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VOL. 6 / ISSUE 037 / FALL 2015

June 7 - 10, 2016 | Rocky Mountain National Park | gathering.a�


Connections is the official publication of the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values. The views expressed by contributors, authors and advertisers are not necessarily those of the Association. AFLV encourages the submission of content to: Carol Nickoson • Editor Submit advertising queries to: Kelsey Turner • Marketing Manager 970 • 372 • 1174 888 • 855 • 8670 Connections Magazine is published by AFLV for our member subscribers four times each year. Send address corrections to:

Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values 123 N. College Ave. • Suite 250 Fort Collins, CO • 80524 970 • 372 • 1174 888 • 855 • 8670

If you’ve ever watched one of T.J. Sullivan’s keynotes, you’ve probably noticed he has some great insights about people and their behavior, especially in the context of student organizations. In this issue, T.J. describes some of the essential lessons he’s learned about people when it comes to managing business and organizations.


ANDREA BATTAGLIA • DRURY UNIVERSITY • @ANDREABCREATIVE Andrea shared her confessions as a hiring manager in our summer issue. Now that she’s had some time in her new role to reflect on her previous job as a fraternity/sorority advisor, Andrea has a few more confessions to make.

TOP FIVE EXCUSES MULTICULTURAL FRATERNITIES 12 THE & SORORITIES MAKE THAT HOLD THEM BACK TIFFANY DENNETT • UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Sorority and fraternity alumni often look at the fraternal experience now and come to realizations that were not very clear to them as undergraduate members. As a professional advising fraternities and sororities, Tiffany Dennett realized that some of the organizations she advises made excuses for their chapters. In this article, Tiffany argues against those excuses and offers some advice for how multicultural fraternities and sororities can make forward strides.

Creative Director • Layout & Design Steve Whitby • Catalyst Agency Editorial Board Andrea Battaglia • Drury University Monica Ceja • Zeta Tau Alpha Matt Deeg • Hanover College John Jensen • Epic Systems Kathryn O'Hagan • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Branden Stewart • CAMPUSPEAK, Inc. 


002 // Letter from the Editor 016 // Taking Action 018 // From the Road 020 // Facilitation 411: We Mean Business 024 // Sorry, We’re Not Sorry 026 // Busted! 029 // One More Thing

Member / Fraternity Communications Association

AFLV // 001

When I joined my sorority, I knew I was joining a student organization. I knew it was a national – or in my case, international – organization and that there were other “branches” (chapters) of my sorority on other campuses. I later learned that my organization had an international board of directors, that we had a headquarters office, and that we employed staff members in that office, some of which would travel to visit our chapter once a year. I still considered my sorority a student organization, which it is; however, as a student, I never thought of my organization as a business. When I began working professionally on a college campus as a fraternity/sorority advisor, I began to realize that fraternal organizations truly are businesses. I didn’t like to think of it like that; I didn’t think of businesses as being based on core values like fraternal organizations are – after all, businesses are about making money and that’s not the emphasis of fraternal organizations. Then I started to think, is my university – my alma mater and my employer – also a business? All I ever seemed to hear about was the university endowment, salary reductions and increases, the financial impact on the community. The argument still exists today whether fraternal organizations (and colleges/ universities for that matter) should be considered “businesses.”

Letter from the Editor

I think the better question is what are we in the business of? Are sororities and fraternities in the business of preparing women and men to go out and be leaders in the world, to serve others, to leave their college, community or planet better than they found it? There are a lot of answers to that question. But what is definitely true of fraternal organizations today is that we mean business. We (all members) mean business when we ask our members to take an oath and uphold it for a lifetime. We (fraternity/sorority headquarters professionals and campus professionals) mean business when we expect our members to hold themselves accountable to our policies and procedures. We (fraternity/sorority campus professionals) mean business when we ask how you as a student leader are doing and if there’s anything we can do to help you succeed. How can your membership relate to your future career? What lessons can be learned from your membership and applied to your life or whatever industry you choose to work in after college? This issue will explore ways in which sororities and fraternities are related to the business world.

