1) college students don’t necessarily have a lot of money, and (2) they don’t want to part with that money because they don’t necessarily connect with the cause/organization they’re giving to. Hands-on service answers both of those things beautifully by allowing people to invest their valuable time in exchange for an outcome that is tangible and visible. On our campus, the organizations that have moved to hands-on service have experienced much stronger participation from their own members and from other chapters; they have even received more recognition from their campus and community constituents.
John Pfingston / kappa alpha order My initial response would be to just start enforcing the 2.5 GPA requirements and only elect those who meet the standards. Although this has not been the recent trend, it is a prerequisite for the council positions, which I am guessing, is grounded somewhere within the organization’s written constitution or bylaws, so feel free to refer to them to justify your reasoning. I realize this adherence to policy would then set off a series of re-elections for those who were below the 2.5 threshold and certain individuals would probably have their feelings hurt upon removal, but it’s not your fault they did not make the necessary marks to qualify for the position. Consult your Greek Advisor for suggestions or reassurance—especially since this has been a deeply rooted tradition. There’s nothing wrong with enforcing the rules in order to improve the organization and set the standard for the rest of the individual chapters on campus… even if it’s a difficult move to make. On the other hand, the IFC and Panhellenic Council could always lower the GPA requirements for holding a leadership position, but how does it look when the Greeks on campus are lowering the minimum GPA expectations for their overarching governing board? And what kind of example does that set for the individual chapters? Holding IFC and Panhellenic members accountable is the right thing to do—even if it’s not the easiest. If you correct this issue now, you will only be strengthening the overall Greek community on campus for the future. Imagine if a chapter in either council take’s your example and implements it as its own—how might that improve the all fraternity or all sorority GPA? Sarah Torretta / delta delta delta fraternity The primary reason that individuals attend an institution of higher education is for academic endeavors. If it were not for this, fraternities and sororities would cease to exist in the way they exist now. Since we hold our members to GPA standards, then the people who lead them should adhere to the same standards. Having Executive and Cabinet board members with GPA’s that are less than the minimum standard sends a big message to the Greek community and the entire campus: grades and academic pursuits are not important. This is a concern and one that I would take first to the Greek Advisor, or campus activities office. Try asking a few questions: “what is the process for selecting these board members?”, and “what is the process for handling a board member who has fallen below the academic standards?” If nothing can be done for the current year, have a discussion with the Greek Advisor about what can be done so that in the following year the Executive and Cabinet board positions are filled with exemplary members in all areas of Greek life. You may even offer to be on the selection committee, if that is a possibility. 024 // connections // 2008.summer
John Pfingston / kappa alpha order First of all, let me applaud your chapters’ and campus’ efforts at raising philanthropic dollars. While every Greek organization has a national philanthropy that its chapters should support, some local groups do not take the time to invest any effort in helping their own causes—much less the ones of other groups. Raising money for other philanthropies is part of what the Greek experience is all about, so continue to support each other in the future. With that being said, chapters should not solely rely upon the donations of other Greeks as its only source of charitable dollars. Your members should be working to raise money individually and the chapter could even seek out non-Greeks on AND off campus as a source of potential donations. For example, I have seen some groups make philanthropy a competition among Greeks and other student groups with the winning organization receiving a portion of the overall amount donated back to its particular cause. Having different philanthropy events a few times throughout the year, instead of just for one week, may also help change the culture as well. You could even team up with and cosponsor a philanthropy event with another student—or even local—organization where a wide variety of students and community members are working together to accomplish a particular goal. This is something the NPHC, MGC, IFC or Panhellenic councils could help foster and I would make it a point to get them on board as well in order change the current campus culture. Further, never forget the importance of community service and volunteerism where there is little or no money changing hands; this type of involvement by members will serve to indirectly affect the change needed to the money-driven fundraising culture. Jennifer Leung / college of william & mary The first step to changing the culture of ‘trading money’ is to look externally. There is no reason why chapters can’t get sponsors for their events. Even if a local business can’t give money, perhaps they can provide goods or services that the chapter would otherwise be paying for. This way, the money you collect as participation fees can go to the cause rather than the bills for the event. Ask the local agency you are raising money for to give you suggestions of local businesses or people who support them; these businesses and people already have an established connection to the cause. Another external source of fundraising is opening up your event to non-Greek groups; maybe RHA or Student Government wants to enter a team in your event. Not only could you raise more money, but this could generate a lot of positive PR and positive campus/community relations.
