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Page 1

CONNECTIONS the MAGAZINE

of AFLV

ALUMNI INVOLVEMENT the

issue

INSIDE > alumni advisory team: win/win > making connections: networking > the perfect alumni newsletter > introducing the new aflv > 365 days of service VOL. 2 / ISSUE 007 / SUMMER 2009


Short for the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values, AFLV is the consolidated outcome of the Mid-American Greek Council Association and the Western Region Greek Association. The primary purpose of this new Association is to stimulate the growth and development of fraternity/sorority council and chapter leaders by promoting leadership, educational, and values based experiences and resources for student leaders, their advisors, and the larger fraternal market. AFLV is the showcase for cutting-edge fraternity/sorority programming, technology, thinking, and concepts. The annual conferences are the premier programs of the Association. The conferences offer comprehensive coverage of the issues for both men and women and members of all councils and chapters including IFC, NPHC, NPC, NALFO, and MGC. Additionally, the Association provides training and professional development opportunities for campus advisors, house directors, fraternity/sorority headquarters staff, and volunteers through our various programs and services.

So what is this AFLV? AFLV’s members and conference attendees have direct contact with nearly 3000 undergraduates representing nearly 300 schools and universities. The annual leadership conferences provide educational sessions, outstanding nationally recognized keynote speakers, and several featured speakers to meet the diverse needs of its broad audience. The 2010 Conference line up looks like this:

AFLV Central & the National Black Greek Leadership Conference Feb. 11-14, 2010 • St. Louis, MO AFLV West & the National Cultural Greek Leadership Conference April 8-11, 2010 •  Costa Mesa, CA National House Director Conference June 24-27, 2010 •  Albuquerque, NM

AFLV is currently working to bring so much more to you including printed and online resources, webinars, and more! YOUR Association is growing to meet the diverse needs of you - our members. Stay connected to our website, www.aflv.org, to watch it all unfold. You may also be interested in joining our Facebook Fan Pages or Twitter Groups to connect and network with others who share your interest in the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values and/or our many services. We want to hear from you, too! What member services, resources, or programs would you like to see? Email us at info@aflv.org with your thoughts and ideas today!


the inside starts here FEATURES 006 // alumni advisory team: a win/win situation / afa & chip council 010 // making connections through alumni networking / todd coleman 012 // getting your alumni back on the wagon / ellen shertzer 016 // the perfect alumni newsletter / t.j. sullivan 030 // 365 days of service / john witkowski

COLUMNS 002 // letter from the executive director 002 // letter from the editor 003 // inbox 018 // facilitation 411 / alumni smorgasbord 020 // from the road 022 // ask the experts 027 // short cuts 028 // busted! 032 // one more thing

Connections is the official publication of the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values. The views expressed by contributors, authors and advertisers are not necessarily those of the Association. AFLV encourages the submission of content to: Lea Hanson Director of Publications connections@aflv.org Submit advertising queries to: Mark Koepsell Executive Director mark@aflv.org 970/372.1174 888/855.8670 info@aflv.org

Connections is published four times each year. Submission Deadlines: Fall 2009 – Risk Management: September 1 Winter 2010 – Working with Advisors: December 1 Spring 2010 – Green Initiatives: February 22 Send address corrections to: Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values 420 South Howes Bldg B; Suite 200 Fort Collins, CO 80524 970/372.1174 888/855.8670 info@aflv.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

AFLV // 001


Here it is! The first issue of AFLV Connections!! Well, at least the first issue printed under the new banner of the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values. So much has been happening with your Association since the last issue of MGCA Connections came out in spring. July 1, 2009 marked the first day of operation as the newly consolidated Association. I think the real question most people have is “great, so what does that mean for me?” The reality is – a lot! For example, our new Director of Member Services, Tricia Fechter, joined the team in Fort Collins, CO in July. Her entire position is geared to building services that will enhance the experience of our members – undergraduates, council leaders, chapter leaders, alumni, advisors, and associate members. What else is new? Check out the new website at www.aflv.org. It’s a virtual hotspot of news, information, and resources to help you do what you do every day – lead fraternal communities on your campus. This is also where you can track upcoming events, Association announcements, and contact Associate Members who provide everything from T-shirts to speakers, and web sites to chapter billing solutions. During the next few months we will be unveiling new and exciting initiatives to enhance the member experience for all of you. I’m certain you will be excited about what you see and gain from the Association in the months and years to follow. Speaking of which, don’t forget to renew your membership! Previous members of MGCA and WRGA will be contacted with all the details about your 2009-2010 membership, or you can simply go to the website and click on the membership button. This magazine is a benefit of membership too – so don’t let those benefits slip away! Membership in the Association is more exciting, impactful, and valuable now than ever! Finally, through all of these changes, we need to hear from you. What do you like, what do you want, what would make your member experience better than it is? Let us know by emailing us at info@aflv.org. We hope to hear from you soon and can’t wait to see you at the 2010 conferences next spring!

Executive Director Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values

002 // connections // 2009.summer

It’s really too bad that despite the fact that we all take an oath to serve our organization for the span of our lifetime (not just until we graduate) very few of us really do. Sure, many people attend an annual formal event, send a check every once in a while, or continue to get chapter minutes via email, but something tells me that this really isn’t what that alumni oath is about. Personally, the values of my organization mean more to me today than they did when I was in college (did I even know the values of my organization when I was in college?). Being a good friend, continually developing my leadership, committing to lifelong learning, and serving my community may be ambiguous to some, but they are values that I deeply connect with and seek to refine as I get older. Specifically, I volunteer for my local community’s domestic violence shelter and when people ask, I proudly indicate that combating domestic violence is the philanthropy for my sorority. This is how it usually goes down: Sorority? Yes. You were in a sorority? Still am! I can’t see you being in a sorority. Why? I don’t know, sororities are so… Awesome? Uh… okay. You get the idea. My point is that both members and non-members generally see fraternities and sororities as something you do in college. This needs to change, and in my humble opinion, this type of change can really only be modeled by behavior. So, as a collegiate member of your organization, what goals and commitments will you make when you “go alum”? Will you stay connected with your chapter members beyond asking them to be your bridesmaids and groomsmen? Will you continue to support your philanthropy? Will you be a chapter advisor or a facilitator at your annual leadership convention? If we were all active alumni, maybe the above conversation would look like this, instead: Sorority? Yes. What sorority are you in?

Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Executive Director

By the time a fraternity or sorority alumni is 45 years old, they have likely been an alumni five times longer than they were a collegian. However, the collegian years are what always seem to get the glory… why is this?


INBOX

We asked students what they think about Connections...

Erin Wahle

Kappa Alpha Theta President • University of Iowa I feel very strongly that Connections is a magazine from which all Greek leaders can benefit. Due to the realistic and helpful circumstances of the content to which they write about, the Connections magazine serves to provide current and future leaders the ability to enhance their skills not only within individual chapters, but the whole Greek community as well. One of the main reasons I like the Connections magazine is because of all the helpful guidance they provide Greek leaders within each article. Whether it be a story of a lesson learned, or just useful tips to improve chapter recruitment, Connections does a wonderful job of pinpointing significant issues and directing them to Greek leaders in a non-threatening and educational manner. In addition, I greatly appreciate Connections because of the realistic attitude they possess in regards to Greek life. Prior to my knowledge of this subscription, I initially thought this would be the type of magazine to neglect the negative aspects of Greek life and serve only to promote the positive. This, however, would have been a naïve approach that would not have accomplished much. Despite these initial thoughts, I was pleasantly surprised when I read both articles of positive and negative face value. By providing articles such as hazing and drug use in fraternities and sororities for example, Connections makes an effort to identify the areas of Greek life that need to be improved and does not sugar coat them. Furthermore, the magazine incorporated negative experiences from chapters across the nation to educate current leaders about harmful situations. While not only exposing the truth behind our Greek community, this approach allows leaders to ensure the avoidance of similar occurrences in the future by learning through example. Not only does Connections identify the areas of Greek life that can be improved by giving specific strategies for progress, but they also frequently touch upon the positive aspects of Greek communities by recognizing impressive actions made by other universities. This approach allows other schools a model from which they can improve their own Greek community. I was most impressed by the article written on gay members in the Greek community. I think it is very important to recognize the fact that each Greek community has a diverse array of members. If we preach values of brotherhood and sisterhood, there should be no exception to this rule regardless of race, socio-economic status, religion, or in this particular instance, sexuality. If we did not accept homosexual individuals in our chapters, the basis to which we were founded would stand meaningless. And it is for reasons like these that I think Connections is a useful tool in bringing to front important issues that can, with proper execution, aid in the advancement of all Greek communities across the nation.

Robert Stricklin

Sigma Pi President • University of Iowa I… learned the most from the recruitment issue. Recruiting new members is a problem every Greek leader will encounter and need to handle during their tenure within the community. I feel this issue relates best with the needs of my chapter currently. Recruitment is a difficult time and these issues give many great ideas to get to know new people around campus. [The Recruitment] issue goes into great detail about recruitment processes and experiences of other individuals from different universities with different policies for their recruitment process. I feel this issue is an asset because it details the truly different types of members people look to recruit in the Quantity and Quality of members section. What I really enjoy is the section that breaks down a recruitment session with someone down to the set up- the close. This is a way to learn new methods of recruitment. I think all the Greek leaders could benefit from reading these magazines. These issues are full of great information which I believe many could and would bring back to their chapters. Connections magazine is a tool which generates ideas and can revolutionize the way some chapters act toward their individual recruitment process. If people took what they learned from this magazine, most Greek communities would be better because of it.

Want to share your opinion? Send your cheers (or jeers) to connections@aflv.org MGCA // 003


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GREEK SERIES WEBINARS Recruitment Boot Camp (RBC): Tips to Successfully Brand Your Chapter Monday, August 31 2009, 8:00 PM EST Get your chapters thinking about how to create and promote a successful brand. In this webinar, David Stollman offers practical steps to develop a chapter identity and promote it to the potential new members that should be in your chapter. Core Tips for Risk Managers & Social Chairs Monday, September 14, 2009, 8:00 PM EST Need an affordable training for these key leaders? Rick Barnes offers fresh new tips to make your social events safer and more responsible. Point, Click...Hired: Tips for Your On-line Job Search Monday, October 5 @ 8:00 PM EST Michael Poll will show you how to attack your job search head-on: finding great positions online, using social media to your advantage and more. Up On the High Wire: Mental Resiliency Tools for Student Leaders Monday, November 9, 2009, 8:00 PM EST Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas will present guidelines on how student leaders can lower stress levels and continue high performance as an individual.

