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CONNECTIONS the MAGAZINE

of MGCA

LEADING CHANGE

LEADING CHANGE INSIDE

> leading change > leading the revolution > 5 ways to maximize your greek experience > cultivating future growth > taking action: emerging leaders

VOL. 2 / ISSUE 005 / WINTER 2009


the Association of Fraternity Leadership and Values: Bringing focus to campus leadership.

Coming this Spring AFLV.org


the inside starts here FEATURES 006 // leading change / abbie schneider 008 // leading the revolution / lindsay sell 012 // 5 ways to maximize your greek experience / tish norman 014 // cultivating future growth / brent bruner 022 // taking action: emerging leaders / ashley stone

COLUMNS 002 // letter from the executive director 002 // letter from the editor 017 // mcgill’s seven phases 018 // facilitation 411 / leaving a legacy 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 publications@mgca.org Submit advertising queries to: Mark Koepsell Executive Director mark@mgca.org 970/372.1174 888/855.8670 info@mgca.org

Connections is published four times each year. Submission Deadlines: Spring 2009:        February 23, 2009 Summer 2009:     May 4   Send address corrections to: Mid-American Greek Council Association 420 South Howes Bldg B; Suite 200 Fort Collins, CO 80524 970/372.1174 888/855.8670 info@mgca.org   Layout & Design Steve Whitby / Warehouse 242 swhitby@mac.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

Member / Fraternity Communications Association

MGCA // 001


No matter how one feels about it, change is inevitable. We know from history that those that can harness it and understand it, have been the world’s best leaders. Just think of the major changes influenced by the likes of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and John F. Kennedy. One of this year’s candidates even built his entire campaign on the theme. To know it, understand it, and capitalize on it can create a world of opportunity for you and your organization. I doubt most of the aforementioned individuals took a class in leading change or change management. They simply had the gift. But for the rest of us, there are some techniques that we can train ourselves in to make us much more effective change agents within our organizations. There is a lot of change going around right now. We are moving into a new era of American Politics, the economy certainly is on a changing landscape, and more and more, individuals are looking to greener solutions to how they live and do their work. A little closer to home, the MGCA/NBGLC Annual Leadership Conference is taking place in St. Louis, MO this year after being in the same hotel in Chicago for 19 years. A little larger in scale is the fact that MGCA and the Western Region Greek Association (WRGA) are consolidating into one new organization entitled the Association of Fraternal Values and Leadership. A brand new conference has formed this year entitled the National Cultural Greek Leadership Conference (www.NCGLC.org) with its sole purpose to provide leadership training and development for members of culturally based fraternities and sororities. With all of that change going on, it would be easy to become overwhelmed (and some days I do!). But mostly, I find it incredibly inspirational and I’m forever grateful to be part of an organization that has such a forward thinking outlook on how to best provide services to you, our members. This issue is dedicated to the concepts of leading change. We believe that change agents and leaders who understand change are paramount to the future success of our fraternal organizations. It is our hope that you will read the articles found within this issue and become inspired to launch your own powerful change initiatives. The question is, will you lead change; or will you let change lead you?

Question: what is the most popular theme for elections? Answer: change. Just thinking of the recent Presidential elections makes the answer easy. Sorry, that’s the only easy part. Whether running for office on an Interfraternity Council, in a fraternity or sorority chapter, or for the Presidency of the Unites States, it is not uncommon – okay, it’s expected – to hear candidates indicate that they are candidate of change. They are the one that will make things better. When seeking a leadership position, so many of us say “I’m not the status quo leader; I’m going to CHANGE things!” Unfortunately, how often have we seen that the opposite is true once the term gets rolling? Here’s the reality: change upsets people. Ever wonder why? Well, it’s funny you should ask. If you aren’t already, you need to be familiar with Dr. William Bridges. Bridges is best known for his groundbreaking research and writing about transitions. According to Bridges, one of the stages of going through a transition (also known as a CHANGE) is called the neutral stage. It is during this stage where people get nervous, upset, and angry. They actually act out in a negative way in addition to feeling nervous and anxious about the change. They get sassy, they refuse to act or obey, they even cause arguments. Been there? Being a leader during a big change can be really awful for this reason, no wonder so many people freak out and back down when times get tough. It’s really too bad. Change is hard. If you think it isn’t, you’re kidding yourself. Dealing with transitions and changes takes a lot of time and a lot of care. Leadership is hard enough, in fact, without having to manage change. However, change (and maybe death) is the only thing that we can (definitely, 100%, no-doubt-about-it) count on. It is constant. So, if this is true, then why isn’t “the ability to lead and manage change” in every job description? Well, maybe it should be. This issue of Connections has some great resources that will help you get into the change groove. Many of you are brand new student leaders who just took office. This might mean that you are still in the honeymoon period. How sweet. If you are one of these new honeymooning leaders, let me be clear: we don’t mean to upset you… but to prepare you. Reference: Bridges, W. (2004). Transitions: Making sense of life’s changes. Da Capo Press.

002 // connections // 2009.winter

Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Executive Director

Change. The word alone elicits a wide array of emotions from those that hear it. Some thrive on change, seeking the opportunity to explore what lies over the horizon, to imagine what hasn’t been imagined yet, and to search for the opportunities yet not explored. For others, it strikes fear in their hearts, fear of the unknown, fear of deviating from familiar routines, and fear of failure. Most of us lie somewhere in between, safely nestled in a crevice of familiarity mixed with some daring adventures of unknown opportunity.


MGCA // 003


C everyone’s having fun. But is everyone safe? Introducing

Ladder of rIsk: Campus edItIon A new Campuspeak Interactive Workshop that gets all chapters on the same page about risk management and safer event planning. One of the most important elements for successful Greek

Created by Dr. Lori Hart Ebert

4 hour interactive workshop

One CAMPUSPEAK facilitator provided

Social Event Planning Guide provided

Comprehensive FIPG discussion

For men’s and women’s groups

Clarifies BYOB and third-party vender policies

Chapter advisor involvement encouraged

organizations is their ability to provide for the safety of their members and guests. By special arrangement with Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, Ladder of Risk: Campus Edition is the best way for chapter presidents, social chairs, risk managers, chapter advisers and regular members to better understand smart risk management procedures, including an intensive look into compliant social event planning. Aided by a visual presentation, our facilitator helps students understand the fundamentals of FIPG-compliant event planning. If risk management is one of your top community priorities, call now to book this exciting and informative workshop!

For more information, contact Tim Samp, CAMPUSPEAK Interactive Workshops Coordinator at (303) 745-5545 or samp@campuspeak.com. www.campuspeak.com

Mention this ad in MGCA Connections before May 1 to receive our limited time introductory rate.


CONTRIBUTORS ABBIE SCHNEIDER

LINDSAY SELL

BRETT BRUNER

TISH NORMAN

Abbie Schneider • Director of Leadership • Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity HQ aschneider@pikapp.org Trust us – you want to read this article. Abbie Schneider knows what she is talking about when it comes to managing change. Her writing is compelling because it hits us in the heart as well as the head. Schneider has a unique level of empathy that validates our tendency to be afraid of change but still challenges us to put our heads down and get to work. Plus, she makes it easy… and who doesn’t like that? Lindsay Sell • Assistant Director of Fraternity & Sorority Life • Univ. of Connecticut lindsay.sell@uconn.edu Lindsay Sell is smart. She is so smart, in fact, that she is able to successfully illustrate an academic theory about change facilitation with all of us laymen. Sell wants us to know about Kotter, one of THE experts on change and she is quite compelling in the way she so seamlessly applies it to our lives as leaders and professionals in the fraternal world. If you want to be smarter, read this article. Brett Bruner • Director of Greek Life • Baker University brett.bruner@bakeru.edu Brett Bruner is thinking about the future. He knows that chapter and council presidents and upperclassmen, in general, are great but is more excited about the potential of the newbies. Although he may not be the first person to mention the concept of an emerging leaders program, he certainly does a heck of a job spelling out a practical way that you can create one. Tish Norman • CAMPUSPEAK tishnhlywd@aol.com Tish Norman’s article proves that she can’t only speak – she can write – well. As a well known speaker, Tish has a very good sense of what’s going on in the fraternal community. As a result, she has put together a great system for you, your chapter, or your council to maximize your potential as change leaders. The R.E.A.C.H. method will work – and let’s face it – we love acronyms.

MGCA // 005


once upon a time, all of our organizations were brand new. They consisted of a few men or women who were dissatisfied with the status quo and chose to change their circumstances. The result of their efforts was this thing we call Fraternity.