Editor Connections Magazine @CarolNickoson 002 // connections // 2015 • FALL


CONTRIBUTORS Andrea Battaglia • Drury University • @andreabcreative Andrea is an organization expert and wellness advocate that enjoys sharing her successful strategies for organization, healthy living, prosperity and innovation through facilitating workshops, streamlining processes and relevant solutions. Andrea currently works in higher education in Springfield, Missouri and happily spends her days improving the student experience and campus culture through strategy and development. She is an avid runner; slow but dedicated. And she loves mysteries, especially Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie characters.

Tiffany Dennett • university of houston • @Ikibo Tiffany serves as the Interim Greek Housing Coordinator at the University of Houston where she directly advises the Interfraternity Council and Order of Omega chapter. She also serves as the chapter coach to a variety of chapters within UH's five Greek councils. She is an alumna member of Gamma Alpha Omega Sorority and still actively engages in community service and volunteer work. Tiffany is in the second year of her Master's program where she is studying Leadership and Supervision in Higher Education. When Tiffany is not working, studying, or volunteering, she is spending time with her husband, two children, and five cats. T.J. SULLIVAN • @intentionaltjs T.J. is an independent writer, speaker and thought-leader in college student leadership. He has keynoted AFLV leadership conferences for more than 20 years. Find him online at www. or on Twitter at @intentionalTJS.

004 // connections // 2014 • FALL


PEOPLE by T.J. Sullivan 路 @IntentionalTJS

Ask any business owner, and he or she will tell you.

The most difficult part of running any business is the people.

Employees bring their issues to work, and some behave against the interests of the company. Investors want unrealistic returns. Customers want deals that practically put you out of business. Contractors are out for their own best interests and are constantly watching for loopholes. The politics are never-ending, and no one ever seems truly happy or satisfied. A person typically goes into business dreaming of working for him or herself, but quickly realizes that you end up working for several demanding constituencies. Every day can feel like a battle with the very people who are most integral to your livelihood. As a fraternity or sorority leader, you might also find that "the people" is most difficult part. Fellow officers don't fulfill obligations. Advisors demand adherence to policies without regard for practical outcomes. Members make personal decisions that put themselves or the organization at risk. Sisters resist paying dues they should have anticipated, offering only whining and sob stories about other life problems. Presidents of other groups fail to hold their own brothers or sisters to standards, putting the entire community in a negative light. Your governing council drops the ball on recruitment, or student government yanks funding.

On paper, business should be simple. Provide a needed service or product, develop your customers, keep those customers engaged, and provide good service. On paper, fraternity and sorority should be easy. People pay their dues, we do fun things together, and we all have a better college experience. But, of course, that's not really the way it is, and like a frustrated business owner, many top-third student leaders face sleepless nights, tense confrontations, damaged relationships and lack of trust. You might even find yourself disliking your brothers and sisters, wondering why you ever signed on for so much hassle. Having owned and managed two businesses in the last 20 years, I have learned that many of the essential lessons of business and managing a student organization are the same. When it comes to handling "the people," focusing on a few core ideas can really help.

PEOPLE ARE MOTIVATED BY SELF-INTEREST In the fraternity and sorority world, we spend a lot of time talking about "values" and "building community." Thanks to business guru Simon Sinek, we now talk about the "why" of our organizations. All of this is good. What we don't talk enough about is the fact that individuals in any community are motivated first by self-interest, then secondly (maybe) by shared values, community goals and group experiences. As a matter of pure practical people management, there is probably not enough recognition and discussion of the fundamental truth that people need to feel satisfied before making a real commitment to bigger things. Your members, the members of the community, and indeed all of the individuals touched by fraternity and sorority life at your campus have self-interest. As a leader, you can't do much until people feel that they are in a good place. The treasurer might enjoy the group, love his brothers, and want the fraternity to succeed. He might even enjoy running the books. But, beneath all of that, there is a reason why he enjoys being treasurer. Perhaps it's the influence of being an officer. Perhaps it's having a degree of control over the fraternity's actions. It might even be the pure experience of managing such a complex financial entity. A treasurer who is excelling on the chapter's behalf is most likely getting something out of the experience. Sure enough, if he isn't enjoying the experience or getting something out of it, the treasurer might devote less time to his duties, make mistakes, and/or make excuses. If he's not putting in less effort, then he's probably complaining more. The fraternity and sorority advisor wants your council to be effective, but when his or her boss demands a certain course of action, selfinterest usually means that professional will be pursuing the goals of the person paying his or her salary. Surely, national fraternities and sororities want to help your chapter, but restarting that chapter at a highly profitable school rich in alumni donations is more in the organization's self-interest. When you take the time to examine a person's motivations in light of self-interest, they start making more sense. As complex as people can be, they most often do not act against their self-interest on a regular basis. One of the great disappointments I endured in the early years of starting my business was realizing that people were interested in what I was doing to the extent that it impacted what they were doing. When you're running a company, you can ill afford to believe that people are spending their time looking for ways to contribute your success without some gain of their own. In my most recent company, I had 50 contractors who were part of the team. We spent a great deal of energy encouraging them to identify with the team and contribute to its success, its values, and its brand. But, at the end of the day, the contractors who were happy were those who were making money. Those who weren't were less satisfied. They would complain, and they would gripe behind our backs. When we asked them to invest in marketing or training, they would frequently ask, "What's in it for me?" As you look at the big-picture goals for your fraternity and sorority community, are you taking time to answer, "What's in it for them?" Are your officers feeling the importance they aspired to? Are your new members having the cool experience they signed on for during recruitment? Is your governing council (IFC, MGC, NPHC, Panhellenic, etc.) doing anything to make your chapters stronger and more effective? Is your advisor feeling appreciated for the time he or she puts in to your community or chapter? 006 // connections // 2015 • FALL