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C


CONTRIBUTORS ASSOCIATION ELLEN SHERTZER

T.J. SULLIVAN

TODD COLEMAN

OF FRATERNITY

SORORITY ADVSORS

Ellen Shertzer Greek Alumni Coordinator • Indiana University bshertze@indiana.edu Ellen Shertzer is the real deal. Shertzer brings us back to the basics by suggesting that many of our common chapter and fraternity/sorority community woes could be improved by better utilizing our alumni… and we’re pretty convinced she’s right on. Shertzer’s article is entirely empathetic and also provides suggestions for solving some of our most common problems. And, did we mention she does this alumni gig for a living? We recommend that you read this article and then hand it over to your chapter and campus Advisors… everyone can learn something! T.J. SULLIVAN Vice President & CEO •  CAMPUSPEAK sullivan@campuspeak.com •  www.tjsullivan.com Talk about tangible and useful advice from a guy who knows. T.J. Sullivan is known for putting it out there and giving it to us straight. As usual, he’s done it again. Sullivan is right – most alumni newsletters ARE lame, but you have the power to change that. Sullivan offers great tips on reinventing your newsletter. Enough with the minutes from your meetings: give us the good stuff! Warning, this article is funny… and true. Todd Coleman Assistant VP for Admissions & Alumni Parent Programs •  Wartburg College todd.coleman@wartburg.edu Todd Coleman has a whole slew of experience in fraternity/sorority advising and is also a frequent speaker on the power of networking. So, it only seems natural that he’d write an article on how you can better utilize your alumni networks to enhance yourself and broaden your opportunities. Coleman reminds us that it’s a small world out there and it can only help to be aware of, and constantly build on, our professional and personal networks. While many thriving people want to keep their secrets to success a secret, Coleman is all about sharing the wealth, which is only one of the many reasons we like him. The Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors info@afa.org The Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors is kind of like the AFLV for campus-based professionals. When we saw that they had printed this article in a past issue of Perspectives (their quarterly magazine), we couldn’t help but want ya’ll to read it, too. Alumni involvement isn’t just limited to fundraising and chapter advising and this article, written by Chip Council, identifies one creative addition to your fraternity/sorority community or chapter: an Alumni Advisory Council.

AFLV // 005


, m a e T y r o s i v d A Aluminni/Win Situation AW a Chi Alpha nity/Sorority Advisors Chip Council, Lambd the Association of Frater m fro on issi rm pe h Reprinted wit

Step ONE Identify an Alumnus to Spearhead the Effort

Step TWO LAYING THE GROUNDWORK

Step THREE RECRUITING ADVISORS

Step FOUR bringing an alumnus on to the team

006 // connections // 2009.summer


Few would argue the fact that an effective and proactive Alumni Advisory Team is an asset to a local chapter. The lifelong friendships and leadership development offered by fraternity and sorority life are too often overlooked because of problems with hazing, excessive alcohol consumption, and poor grades. Some would argue that these problems threaten the future of the fraternity system. A self-governing chapter with strong leadership has the ability to minimize these problems. Additionally, a strong Advisory Team, made up of successful and respected alumni brothers, has the influence and street smarts to work with the chapter officers and enhance their leadership skills. These skill sets follow the students into their careers and families. The creation of an Advisory Team is, in most cases, a very time consuming and difficult task. This is particularly true for alumni who wish to volunteer, but are pulled in several directions by demands from work and family. These volunteers often fail to meet their original goals because of lack of direction and, more importantly, the lack of time to do the research needed to find that direction. The ideal Alumni Advisory Team member is one who is successful and respected. The individual members must have the ability to motivate and inspire both individuals and groups. They must be able to do this with little or no authority. They must also be able to give advice that is free, with no obligations to take it.

The challenge in developing a universally applicable Advisory Team manual is the vast differences in the makeup and personalities of each individual chapter. In addition, the chapter personality changes rapidly as new students are associated and others graduate. Any advisor who has been with a chapter for more than two years can related to the shock of hearing an undergraduate, who seems to have just associated yesterday, being called “old school.� The differing personalities bring with them different problems. For example, one chapter may suffer from a shortage of older brothers while another chapter may suffer from money management problems.

ytheTevariam or vis Ad ni um Al e th of le Ro e ous backTh ugh thro s, urce reso An Alumni Advisory Team has the

pter with four attributes imporgrounds of the alumni, to provide a cha pter success: tant for member development and cha > The mentor to counsel and guide. skills. > The teacher to develop and refine > The evaluator to measure success. and to support future achievement. > The encourager to cheer them on

AFLV // 007


Step ONE Identify an Alumnus to Spearhead the Effort

Step TWO LAYING THE GROUNDWORK

Step THREE RECRUITING ADVISORS

Getting off the ground. Implementing an Alumni Advisory Team should be a rather simple process. Teams often do not get off the ground because they plan too extensively and stifle their growth. Although chapter settings and their alumni make-up differ significantly, an advisory team should be handled in stages. Setting expectations too high and Step FOUR too much too soon often discourexpecting bringing an alumnus on to the team ages enthusiastic alumni. Some try to form an interest group only to find a small group who are interested in participating. Unfortunately, many alumni who express an interest express it at chapter events in a nostalgic trance that leaves soon after they return to their families and jobs. Advisory Team meetings are ideally kept to a minimum. The ideal alumni volunteer is an individual, successful in their chosen career, who can bring sound business and/or organizational knowledge back to the chapter. Team meetings are hard to coordinate even when you have the right volunteers because their schedules are often full. The danger of holding regular meetings is it takes away from the time that could be spent with chapter members. More importantly, team meetings have the potential to strangle the unit if it is waiting on a time when everyone can get together to get a program off the ground. The following check list offers a more realistic approach for getting a team off the ground.

Step 1 – Identify an Alumnus to Spearhead the Effort All it takes is one person to get an Alumni Advisory Team started – one alumnus to pull in two or three of his brothers or sisters and friends, and each one of them to pull in three more, and so on. Most chapters are lucky if they pull in two good advisors a semester. Waiting on a sizable interest group can be a long wait. The ideal alumni volunteer is handpicked by a competent chairman. Choosing this chairman entails describing the program, describing the steps to get the program off the ground, and most importantly getting buy in and a commitment that he/she has the time and is willing to help. This conversation should not be at a social event. Alumni will often make commitments at social events and then disappear. The seed should be planted and a separate meeting should be held with the individual, one on one. If they take the time to sit down and discuss it, you have a pretty good chance that they will follow through. Once this individual has committed to being the lead in the program, make sure that he/she is armed with training materials, such as a manual from the headquarters. It is important to use generic terms in this literature because many alumni have been away for several years. For example, an alumnus may not know that the High Epsilon is the Social Chairman. There are also other resources available for them to put the program together. The first is the fraternity/sorority headquarters. They typically have educational leadership consultants and staff members who will enthusiastically help them to develop a game plan. The chairman is going to be the one who trains the advisors, so it is important to spend an ample amount of time up front to ensure that he/she is prepared for the task. This train-the-trainer method will also increase the likelihood that they follow through because they will not feel lost. Step 2 – Laying the Groundwork Before recruiting advisors, it is important for the chairman to set up an infrastructure that will facilitate communication. Once the group is set up, the chairman can forward the chapter meeting minutes and announce events such as Educational Leadership Consultant visits. This is a very efficient and easy way to communicate. Once this is in place, it is time to develop the profile of the advisors to be recruited. The following pointers can be helpful to start. > An individual who is successful and proactive in his/her career. > One who has the time to hold, at minimum, two face-to-face meetings with their chapter officer per semester. > An individual who is comfortable working with undergraduate members who will change dramatically during their collegiate years. > Someone who is patient enough to allow the undergraduates to make mistakes and be there to help them recover and develop strategies to prevent future mistakes. > It is also important to define the roles ofStep the advisors. ONE This will foster their comIdentify anprocess. Alumnus Spearhead mitment once onboard and facilitate the recruitment T heto following are the Effort some ideas for the final breakdown.

> Financial Advisor – assists in preparing the chapter budgets, and providing guidance in all financial matters. Step TWO > Internal and External Relations Advisor – assists the chapter in public relations, LAYING THE GROUNDW community service, internal motivation, and campus involvement. > Recruitment Advisor – assists in utilizing marketing techniques, and developing one-on-one recruitment skills. Step THREE RECRUITING ADVISORS > Academic Advisor – assists in preparing academic help programs, and monitoring members’ academic progress. > Risk Management Advisor – assists in safe event planning, insurance documentation, and accident prevention, crisis management, and risk management education. > Fraternity Education Advisor – assists in the development of a chapter-wide education program, new member orientation planning, and big brother/sister management. > Social Development Advisor – assists the chapter in planning social events. > Alumni Liaison – assists the chapter in planning alumni programming, events and services. > House Management Advisor – assists the chapter in all aspects of house management.

008 // connections // 2009.summer

Step FOUR bringing an alumnus on to the


Step 3 – Recruiting Advisors By now, it is hopeful that the chapter has recognized the value of an Alumni Advisory Team. It is important for the chairman to discuss the role the chapter must take in recruiting advisors with the students. It is critical that the students are a part of this process and share the ownership. The chairman can work as a team with the undergraduates to find quality advisors. Below are a few ideas that should help in this process.

does not have a clear mission or position while serving as volunteer.

> Meet informally with alumni to obtain the names of other alumni who may be interested in working with the chapter and Alumni Advisory Team. Events like homecoming and other alumni gatherings, either chapter or university/ college sponsored, are excellent opportunities to make initial contact.

Second, each advisor should have a position or office that matches him/her up with an undergraduate officer or chapter program. For example, the Education Advisor would be paired up with the chapter’s Educator, and would meet on a regular basis to discuss his/her area of programming. An at-large member of the Alumni Advisory Team could have the main responsibility of advising the chapter in its goal setting and tracking techniques, or providing advice concerning semester retreats, or a variety of other responsibilities.

> Obtain a geographic listing from the fraternity/sorority headquarters for all alumni living near the chapter. A single phone call or letter gets the ball rolling. Remember, some of the most active and interested alumni living in the area may be too far away from their initiating chapter to serve on its advisory team, and they may be willing, if solicited, to help the local chapter. > Call and personally meet with alumni in the area to discuss the benefits for both the chapter and individual alumnus of being involved. Everyone has a difficult time rejecting personal and sincere contact. > Get chapter members involved in the recruiting process. Alumni who are interested in the active chapter often stop by and see them. > Advertise openings in the Alumni Newsletter. For example, “The chapter Alumni Advisory Team is in place. We are still looking for a Risk Management Advisor.”