Granted, this is an egregiously simplified explanation of how fraternities and sororities came to be, but think about the story of how your organization was founded. No matter the year, no matter the school, gender or reason, each of our organizations was started by individuals who sought to create change. They may not have envisioned how far-reaching their actions would someday be, but that is the beauty of moving an idea into action. Once you have made your idea public, once you have invited others to join you, there is no telling the impact you are capable of making. Given the courage of our founding members in addition to the impressions they made on their campuses and society, it is sad that we so frequently use the word “tradition” to excuse us from having the same kind of impact on our own campuses and within our own chapters. What is worse is that we do not even bother to make an excuse or ask questions; we simply look at our chapters and communities and assume it has “always been this way.” If our founders had taken this same outlook, none of our organizations would be in existence today. And, if we do not begin to make some changes within our communities and within our chapters, there is a chance we will not exist in the future.

006 // connections // 2009.winter


There are a variety of excuses that change cannot happen. Ultimately, all of those reasons come down to one thing: fear. We are afraid that we do not have the knowledge necessary to do the job well. We are afraid that no one else will listen to us. We are afraid that even if we try, those who follow will not be able to keep it going. We are afraid the people whom this change impacts will not like us anymore. We are afraid we will lose credibility. Worst of all: we are afraid we will fail. Remember, our founders were college students too. Some of them were even young teenagers. It is certain they had roadblocks along the way. They also had help. The organizations and communities that we are all members of have been cultivated by numerous volunteers over the years who believed in the organization’s ideals and contributed to sustaining it through the ups and downs. It’s your turn to do the same. The following preliminary steps have been provided to assist you in laying the groundwork for your change initiative. Understand Why the Change Needs to Happen You may know deep in your gut that change is the right thing. You may even be able to visualize what your community will be like once this change happens. Unfortunately, those vague feelings and pretty pictures in your head are not easily translated to others. If you do not truly understand why change needs to happen, others will not either. To successfully implement change you need to be able to communicate effectively. Start by asking yourself a series of questions: > What is the problem that needs changing? > Why is it a problem? What is the cause? > Who will this change impact? How? > What will the community/chapter look like if this change happens? > What will the community/chapter look like if this change does NOT happen? > What will this change require? How can you get there?

Identify Obstacles Implementing change is not easy. Even with the clearest of visions and most thorough plans, there will be roadblocks to achieving your goals. Some of these obstacles may be present currently while others have yet to show themselves. Do not allow these challenges to stall your progress. Address the current obstacles immediately. Waiting for them to go away will just waste time and likely provide you with a larger challenge later. Be proactive and identify potential obstacles in advance. By planning for future obstacles you have the ability to identify strategies ahead of time and enact them swiftly when these roadblocks arise. You may even be able to take action now to prevent these roadblocks from presenting challenges. Some additional things to consider: > Which actions are likely to be the hardest to change? Why? > Are there populations of people who are most likely to cling to those actions? > What extra efforts might increase their likelihood to let go of the old ways? > What changes will require the assistance of people outside your influence? > What needed resources are most outside of your grasp? > With each stage of your plan, what are the key areas necessary to moving the change forward? What are the potential obstacles in those key areas? > What can you do now to limit the impact of these obstacles? Involve Your Peers So far, we have focused more on process than on people. The process is important, but the success of your change initiative rests with the people. Why do people shy away from change? They are afraid of it. The best way to eliminate the fear that comes with change is to ensure that your change process is transparent. The people who will be most impacted by this change need to be brought in early and given the opportunity to ask questions. They need to be given the opportunity to challenge the process. Opportunities for this kind of dialogue will help others’ understanding of why things need to change and allow you, the change agent, to understand their resistance. Also, it may help you to clarify your own position and to identify challenges to the process that you had not yet considered. By involving those who are most impacted by the change early in the process, you have the opportunity to get their buy-in early and make them (or at least their feedback) a part of the change process. The more involved people feel, the more likely they will be to support the change you are proposing.

Leading Change:

> Who are the people most impacted by the change? What are the best ways for reaching out to them? > What methods of communication work best with your community? by Abbie Schneider // Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity HQ > What opportunities are available to the community to communicate/interact with you? > Are these methods easy and accessible? Identify the Right People to Lead > What information and methods of communication will best enable the population In order to enact change, help is needed. But, you cannot pick just any warm body and to trust you and this change? you may not be able to rely on the elected or appointed leaders to help you. Whether > Will communication strategies need to change as the change implementation proyou are working with an official leadership team like an executive board or calling on gresses? trusted individuals who are willing to help you, there will be certain skills and attitudes > How can you plan for that? you need to lead this change within your community. Consider the following questions: Constantly Ask Questions and Re-Evaluate Change is a process that happens over time. Time and people are not stationary; en> What skills do you need? vironments and circumstances change. Keep in mind that the change you are imple> What attitudes do you need? menting is taking place in an ever-changing environment. As such, it will be important > Who has these skills and attitudes? for you to remain diligent and on track as well as making adjustments when needed. > Are the people with these skills and attitudes prepared to assist you? Ask questions to check on progress. Talk to the people involved. These types of actions > How do you help to prepare them? show that you are interested in how the change is affecting people and the environment. By showing interest, people will be more likely to share their views. Also, you will Devise a Vision and a Strategy learn more about what is happening outside of your little bubble. As you considered the first set of questions, you should have been able to create a broad vision for the change that you plan to enact. However, having a vision is not > Is the change on track? Why or why not? enough. You need to develop a plan that will guide you toward the vision. Depending > Are people responding the same way they did in the beginning of the process? Why on the extent of the change being proposed, there is a good chance it might take or why not? Is that good or bad? years to come to fruition. Therefore, you have to plan in a way that will survive transi> Are all of your supporters still the same? tion. The people involved from the beginning may not be the same people involved > How has your audience changed? If so, have you adjusted your strategy to accomat the end. The vision you create, the small wins you establish and the strategies you modate new people involved? identify need to be recorded and ever-present so that they are easily transferred to > Are the methods that were used in the beginning still in practice? If so, are they still incoming leaders who can continue the change initiative. Remember, you are not just working? creating change you are establishing a legacy. > Will your current plans get you through to your end goal? > What needs to happen to accomplish your vision? Being a member of a fraternity or sorority means being a part of a tradition. That tradi> When does it need to happen? tion is not related to the chapter’s annual formal or its big/little ceremony. It is a tradi> Who needs to be involved? tion of change. It is a tradition of going against the status quo. It is a tradition of doing > What resources will you need to be successful? what is right. The fraternity and sorority world has faced great challenges throughout > How can you gain access to those resources? its history, as individual and collective organizations and as campus communities. Each > What are the small wins? How will you know that you are succeeding? time individuals rise to meet challenges and bring others along, our communities con> What is the final goal? How will you know you have reached it? tinue to adapt and grow to be even better than what they were before. Be a part of that tradition. You might just make a difference in your community that leads it to greatness.

A Tradition of Excellence

MGCA // 007


Leading the Revolution Practical Tools for Implementing Change

by Lindsay Sell University of Connecticut

008 // connections // 2009.winter


Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, said that ''change is the only constant.'' So why do we spend so much time fighting or being afraid of it? Many fraternity and sorority communities struggle with making cultural change. For many Greek leaders, it is painfully clear that something needs to change but understanding what to do and how to get others on board is often challenging. As a leader, creating lasting cultural change can be your legacy, but it can be very overwhelming. Let's face it: creating change is no easy task.