IT'S EASIER TO LEAD HAPPY PEOPLE. When you're trying to motivate employees toward a shared goal, you learn one lesson very quickly. Happy employees make money for you. They get excited about being at work and achieving goals, and they are more likely to get along with their fellow team members. Unhappy employees create misery. As an employer and manager, I did my best to be constantly aware of what made each employee happy in hopes of keeping them cheerful and productive. Sometimes I was successful, and other times I missed things entirely. One woman was saving up to buy her first house, so I knew that salary and financial incentives meant a lot to her. Another was married and trying to get pregnant, so I correctly guessed that job security and a flexible work schedule were her priorities. Another employee really enjoyed new technology, so I was always happy to provide an affordable gadget or technological tool to keep him excited about his work. I tried to make sure we regularly celebrated birthdays and holidays. I gave employees lots of flexibility to deal with drama in their lives, and lots of vacation time to enjoy life outside of work. We frequently would have fun little events inside and outside the office. How often do you as a fraternity or sorority leader give some thought to creating happy employees? What motivates and empowers your members and your fellow officers? You might be conscious of what it takes to keep the fraternity/sorority advisor happy, but are you doing things to excite and motivate your officers? What about your new members? It's so much easier to do the little things that keep people happy than to try to turn around the attitudes of angry, bitter, unhappy people. Do you pay attention to the fun at your meetings? Are your social and brotherhood/sisterhood events hitting the mark? If you have one, do people enjoy spending time at your house? If you're leading a council, are all of your organizations happy? Do they feel good about their place on your campus? Do they feel their voice is heard and valued? Without the positive feeling, it's hard to get the bigger picture things done. It's fine and good to talk about "Panhellenic community" when you're a thriving sorority with lots of members and resources. When you're the president of the struggling sorority, last picked for socials and always struggling to make each year's numbers, it's a lot harder. Same goes for individuals in your chapter. It's fine and good to talk about the necessity of chapter risk management, but that brother who has a hard time talking to women cares more about a raging Friday night party that increases his chances of a hookup. Taking that extra time to analyze what makes key people happy pays enormous dividends, and people like to return the happiness favor. If you go that extra mile, you might find that your members, officers, and fellow leaders start looking for opportunities to make you smile. At a minimum, they will not begin from an assumption that you're trying to negatively impact them.