First, make sure the alumni understand what their mission is: to give advice and help to improve the operations of the chapter or colony, and at the same time, improve the experience offered to all members. Therefore, once an advisor understands and shares the mission of the fraternity/sorority, he/she will be more likely to have dedication.

Third, it is not enough to have an office created for an alumni advisor. It is necessary to match each advisor in positions that best suit their abilities. The “hard one” could work with the Executive Committee, the “motivator” with recruitment skills, the “innovator” with social programming, the “teacher” with education, etc. 2. Communication – This concept is perhaps the key ingredient for keeping an Alumni Advisory Team going. From the start, be straight with what’s required in the job ahead. As time goes on, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to remind alumni of meeting times, or to ask an advisor if he/she still wants to remain involved.

3. Evaluation – Important for the undergraduates as well as the advisor is a regular self-evaluation of the chapter and the Alumni Advisory Team. This > If you have enough interested alumni already, write a letter to them asking will help to keep the Alumni Advisory Team’s direction clear and well defined. them to attend an initial informational meeting. Set up this mailing 4-6 weeks Plan evaluation and goal defining sessions at the start of each school term or before the meeting and include response cards or self-addressed, stamped whenever a transition takes place. Step ONE reply envelopes. You need to make itIdentify as easy asan possible for the alumni to the Effort Alumnus to Spearhead respond. Again, labels for the mailing can be obtained from your individual 4. Continuity – The real test for any Alumni Advisory Team is that of time. Be headquarters. Follow up your letter with a personal telephone call confirm- prepared for the transition that takes place in all chapters, from officers to ing their attendance. new members to changes in policies and programming. It becomes very easy to allow a team to diminish its involvement after a major problem has Step TWO Step 4 – Bringing an Alumnus on to the Team tackled or a new set of officers is elected. Help the chapter to move LAYING THEbeen GROUNDWORK When an alumnus has shown interest in serving on the team, have an infor- on to their next goal. Educate the new officers about the Alumni Advisory mation form available for him/her to fill out. This is a crucial part because it Team’s functions, and get that process started again. Always replace alumni will help weed out those who are caught up in the moment but not serious who have “served their time” and want to step down from the team. In other StepisTHREE about volunteering. An advisor who truly interested will full the form out words, always look to do what is necessary to overcome obstacles and move RECRUITING ADVISORS and return it. The form will also give you useful information that will assist you on, and endure by following the mission. in placing them with an office that meets their expertise and interest. ADVISING UNDERGRADUATE CHAPTER PROGRAMMING Once the form is received, it is important to set up a one-on-one training Your Alumni Advisory Team has finally reached a point where each advisor is pearhead the Effort session that should last about an hour to discuss the program with them and having one-to-one meetings with one of the chapter’s officers. How do you discuss their role on the team. This is also a good time to go over the training get both the advisor and this officer’s program rolling from here? materials and discuss the resources available to them. After this meeting, another meeting should be set up with the officers they will be advising. Finally, There are a number of resources to refer to which can be of help to any advithey should be formally introduced at one of the general chapter meetings. sor starting out fresh in an advisory capacity. The most useful resources is the WO Coach the undergraduates to ensure that they introduce themselves to the individual officer manual. THE GROUNDWORK new advisor. Each officer should have his/her manual to lend to an advisor on the AdviKEEPING IT GOING sory Team for a week to review. The manual should help anyone get oriented Once the Alumni Advisory Team has gone through the initial steps, alumni to the officer’s programs. Also, the manual can help to bring any advisor up and officers should be having their individual meetings frequently for the to date with the current policies and procedures that may be different from FOUR first term. It is critical for the chapter officers to engage theStep alumni and meet those of years past. bringing on to the team with them to keep their interest. Some chapters require the officersan to alumnus call their advisors and meet with them in their bylaws. There are a few simple steps which, when followed consistently, will assist in keeping an Alumni Ad- Reference: visory Team together and fulfilling its purpose. Council, C. (2001, Spring). Alumni advisory team, A win/win situation. Perspectives, 6-9, 10. 1. Organization – From the start, the Alumni Advisory Team needs to be organized so that every individual, from the undergraduate to alumni, has a responsibility in the function of the fraternity/sorority. The team must be organized in such a way that every person involved has a clear set of expectations of what his/her job entails. For the undergraduate officers, their responsibilities become very clear upon elections to each undergraduate office. In the case of an advisor, it can become extremely easy to lose touch if he/she

alumnus on to the team


MAKING CONNECTIONS THROUGH ALUMNI NETWORKING Todd Coleman, Wartburg College

The goal of this article is to encourage the building of your network earlier and using it in a way that reaches further than just job identification and placement. Although the information in this article is more common sense than rocket science, I am always surprised how little individuals truly understand the power of networking. To put it in very simple terms, it is what makes the “world go round.” In today’s global society there is hardly a decision made, a business transaction completed, or an individual hired without networking being a part of the process. It is common knowledge that Greek letter organizations are adept at utilizing organizational and personal networks to assist in job placement after graduation. Many employers and recruiters specifically seek out potential hires from Greek letter organizations, some even seeking members of their own organization or alma mater.

NETWORKING CONNECTIONS ARE QUINTESSENTIAL FOR SUCCESS I am sure you have heard the old adage: “it is not WHAT you know but WHO you know.” That phrase has never been more important than in today’s competitive job market. As an individual who hires young professionals on a regular basis, I can assure you that resumes with high quality paper, cute font or creative design means very little in getting recognition. When hiring managers receive hundreds of applications for only a few jobs, what gets your resume to the top of the pile is a connection to the decision maker. I put great credibility in my network of colleagues and friends so if I get confirmation from one of them that a specific person is someone I need to talk with - I take their advice. Getting the in-person interview is the hardest part of a job search; you have to be in front of potential employer before you can really sell yourself. There is rarely a week that goes by that I am not attempting to assist a new graduate or friend to get an audience with a potential employer.

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NETWORKING IS NOT JUST A MEANS TO AN END: IT IS A LIFELONG EXERCISE It is also important to know that your network can assist you well beyond just finding a job and that is why it is critical to continue to build your network throughout life. Whether you are self employed, an entrepreneur, or working in another field, everyone relies on a network to sell their product, increase their visibility, or share common knowledge and expertise. I will later give you some hints on how to continue to build your network throughout life and how to make sure you are utilizing your network to the fullest extent. I’d be willing to bet that most undergraduates today aren’t using all of the tools at their disposal to building a professional network. For instance, do you know what the parents of your roommate or fraternity brother or sister do for a living? Most young people will talk about all kind of personal details with friends but rarely know what our friends parents or spouses do for a living – and furthermore - how they might help us. How often have you become friends or study group acquaintances with a colleague and never known that one of their parents is the CEO or HR officer for a major corporation, or that they are the volunteer chair for a large non-profit organizations? Unless you are deliberate and inquisitive about building your personal network, you may never know the answer. IT’S A SMALL WORLD OUT THERE It is extremely important to realize that your network includes your fellow students, faculty, campus administrators, and basically everyone you come in contact with throughout life. Here’s the reality: the second that you begin to think that someone will not play a factor in your life is the time that you are sitting in front of them interviewing for a job! I keep a file on my computer of individuals that I have met over the years that have impressed me or NOT impressed me. As opportunities become available on my staff or other positions become available these are the first people I contact. In addition to wanting to add a good person to my staff it also benefits me and my organization when I can provide a top quality lead to a member of my network as well. I know, I know, you are now looking at the person setting across the room from you and saying, “that person will never be in a position to hire or manage me, it will be the other way around.” Although that might be the case, that person may be in a position one day to purchase product from you or determine if you are the vendor they want to provide a contract to for services. Basically, every connection you make in life has the potential to have an effect on your life. In today’s Facebook generation, your online presence is a valuable tool of your network as well. I recently reconnected with a high school friend after 25 years who runs her own promotional business and, after catching up on old times, I ended up purchasing product from her! The cycle of life for your network is never-ending and you should never close down a connection. After all, you never know when it might become beneficial. Speaking of social networking, it is such an easy way to manage your global network. I am not going to preach to you about the perils of making sure your profile is appropriate, but you must realize: it has become your online

resume. For the past several years, I haven’t interviewed a person until I have checked out their social networking site. Since I am in a sales associated profession, I want to know that they: 1) Have one (because it shows they are social and connected) and 2) Have an appropriate and professional one. I also look at who their “friends” are and what information is visible to me even though I may not be their “friend”. Your profile page on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc… is one of the primary places people develop that first impression of you - so make it a good one! I have hundreds of examples where I have assisted someone in getting an interview or selling a product. It is rarely orchestrated and usually happens casually or at the spur of the moment. That is why it is so important to “fill your water tank before you are thirsty.” You never know when or how your network might be needed but it needs to be robust and ready to serve you when necessary. You can’t build a network during a crisis, it needs to already be stocked and cultivated to assist you. TIPS FOR NETWORKING SUCCESS > Student leaders remain leaders throughout life – get connected with student leaders on your campus now and stay connected after you graduate. > As you begin your career, attend and join community organizations like Optimists, Rotary, Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, etc. This is great place to identify new members for your network. > Identify a networking buddy – most people are apprehensive about attending events by themselves. Find someone who also wants to network and attend events together. Walk in together, get settled and then separate to meet others. You can debrief together about who you met on the way home. > Remember that self employed individuals make their living off of their network and are well connected. Get to know financial planners, insurance agents, alumni directors, and community leaders. Their jobs depend on them knowing a lot of people and that can help you in the future! > Everyone is a connection – your roommate, teammate, fraternity brother/ sister – all are connected to a successful parent, relative or friend. Networking happens in all student organizations and campus departments, not just fraternities and sororities. > Always have contact information available when you meet people, even as a student. Create a business card if you don’t have one so you can provide someone you meet with information on how to contact you. > Always make notes after an interaction of how you met the person, where you met them, and something personal that they told you about themselves. Then file those comments in your address book or Outlook contact page. > Review your contacts on a regular basis to remind yourself about the contacts you have and recall whether or not you have corresponded with them lately. Also, this review can help remind you to initiate a future contact! > Pay it forward - Many people are going to help you throughout life by connecting you to others. Make sure you are a connector as well and assist others as you have the opportunity.