John P. Kotter, the author of Leading Change (1996), has long shared thoughts about managing and leading change. Although his ideas are framed for the business world, it is easy to apply his theories to fraternity and sorority communities. Kotter’s model for planning and envisioning positive change can be easily employed by council officers, chapter presidents, or any motivated member of a community who recognizes that it is time to make change happen. Kotter’s change model consists of eight intentional steps that can be used by any individual who is thinking critically about initiating change and making it last. Step One: Establishing a Sense of Urgency There has to be a reason for people to want to change. Whether that reason is a community crisis or the result of an inspirational leader, communities will move forward when they are motivated to take action. How many times have we seen our communities implement policies and procedures as a result of a major risk management-related incident? While the change that comes about as the result of a crisis is certainly powerful, it should be every leader’s goal to make change happen proactively, without being forced to change by crisis. What might this sense of urgency look like in a fraternity and sorority community? First, complacency needs to be reduced. Brothers and sisters need to feel inspired to behave differently. This can come from raising expectations of ourselves and our peers, and making it clear that the status quo will no longer do. Urgency comes from strong leadership that inspires others to live the common values espoused by the oaths we all freely accepted. Without others understanding that there is an urgent need to change, behavior cannot be altered to achieve a shared vision. As you embark on the change journey, make sure the change is not forced or coerced. Take time to help others understand why change is absolutely necessary and enable others to buy into a shared sense of urgency. Step Two: Creating the Guiding Coalition While it can be exciting to be the charismatic leader responsible for major turnaround, your change initiative will be far more successful and long-lasting if you create a coalition of individuals that will help advocate for the change. This group of allies can help sell the vision to others and also assist in managing it effectively. As a catalyst for change, it is your job to identify trusted individuals who will offer a global perspective in envisioning the future of your community. In order to be more than a bystander, it is imperative to be intentional about making change. Yes, happy accidents where we just happen to head in the right direction will occur, but we all have the chance to engage in the change process specifically and intentionally right now. Finding the right people to be a part of a guiding coalition is the first step, and together that group of people can develop, adapt, share, and enact the change vision. A common pitfall in this stage of change management is trying to do it alone. Failing to create a sufficiently powerful guiding coalition will hinder, or worse, harm the process. Many are capable of discussing a shared future and a strong vision, but it is important to know who the right people are to have on board for each specific change effort. Think carefully about the coalition you create and try to imagine the power the group will have to share a collective vision and turn it into reality. Step Three: Developing a Vision and Strategy Much has been written on the importance of vision. A clearly articulated and compelling vision will help community members understand the envisioned future and have something to work towards. A vision is not short-term, it is a long-range idea about what outcome change will elicit.


Researching and understanding the visioning process is essential to this step. Read, learn and ask for support, but move forward with an established vision that others in your community can buy into. A good vision is easy to communicate and inspires others. As a leader, it is critical to lay out a roadmap and make an effective case for change. This begins with the vision of how things can or must be different. When communicated correctly, vision is what motivates community members to act differently. Sharing the vision can help remedy complacency and provide direction for achieving long range goals. Step Four: Communicating the Change Vision Now that you have a great vision that encapsulates the kind of change you would like to make, the next step is communicating the vision with others. This does not mean writing it down and sending it out in your monthly newsletter nor does it mean making an announcement at a council meeting. Effectively communicating a vision takes a genuine effort to inform all constituents. It also means thinking about how to reach all members of your community, not just the officers. Additionally, other key stakeholders, such as administrators, alumni, and peers must be in the know. Communication is also about listening to feedback from others and being open to suggestions for improvement of the vision. Too often, the same methods of communication are employed when trying to the get word out. Sure, one bit of juicy gossip makes the rounds quickly, but discussing a plan for making your community stronger is likely not as compelling. Think critically about how you can communicate your vision and select the most relevant mediums. Repeat your message frequently and in many different styles: in writing, verbally, etc. Also, lead and live by example; if you do not live the vision in your personal life, your leadership will falter. Communication habits are easily formed, and thinking creatively about ways to share a vision is essential to make sure it is widely heard. Kotter illustrates this point well by saying, “Communication comes in both words and deeds” (p. 10). In other words, be the best advertisement for the change for which you are advocating. Step Five: Empowering Broad-Based Action Even when urgency is high it can be difficult to empower members of fraternity and sorority communities to take action on a vision for change. This part of the process will look different for every community depending on the kind of change vision you have created and what systems and structures are already in place. Oftentimes it is the systems and structures that are already set up that prevent empowerment of community members. For instance, if only the very top leaders in our chapters and our councils are aware of change messages and receive leadership skills training, others in our chapters may not feel similarly empowered to create change. If we have policies and procedures or a council officer structure that does not support the kind of change we hope to create, this might actually discourage members from making change. Take an inventory of the barriers in place that might prevent your community from attaining your change vision. Are members missing the necessary skills or knowledge to enact a certain behavior? Are there systems or traditions in place that are not aligned with the direction you hope to head with your change vision? Make changes to ensure your community is ready to empower members to take the action needed. No change process is easy and obstacles will arise. Do not permit obstacles to block the vision, and know that new obstacles will appear along the path of change. Allowing obstacles to block the vision without fully thinking through how they can be moved or changed will only hinder the work you have already done. Step Six: Generating Short-Term Wins Change will not occur if you become so engrossed in big dreams that you ignore your current reality. You can only change your current reality if you stay focused and move in the direction that you have established through your vision. It can become incredibly disheartening for a leader to work only 010 // connections // 2009.winter

toward a long-term vision without acknowledging and rewarding the shortterm wins that are made on the path to the ultimate envisioned change. It is important to realize that the vision you seek may not be achieved within the official term of one person’s leadership position term. Outline the kinds of small wins that can be celebrated on your way to the kind of community you envision. If the change you are working toward is related to fraternities and sororities being relevant and contributing organizations on your campus, then make short-term goals about how to empower members of the community to get involved and more positively represent themselves on campus. Then celebrate these short-term wins when they do happen so the community at large can see that progress is being made. A vision is only achieved with smaller goals acting as stepping stones to the final destination. Map out what those stepping stones are and take small steps forward. Change management can be exhausting when short-term wins are not a part of the process. The kind of pressure that is felt when short-term goals exist on a timetable can be exactly what is needed to move the change process forward. Step Seven: Consolidating Gains and Producing More Change Sustaining short-term wins and keeping the end goal in mind is extremely difficult when the initial excitement of creating and communicating the vision dies down. It is easy to lose track of long range plans when the present tasks become frustrating or difficult. Our fraternity and sorority communities are highly interdependent, which means a lot of people will be affected and, therefore, needed in the change process. In this step, the short-term wins are consolidated and some of your big change goals become a reality. It is crucial to not slow down when working to achieve your vision and goals. College students have a limited amount of time to contribute to this change process, both in terms of their busy daily schedules as well as their limited time at a college or university. For student leaders, creating change might mean working to transition the vision to other leaders so your change vision can be attained, even if you are not there to make it happen. Consider how you can ensure the vision that you have developed is sustainable and work to find others who can carry your efforts forward to produce even more positive results. Because the change process can be long and tiring, it is tempting to declare our efforts a victory before the end goal has been reached. Celebrating a short-term win is very different than proclaiming your vision achieved. This might be a tendency in our communities as officers come and go on a frequent and shortterm basis, but keeping the long-term in mind and finding those that can remind us of our ultimate goals is necessary. Step Eight: Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture This piece of Kotter’s change model seems most congruent with the challenges faced in our fraternity and sorority communities when it comes to implementing change. Unfortunately, traditions of our communities too often pose the biggest obstacles to change. But a cultural change can be compatible with the traditional way of doing things; it might just mean adjusting the behavior. There are many means to the same ends and making this a key discussion to the change process will allow cultural change to truly take hold. Kotter (1996) explains this part best: Culture is not something that you manipulate easily. Attempts to grab it and twist it into a new shape


never work because you can’t grab it. Culture changes only after you have successfully altered people’s actions, after the new behavior produces some group benefit for a period of time, and after people see the connection between the new actions and the performance improvement. Thus, most cultural change happens in stage 8, not stage 1. (p. 156)

Why this Process? Kotter believes that when any of these steps are neglected, big prices are paid later on. Sure, every once in a while immediate results from hard work can be seen, but for a vision to be achieved, for change to be truly longlasting, this process is immensely helpful.

This is a relief to those who are expecting cultural change right away. Staying the course and finding ways to anchor new approaches to create cultural change is the best hope for long lasting change and the ultimate achievement of the vision.

Change can be difficult, extensive, and complicated, but it is not impossible. To give your change vision the greatest hope of becoming a reality, it is imperative to see past the thought that all change must happen in a one-year term of office. Instead, think about change broadly and set goals for the achievement of short-term wins. Think about whom can become a part of the guiding coalition that will carry the change vision into the future. Yes, it is frustrating to not instantaneously see the fruits of our labor, but charting a course for the future of your community that vividly describes the kind of change you hope to see is what will allow sustainable change to occur. Kotter’s change model assumes a proactive approach and inclusion of a great number of people. There are also times when change needs to be immediate, swift, and decisive. Fraternity and sorority leaders can partner with local authorities, campus officials, alumni and alumnae boards, and inter/ national headquarters staff and volunteers to bring about all types of change.

Change can become a part of the culture only when people understand how the altered behavior has improved the community’s efforts and performance. As leaders are selected, consider their ability to sustain and continue anchoring the change that has been initiated. This helps frame a conversation about why officer transitions are so important.