DO BUSINESS WITH QUALITY PEOPLE. There is nothing more miserable than doing business with people you can't stand. In the early years of my last company, we had a contractor who was a foul, narcissistic idiot. He would regularly demand unreasonable attention from our staff, demanding exceptions to company policies and treating customers unprofessionally. He let us know on a nearly daily basis that we needed him more than he needed us. He was generating great revenue for our company (and himself in the process), but he was horrible to work with. One day, he went too far. He cussed out one of my staff members in the most vulgar way. Ten minutes later, I called and told him that his time with our company was over. I might have been thinking about the financial blow that firing him would bring, but instead, I was overjoyed at the idea of never having to work with this particular person again. As you look around at the crowd of individuals with whom you interact daily as a fraternity or sorority leader, do they inspire and encourage you, or do they drain you? Do you have friends in other organizations you can turn to for advice and an objective opinion? Or, do you spend your days surrounded by nagging, lying, and others who use and abuse you? Nothing informs your attitude and your mental health more than the people who surround you. First thing you need to do – take action to drive better people into your organization. Confront the negative players, enforce standards, and work actively to recruit a better element into your organization. Do what you can to change the human chemistry of your organization. Then, seek out better people who add value to your experience – perhaps from outside your immediate circle of acquaintances. There are other student leaders on your campus feeling the same pressures as you. Surely in your fraternity and sorority community, there are others who share your temperament and attitudes. Go to conferences, national leadership schools, and other events where other leaders gather, and develop your personal network from other colleges and universities. As a business owner, there were many days when the negativity would become oppressive. To cope with that, I had certain contractors I could call when I needed a dose of encouragement or good news. I had certain customers who welcomed my suggestions and conversation about industry events. I even had colleagues who were technically in competition with my company who I could call to talk about big picture ideas. As you progress in life and in your career, you'll learn that the people you work with will be ever more important to you than other things like salary, title or office environment. Surrounding yourself with good people is the ultimate work luxury. Escaping a toxic environment with unfriendly, unethical, or negative people is the greatest relief I know. Yes, people are the greatest challenge in running a business or a successful student organization. But, just as people can be the greatest frustration, they are also the source of meaning and fulfillment. As you grow as a leader, keep in mind the impact of human chemistry within organizations and companies, always seeking to do your part to create a positive environment where thinking about the big things is fun and fulfilling.

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Does the organization pride itself on moving quickly and getting stuff done, or does it value a deliberative process and super thorough research? When asked directly about organizational culture, many interviewers end up talking about the company's aspirational culture. Ask deeper questions about the work process to figure out what employees consider important. If the organization doesn't truly value traits you consider your strengths and talents, it won't be long before you burn out or feel unappreciated.


With advances in video conference technology, many candidates now don't even visit the office before being hired. Approximately half your waking hours will be spent with these people, so if you don't enjoy being around them, it will make you pretty miserable. Don't be afraid to ask to visit if the opportunity is not offered, and consider it a red flag if they refuse. What is the company trying to hide? Why won't it invest in its talent?


It sounds cliché, but how do you feel when you are physically at the organization’s office? Are you comfortable being your authentic self? Does the interview team feel genuine, or do they answer your questions with canned replies? If everyone gives you the same answer to personal questions, the team is probably putting on a show. That's not the best way to start a working relationship. On the flip side, if you're unsure about some of the technical knowledge or skills needed but you feel comfortable and trust the team, it's likely going to be great! You may even learn a few new skills on the job.


OF A FORMER GREEK ADVISOR by Andrea Battaglia · Drury University · Zeta Tau Alpha · @andreabcreative

008 // connections // 2015 • FALL

Recently, I ended my nine year career as a student affairs professional in Fraternity and Sorority Life. It’s a job that I was lucky to get, grateful to keep and proud to pass to the next person. Fraternity and Sorority Life has such an interesting dynamic, so complex and so interesting. As a Fraternity/Sorority Advisor, I got to be on the front line for the good times, bad times and the weirdo times. Chapter leaders, I want you to know I’m going to be completely honest about life as a Fraternity/Sorority Advisor. I’m ready to share all of the delicious details you’ve always wondered – I’m ready to come clean with everything. Are you ready to hear what I’m saying? I stayed up too many nights worrying about you.

Dear sorority recruitment: You need to calm it down.

As a student leader, I know you struggled when your members were suffering with serious mental illness and you didn’t know what to do. I worried about you. I know you were devastated when you were president and your friend’s mom was killed in a car accident. We mourned with you. I know you were scared and scrambling when your pledge had too much to drink and we had to take him to the hospital. I was scared, too. I know you pushed yourself too hard because you were failing your classes and your health was quickly declining. I was concerned too. I stayed up many nights worrying about you. As a student leader, you were in a more difficult position than I’d ever imagined and you were too young to have to be dealing with this stuff. I could see the weight of the world on your shoulders and I could see it wearing you down. I didn’t know if you were going to make it through this time. But you did, each and every time you did. And you were stronger and better for it.