Todd Coleman currently serves as Assistant Vice President for Admissions & Alumni Parent Programs at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. He has worked in higher education for 25 years at Indiana State University, University of Missouri and Purdue University prior to his current position. He is a member of Alpha Tau Omega, Omicron Delta Pi Leadership fraternity and has served as an advisor for several Greek letter organizations over the years. He is a frequent speaker on the power of networking and can be reached at todd.coleman@wartburg.edu.

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Getting Your ALUMNI BACK on the wagon by Ellen Shertzer, Indiana University

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The scenario is common, but the result is not. A chapter is struggling with a variety of issues: grades, risk management, financial resources, low morale, etc. and the members seem to make one bad decision after another. The chapter president is continuously called by the campus fraternity/sorority advisor and his/her national organization. After a variety of threats and probations, the chapter closes. As a campus professional, I have experienced this scenario almost every year. The struggle is how to stop the cycle. Probable solutions include membership reviews, intense leadership training, workshops, social probation, and other socalled remedies. However, I argue that change has to begin with alumni and advisor support. Campus professionals and headquarters staff are simply not able to work with the chapter on a daily basis so if we want to see promising and consistent change, chapters, campuses and organizations need to recruit and efficiently train a substantial amount of alumni and volunteers to help mentor students. An effort such as this will take a large amount of time, but by creating this type of cultural shift, improvement is inevitable. For very few fraternity and sorority members, taking the oath of being a lifelong member is taken seriously. Based on my conversations with numerous fraternity and sorority executives, it can be predicted that less than 25% of men and women initiated into fraternities and sororities stay engaged after college. Most undergraduate students that I have worked with, even those involved at the highest levels, struggle to find a way to connect with their organization after graduation. Some organizations do an outstanding job of creating alumni groups, graduate chapters, or volunteer positions that make this an easy transition. Anecdotally, it seems that the vast majority of fraternal organizations have struggled for years to create meaningful alumni experiences.

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What the Experts Tell Us Those who study college student development emphasize that student leaders who have mentoring relationships with alumni and advisors have better co-curricular experiences. Marcia Baxter Magolda, a professor in the College Student Personnel Department at Miami University, views the college student experience as a journey. On this journey, Baxter Magolda (2004) believes that those who have good company - advisors, alumni, and mentors - have an easier and more developmental experience in college. This rings especially true at the moments when we make mistakes. We know that fraternity and sorority leaders face ethical challenges and because of peer influence or lack of experience, bad decisions are sometimes made. However, with the support of mentors, leaders have individuals that can advise, facilitate, and help process these experiences toward positive results. Susan Komives, a professor at the University of Maryland College Park, agrees with the importance of students working with advisors or mentors. Komives,

students need advisors & mentors to provide a safe place for them to reflect and make meaning of their experiences as they make this significant journey”

et. al (2006) stated “students need advisors and mentors to provide a safe place for them to reflect and make meaning of their experiences as they make this significant journey” (p. 425). Komives also led the development of the Leadership Identity Model, in which advisors and mentors play a paramount role. Data from the Center for the Study of the College Fraternity (2008) indicates that having an advisor decreases occurrences of binge drinking and increases the importance of community and relationships. Overwhelmingly, research and data supports the idea that advisors and alumni have a positive impact on student leadership development. What Students Tell Us There are two general statements that I hear most frequently from student leaders in regards to alumni and advisor support. 1. I can’t believe that our national organization wants us to recruit twenty more new members when they can’t even recruit one alumni advisor. My response to that statement is usually very positive: I reply by asking them if they have posed that question to their national organization. If they have not, they need to. It is debatable whose responsibility it is to recruit advisors, but my belief is that the national organization or advising entity should take the lead. Student leaders need to make strong requests of their organizations to get the volunteer positions filled. If we expect students to recruit and engage undergraduate members, then the alumni need to be doing the same. 2. We need to get alumni more involved so they can give us money. Unfortunately, I hear too often from students that their only intention in inviting alumni to events is so they can donate money. As most good fundraising professionals will tell you, donors need to be cultivated and it usually takes at least three asks before an alumnus contributes. If your sole intention is financial, you would be better served to plan a fundraiser versus an alumni event. 014 // connections // 2009.summer

When I was an undergraduate, my chapter did not have alumni or advisor support and in looking back on that experience, I see how valuable it would have been to have more guidance. We certainly had our internal struggles as a chapter. I can only imagine the difference it would have made in our chapter and my personal experience to have had alumnae that could guide and educate us. It would have also helped for us to see what alumnae engagement could be. In my current professional position, I work with the alumni and advisor community at Indiana University. I assist chapters to recruit volunteers, and while it is one of the most difficult aspects of my job, it is also the most rewarding when it is accomplished. At IU, we have seen chapters be successful in recruiting alumni and advisors. For example, when I began at IU, Phi Mu Sorority had no advisory board members. They did have a few experienced alumnae on the house corporation board, but the chapter management was exclusively run by the students, a tall task with a chapter of 100 women. Two years ago the chapter had an outstanding president who saw the need for alumnae involvement. We worked together to contact their regional director, who was very optimistic. Usually, when I contact a national organization about needing volunteer support they provide little to no assistance. Phi Mu was much different in their approach. They got to work very quickly and within two weeks, they had recruited eight volunteers for their advisory board. Today, the board members are still in place and thriving. The example of Phi Mu shows the importance of good communication and partnership between the students, national organization, and campus professionals. Without that, it will be unlikely to recruit all the support you need. It also shows that we must be diligent and fill vacant volunteer positions. It is very easy to make excuses for openings or blame another party for not doing their job. However, we all lose when that happens and we need to work together to get alumni involved.


In general, I find that students are left to do most of the work to communicate and engage alumni. I appreciate this notion of student empowerment; however, there is little to no training for these student leaders on how to recruit alumni. As student leaders, campuses, and national organizations, we need to work together to educate and prepare student leaders and current volunteers on how to work with alumni. What Alumni Tell Us It may be easy to classify alumni and advisors in two general categories: overachievers and ghosts. Overachievers are the engaged, involved, and active alumni and advisors. They are often asked to do too much. They volunteer with little or no support, appreciation, or resources. And worst of all, they get burned out and quit. Usually, if a chapter needs an advisor, their national organization finds and appoints one. Two years later they are exhausted and quit. The organization not only has to recruit a new advisor, but they have lost a good volunteer. Ghosts, on the other hand, are just that: members who we have not seen since they graduated. Ghost alumni vary in degree of involvement. They may be present at events and meetings, you may have an e-mail or phone number for them, or they may be one of the 30-40% of members who have simply vanished. They might as well have turned in their badge or pin when they walked across the stage and got their diploma.

alumni association professionals to help with training on hosting alumni. You might even consider an etiquette course. You would not invite friends over to your house and not greet them at the door or give them a tour of the house. (Note: make sure you have thoroughly cleaned your house.) 4. Have a dinner or event that pulls everyone together. You do not need to provide programming the entire weekend, but there should be something that is special or unique to your organization. This should include some highlights of the present and past features of your chapter, recognition of chapter accomplishments, recognition of alumni, and your organization’s ritual or relevant ceremonies. 5. Communicate with alumni on a regular basis. If the only communication an alumnus receives is a random invitation, they are unlikely to attend. Create a semester newsletter. If your budget is small, distribute it electronically and put it on your web site. It is important to incorporate a mix of information about the current members with alumni information. Alumni love the section that includes updates on their peers. 6. If you want to improve your attendance, use an old trick that alumni associations capitalize on...celebrate graduation anniversaries. Each year honor those who graduated five, ten, fifteen, or even twenty years ago. Find an active alumnus in each of those classes to serve as a representative or liaison. Alumni are more likely to respond to an invitation from someone they know versus an undergraduate that they have never met. That liaison can encourage attendance, help organize the programming, and act as a host at the event. 7. Use social networking sites to communicate with alumni or invite them to events. Facebook is how I reconnected with most of my undergraduate sorority sisters. It is also how I ended up learning about my Founder’s Day Weekend, which I attended for the first time this year since graduating.

Some ghosts (not all) only care about the organization as it relates to them personally. For example, they only want to have events with the members of the organization that they knew. Or they only want to come back for a big social event. Despite this, there are lots of ghost alumni with great potential, but you just have to find out what they want or need. How to Get Started We know that research and data states the importance of involving alumni in our chapters. The involvement can vary greatly from just attending an event to serving as an advisor. The important part is getting reconnected with your chapter. Students are interested in having more alumni support, but lack the proper tools or support to make it happen. There are alumni interested in volunteering, but we need help get them connected and make sure their experience is a positive one. It is a large task to take on, but will be very rewarding for those chapters that succeed. Tips for students… 1. Do not just sit back and complain that you do not have any alumni support. There are professionals on your campus that can help you with this challenge. Select a motivated undergraduate Alumni Relations Chair and encourage him/her to meet with your institution’s alumni association staff, foundation staff, campus fraternity/sorority advisors, etc. 2. Do not rely on an outdated contact list from your national organization. I often hear about a chapter using contact information from years ago that they received from their headquarters. You need to get a new list for every mailing or e-mail blast. I also encourage you to compare your national organization list with one from your institution. Generally, alumni are more likely to provide contact information to their alma mater rather than their national organization. 3. When organizing special weekend celebrations, make sure your chapter members are informed, trained, and ready to host the alumni. Look to your

8. Organize your chapter celebrations around other campus events that you know will encourage attendance. If homecoming is a big deal on your campus, have your alumni event the same weekend. 9. Utilize local alumni to ease the awkwardness. Many times undergraduate members feel intimidated by alumni. If you have any local alumni or volunteers, ask them to help with introductions, greeting, and mingling at the event. 10. Go where the numbers are. Many campuses are located in smaller or remote communities. If there is a larger community or city nearby where most of your alumni live, host an annual event there. It might be inconvenient for the undergraduate members, but it is a great way to start getting alumni reconnected. The challenge of increasing alumni support can seem intimidating or not worth the effort. However, if we continue on a path of little to no alumni support in our collegiate chapters, we jeopardize the future of our organizations. As an undergraduate, it is your job to make sure your chapter is around in 10, 25 or 50 years. Imagine returning to your campus ten years after graduation, and your chapter has closed. It is a common occurrence, but it is avoidable. Engage, communicate, and connect with alumni: it is the only way we can survive another 100 years. References Baxter Magolda, M. B. (2004). Making their own way: Narratives for transforming higher education to promote self-development. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC. Center for the Study of the College Fraternity (2008). [The greek experience survey]. Unpublished raw data. Komives, S. R., Longerbeam, S. D., Owen, J. E., Mainella, F. C., Osteen, L. (2006). A leadership identity development model: Applications from a grounded theory. Journal of College Student Development, 47(4), 401-418.