I am annoyed with the way our campus selects its Recruitment Counselors (we call them Rho Gamma’s). Essentially, the chapters “nominate” members of their chapters and they don’t have to be interviewed and/or approved by the Panhellenic Council. This annoys me because most years we just end up getting Rho Gamma’s who the chapters view as the weakest recruiters – which pretty much defeats the point, in my mind. How can I change this process?
Chad Ellsworth / University of Minnesota Our campus has had similar experiences in the past, and we made a few changes for this year’s formal recruitment for that reason. First, each chapter was required to have X percent of their chapter membership apply to be a Recruitment Counselor. Panhellenic Council calculated the percentage to equal the optimum number of applicants to be able to select a high quality group of Recruitment Counselors. In that way, the council was able to interview and select the best people. Also, in order to make sure you have a high quality group of applicants, it can be helpful to look for incentives and opportunities for the best recruiters to want to be Recruitment Counselors, such as gift cards, fun experiences, and even small scholarships. Jennifer Leung / college of william & mary There are so many different things you could do, the possibilities are endless, but the first step would be switching to an application and interview process, it can help the position feel more prestigious. Perhaps right now, people might be hesitant to take on the role because they don’t see the point. Panhellenic could take the opportunity to go to each chapter and talk about the important role Recruitment Counselors play in the Recruitment process. Nominations are a great way to make people feel like others want to see them in leadership roles such as a Recruitment Counselor. Instead of asking chapters to nominate people, ask past Recruitment Counselors to nominate women they know and then send the nominee a letter inviting them to apply. The chapter can still “nominate” members, but they still have to go through the application and interview process. Depending on the number of chapters you have, you could ask each chapter’s president or recruitment chair to sit in on the interviews. Sarah Torretta / delta delta delta fraternity The first person you should contact with such a concern is your Greek Advisor. Share your concerns, indicate that the Recruitment Counselor is the first member of the Greek Community that most potential new members have a chance to interact with and therefore they need to be the strongest, and most personable members of a chapter. I would also bring a list of ideas you have for alternative selection process methods, so that those ideas may be taken to the Panhellenic officers. If you bring some ideas to the table, people are usually more likely to listen and not feel criticized, especially if you have valid reasons why the process should be changed. Some examples of ideas include, application processes, interviews with the Panhellenic officers and potentially some situation-based activities to gauge how well an individual would fill this invaluable role.
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 IFC wants to start a communitywide welcome/orientation event for our newest fraternity members but the chapters aren’t into it. How can I convince them that it’s a good idea?