Finally, ask yourself this question: what do you want your fraternity and sorority community to look like in ten years? When you return to campus for a visit in the next decade, wouldn’t it be amazing to see that the vision you helped create today had a real and lasting effect on tomorrow? Change is not a glamorous process, but you can make it happen! References Kotter, John. P. (1996). Leading change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

MGCA MGCA // // 009 011


Your college years can be the most memorable time of your life. Lifelong friendships are cultivated and valuable knowledge is gained as you develop academically and socially. Opportunities are plentiful to become involved in any number of activities on campus, but belonging to a fraternity or sorority is not just another “social activity” or “club.” Fraternities and sororities can be a great asset in building one’s leadership skills and provides excellent opportunities for personal and professional growth. The skills learned are beneficial for life after college and can provide valuable resume building opportunities. Of course, for every outstanding fraternity or sorority, there are some chapters that have gone in a different direction by having reputations for illicit and irresponsible behavior on campus. They are generally characterized as fostering substance abuse, low graduation rates, promiscuity, and even murder. Fraternities and sororities grounded in these principles are not consistent with the intent of their founders. As a professional speaker, the stories I hear make my jaw drop in shock. Where did we go wrong? How did we drop the ball? How has an institution that was meant to enhance the development of college students become a stereotypical social group that serves no purpose in personal development? Here are some steps that you can take in your chapter so you can R.E.A.C.H the lofty mission and purpose of your organization. R.E.A.C.H has many different definitions in this regard. Today, members are able to benefit from former members who R.E.A.C.Hed to influence, inspire and connect with younger members. They, in turn, have the opportunity to do the same when they graduate. This pattern of “paying it forward” is a fundamental ideal among fraternity and sorority life. Yes, we go to college to get an education and yes, we go to college and meet potential mates to start families with. And yes, we go to college to have some of the best times of our lives. But as fraternity men and sorority women, we must always remember to R.E.A.C.H for higher heights, remember why we joined our respective organizations, and never forget to R.E.A.C.H back.

R

This letter stands for more than just one word. Renew, revive, reapply, recreate, refresh, rewind, refine, refocus, rejuvenate, realize, redo, relive, redefine…and the list goes on and on. The prefix “re” means to do again, so naturally, when within your chapter, there’s a set back or mistake, do it again. Even when all is well within your group (members are academically ex- celling, community service and philanthropy is thriving, and inner fraternal relations are good) it is always good to regroup from time to time. After a company puts on a major event, members of the planning committee often times meet to debrief. At these meetings, members discuss what went right and what went wrong, work to identify strategies that were most effective, insure that original objectives and goals were met, and create an action plan for the next event. These debriefing meetings are important because they allow your chapter an opportunity to implement the “R’s” in your chapter. Regroup, refocus, recap, review, reinvent, and revamp, if necessary. Keep in mind that while your chapter should welcome new ideas, it is crucial that the traditions on which your organization was founded are upheld. This is simply a way that your chapter can evolve and evaluate growth. Fraternities and sororities have a unique opportunity to lead by example. Since members are often leaders on campus, you have the ability to attract some of the most outstanding students your college or university has to offer. If your chapter struggles with negative stereotypes, you have a chance to redefine what the reputation has been in the past. As leaders, you can determine the course of your chapter. Service and philanthropy are a major component to fraternities and sororities and can be helpful in forming a new reputation. In order to cultivate and sustain positive community relations, it is crucial that you refocus and even reapply your priorities if necessary. Many groups strive for academic excellence, but it is just as important to evolve in a socially responsible manner. The “R” in this case can stand for respect. Respect yourself. Respect your organization. Respect your founders. Respect your letters and what they stand for. Your personal accountability is reflective of your university, your organization, and most importantly, yourself.

E

Rapper and activist KRS-1 released an album in the early 90’s called “Edutainment.” Because of his prolific writing and rhyming skills, he delivered hip yet conscious lyrics to his audience. As an “edutainer”, he was able to create a unique marriage between education and entertainment. Fraternities and sororities can and should follow suit. We leave college drastically different from the way we entered. We grow and transform, learning along the way the feelings of disappointment and happiness. College is an appetizer for the real world and actively participating in fraternal life should augment personal development. It is important to remember your priorities at college and find your own common ground between education and entertainment. Education comes first, and entertainment comes second. Our campuses had, and still have today, the proclivity to schedule midterm exams right before our annual Homecoming Celebration. That means going to library before going to the parties. Being in a sorority or fraternity will cost you time — something that is already a great demand for all university students. However, your fraternal obligations should never ask you to put the needs of the sorority/fraternity ahead of your scholastic commitments. 012 // connections // 2009.winter


A

Association brings about assimilation. In other words, your friendships and relationships link you to what you will eventually adapt to and become. As a fraternity or sorority member, you should be very selective in your membership intake process. I tell audiences around the world to “pick your circle of friends strategically.” People either add value to life or take value from it. You ultimately make the decision regarding who you will spend your time with. Older members need to realize that their responsibility is to lead by example; younger members will follow their actions more than their words. If elder members make decisions to implement their own personal code of conduct, other members will subconsciously follow the example that is set. This same principle applies to the membership in your chapter. There may be a plethora of potential pledges who attend your chapter’s informational sessions, but when it comes down to the selection of candidates for membership, this should not be taken lightly. Besides academic requirements and financial obligations, what are your chapter’s qualifications for membership? What are the reputations of these potential candidates? Do your research and find out if these people will enhance or hinder the progress of your chapter. If your chapter’s “brand” is important to you and fellow members, I encourage you to take a closer look at the candidates who will carry the torch when your own university days are gone.

C

The only thing in life that is guaranteed is change. When someone else takes on a new position in your chapter, change happens. Change, whether good or bad is the only entity that will persist throughout time. Change is what our world thrives upon. As a leader on your campus, you are naturally an innovator of change. In order to implement change, one must be influential to others. Influence is the vehicle in which change is possible. Being able to encourage and inspire others to action is important to the further development of your chapter. Dr. Myles Monroe says, “The test of true leadership is when the leadership principles are upheld in the absence of that leader.” The ultimate goal that your chapter leadership should strive for is insuring that your chapter grows to the point that it continues to function well when current leadership leaves. This idea of longevity should be a fundamental principle in the leadership of your chapter. Change on your campus and within your sorority or fraternity will prepare you for the change you will face in the real world. The skills that are gained while embracing and adjusting to change will be invaluable to you in your career. Try making a promise to yourself before you graduate to change the dynamics of your organization. Leave traces of positive change so others will be encouraged to do the same.

H

Helping others is vital to the success of our fraternal groups. It is a deep belief for Greek organizations across the board; to lend a helping hand to those in need. No matter the philanthropic path that your chapter may take, helping is a standard by which our groups follow and find fulfillment in doing so. The “H” is the last letter in the R.E.A.C.H acronym. When you R.E.A.C.H forward to help yourself remember to also R.E.A.C.H back to help those who will come behind you. It is fulfilling to lend a hand to someone in need. If you haven’t already, your chapter can seek out foundations within your college town that would benefit from your group’s assistance. If you already have one or more in place, bravo! Make sure that your ties are strong. Be sure to invite members of their board or administration to your events to see your group engaged in other on-campus activities. This helps bridge the gap between community and campus. Consider investing in the youth of your community. Consequently, your chapter can become equipped to continue the long legacy of touching and inspiring younger generations to follow in your footsteps of excellence. Commitment, fortitude, service, and pride are pillars that continuously support the mission of fraternal organizations. The benefits of fraternity and sorority membership are immeasurable. Sisterhood, brotherhood, camaraderie, achievement and success: these are the gifts fraternities and sororities can offer to those who are willing to give as much as they receive. There are ample opportunities to learn, grow, and, develop all while having lots of fun! And when that great day comes when you leave the halls of your university, you will be ready to R.E.A.C.H for your goals. You will meet new people, learn new skills, maybe get married, move, get new jobs, maybe start a family, and much more. This, however, is not the time to leave your “Great Fraternal Experience” behind without R.E.A.C.Hing back to make sure your proud tradition continues.

R.E.A.C.H.

by Tish Norman

5 Ways to Maximize Your Greek Experience MGCA // 013


We are using Connections Magazine here at The University of Iowa as one of the textbooks for our Fraternity and Sorority Life Leadership course. The issues are themed perfectly with the topics and discussions we will have in the class. Whether it is the articles, the “Ask the Expert” advice or the “Busted” highlights, each magazine is written for our population of students and has something for everyone from every type of council.