First, let’s talk about student news. The biggest mistake students make when producing an alumni newsletter is thinking that alumni want to read four pages of columns by student officers about the life of the chapter. I know it’s confusing, but I really only want a little bit of this, and I really only want to hear the positive stuff: the awards, the great recruitment numbers, the sports victories, the student members who have been elected to important student leadership positions. Show me you’re doing worthy things. Otherwise, I probably don’t care. You don’t have to describe every single thing you’ve done this year, and you sure don’t have to give me endless paragraphs badly written by chapter officers. Skip telling me how great your parties were. Honestly, if the entire newsletter has 20-percent or less of this sort of stuff, that’s fine by me.

Most fraternity alumni newsletters are pretty lame, especially those that are written and assembled by undergraduates. We haven’t done a good job of telling you what we want to read. I want to offer you some practical advice on what makes an alumni newsletter excellent.

So, here are some ideas of what the other 80-percent should be: Alumni Updates. This is the stuff I care most about. Tell me what my contemporaries are doing. Where are they working? What are their positions? Where do they live? Do they have children? How many and how old are they? What are their email addresses so I can reach out to them? You should assume that I’m completely out of touch with my brothers, and I’m dying for all the fun little nuggets of information you can give me. Photos. Give me photos of what my brothers look like now (I’m dying to see how old and fat they’ve gotten!). Get a family photo if possible so I can see if their kids are cute or homely. Show me some pictures from the last alumni event, and encourage brothers to send pictures of the last time they hung out with another brother. Maybe even run some old photos from 10, 20, 30 years ago. Those old photos are a blast to look at, and they bring back great memories. Wish List. Tell me the 5-10 things that the chapter is wishing for. Need a computer? Need a new sidewalk? And, let me know who I should contact if I can help line up a donation, or if I want to write a check. You’d be shocked how much cool stuff your alumni can get for you if you just make a point of letting them know what you need. Plus, I’m more likely to contribute some money if you show me some good things you plan to spend the money on. I would never contribute to a new bar for the party room, but I would probably donate for a scholarship, new ritual equipment, or to the renovation of the chapter room. Campus News. Give me just a little bit of this. I’m interested to know if new buildings have been built on campus. Give me a picture of the new library, student center, or rec center. Or, show me the new fraternity house that was built down the street from ours. Tell me which chapters have closed and which new ones have expanded on campus in the last year. Make me feel a little bit connected to the college or the university, because chances are I’m pretty out of touch. Articles by Alumni. I’d rather read something fun or amusing written by an alumnus than something earnest written by a student. Sorry, but that’s the truth. Get alumni to write articles, and you’ll boost readership. Important Dates. The more notice you give me about Homecoming, the better the chance I can plan to be there. It’s never too early. List important events for next school year. When you send an alumni newsletter three weeks before Homecoming promoting events, it’s too late. I can’t be there. You should have told me four months ago. Current Contact Information. Make sure you always print the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of the chapter president, the chapter advisor, the campus Greek Advisor, the alumni association or club president, the housing corporation president, and any other leaders I might want to reach. If your chapter has a well-maintained website, tell me that also. If you don’t maintain it, don’t bother telling me about it. Some National Information. When is convention? Where is it? Who donated last year to the fraternity’s foundation? It’s easy to get some of this stuff from your national headquarters. The truth is that the best alumni newsletters have strong alumni involvement. As a student, you can help assemble it, print it, and distribute it. But, when it comes to content, alumni know how to write things that other alumni want to read. If you’re a new group that doesn’t have many alumni, ask for help from your fraternity’s alumni affairs director. ------

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T.J. Sullivan is the Vice President and CEO of CAMPUSPEAK, the nation’s #1 agency providing speakers and interactive workshops to America’s college and university leaders. Visit his blog site online at www.tjsullivan.com where TJ regularly discusses issues impacting today’s student, leaders, and life in general. He has spoken to more than two million students at campuses nationwide since 1989. He has been awarded top national awards from the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors and the North-American Interfraternity Conference for his work on critical issues facing college students.


As an undergraduate chapter officer, you will not be able to create a total alumni relations program during a one-year officer term, but you may start to see results over a couple of years. Remember, as with many things in life, slow and steady wins the race. Alumni relations is one of those things. So let’s cover some basic and advanced techniques to grow your alumni program. SQUARE ONE The first step is to enlist the help of a chapter advisor, corporation board member, or faculty advisor to assist with your alumni communication and programming plans. If you don’t have any advisors, consult with your campus alumni affairs office or fundraising/development department. These campus resources want the same thing you do: better connections to your alumni. Form a partnership with mutual goals in mind. The reason this step is crucial is worth mentioning again: a successful alumni relations program will take longer than your term in office to create. You must evaluate where your alumni relations currently exists and set goals to leave the program better than you found it.

This installment of 411 details many ways to work with and develop connections with alumni. Think of alumni relations as a marathon, something that will take five or six semesters to develop and grow.

BASIC COMMUNICATION Let’s start simple. Create a Facebook group for your alumni and graduate members. Make it professional and intergenerational, because you are dealing with men and women of all ages. Work with your campus alumni office or inter/ national headquarters to get a list of email addresses and invite the alumni to join. People change email addresses frequently, so don’t be discouraged if you get delivery errors. Once your Facebook page is up and running, the social networking will start to connect everyone. Post news from your campus to this page, dates of homecoming or big campus events. Post a list of lost alumni and ask the group to help update the list. Newsletters can be a good tool to focus your information sharing with graduates, and the publications don’t have to be elaborate. A simple email newsletter with six or seven information items is a good start. If someone in the chapter is good with graphic design or publishing programs, format the text into a document with photos, and save as a PDF file. The PDF file can be compressed and emailed to your list. Chapter websites can be a useful tool as well, especially for hosting forms or documents such as the PDF newsletter. If you maintain a chapter website, post news on an alumni page. Simple is OK, just keep it updated! Having no website is better than having an outdated one. If your chapter or alumni board has a budget, you can do paper mailings to alumni with good addresses. This is especially important for alumni with no email address. However, producing and mailing newsletters is expensive, plan on at least $1 per address for copy expense, envelope cost, labels, and postage.

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The best alumni newsletters are coordinated and edited by alumni. This arrangement provides consistency year after year. A general rule of thumb: alumni newsletters should be 80% news about or for alumni, 15% about the undergraduate chapter, and 5% about your institution. Alumni don’t really care if the chapter won fourth place in intramural soccer. They do care about membership statistics, academics, and campus leadership positions, so communicate your best achievements. They also care about locating the graduate members from their era, so be sure to include photos from old yearbooks, class notes, and alumni updates as you locate them. After two or three years of successful and consistent alumni newsletters, it will be time to start thinking about some serious fundraising. That’s a topic for another column. ADVANCED PROGAMMING The basic communication ideas above are, for the most part, passive endeavors that share information in one direction – from the chapter to alumni. To kick up your alumni relations a notch, find ways to inform your alumni base AND engage them. There are many simple ways to engage alumni. Invite a local alumnus to speak at a scholarship banquet to recognize members with 3.0 GPA or above. Invite alumni to a senior dinner to speak on the topic of “things I wish I knew when I was a college senior.” Host a founders day reception for all alumni near your college, not just those from your chapter. Use campus officials and local dignitaries as speakers to draw alumni to your event (mayor of the city, university president, provost, dean, coach, or distinguished faculty member, just to name a few). There are other ways to engage alumni and help undergraduate members at the same time. Collect business cards from alumni and organize them in a business card book, filed by type of profession. Collect resumes from seniors and sell copies as a resume book to alumni. This is most helpful to alumni in hiring positions within their profession. Use alumni to present a resume writing seminar or conduct mock interviews with members. Make a list of successful alumni and feature them in articles written for your chapter newsletter, or make alumni profiles for the website. Add at least two or three each semester to your chapter’s archives. Over time your chapter will develop an impressive list, and the chapter alumni chair will create some very powerful networking connections through the process.

USING THE RIGHT TERMINOLOGY Saying it right is important, so know your grammar and words. If you want to impress your friends and flaunt your street cred, use the correct words in describing our alumni and alumnae members: Alumni plural masculine. Alumni is often used as a universal descriptor for all former students and graduates. “The homecoming festivities were enjoyed by more than three hundred alumni.” Alumnus singular masculine. Refers to an individual male graduate. “Dr. David Wolf, NASA astronaut, is an alumnus of Alpha Tau Omega.” Alumnae (Alum-nee) plural feminine. Alumnae is used when referring to more than one female graduate or former members. “Our alumnae financial support and event attendance has increased 50% this year.” Alumna singular feminine. Alumna is the gender opposite of alumnus. A single female graduate is referred to as an alumna. “Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is an alumna of Delta Gamma.” Many fraternal organizations, such as the NALFO and NPHC organizations, refer to their alumnus members as “graduate members.” This is a nice touch and maintains a linguistic connection to our lifelong membership bonds.

Alumni can also be recruited to assist with chapter operations. Many chapters form an advisory board and use five to ten volunteers to advise in all areas of chapter operations, such as finances, recruitment, scholarship, new member education, and more. PLAN BIG, START SMALL The header says it all. Plan big, start small. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Brainstorm your own ideas for alumni relations at a chapter meeting, officer retreat, or committee meeting. Examine the needs of your chapter. Look at the alumni list from your campus alumni office or your inter/national organization. Know how much money you can spend. Given all the facts, make choices and lay out a timeline to start making connections with your alumni base. Your efforts today will pay big dividends in the future. Alumni relations is one of the areas where chapter officers can have a big impact over time.

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Lehigh University Alumni Involvement: Training and Development They key to working with alumni comes down to one word: communication. And not just communicating what are the latest best practices, programs, and standards within fraternity and sorority communities, but also why. Too often, alumni are stereotyped as being ol’ fuddyduds who do not understand that the times change. Instead of trying to avoid, gloss over, or give the answer to alumni that causes the least conflict, Greeks really need to be prepared to jump in and explain the need for new ideas and changes. When the reasoning behind the change is solid, you might be surprised at the amount of support you will get.

*

At Lehigh University, we’ve learned that working with your fraternity and sorority affairs department can do wonders in terms of helping undergraduate Greek leaders come up with training and development opportunities to assist their loyal alumni.