Chad Ellsworth / University of Minnesota The best way to get buy in is to align ideas with your constituents’ needs. Find out what chapters or individual members ideally want from IFC in the area of new member development, and then find ways to align your event with those outcomes. It also could be beneficial to meet individually with key leaders in your fraternity and sorority community (or campus leaders) to get their feedback and opinions, and really listen to their advice and experience. By enlisting others to champion your ideas (particularly if they’re influential leaders), it’ll help “sell” the idea to the others. John Pfingston / kappa alpha order Why are the chapters not “into it”? Is it because this idea is new and has never been a part of the campus tradition? Is it because they feel like it’s stupid to get new members together who are going through the exact same thing to discuss questions/concerns they may have? Or is it because the chapters are just too lazy to coordinate an event like this that would be very beneficial for its newest members? Regardless of the reasoning, part of joining a fraternity or sorority is interacting with a larger campus community. Although you may not be wearing the same letters as everyone in the community, every chapter on your campus is seeking to do the same thing (or at least should be - if they are practicing the fundamental values of their inter/national organization). Whether these folks have realized it or not, every fraternity and sorority is just trying to provide a positive atmosphere for its undergraduate members to excel academically, get involved locally, have fun responsibly, and most importantly - to better prepare them for the real world that is coming four to five years later with interactions from a wide variety of alumni, university officials, and their peers. In my opinion, do whatever you can to remind your fellow Greeks of this common bond, poll the chapter leaders to see what their reservations actually are about this program, and continue to use the IFC as the epicenter of this communal push—especially if your individual chapters are not willing to do so. Jennifer Leung / college of william & mary Before you can convince chapters that this is a good idea, you need to have a plan to propose to them. IFC should start by asking a few good questions – What are our expected outcomes? What do we hope to get out of this? What will participants get out of this? What will chapters get out of this? How long will this program be – one day, weekly meetings for six weeks, etc.? How will this be different than or complement a chapter’s new member program? After you answer these questions, work with your Greek Advisor to develop an outline or agenda for the program. You can also look to other institutions and adapt their programs, and show the chapters what other schools are doing to help support your case.
WANT TO BE AN EXPERT? If you are a professional who has great advice, email email@example.com and let us know that you are interested in being one of our future Experts.
City orders frat vacated after feces, vomit discovered. Health, safety violations keep Pike House closed. A fraternity house that was shut down by the city last week for numerous health and safety violations -- including loose garbage, overflowing toilets and inoperable smoke detectors -- will remain closed until it is brought into compliance with city code… the Pike House, was shut down by Boulder’s fire marshal Friday after a technician fixing the house’s fire alarm reported seeing abhorrent conditions inside. …Inspectors found inoperable toilets with feces overflowing onto the floor, a strong smell of urine and vomit throughout the hallways, broken glass and holes punched into the walls. …Many of the smoke alarms throughout the house weren’t working, debris and various objects were blocking exits and there are “electrical issues” that needed to be addressed Many of our loyal readers may remember previous columns addressing the destruction of hotel rooms by fraternity members. Now, we must really ask, what is up with this? Is this for real? Do these people ever bring guests to their house? Besides the obvious respect for property, sanitation, health, and safety concerns, this is disgusting. Seriously, it’s disgusting. Many of you may be reading this and thinking of your own houses conditions: “Wow – we only have one toilet that is inoperable but it doesn’t have feces overflowing onto the floor”, or “We’ve had some vomit in the hallways, but it gets cleaned up pretty quickly”, or “Our house only smells like urine a couple days a week”, or “Do we even HAVE any smoke detectors?”. Readers, please realize that we do not make light of this to make you feel better about your chapter house’s current condition, but rather to illuminate the current realities in many chapter houses. Look at this as a wake up call. You can tell a great deal about a person or an organization by observing the way they live. Maintaining a sanitary, clean, and safe living environment should be the responsibility of every member. If we as chapters do not care for or respect our facilities, why should we expect anyone else to do the same? All of this is occurring during a time when significant lobbying efforts are being made by many fraternity men and sorority women that will make it easier for organizations to solicit support for improvements to housing infrastructure and life safety devices in chapter houses. While there may not be a direct correlation to those efforts and the situation described above, this experience can not be helpful to those efforts. (You can learn more about these efforts and how you can help at: HYPERLINK “http://www.fraternalcaucus.org/”http://www. fraternalcaucus.org/). We all know and may joke about the “fraternity house smell” and have all been in a chapter house where our feet stick to the floor. Why does this have to be the norm rather than the exception? Fraternities and sororities often expect or demand more respect from their peers, neighbors, faculty members, communities, etc. Why should we expect respect when this is how we treat our facilities, property and live like pigs?