Kelly Jo Karnes // Associate Director

Office of Student Life // The University of Iowa


Get it in writing. MGCA Connections is a quarterly publication aimed at providing relevant, challenging content for both students & fraternity/sorority professionals.

Each issue is packed with original information targeted specifically at those individuals who work so hard to keep the fraternal movement going on campuses across America. Articles from industry leaders and special columns combine to make this publication a must read for professionals, volunteers, and students. MGCA members receive two subscriptions free with each paid council membership, but many campuses are choosing to subscribe for their leaders to use in their chapters, in the classroom, and as they lead their campuses. Join in the movement and subscribe now to get the best resources for your leadership team. Subscribe today: mgca.org/services/connections.php

CONNECTIONS relevant conversations for relevant leaders

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Cultivating Future Growth: Developing Emerging Leader Programs Fraternity and sorority life professionals as well as experienced student leaders share a unique position in higher education to influence and assist in the development and growth of the emerging leaders in a campus fraternity and sorority community. by Brett L. Bruner Baker University (KS)

As a new student affairs professional, I have been amazed at the leadership potential that shines through chapter and council leaders within our fraternity and sorority community. Perhaps more important than good upper class leaders, I see enormous leadership opportunities working with new members. Properly directed, new members can take great strides in serving their chapters, community, campus, and beyond. The constant challenge for advisors and progressive student leaders is reaching new members before they yield to negative traditions or inappropriate behaviors. Given these observations, a quintessential question arises: what can we all do to translate the leadership strengths of our upper class students to impact the next generation of leaders? An emerging leaders program may be an answer to this challenge. I believe there are four important tips to guide development or review of an emerging leaders program:

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1 // Assessment, assessment, & assessment!

Prior to designing any emerging leaders program, a needs assessment should be conducted to determine if there is sufficient interest in such a program and solicitation of ideas regarding program structure and curriculum. I am not advocating for a standardized emerging leaders program; rather, a customized approach that works for your students on your campus. In the leadership development business, one size does not fit all. Programs can range from formal credited classes to informal mentoring programs to leadership retreats to a leadership speakers series. Student, faculty, and alumni volunteers can assist fraternity and sorority life staff in program development. Designing a program should also utilize existing resources such as campus-wide leadership events, outdoor education initiatives, and academic courses in areas of communication and organizational behavior.

2 // Define goals and learning outcomes for your program.

Any program should have two or three key goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. A program without goals or an expected outcome will be difficult to manage and will be uninteresting to students. To achieve balanced goals and outcomes, conduct focus groups with your upper class student leaders and ask them to reflect on their development as a leader during their undergraduate years. What worked? What didn’t work? What were the “a-ha moments” for them? What were the pitfalls? Conduct a similar group meeting with emerging leaders, those that might self-identify as an emerging leader or be nominated as one by the campus advisors or peers. By utilizing students in developing learning outcomes for a program, you are ensuring that the program will meet their needs and gain their buy-in as a participant.

3 // Find a balance between experiential learning and instruction-based learning

In developing the programming and structure for your emerging fraternity/sorority leader program, it is critical to develop a balanced program curriculum with a combination of approaches and opportunities, including traditional workshops, mentoring activities, informational interviewing, classic research projects, guest speakers, community engagement, and self-reflection activities, just to name a few. Such an approach will meet the need and desire for students to walk away with something in hand to make meaning of the program. One such example of this is the Emerging Leaders Portfolio - a product of the student’s participation in the program. This portfolio might include reflections from instruction-based leadership sessions as well as visible evidence of the experiential learning programs. Examples may include a before and after resume from the resume workshop conducted by career services staff, a goal progression flowchart with a leadership development mentor, and publicity and planning documents detailing involvement with a community service project.

4 // Utilize your upper class and experienced student leaders throughout the process!

One of the most invaluable tools in developing an emerging leaders program is the utilization of upper class student leaders. These may be governing council officers, chapter presidents, or students identified as strong campus and/or fraternity and sorority life leaders. Emerging leaders may be more drawn to leadership workshops presented by their peers rather than advisors or faculty/staff members. To further underscore the importance of and commitment to the growth of emerging leaders, leadership mentoring programs that allow for a facilitated formal mentoring relationship between an upper class experience leader (mentor) and an emerging leader (mentee) can be successful for both groups of students. Emerging leaders find a connection with an upper class student who takes a genuine interest in their leadership development, while upper class student mentors have a unique opportunity to role model their leadership experiences and take an active interest in helping an emerging leader reach their ultimate leadership potential. In conclusion, I urge all campus advisors to examine their campus fraternity and sorority program curriculum and determine if an emerging leader program of any type or size would complement student development and learning. If you are an upper class student leader, ask yourself and your advisor what it is that you can do to assist in the development of such a program and how you can mentor the next leaders in your community. By incorporating some form of an emerging leadership development component, future leaders will be well-equipped to assume leadership roles and continue to take their campus to new heights!

McGill’s Seven Phases of Organizational Development Phase One: Convergence of Interest Whether it’s done formally or not, the first phase must be to gather together a group of interested individuals that can work together toward the goal. Membership in this group should be based purely and solely on the interest to contributing to the organizational development process. Phase Two: Establishing a Charter Find an external change agent (whether a consultant or current leader) who can help to establish the team. Once this is done, the team must determine its goals regarding the organizational development process.

change(s) will occur, and what techniques will be used, and how the results will be evaluated. Phase Five: Reporting At this point, the planning team comes back to the larger community to share what they have found so far. Final approval needs to be in place before the planning team puts the plan into action. E prepared to explain the logic behind all of the steps. Anticipating obstructions and resistance, at this point, is wise. Phase Six: Acting Try it out: did what you think would happen actually happen? If not, why not? Were the interventions successful? If not, what could change?

Phase Seven: Evaluating In this final phase, the planning team will determine whether or not the planPhase Three: Formalizing This is the time to start broadening the circle from a small team to include ning team achieved its goals and/or solved the previously identified probother stakeholders. The point of doing this to get others on board and also to lems. seek permission from those who will be effected by the change(s). Phase Four: Problem Identification Get feedback from who are involved. It can be done through data collection Reference or more informally through focus groups. All of the feedback needs to be Rowley, D. J. and Sherman, H. (2001). From strategy to change: Implementing the compiled and categorized into a list and a plan of action needs to be gener- plan in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ated. The plan of action needs to describe the intervention process, how the


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LEADING CHANGE: HOW TO GET STARTED This facilitation technique is all about creating and sustaining an organizational change effort. While the SWOT analysis and decision line events are one-day wonders and provide you with the data to create a strategy for change, this activity cannot be completed in one sitting. During the SWOT event, your small groups organized, condensed, and prioritized the issues and presented that to the large group. Save those notes and type up for future review. Take the information from those events, particularly the SWOT analysis, and prioritize the data. Are the priorities presented accurate? Are they grounded in fact? Are there any issues that need to be added to the list? Finalize each list and type up a document or list these on poster boards to display at meetings. STEPS TO IMPLEMENTATION First, decide what your major change issues are going to be and how you will approach them. Using strengths and weaknesses list from the SWOT analysis, determine the top two or three issues for each section. Be realistic and prudent! If your organization is in financial trouble, do not focus your energy on small changes to the scholarship program. Likewise, if your organization has hazing problems, tinkering with recruitment marketing won’t solve the problem. Your job as a leader is to collaboratively identify the major problems and create a plan to fix them. Your job is also to collaboratively identify the successes of your organization and build a future using those successes.

This is where your leadership legacy comes into view. Do you want to be remembered as the leader who stepped up and took charge of the organization to solve problems? Or do you want to be remembered as the leader who buckled under pressure and let the vocal minority maintain wrongheaded control over your organization? The choice is clear on two fronts: being a change agent is not only the right thing to do, it is often a difficult thing to do. You may lose organization members over these changes, and that can be scary. But, consider one of the universal maxims of organizational leadership: the 10-80-10 rule: ten percent of members will follow no matter what and ten percent of your members will oppose no matter what. What really matters is convincing the middle 80% (a majority) that you represent the right course of action!

Second, decide how best to present these summary points back to the membership. Present the summary to the organization, ask for final input, and vote to approve the developed goals. The goals should be posted for all to see and remain on the agenda for the entire semester or year. When goals or objectives are completed, take pride and joy in crossing them off the list. Celebrate the successes with incentives, prizes, and recognition of the members who accomplished the work.