Some of the resources of Lehigh’s Greek community include: > Greek Alumni council meetings twice a year. This allows us to have conversations with all of our alumni corporation leaders on initiatives occurring within the community and how the alumni can assist. > Monthly reports to alumni. The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA) works with the chapters to keep alumni updated on what is going on. The reports are based around our chapter accreditation process and allow alumni to know where the chapter is succeeding, and what challenges may lay ahead. > Volunteer opportunities. Every committee OFSA utilizes, from strategic planning and Accreditation to changing Greek Week events includes alumni. This allows interested alumni to keep abreast of what is going on and they, in turn, can pass on our new ideas to other alumni they know. > Greek updates at key times of year. Such events as board of trustees meetings and alumni reunions are opportunities to keep key alums updated. We even used fraternity expansion meetings this year as opportunities to update alums of formally recognized chapters as to what Lehigh’s latest progress was. > Use of technology. Lehigh’s Office of Alumni Affairs started a Greek Wiki page, which allows actives and alumni to update the history of their organization on-line. > Phone calling programs. Instead of alums receiving a donation phone call from a random student, these chapters were giving the option to volunteer to call their specific alumni. This gives the undergrads an opportunity to update their older brothers and sisters as to the progress of the chapter, and not in another letter or brochure.

020 // connections // 2009.summer

FROM THE ROAD University of Kansas / Involving Greek Alumni Greek Alumni members are key when it comes to having a successful undergraduate chapter within any council on a college campus. Once alumni have changed their membership mentalities from the ‘I was’ to ‘I am’ regarding their organization membership, undergraduates can witness what it truly means to be Greek members postgraduation. At the University of Kansas, there are several ways that students and staff work to gauge the involvement of Greek alumni. Because of the natural setting of the college campus, educational programming takes place in a variety of forms. As students seek out presenters and speakers for presentations, it is usually the alumni members that are the first wave of options. These alumni members range from those on-campus members to individuals living within the community and those within an hour drive to a flight away. The multitude of faculty and staff that are members of Greek chapters on the KU campus are also provided with an opportunity to give back to the community, reflect on their membership and involvement, and provide the current students an ally that they may utilize for other events. Programs under the education series of Greek 101, 201, 301 and the “Backpacks to Briefcases” program are great ways that alumni get involved and provide stories of continued membership after the undergraduate experience. For example, Greek 101 is an orientation for the new members of the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils that target the four pillars of Brother/Sisterhood, Scholarship, Service, and Leadership. Alumni are not only good options for presenters, but can also provide examples of their undergraduate experiences to show that being Greek does not end at graduation. The KU chapters of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) visit with their alumni on a regular basis as several attend chapter meetings, functions, and events. In similar events to the IFC and Panhellenic, NPHC and NALFO alumni members prepare presentations and exercises on successful recruitment strategies, running efficient membership intake processes, and retention of members. Presenting on the history of these culturallybased groups during organizations’ philanthropy weeks, council events, and celebratory months are also projects that local and national alumni provide. Alumni are often asked to judge the NPHC Step Show and the NALFO Stroll Competition that take place during the school year. Lifelong membership is evident within these organizations as Graduate Chapters and Alumni Associations host graduating ceremonies for the seniors to honor their continued involvement.


D

Ball State University Students Connect with Alumni via Semesterly Newsletter Ball State University sends out a Greek Alumni Newsletter each semester to more than 5,000 alumni nationwide. The newsletter’s primary purpose is to update interested alumni on what is occurring in our community. Many initiatives in the Ball State University Greek Strategic Plan encourage the involvement and feedback of alumni. Therefore, the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, and National Pan-Hellenic Council at Ball State University are always looking for ways to link current members and alumni. It is the hope of the executive council members that connecting alumni will keep them informed about the Ball State Greek community, their chapters, and major life events in the lives of alumni. The Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, and National Pan-Hellenic Council, and chapter presidents develop important personal and professional skills by writing articles for the newsletter. The Office of Student Life assists the students by editing the contents. Each chapter writes their own short (approximately 100 words) blurb to update alumni about what is occurring within their chapter. The Greek Alumni Newsletter has included articles about recruitment successes, Homecoming and Greek Week news, awards received by chapters and councils, fundraising efforts for philanthropies, community service news, housing updates and colonization information. Producing articles that are professionally written is one of the first steps in educating chapters about how to communicate with alumni, while allowing students to develop writing skills. To view past newsletters, visit http://cms.bsu.edu/ CampusLife/GreekLife/alumni/news.aspx. Contact the Ball State University Office of Student Life for complete newsletter and distribution process for the Greek Alumni Newsletter.

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.aflv.org/services/connections and submit an overview of a great activity that your council or community has done lately.

AFLV // 021


ASK

the

Experts Brandon Cutler Kansas State University bcutler@k-state.edu

Jennifer Gianino Alpha Xi Delta Fraternity jgianino@alphaxidelta.org

Travis Smith Pittsburg State University asmith@pittstate.edu

Patrick Romero-Aldaz Tufts University patrick.romero_aldaz@tufts.edu

Angela King Middle Tennessee State University anking@mtsu.edu

WANT TO BE AN EXPERT? If you are a professional who has great advice, email publications@aflv.org and let us know that you are interested in being one of our future Experts. 022 // connections // 2009.summer

Amy Colvin Millikin University acolvin@mail.millikin.edu


Q:

My fraternity has hosted a themed date party each spring and invited alumni and guests for as long as anyone can remember. While we have several events that tend to get rowdy, this one has typically gone above and beyond in terms of drunken debauchery… and the problem tends to be the alumni more than the collegian guys. It’s like they are trying to have that one last frat party every April. We really need to rein these guys in for next year… thoughts?

Brandon Says: It sounds like the general operation and execution of your chapter events needs to be addressed from a risk management point of view. First, all chapter events should be held in accordance with inter/national and campus risk management policies, and it doesn’t sound like this is happening. These policies apply to all members and guests that attend chapter events, and are in place to ensure safety and responsibility prevail over “drunken debauchery.” Alumni are not an exception to the rule and should be held accountable for their behavior. Second, chapters need to take corrective action to address the cause of the problems rather than addressing the symptoms such as inappropriate alumni behavior. In this situation, the cause of the problem is the tradition and culture of high risk drinking behaviors and a lack of appropriate social behavior at chapter events. If a chapter event becomes problematic, which many traditional events are, changes need to be made or the event needs to be done away with altogether. Chapters can replace the problematic event with a new or different alumni event that does not involve alumni attending a date party. This will allow chapters the ability to maintain positive alumni relations while reducing the problems created for the chapter. Additionally, the chapter could stop inviting any alumni that cause problems, and communicate your challenges to your alumni advisors & leaders. They can help you address the behavioral issues with alumni, and can assist the chapter in communicating risk management & behavioral expectations to the alumni prior to the event. Ultimately, the culture and tradition of this event are the problem, and the only way to “rein these guys in” is to drastically improve the chapter’s ability, willingness, and commitment to host safe and responsible events and hold individuals accountable to expectations. Maybe this year you can invite alumni to a chapter service weekend. Party favors could include leather work gloves and safety glasses! Jennifer Says: Prior to the event being held, a message from the chapter president and/or chapter advisor needs to be delivered to the alumni letting them know of the proper behavior that is expected of them during the event. If they are unwilling to agree to these terms/conditions, then it needs to be made clear that they will be asked to leave the event. Additionally, alumni do need to be invited to events held by the chapter… they can’t just show up. If the chapter chooses not to invite alumni to the formal, consider hosting an event around Founder’s Day. It may be a better alternative to inviting alumni to formal. This way, alumni are encouraged to return to their alma mater and interact with members without the fear of past problems.

Patrick Says: Working with alumni and the chapter in this type of situation can be tricky. You want to maintain a positive relationship with alumni but you are also trying to have expectations for your active brotherhood. There are a number of approaches you can take to this situation however, I’d advise you to start with your active membership. I’d encourage you to have a discussion about the value of this event and what it means to the chapter. Is it something that needs to evolve or change? Perhaps if the brotherhood wants to see something new or different you can utilize this momentum to develop a new and less problematic event. If the chapter wants to continue the event you need to discuss how you will have and manage the event so that alumni and guests behave more responsibly. I’d also encourage you to enlist the support of an ally or well respected alumnus who may help you to build bridges with the rest of the alumni group to ensure that your message is being heard. The alumni will hopefully be more concerned with making sure there is always a chapter to come back to rather than having “their last fraternity bash” every April. When all is said and done, the chapter may have to make some tough decisions; this is what being a fraternity leader is about. It may be that the event doesn’t happen anymore, or it may be that alumni are no longer invited. Whatever you chose I’d encourage you to attempt alternative approaches to bring people to the table with what needs to happen moving forward before making any knee-jerk or sweeping decisions. You are also more likely to maintain valuable relationships this way. Angela Says: You have multiple options. You can begin by having a conversation with your alumni and expressing your concerns. Before initiating this conversation, you might consult with your chapter advisor, fraternity and sorority life advisor, as well as any trusted alumni that have supported you and have served as an advocate for your chapter in the past. They are your best resources as they know the history of the chapter and may be able to direct you as to the best method for discussing your concerns. Whether you decide to have a conversation or not, begin to evaluate your event. Why does this event in particular tend to be rowdy and out of control? Sometimes environment and attire can determine our behavior. Maybe you can introduce a dress code and select a venue that speaks class and sophistication as opposed to vomit and shots. You can also consider eliminating the alcohol. Gasp! If you feel that alcohol is necessary to this event, then I encourage you to reflect on your purpose and how the alcoholic event will progress the mission of your organization. Brotherhood and fellowship can be achieved without the inclusion of alcohol. Keep in mind that while you do not have the ability to control other people, you can control the atmosphere of your event.

AFLV // 023


Q:

My chapter is fairly young (we were founded 5 years ago) and located at a medium sized school in a smaller city. As a result of these two things, we don’t have very many alumnae in the area and have a really hard time finding a chapter advisor. Recently, our chapter members have been wondering what would happen if we had an advisor who isn’t a member of our organization?

Q:

Jennifer Says: Many campuses require that all student organizations have a faculty advisor. This person can assist the chapter in guidance and direction. If the chapter and faculty advisor have a productive and healthy working relationship, perhaps the chapter could petition their headquarters and hold an alumni initiation for this advisor. A few other ways to locate advisors is to reach out to members who are within a 30 to 45 minute driving distance to the chapter. Even though an advisor might not be able to make it to every meeting, a presence at least once a month in person (and all other communication via phone and email) would benefit the chapter. Also, reach out to your fraternity headquarters and see if anyone has expressed an interest to volunteer in the area. Many times, alumni reach out to headquarters staff when inquiring to volunteer with a chapter. Another option to find advisors would be to contact the local alumni association or a national volunteer that the chapter works with. Many times, people in these positions know of members willing to assist.