Stupid Things that You Have Done Lately
026 // connections // 2008.fall
Aguilar, J. (2008, June 11). Boulder orders frat vacated after feces, vomit discovered. The Daily Camera. Retrieved September 5, 2008 from: http://www.dailycamera.com/news/2008/jun/11/city-orders-frat-vacated/
Fraternity Loses Charter, House after Campus Hazing Incident. The University of Southern Mississippi on Friday revoked Kappa Sigma fraternity’s charter and closed the house on campus… An alleged hazing incident at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house has left a student in intensive care … Two students involved were admitted to the hospital for treatment of alcohol poisoning. One of the students remains hospitalized for continued treatment and observation. The mother of the student in ICU…, said her daughter, a sophomore, had been invited to become a little sister of Kappa Sigma. At an initiation party last week, little sisters already affiliated with the fraternity initiated the new students. “They poured pancake syrup in their hair and silly string - things like that… Then, they tilted their heads back and poured in whiskey and vodka.” according to the mother. Some students who were at the party brought (the woman) to the hospital, saying they had found her on the side of the road. (She) had a blood-alcohol content of 0.47, more than five times above the legal limit of 0.08, and is being treated for alcohol poisoning. A 100-pound woman would have to drink more than 10 cocktails in one hour to have a 0.47 blood content. Let’s recap. According to the above allegation, a fraternity was coordinating hazing activities directed at women who were attempting to become little sisters of the organization. Allegedly, this hazing progressed in a manner that resulted in one of the women being admitted into Intensive Care for at least several days. The only way this woman got the help she needed is that she was found on the side of the road after the party.
Okay, and now let’s address the issue of the woman in question allegedly being found on the side of road by other party goers (if such a horrendous action can be addressed without simply reinforcing its insanity). How does something like this happen? Did the woman leave on her own and not make it back to her residence or was she just dropped off with the hopes she would be found by someone who would get her the help she needed. Or was she directed by others at the party to be taken to the hospital who indicated she was found on the side of the road rather than to tell the truth about what allegedly occurred at the Kappa Sigma house. Hey, anything is possible. The chapter leadership did acknowledge participation in the alleged incident and have cooperated with the investigative processes that have occurred. Okay, we’ll give you that one… however, this is too little too late. How and why do these incidents still happen in the name of fraternity, especially when members are allowing non-members to perpetrate these acts under the name of the fraternity? We are glad that this woman got the help she needed and her peers sought medical attention, as the alternatives could have been tragic. However, this is yet another situation that could have been avoided entirely. References
Wells, V. (2008, Sept. 4) Alleged Hazing Under Review. [Electronic Version]. The Hattiesburg American. Wells, V. (2008, Sept. 6) Fraternity Loses Charter, House After Campus Hazing Incident. [Electronic Version]. The Hattiesburg American
There are multiple significant concerns with this allegation. First, there is the apparent forced consumption of considerable amounts of alcohol that resulted in this woman being admitted with a BAC of .47. According to news reports, this is the equivalent of ten drinks in one hour for a 100 pound woman and at that level of intoxication, there is serious risk of an individual slipping into a coma or even death. Additionally, in case you did not know or catch it above, Kappa Sigma is a men’s fraternity and the individuals treated for hazing were females who were allegedly hazed by other female “little sisters” of the organization. This is troubling, because now we are not only hazing our members; we are hazing people who can not legally become members of our organizations. Actually, we are allowing individuals who are not members the opportunity to haze other individuals who can not become members, all in the name of and under the auspices of fraternity. As a point of information, just for the sake of it, Little Sister organizations are prohibited as they are a threat to the Title IX exemption that fraternities and sororities have as single sex organizations.
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 program has one of your officers started that really impacted the chapter or council in a positive way?
How do you develop your officers throughOUT the year?