We spend way too much time keeping the vocal minority of members (the obstinate 10%) happy instead of worrying about the other 90% of our organization. It is easier to simply resolve yourself early on to the fact that there will be disagreements. Your organization may lose some members, but how many new members will you gain to take their place? The trade-off will likely more than be in your favor, and you will leave a leadership legacy for others to follow.

If your organization lacks a strong leadership team, or perhaps has some conflicting ideas about the goals, you may need to use an outside facilitator to set the change in motion. This could be the organization’s alumni/alumnae board, advisory committee, faculty advisor, inter/national headquarters staff, regional officer, or leadership consultant. There is no shame in using an outside force; it is a smart and shrewd strategy. The outside challenge works best when the organizational leadership wants to maintain peer relationships within the organization, or when the leadership team feels powerless to control certain members or intractable traditions in the organization. The outside power can confront the problems, issue a challenge to your organization to change, and then allow you step in to lead the effort. This works best when the outside change agent and the chapter leadership can work together and mutually support one another.

A FINAL THOUGHT Leaders also have to decide how long they will allow for the change process. It is common for organizations to try and improve academics, intramurals, community service, and finances over time. These problems cannot be solved overnight, and that should be understood. However, working toward a solution can be started quickly and efficiently with sustained and reasoned effort. Conversely, there are times when change should be immediate and swift. How long would you give to change a hazing culture, an injurious party culture, or a self-destructive drug culture? These are times to act swiftly and decisively, and remember to use your outside support when needed. Change should not be managed alone; if you as a leader see a problem or want to change something, there are likely others who see the same thing but feel powerless to speak up. Build coalitions to address these sensitive issues by speaking one-on-one with organization members and seek out the like minded members, and from there, seek out differently-minded members and convince them to change. In the end, you must do what is best for the academic mission of your institution and the long-term success of your organization, not what may be in the best interest of finite number of individual members.

PLAN FOR YOUR LOSSES AND EVENTUAL SUCCESS There is one guarantee to any change effort: you will make some people really mad. This is a universal law of leadership; someone will be unhappy and will not only lash out and/or try to lead a counter-effort to the change. Traditions die hard, especially bad ones like hazing, alcohol-abuse, and the status quo.

Leading Change & Leaving a Legacy

MGCA // 019


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FROM THE ROAD


D

Bowling Green State University Emerging Leaders Program Bowling Green State University annually hosts an Emerging Leaders program for up and coming Greek leaders. This overnight conference’s intended audience consists of second or third year Greek leaders who aspire to a key leadership position within their chapter or governing council.  Over the years, many of the participants have gone on to become chapter presidents or at a minimum, chapter executive board members. This overnight conference is primarily student led as the student-run Greek Leadership Team, with assistance from the Office of Greek Affairs, develops the curriculum, facilitates small group discussions and presents workshops on topics relevant to future Greek leaders.  Some of the key topics covered at this year’s conference include: effective communication, combating stereotypes, and a values-based discussion on fraternities and sororities.  At the conclusion of the conference, each participant creates a personal mission statement for what they plan to do to influence change in their fraternity or sorority. While Emerging Leaders happens every fall semester, this spring, for the first time,  BGSU  will be  hosting  an Emerging Leaders reunion in which participants will reunite to discuss progress made on their mission statements and assess what they have been able to do as a result of attendance at Emerging Leaders. 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.

Saint Louis University 360-Degree Evaluation At Saint Louis University, both Panhellenic Council and Interfraternity Council have felt a disconnect with the fraternity and sorority chapters. In order to strengthen their service to the chapters, the councils decided to solicit their constituents’ feedback through a 360-degree evaluation. Surveys were sent out to chapter presidents, council delegates, and chapter advisors, asking each group to identify the top three strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. In addition to providing their input for the SWOT analysis, council officers also completed self-evaluations, reflecting on their greatest accomplishments and lessons learned, and the challenges they anticipate the incoming council officers will need to tackle. All of the data collected from the 360-Degree Evaluation will be shared with the incoming council officers at their annual leadership retreat so that it can be incorporated into the goal-setting and decision-making processes throughout the term. Transparency is an important piece of the evaluation process for the councils at SLU, and the SWOT analysis data and the resulting goals will be discussed with the chapters for continued feedback throughout the year.   By utilizing feedback provided by their peers, council officers are able to strengthen their service to the Greek community and continually challenge themselves to be better leaders.

University of North Dakota Pre and Post Officer Assessments In order to better understand the leadership development of student leaders within the fraternity and sorority community, the Greek Life Office at the University of North Dakota began facilitating a pre-post assessment with each cohort of chapter presidents and council officers in 2004. At the beginning of their term of office, each chapter president and council officer is asked to take an assessment which addresses the current state of their leadership development in areas such as managing conflict, delegating responsibility, communicating effectively, etc. In developing the assessment, various university learning outcomes relative to leadership development were included in order to provide data consistent with established institutional goals and philosophies. At the end of their term in office, the same students are asked the same set of questions. Assessment results are interpreted on a variety of levels and provide a wealth of information regarding the experiences of students serving as chapter presidents or council officers. Given that the data has been collected for a number of years patterns have been established which reflect both consistencies as well as differences between students serving in different leadership roles.

Purdue University Campus-Based UIFI In May 2008, Purdue University and the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) embarked on an amazing journey - the first, campus-based session of the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI). From May 4th to the 8th, Purdue University hosted a five day journey, UIFI: PURDUE, that offered 76 Purdue fraternity and sorority leaders the opportunity to explore, define, and enhance their leadership skills, personal awareness, commitment to their fraternity or sorority, and grow to expect values based action from themselves and those they lead. Each participant was challenged to develop a personal plan of action and to make a commitment to leading their organizations and the fraternity and sorority community towards a greater purpose. “First held in the summer of 1990, UIFI established itself as the preeminent leadership development experience for fraternity and sorority members nationwide. With this new venture, we were able to provide more students the opportunity to attend UIFI with one campus-based session than total Purdue participants of the program over the past 17 years,” said Kyle A. Pendleton, Assistant Dean of Students. “UIFI was the best leadership experience that I have attended, and if the empowerment of one student has the possibility to change a campus of 40,000, imagine what 76 of us are now doing; it really has changed the dynamics within our community,” said Tom Seto, Purdue’s 2008 Interfraternity Council President, 2007 UIFI graduate, and UIFI:PURDUE Alpha Class Intern. The UIFI format offered the participants a chance to experience curriculum by utilizing an institute philosophy of every student participating in all aspect of the program…together as Boilermakers. From hands-on experiential learning activities, small group meetings, to individually focused contemplations; the students explore the issues of the Purdue fraternity and sorority community in a safe environment of learning. Planning for UIFI:PURDUE’s Beta Class began during this past fall and Purdue is excited to continue its “New Era of Elevation!”

MGCA // 021


John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Leadership is not just a term that applies to certain people. No matter what words are used to define a leader, everyone is a leader to someone. In one way or another, each person can positively touch and influence others’ lives. When working with new members in an effort to develop them into emerging leaders, the primary focus should be composed around one word: encouragement.

TAKING ACTION: emerging leaders. by Ashley Stone Wichita State University

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There are five reasons why this is true: > Encouragement keeps emerging leaders going from day to day. Simply believing in each other goes a long way. John C. Maxwell said, “People go farther than they thought they could when someone else thinks they can.” For example, putting encouraging notes in members’ mailboxes or simply supporting them during a difficult time, you are showing them that they are an asset to the chapter. Showing others how much we believe in a member’s leadership potential is very valuable and can provide the momentum needed for that member to continue down the leadership path.

Encouragement gives emerging leaders hope to keep giving their best where they have the best to give. Kurt Hahn said, “There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle for less.” It is when we are pushed to our maximum limit that we find that we have more strength and ability than we ever thought. When we experience the triumph of overcoming something we thought we could not, we realize what heights we are really capable of reaching. That very acknowledgement and feeling of accomplishment is the fuel that feeds our fire of passion and will never let us settle for less.

> Encouragement helps emerging leaders continually improve. Goethe said, “Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse; but treat a man as if he already was what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.” In other words, treating members as the unique and talented individuals they have the potential to be will allow them to believe in themselves as much as we do.

> Encouragement can improve any leader or member’s experience. Leo Buscaglia said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring; all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Everyone wants to be noticed and complimented and by encouraging others we are doing just that. Even though we may not feel like we are making much of a difference, we are. It is the little things we do that make the biggest difference.