So, how can we get more alumni to give us money?

Travis Says: Short of blackmailing them or using your alumni list to go to their houses and rob them, there is no guaranteed way to get money from alumni. That being said, there are some things you can do that will create an atmosphere for success. > Build Relationships with them. Many times the first interaction our alumni/ ae have with our organization post-graduation is when they get something from someone they never met asking them to give money. Give them some way to stay connected to the organization. Alumni newsletters are great at connecting your alumni to the current chapter. Make sure they know what the chapter is up to, and what its needs are. Events are also great for this, but in the age of facebook, twitter, etc… there are many cost effective ways to manage your alumni relationships that require little planning. > Tell them where their money is going. Have a specific purpose for the money in addition to a specific ask amount. Alumni want to know that they are giving money that will go to something creating stability for the chapter, not to a keg party. Specific goals for donations such as creating a study room, new furniture, commemorative gardens, new letters or sign for the front of the house will let alumni know their money is going to good use. Research is also a part of this; know how much it is going to cost and set that as your giving goal. Once you have done research you may be able to split the project into several specific asks. > Build better alumni with your current membership by creating purpose. Create great alumni today by providing them with an experience that makes them better, more employable, and able to get a bigger and better job that will allow them to donate later. If they had a valuable experience in college, they will feel more inclined to support your organization after graduation. Create the expectation in all of your members that alumni service and giving is something that is an expectation. Fraternity is not just four years of your life, but a lifetime of service. > Be Patient. One thing I didn’t think about when I was an undergraduate member is that young alumni, those most connected with the current chapter, do not often have any excess income to donate as they are out on their own for the first time and have bills, jobs, and even families that place a premium on their time and money. During those first few years be patient, as promotions, better jobs and financial stability comes into play so will their ability to donate. > Practice what you preach. Many alumni today may have said the same thing when they were in your shoes. When you become an alumnus of your organization and are able to contribute, do so. 024 // connections // 2009.spring

Brandon Says: Many chapters make the mistake of assuming they are entitled to financial support from alumni/ae. However, alumni/ae will rarely donate their time, energy, or money to chapters that they do not feel a connection to, and too often, they only receive communication from chapters when they are asking for personal or financial contributions. Therefore, chapters need to cultivate genuine relationships with alumni prior to asking for financial contributions. This can be achieved by hosting regular alumni events, engaging alumni in chapter activities, and establishing regular communications through quarterly newsletters that focus more on alumni rather than how the chapter did in intramural basketball. Additionally, alumni want to make sure their money is well utilized. Chapters need to be intentional about their solicitation of alumni donations. Alumni are constantly asked to donate to various charitable causes, and chapters will have greater success if they are strategic and timely when asking for donations. In other words, if you go to the well too many times it will dry up. Provide several options such as tax exempt donations to a scholarship fund, chapter facility improvements, or sponsorship of chapter philanthropic events. These options and specific plans for how funds will be utilized can be communicated to alumni through regular mailings or quarterly newsletters. And, don’t forget… a little thanks goes a long way. Amy Says: I find that alumni are more willing to give money to a chapter if they have an established relationship with the chapter and its members. The yearly request for money with no other communication from the chapter does not typically lead an alumnus/alumna to give to the chapter. I suggest you start with developing a communication plan for how your chapter will disseminate information and contact your alumni. Some ideas include a monthly email blast to all alumni about updates from the chapter, a semesterly newsletter, invitations to Founder’s Day or Homecoming events, a phone call from an active member once a year to give a more personal update. Once you have established these relationships you can ask for money.


Travis Says: This is a common issue on my campus as well. Our student organizations are required to have an advisor who is a faculty or staff member of the institution. I believe that while it certainly helps to have a firm knowledge of what our organizations are, there are many good members of our campus’ faculty and staff that are skilled advisors and who could help our organizations do great things. You can always ask them to join! I know of several faculty and staff members who have been initiated into the membership of the organization as an advisor. I also believe that no matter whom your advisor is you should have an entry and exit interview with them each semester/year. Topics for this meeting include setting expectations for each other at the beginning and a review of how things went and how you could have worked together more effectively to achieve optimal results. It is very important to be able to compromise together for the benefit of the organization. I think the main problem our advisors have is that they do not have a clear set of expectations on where the lines are drawn within an organization, and a lot of times the frustrations the undergraduate members have with the advisors are because they have not communicated those expectations clearly.

Amy Says: Many chapters have advisors from different organizations; sometimes these advisors can be especially effective in working with your chapter in challenging members to “think outside the box” or to look at other ways of doing things. If you do select an individual that is not a member, I encourage you to make sure to outline your chapter members and officers’ expectations of the advisors role with the individual selected prior to his/her official appointment. Furthermore, if you do choose to select an advisor that is not a member of your organization, you can utilize regional volunteers to answer questions that are organization specific such as ritual information. You can usually find the names and contact information of these volunteers by looking at your Inter/National organization’s website or by emailing a headquarters staff member. Another option that you might consider is soliciting volunteers to advise from a distance by using media such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, email, cell phones, etc. Sometimes chapters or officers need someone to bounce ideas off of or to ask questions about polices – this would be a great way to engage alumni from a distance.

You should also check with your Inter/National Office (if applicable) for resources they may have. This also may shed some light on advisor expectations from its level. The Association of Fraternity Advisors also has several good tools that may already be in your Greek Advisor’s office to help promote positive Advisor relationships. If they don’t have those resources they can be ordered for a nominal fee.

Q:

My college’s Alumni Center keeps record of Greek membership, but every time they give us a list it’s totally outdated and includes mostly senior citizens. We are starting to think we need to start tracking this information ourselves if we really want to have accurate records. Do you have any suggestions of vendors, database templates, or long solutions to keep these types of records?

Travis Says: Depending on the size and structure of your organization you may already have a database in place and not know it. Inter/National organizations keep initiation records and attempt to keep accurate information on where all of their members are. My first advice is to contact your inter/national office for alumni records. I would also encourage you to track this information with your annual/semester/quarterly newsletter, email list, etc… and when you get updated information share it with your inter/national and alumni offices to make sure they have the updated information as well. If this is not a possibility for you (or does not work) it is very simple to create an Excel spreadsheet that contains contact information for all current members and alumni with accurate information right now. With the almost universal presence of email, it is very timely and cost effective to email that list out once a year and ask for people to update their information. When people move they often keep the same email address so you won’t have as many issues with people not receiving it. You could also use such social networking tools as Facebook and MySpace. You might be surprised by how many older alumni are on these networking sites (I was certainly surprised when my parents friended me!). Use this to your advantage - after all, it’s free. I recently created a group for the Greek Alumni from my university, invited about 25-30 people and it had over 200 members in two just days! Imagine the possibilities! Brandon Says: Chapters have several very good vendor options to consider helping manage alumni relations. I would not encourage a chapter to track the information on their own due to membership turnover and lack of a sustainable process. However, undergraduate chapters and alumni boards can utilize one of several companies that specialize in helping chapters maintain alumni relationships and contact information. To find the right vendor for your chapter, review the services they provide and explore the ways they can enhance your alumni relations. I would encourage you to consider the following reputable companies: Pennington & Company, the Laurus Group, the Fraternity Management Group, or Affinity Connection. Google them!

Patrick Says: This problem can be addressed in a number of ways. The problem with alumni databases are that they are only as up to date as the last time they were updated. I’d encourage you to use this as an opportunity to lead the way on your campus in building a relationship with your alumni center. Are they willing to have you submit a roster to them annually of students who have graduated? This will help keep both their records and the information you need up to date. You can also request this information for your headquarters. The question is: what do you do with the information once you have it? If it sits in a file on your computer for four years then you pass it on to the next person who does nothing with it, then you are no better off than where you started. I’d encourage you to regularly communicate with the alumni center at your school and ask them to help you update contact information. This can help you be an integral part of developing your own alumni network, but also supporting your school and headquarters at the same time. Angela Says: While the alumni center’s records may be out of date, they can still be a great resource to the fraternity and sorority community. It is possible that your alumni center could be understaffed and overworked and has other priorities. Consider partnering with your alumni center and lending a hand on this project as it is of specific interest to the fraternity and sorority life community. Volunteer to help the alumni center create and update their databases to reflect current fraternity and sorority alumni as the fraternity and sorority life Office might be able to provide some of this data. The alumni center generally has great resources but may lack the time needed to devote to this project. This partnership will save the fraternity and sorority community money and the alumni center time. In the event that this will not work for your community, consider contacting other communities with similar demographics and research their method of tracking alumni. AFLV // 025


S C AFLV is Ready When You Are. LeaderLink, virtual training for today’s fraternal leaders.

Our new webinar series will launch in October for council leaders, chapter leaders, and campus based professionals.

Online resource library and networking/ virtual community opportunities via the Member Services tab on the AFLV website. Online Career Center for Fraternity/Sorority professionals, Graduate Assistants, and House Directors. Leading-Edge Awards and Assessment program, with opportunities to utilize the program to move your campus community forward.


SHORT CUTS THE SKINNY & THE HOW-TO ON SOME OF THE MOST PRESSING BASICS OF YOUR FRATERNITY LIFE.

Planning an Alumni Event

Soliciting Support from Alumni

One of the best ways that a chapter can engage alumni is by creating intentional opportunities for chapter members to interact across generations. This process focuses on developing these connections so that your chapter can benefit from the involvement of a wide range of alumni.

Do you want more support from your alumni? We’re willing to bet that you said “YES” (and the first thing that came to your mind was money). There are a lot of folks that can help with developing fundraising plans and strategies for your organization. To get started, talk with your inter/national organization and, if your organization has one, your foundation.

Here are some quick tips to increase the success of your next alumni event: > Plan ahead! It is almost never too early to start planning your next event. If you have a fall homecoming and you have not yet sent out invitations and announced your plans for an event that week, chances are that you are already too late. If you want to plan effectively, start planning your events at least six months out. > Solicit the help of your organization and college/university alumni office. Both can be instrumental in not only updating your contact database, but also in helping to create plans. > Get influential alumni involved in the planning. Have you ever attended something because a particular person was going to be in attendance or played a large role in planning the event? Chances are that you have; this is a tactic that can work for your next alumni event, too. > Use social networks to your advantage. It has never been easier to stay in touch with alumni members; use that power to stay in touch, keep them informed, and rebuild the relationship between them and the chapter. > Don’t get stuck in the rut of doing everything at the chapter house. There are several other places on your campus or in your community where you can host an event… take a cue from your college/university alumni office. Why not host the next event somewhere new and exciting?