To raise money for our local Philanthropy, we had a pancake breakfast (at night) and a talent show. Melissa Divincen | Panhellenic President
We develop our officers through officer training and sending them to Leadership Academy through our National Convention. We also use programming from nationals to improve them in regards to safety and standards. Angela Tarricone | Pi Beta Phi
Sami Lester was our Academic Chair when she began the “No Skippy” jar using an empty jar of Skippy peanut butter. If a member had perfect attendance that week, she got her name entered in a drawing for a prize. It was a great idea! Sarah Stremme | Delta Delta Delta
We develop our council officers by setting goals throughout the year and having regular meetings and updates. We are also open to new ideas and advice from other members and our Greek advisors. Melissa Divincen | Panhellenic President
Lindsey Fiedler, our PR chair, and Heather Perry started the Uniquely Me! program to promote self-esteem with the local Girl Scout Chapter. Sarah Polen | Kappa Delta
When working with your officers, what’s the most important thing to keep in mind?
We have regular council meetings to check in on their work. This allows not only us, but also the officer to show the tangible results of their hard work. Cody Carr | Interfraternity Council President
It is important to keep in mind that people learn differently. Be sure to provide information not only in writing, but also by speaking or making Power Point presentations for those who learn audibly and visually. Cater to the needs of everyone in order to achieve maximum success. Stephen Clond | Lambda Chi Alpha It is important to keep in mind that every voice and opinion counts. You can’t please everyone, but at least give their idea the time of day. It is also important to remember that everyone is busy and stressed, so be supportive and try to keep everybody calm. Angela Tarricone | Pi Beta Phi
028 // connections // 2008.fall
It is important to keep in mind that our officers are people too and although they are willing, they cannot do everything in the world. Erin Oswalt | Zeta Tau Alpha Always remember that their job is their responsibility, not yours! Patrick Smith | Kappa Alpha
This issue’s contributors are all students at Drury University.
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.
Zeta does a “sisterhood spotlight” and a program called “What Do You Know About Me?” In this program, a sister tells her “story” and others send in random facts about themselves and the other members guess whose fact it is. This helps us develop sisterhood. Erin Oswalt | Zeta Tau Alpha
We have a big weekend of transitions during elections and each appointed office has a council member they report to. This aids in development significantly. Sarah Polen | Kappa Delta
We help your chapter harness the power of the internet for use in your Fraternity or Sorority communication systems. We offer a wide array of data/content management options, along with several powerful communication tools for use in any Greek organization.
COMMUNICATIONS • Professional appearances for public relations • Undergraduate and Alumni use through password protected sites • Detailed updatable bios and profiles for each member and alumni • Private and fully integrated calendars/emails • Provate file and content management • Private and personal and chapter photo galleries
RISK MANAGEMENT • Terms and Conditions provide legal standing against assistance • Screening Technology to avoid embarrassment and potentially harmful content on site • Separate and Private access for all levels • Site continuity and training with our ongoing professional assistance
PROFESSIONAL • SIte developed through custom programming that reduces abuse from hackers • Advisor and National organization’s consulted to maintain appropriate web content • Extensive database management available • Continual administrative and technical support
PRICING • Make no mistake, we are an affordable solution for any size organization FACEBOOK INTEGRATED through application: The Greek Community http://apps.facebook.com/thegreekcommunity
ORDER YOUR WEBSITE TODAY! 1.800.895.6024 (TOLL FREE) | WWW.CHAPTERCOMMUNICATIONS.COM/CONTACT
........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ CHAPTER COMMUNICATIONS
PHONE 800.895.6024 217.355.3796 FAX 217.355.4513
$100 OFF YOUR WEBSITE!
CUT, FILL OUT, AND FAX THIS COUPON TO US AND GET A $100 DISCOUNT OFF YOUR SITE SETUP FEE OR FILL OUT THE FORM HERE: HTTP://WWW.CHAPTERCOMMUNICATIONS.COM/CONTACT and REFERENCE CODE “MGCA2008”. NAME EMAIL
3308 Snowbrush Court Fort Collins, CO 80521 www.mgca.org
AFLV Connections Fall 2008 - Council Officers