> > Encouragement empowers the team of emerging leaders that can accomplish the impossible. An anonymous person said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” When everyone is encouraging each other, we are not only strengthening the fraternal bond and trust, we are also creating respect. In my chapter, we create emerging leaders by taking the time to invest in each member’s life by encouraging them, supporting them, and building them up in every way we possibly can. From quotes lining the walls of our chapter house to little pick-me-up phone calls or coffee dates, our goal is to encourage and mold these emerging leaders not because we have to, but because we want them to be successful human beings and leaders. Many think encouraging others and helping them discover their leadership skills is hard to do, others might think that they do not possess the skills needed to do so, but that is not the case. Encouragement can come in many forms: helping someone write a paper, driving a long distance to watch them perform in a show or play in a big game, doing their hair and makeup before formal, signing a sympathy card for them when a loved one passes away, throwing them a surprise birthday party, giving them a quick hug, shooting them quick text saying that you are thinking about them, or even being there to sit with them after they get dumped. Little acts of encouragement can make others feel like they can conquer the world. It is thrilling to know that somebody wants to help. Think of the great leaders and role models of the past and of today; nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm and encouragement. All it takes to form and mold new members into emerging leaders is to passionately believe in them and their capabilities.

MGCA // 023


ASK the Experts

Q:

Our chapter has done a quarterly newsletter for the longest time that we send to our alumni updating them on what’s new in the chapter, what events we are hosting, what we spend our money on, etc. We want to stop doing the newsletter and start doing a blog instead and the alumni hate the idea. What can we do to change their minds?

John Pfingston / kappa alpha order First of all, let me congratulate your chapter for successfully preparing and sending a regular alumni newsletter. I have worked with several chapters that fail to recognize the need for such an asset and often struggle, failing to realize why their alumni remain disconnected and unwilling to help them. Next, let me ask why you would want to discontinue a newsletter that seems to have gained regular support and patronage and seems to keep your alumni connected? Remember this is an alumni newsletter and what they have become accustom to receiving. I would suggest you keep it intact and think it would be ill-advised to blatantly disregard a newsletter just because the chapter wishes to do so. Are there any other reasons? Keep in mind that some alumni may not enjoy blogs or know how to use them, and you could possibly lose a portion of their support—especially since your alums have voiced their contempt with the idea of its discontinuation. Plan a time to sit down with the concerned alumni in person, weigh the advantages and disadvantages, and then devise a solution that both sides can agree upon. Keep them in the loop and I am sure the correct solution will eventually emerge. Jennifer Leung / college of william & mary Let me start by saying that sometimes, it’s not about you…it’s about them. Who is this newsletter really for; is it for the alumni to help them stay connected to each other and the chapter, or is it so that the chapter can say that they’ve communicated with the alumni and check that box off for the semester? If the answer is the former, then start by asking the alumni what they want to see in their newsletter and how they would like to receive that information. It may be that your alumni come from a different era where the norm was a hand written not, not a text message, so they are more comfortable receiving a newsletter via snail mail. You could send out a newsletter/survey that asks suggestions of content; in that survey, you could also explain why you are going to offer an electronic version of the newsletter, and ask alumni to contact you if they would like to receive the newsletter electronically instead and distribute it both ways. There’s nothing saying that you can’t do both a newsletter and a blog; maybe you reduce the number of newsletters a year from four to two or three, and start a chapter blog.

this month’s experts: Jennifer A. Leung // College of William & Mary John E. Pfingston // Kappa Alpha Order 024 // connections // 2009.winter

Q:

I am the Director of Risk Management for my campus’s IFC and we have recently made a shift to the way parties and events need to be registered with the council and the Office of Greek Life. The change is not even that big of a deal! It basically indicates that chapters have to submit their guest lists 5 days in advance instead of 2… what’s the hold up?

John Pfingston / kappa alpha order Without knowing the exact specifics of your campus’ Interfraternity Council, I am not sure I can give you a solid answer but let me pose some basic questions. Have there been instances on campus where parties have gotten out of hand and a chapter’s risk management plan has fallen by the way side? At times have fraternity events or functions gotten too large where attendance is virtually unrestricted? When do chapter typically plan their social events—well in advance or at the last minute? Typically, new statutes do not appear without just cause, and know that several if not all of the chapters on your campus probably have a guest limit requirement within their national risk management policy. It’s in place to help prevent unrestricted access by non members, allow chapters to know who is present at a party in case of an emergency, and ultimately help keep your chapters safe. As the IFC’s Director of Risk Management, it would be wise to know those requisites for each IFC group. Should you have any other questions, I would suggest you sit down with your Greek Life Advisor and see what advice he/she can provide. Jennifer Leung / college of william & mary Change is scary to a lot of people, even if it seems like a minor change to some, especially those implementing the change. Sometimes all it takes is explaining why the change is being implemented to help those resisting the change understand it and eventually embrace it. You could invite all the social chairs, risk managers, and presidents to a meeting to go over the registration process, and explain the reason for the change. In that meeting, ask for concerns and why chapters might find it challenging to submit the guest list 3 days earlier than they did in the past; it may just be that they would have liked to have been part of the process making the change. Sometimes all it takes is a little transparency and communication to help people feel better about change. 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.

WANT TO BE AN EXPERT? If you are a professional who has great advice, email publications@mgca.org and let us know that you are interested in being one of our future Experts.


Q:

My chapter is really struggling with the way we communicate important news (i.e. dates, deadlines, if meeting is happening or not, etc.). We used to have an email distribution list but then trashed that because people said it was clogging their inboxes. Then we moved to doing everything on our chapter Facebook group but now people aren’t checking their Facebook every day. Any ideas?

John Pfingston / kappa alpha order Email list serves and Facebook groups are often times the most popular methods of communication and can work if utilized properly. As you have indicated though, you cannot have tons of mail being sent out online and expect members to continually check their messages right away, whether it’s in email or on Facebook. Some groups use phone trees (where member A calls B; B calls C; and so on) or mass text messaging, but these are typically used for shorter, last minute announcements and updates. If you have a house you could post a calendar in the common area, and I believe Gmail and Google offer online calendars to help groups plan ahead and stay organized but still, both are contingent upon members checking them regularly. Overall, I do not think you need to reinvent the wheel—maybe just polish it a bit. First, I would stress weekly chapter meeting attendance. Anytime you join an organization there are basic responsibilities and attending meeting once a week to be aware of current chapter events tops the list. Second, do send emails regularly but limit them to a few per week. Consistently, send them out on the same night each week but use them more as a recap of information rather than as the way to newly inform the chapter of upcoming events—that’s what chapter meetings are for. Third, do not let the chapter list serve become bogged down with frivolous junk from just any member. Designate a secretary as the only individual who can regularly send out chapter updates; blind copy the roster so that no one can reply. Fourth, encourage chapter members to interact with one another (i.e. eat meals, study together, play sports, go to the gym, etc.) so that they have the opportunity to ask others what they may have missed. Finally, you cannot have members that are too lazy to attend meetings, check email, Facebook or text messages just because they do not feel like it. If that’s the case, they probably should not have joined the organization in the first place. Good luck.

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Jennifer Leung / college of william & mary Technology can be our best friend and our worst enemy at the same time; if used properly, electronic communication can be our most effective mode of communication, unfortunately it has become something that we frequently abuse. Perhaps utilizing a moderator of sorts for announcements, event dates, etc would help with chapter members feeling that a listserve is “clogging their inboxes.” Try giving only two or three officers posting privileges to the listserve (maybe the chapter president, vice president, and secretary); everyone who has announcements must send them to those members, by a certain day and time. The moderators can then send one email to the distribution list at set times each week, maybe every Wednesday and Sunday, to eliminate the clogging of the inbox. Hopefully this will eliminate the feeling that everyone gets that they must hit reply all and respond to every email, or upon receipt of an email, send one out themselves about their event. Even better, maybe this will help members realize that nothing, not even email, can replace actually attending the weekly chapter meeting where they can get all these announcements, more details, great discussion, and to spend some quality time with their brothers/sisters! To help with the sharing of time-sensitive information like the cancellation of meetings or change in location, but not to replace actual communication, you may want to check out some programs that allow you to send mass text messages to a group of people at the same time, as to not rely on phone trees or hope that people will check their email before the meeting.