To increase your success in cultivating alumni donors, here are a few tips: > Build a relationship before asking for money. > When you ask for money, be specific about what it would be used for. You will have much more luck if you ask for support for specific items such as scholarships, facility improvements, a library in the chapter house, etc. And, when you get a donation for a specific use, make sure it is used as it was intended. > Recognize donors in your alumni newsletter and with a plaque in the chapter house. You want your alumni to know that their contribution is valued by the organization. > Get alumni to help with your fundraising efforts. > Write personal thank you notes for every donation received. > Rely on the professionals, whether that be the leaders of your organization, foundation, or a company that focuses on fundraising initiatives for non-profit organizations.

AFLV // 027


Penn State DU alumni board shuts down chapter High Fives for the State of Oregon!

The alumni board of a Penn State fraternity is shutting down the house, saying the students living there caused a long list of problems ranging from not taking care of the property to offering marijuana to a visitor from the fraternity’s leadership.

Hazing would be barred at schools and universities, and student participants and organizations subject to fines. Senate Bill 444 passed the Oregon House without change on a 49-0 vote Wednesday. Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, introduced the bill after a hazing incident at Western Oregon University, where he works. State university rules ban hazing, but state law exempts athletic teams from the hazing ban. The bill would change the law, extend the ban to public schools and update definitions. Hazing covers physical brutality, activity adversely affecting physical health or safety, compelled consumption and inducement of illegal activity. A student organization would be subject to a maximum fine of $720; a participant, $360.

The alumni board is in the process of expelling the members from the house, saying ongoing efforts to work with them didn’t stop the problems. The alumni board plans to reopen the house in fall 2010 with new members.

We know reading Busted can be like a train wreck – you just can’t look away – but we thought we’d toss in a little switch-a-roo just to keep you on your toes.

The fraternity/sorority community is so privileged when you think about the resources that chapter members get: inter/national offices and staff members, campus advisors, and involved, passionate alumni. All of these people are genuinely invested in helping chapters succeed but we still find ways to mess it up. Hey, we even get consultants who COME DIRECTLY TO YOU with huge connections and resources to help chapters meet and exceed expectations.

How awesome is the State of Oregon anyway? As of June, only 44 states have a law against hazing (sad but true) so we are pumped to see another state join the land of the living. It makes us sad that these shifts almost always seem to be reactionary, but we’ll take what we can get. We’re not sure that we agree with these maximum fines, though. Come on, you can get a pair of Jimmy Choos for that price.

“It’s certainly something that had been building for quite some time,” An Alumni Board leader said. “Even at the beginning of the summer, we had intentions of working with them to try to turn the place around. They still continued to show an unwillingness to live by the principles of the fraternity.” The problems have been going on for several years, and some are visible — a broken window, damaged floors, holes in the walls and a stair banister ripped from a wall. Other problems were drug and alcohol related. The chapter ended up in redevelopment — a sort of probationary oversight — after a fraternity member offered marijuana to a representative of Delta Upsilon International during a visit. As hard as it is so see chapter facilities close, we give kudos to this alumni group for putting their foots down. All too often, chapters complain of alumni NOT giving them the attention and the resources that they need but here we see an example of a chapter who does have access to interested alumni and chooses not to take advantage of their assistance.

Speaking of consultants…yes, you read correctly: this chapter offered marijuana to the consultant that came to their chapter. This is just plain weird. We know from past Busted! columns that there are fraternity and sorority members who smoke pot… but who would have thought that anyone would think the consultant would partake? This article is a great reminder of another issue that doesn’t come up very often: how our alumni feel about what we do. The full length version of this article mentioned specifically how upset some of the older living alumni, men in their 70’s, felt about this. These were men who had lived in the house, valued the chapter, and committed their years after college graduation to serve the organization… and now this. Sad. Another sad piece is that this decision did not come out of the blue; closing this facility was clearly illustrated as being a last resort. The international office gave the chapter a plan for success which they chose not to follow. The chapter also failed to meet any of the expectations of the Alumni Board over the past few years as the problems escalated. Maybe the chapter members thought it was an empty threat? Seems like a bold move.

028 // connections // 2009.summer


Fraternity Fails to Establish Due Process: Fraternity failed to establish due process violations due to sanctions imposed by University where fraternity did not establish a cognizable property interest in its reputation and members were free to join other fraternities.

BUSTED!

Stupid Things that You Have Done Lately

The Iota Xi Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity and two of its officers sued George Mason University and several of its administrators in federal district court in Virginia. The Chapter’s involvement in a series of disciplinary incidents - including hazing, providing alcohol to minors, and hosting parties that involved sexual assaults on female guests - culminated in the revocation of the Chapter’s official University recognition and the individual discipline of several Chapter members. [In the lawsuit] The Chapter alleged that those sanctions deprived the Chapter and its members of their procedural due process rights. The district court found otherwise. The Chapter appealed to the 4th Circuit, which affirmed.

References

Danahy, A. (2009, July 30). Penn State DU alumni board shuts down chapter. Centre Daily Times Retrieved July 30, 2009 from: http://www. centredaily.com/news/education/penn_state/ story/1424018.html Markon, J. (2008, February 23). Expelled fraternity’s suit against GMU is dismissed. The Washington Post. Retrieved June 24, 2009 from Lexis Nexis legal database. Wong, P. (2009, June 4). School, college hazing. Statesman Journal. Retrieved June 4, 2009 from: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/ article/20090604/LEGISLATURE/906040337/1001/ NEWSs Wilson, N. (2009, May 22). Poly to hire staff to deal with Greek behavior. San Luis Obispo Tribune. Retrieved May 22, 2009 from: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/story/728015.html

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.

Moreover, the Chapter failed to identify a cognizable, constitutionally protected property interest in its reputation. The Chapter claimed that statements published by the University in the Mason Gazette had damaged its reputation. However, there is no constitutional right to be free from stigma. The Chapter identified no injury to it - economic or otherwise - resulting from the University’s published statements in The Mason Gazette. According to The Washington Post, it was a student University Judicial Board that found the fraternity guilty of hazing, providing alcohol to minors and twice “sponsoring a party under conditions that resulted in sexual assault on a female guest.” In layman’s terms, The University revoked the chapter’s charter for poor behavior (we think hazing, providing alcohol to minors, and sexually assaulting women can be safely referred to as ‘poor’). But instead of being thankful that they’re not in jail, the chapter claimed that the procedure the University employed to revoke their charter was unfair and, more specifically, violated their right to assemble under the 1st Amendment. The district court ruled against the chapter and, when the chapter appealed, a higher court did the same. Basically, both courts ruled that the chapter’s right to assemble was not violated; they thought that the chapter can do all the same stuff they were doing before (having meetings, social events, leadership opportunities, even living together in a house) – also known as ‘assembling’ – with or without university recognition. [The courts found that] the University did not deprive the Chapter and its members of a liberty interest in the right to free association. If you think about it, the Chapter members were not prohibited by the University from joining any other organizations or fraternities; the University simply revoked its recognition of the Chapter, which did not deprive the Chapter members of any free association right. Isn’t this kind of like suing a department store for arresting you for shoplifting because the camera that taped you committing the crime violated your right of privacy? Anyway, it was a very creative argument, but we’re sure they knew they were going to lose.


Twelve years ago we began a process to make philanthropy and community service a habit in fraternities and sororities at Case Western Reserve University. Our chapters are competitive by nature, so IFC and Panhellenic set a challenge to the community. The challenge was to complete the equivalent in hours of 365 days of service through the academic year: that’s 8,760 hours. Those hours were divided by the number of members in the entire community at the end of the spring semester. The number of hours per member was then multiplied by the chapter size to set the goal for the next year. That total is divided by 24 to establish the number of days for each chapter to complete. The goals are posted on the Greek Life website and a bulletin board outside of the Greek Life office. Each time a chapter completes twenty-four hours, they get a day covered on the board.

The program is so successful and exciting that many chapters in the community were achieving twice the yearly goal. Therefore, we knew it was time to raise the bar. This past year, we decided to split the philanthropy and community service goals. In other words, the number of hours needed to meet the goal was the same, but chapters could only use hours that were spent on community service, not on philanthropy and raising money. Now there are two goals for each chapter: 365 days of service and 365 days of philanthropy. It took some time for the chapters to get used to the new requirements, but they did. This year, the 365 goal was achieved for service AND philanthropy hours. As a matter of fact, both goals were exceeded.

365 This program began including both service and philanthropy, creating an hour correlation to dollars donated. So, whether the hours donated were community service or philanthropy, the chapter received credit. Every chapter that reached their goal by the end of the year received a plaque at the annual Greek awards ceremony and was recognized in a press release that was sent to headquarters offices and the university community. Finally, we also tied the 365 goal toward our standards process and university awards application.

While the competition is exciting and the number of hours are honorable, the true goal has been reached: philanthropy and community are now a solidified part of the culture of Greek Life at CWRU.

by John Witkowski IFC VP of Communications

Case Western Reserve Greeks Do 365 Days of Service

030 // connections // 2009.summer


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top ten ways for alumni to get involved 1. Overall chapter advisor Being listed as the chapter’s primary advisor and fulfilling all related duties 2. Recruitment Support Helping undergraduates with recruitment planning Assisting with marketing Teaching interpersonal skills 3. Leadership Development Assisting with leadership training skills, such as event-planning, communication skills, diversity awareness, running effective meetings, record-keeping, and more 4. Budgeting Support Aiding the Treasurer in developing a budget and keeping the books Helping the chapter establish a plan for dues collection 5. Academic Support & Mentoring Providing ideas to the chapter on how to improve academic performance Mentoring graduating seniors on job searching and interviewing 6. Financial Offering Providing financial donations to the chapter 7. Attendance at events/functions Being present at functions to show support for the chapter 8. Advocate Intervening in issues in which the chapter may need guidance and advocacy 9. National/regional volunteer Supporting not only your chapter, but those in the surrounding area Helping new colonies 10. Values and Ritual Being a role model for living the values of the organization Being a bridge for new students to see the lifelong commitment to fraternity (from NIC, Top Ten Ways Alumni can be involved)

032 // connections // 2009.summer

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