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Theta Chi shuts down: Fraternity disaffiliates after members violate ‘Good Conduct’ requirement. Early last month the University announced the fraternity’s disaffiliation, meaning that “Theta Chi is no longer recognized as a University of Oregon fraternity,” as stated in a memorandum to the University Greek community. The decision came after fall term in which Theta Chi was found guilty of hazing and also incurred $10,000 worth of damages at a resort while on a retreat. Theta Chi had been on probation for several years because of poor behavior. On Dec. 2, 2005, Eugene Police Department cited the fraternity as one entity for an alcohol-related infraction. A second citation followed in spring 2006. In March 2007 the fraternity neared collapse after another fraternity reported Theta Chi for loading beer kegs into trucks to use for an official function. As a result, Theta Chi “came extraordinarily close to a mandated shutdown.” On the most recent Compliance Review for the Greek system, Theta Chi failed the “Good Conduct” requirement, which encompasses alcohol infractions, judicial sanctions and other behavior issues. It met the standards in all other fields, including academic performance. The dealbreaker was Theta Chi’s fall retreat to Odell Lake Resort. At the end of the trip, they were charged with $10,000 in damages. The bill included charges such as $700 for dishwashing and $800 in trash disposal. In the coming terms, Theta Chi members “plan on continuing our traditions and maintaining our integrity as a chapter.” Maintaining integrity as a chapter? It sounds to us like the chapter events most recently revolved around hazing and destructive activities…I guess that’s integrity if the chapter claims upfront that that’s what they are all about. But, we like to think that integrity refers to walking the talk of our fraternal values (which, last time we checked, didn’t include getting wasted and breaking stuff ). On top of everything, isn’t the whole concept of destroying hotel property during formals and date parties old news? Our fraternities and sororities were not founded with the ideas of formals and date parties. Even though such events have since become a normal, fun and perfectly acceptable component of our organizations, there must be a way to do it all with a little more class; one that doesn’t involve destroying other people’s property. No wonder most communities these days have more places that will not allow fraternities and sororities to host events than the number of places who welcome our events. References

Hoffman, H. (2009, January 5). Theta Chi shuts down: Fraternity disaffiliates after members violate ‘Good Conduct’ requirement. [Electronic Version). Oregon Daily Emerald. Retrieved January 6, 2009 from: http://media.www.dailyemerald.com/media/storage/paper859/news/2009/01/05/ News/Theta.Chi.Shuts.Down-3581728.shtml

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.

026 // connections // 2009.winter

Poly frat’s suspension may be permanent: Sigma Alpha Epsilon activities on hold indefinitely after police say that student likely died as a result of hazing. Cal Poly has suspended indefinitely the fraternity that hosted a party attended by an 18-year-old freshman in the hours before his death. And a top Cal Poly official said that Sigma Alpha Epsilon will likely never be allowed to rejoin fraternity ranks at the university. Police said Monday that preliminary evidence gathered indicates [the student’s] death was a result of hazing, an initiation rite. It is illegal in California to put pledges through hazing. SAE was placed on probation twice in the past two years before the December party that [the student] attended. The fraternity was placed on probation from January until June after a woman alleged she was given the drug GHB, the so-called date rape drug, at an SAE party in 2007. Cal Poly officials could never verify the allegations. SAE was put on probation in 2007 for about four-and-a-half month for a fraternity-sponsored party that year in Morro Bay that included underage drinking and spilled alcohol on hardwood floors in the city’s community center. Like the State of Utah, we want to give a shout out to the State of California for having a law against hazing. And, even more props to Cal Poly for standing with a firm hand in this situation. But… it seems pretty clear in this situation that this incident had several clues leading up to it. Yes, hindsight is 20/20, but… should we have expected this? With a track record like this chapter had, was it bound to happen? It is so upsetting that that it had to be a death – A DEATH – that led to this chapter getting the boot. We, for one, want to know more about this University’s fraternity and sorority community culture. Is the SAE chapter the only one acting like this? Maybe, but all signs point to “no.” If this isn’t scary enough, think of how scary an entire community with this culture looks like. What’s next? Reference

Wilson, N. (2008, December 16). Poly frat’s suspension may be permanent: Sigma Alpha Epsilon activities on hold indefinitely after police say that student likely died as a result of hazing. [Electronic Version]. San Luis Obispo Tribune. Retrieved online January 6, 2009 from: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/ story/561690.html


BUSTED! Stupid Things that You Have Done Lately

USU fraternity, sorority charged with hazing, alcohol poisoning: 12 students implicated in teen’s death. Cache County prosecutors on Friday filed felony hazing charges against two Utah State University Greekletter societies and misdemeanor charges against 12 of their members, including top officers, in connection with the alcohol-poisoning death of an 18-year-old pledge. [The student] was “captured” by sorority women who painted him and fed him vodka in the company of Sigma Nu fraternity and Chi Omega sorority members. The fun turned deadly for [the student], whom paramedics found unresponsive at the Sigma Nu house at 4 a.m. on Nov. 21. Medical examiners later determined his blood alcohol level reached .373, more than four times the legal limit for driving, While charging documents indicate [the student] was not forced to drink as a prerequisite for joining the fraternity, Utah’s hazing statute allows for conviction even if the victim consented to the abuse, as long he or she is younger than 21. In Utah, hazing is considered a misdemeanor absent aggravating circumstances and the law specifically references liquor consumption. Although hazing becomes a third-degree felony when it results in serious bodily harm, only the organizations’ USU chapters are targeted for felony prosecution. The students face a year in jail if convicted, while punishment for the chapters is unclear. [After kidnapping the pledges] The women asked the pledges to strip to their boxers then painted the naked men Aggie blue and white. The men were given two bottles… which the women held to the pledges’ mouths because their hands were covered in paint, charges allege. Participating in this fraternity initiation rite was required for the Chi Omega sorority pledges. It is so unfortunate that we don’t learn from others’ mistakes. It has been made clear time and time again: drinking too much can kill you. And, in many situations, participating in these types of situations can put you in jail. Why is it that these extreme and dire levels of consequences are STILL not enough to stop behaviors like this from happening? We get it; pranks can be fun and hilarious. But, making someone drink until they are dead or near death is not a hilarious prank. Let’s not forget the emotional trauma that those that were involved in this incident will have to deal with the rest of their lives. Mourning the death of a friend is a heartbreaking and awful process to have to experience, we cannot imagine how much worse the situation would be if we were maybe, perhaps, even partially responsible for that death. Forget the possibility of going to jail for a year; those feelings of guilt will last forever. The one kudos we do have in response to this story is to the State of Utah for having a law against hazing. References

Maffly, B. (2009, January 2). USU fraternity, sorority charged with hazing Alcohol poisoning » 12 students implicated in teen’s death. Retrieved January 6, 2009 from: http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_11357447

[Electronic

Version].

The Salt Lake Tribune.


How do you respond to the excuse “This is how we’ve always done it”? I would respond by saying nothing is perfect. Just because you’ve always done something a certain way, doesn’t mean it is the right way or the best option - in order to improve something you must change or alter it. Everything needs an upgrade once in a while, and in a diverse and controversial world, one can only lose by refusing to explore new options. Pamela Galbato | Panhellenic Council | Syracuse University Our members react very positively to change and we believe that is due to the concept of clear and complete communication. If our members know why something is going on and how it is going to happen, for the most part they are more than willing to support it. You must learn to keep your members in the know. The Executive Board cannot be its own entity; it should be one part of the chapter as a whole. Brittany Welton | Alpha Chi Omega President | William Woods University I pose another question, “How well has it been working for us?” The reason we make change is because we find a way to make some aspect of our chapter more beneficial. If we change something, it’s for a reason and we make sure our chapter members realize there is a plan behind our actions. Kate Hesley | Zeta Tau Alpha | University of North Texas

Q

the wall

Tell us about a time that you stepped out of your comfort zone, looked at the big picture and made some big changes? Our chapter, as well as every other chapter on campus, is currently facing some HUGE future housing changes. It has been a process to work through but ultimately we are all here for a greater reason than ourselves and we have had to look beyond our current wants, likes, and dislikes. We have to look at what will be best for our sisters/brothers who will be following in our footsteps. Change is bound to happen. It is how you deal with it that will determine if you come out on top. Brittany Welton | Alpha Chi Omega President | William Woods University In the 07-08 school year, I was not a part of my chapter as I had transferred to another school. When I came back, I saw that my pledge class had stepped up to the plate and held almost all of the executive positions. Having been absent for a whole school year, many of the new initiates didn’t know me. I took a position on the Panhellenic Council and when I saw some of my fellow officers criticizing some important positive changes in our chapter just because it wasn’t the easy way out, I counseled them as an older member and helped create better unity between Panhellenic and chapter executive positions. Today, the lines of communication are more open. Kate Hesley | Zeta Tau Alpha | University of North Texas

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.

028 // connections // 2009.winter

Pamela Galbato

Kate Hesley

Brittany Welton

This month’s contributors:


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