I have never seen so many grown women collectively freak out. Forty-nine weeks of the year, you’re totally normal people and great Panhellenic sisters and then just before and just after recruitment week, you seem to lose your minds. I actually have to practice not rolling my eyes with the drama that exists. I don’t need a text at 2:00 AM because another chapter stole your song. I don’t want you to call me crying because your balloon ribbon didn’t curl like it should have. And I promise, you’re not having a total nervous breakdown about your script for your philanthropy event. I can’t. Every year, I spent so much of my time reminding women to have normal conversations, to act like normal people and to remember the values of the chapter they’ve joined – if you’re recruiting right, you don’t need anything else. People join people. Your decorations don’t matter (the scandal!), your script could disappear (shocker!), and your most successful flair is your members’ personality. New members want to find women they connect with and I promise you’re exactly what they’re looking for – just you. Not the drama, not the decorations. Just you.

Remember, as a Fraternity/Sorority Advisor, I am here to help you and I’d rather know everything so we can work through it together. We are partners in this. And it’s my job to get involved in the tough situations. As a chapter leader, you’ll be pushed harder than you’ve ever thought and you’ll grow more than you ever thought possible. But if you hear nothing else, hear me when I tell you, “We’re in this together. You don’t have to do it alone.” I’m comfortable with you crying in my office because you don’t know what to do. I’m happy to listen to you scream it out because you’re so frustrated you can’t think straight. Do you know why? It’s because you trust me enough to share this part of your life – it’s hard to be so vulnerable and exposed. I don’t take this honor lightly. I will stay awake every night worrying about you if it means that you’ve unloaded everything on me and you feel like you’re getting the support you need. I am here for you and welcome the difficult situations.

Fraternity men, listen to me now. Sorority recruitment is your golden opportunity to remind your Fraternity/Sorority Advisor why they love fraternity life. Lavish gifts upon your Fraternity/Sorority Advisor during sorority recruitment week. Help them get things done and remain drama free. I promise it will work well for you.

I can determine the success of your chapter for the year in one conversation with your president. One of my fraternity presidents may be the most organized student leader I’ve ever worked with. And the president before him was one of the most organized student leaders I’ve seen before him. And guess what? It is no surprise to me that their chapter has been wildly successful this year. It’s a major transformation. When I started nine years ago, this party chapter was headed for major trouble. But electing the right person in the right place has made a significant, positive difference for this chapter. I’ve been so impressed with this president; I always looked forward to our conversations. Because instead of pushing him to understand basic principles, we were able to have real conversations about leadership development, chapter improvements and membership growth. And he gave me great ideas! Remember, one person can make a difference. And the right person in the right office at the right time can transform your chapter. Your president is the driving force for your chapter’s success. If you pick the popular idiot, your chapter is probably going to remain stagnant or is headed for trouble. Your officer election process should focus on the talents and skills of your candidates and not who is the best guy or nicest girl. Believe me, you’ll wish you’d listened. I’ve totally judged you. Sometimes your members make terrible decisions. And not only have I judged them, I’ve also called them out on it. See that’s the difference: I’ve had those difficult, awkward conversations enough that I’m ready to address it right here and now. In the end, it’s much easier. I’ve been adjunct faculty for a few years now. One year, the philanthropy chair for one of our fraternities got up in class to tell me he’d be missing the next class because of an important chapter meeting. I actually laughed out loud and said, “Please tell me you’re kidding right now, I’m the Greek Advisor and I’m not letting you out of class for this meeting. You’ll have to make a decision – attend this optional meeting or attend your required class.” And guess what? He was here for the next class period. Remember, I’m on your side. I’m paid to be on your side. So if I’m calling you out on terrible behavior, imagine what the not-Greekfriendly people on your campus would think if they’re in this situation. Think about more than yourself and your chapter. I promise other things exist on campus and you should experience them too. And never, ever skip class. Never. I fought hard for you. Sorority and fraternity chapters work with a variety of groups, departments and organizations that have many different stakeholders that have many different priorities. My job was to advocate for you and sometimes I had to fight for your best interests. I had to fight hard. I believed that what we were fighting for was right, but I knew some days wouldn’t be easy. I annoyed colleagues, disagreed with superiors and frustrated your alumni. Why? Because I knew what you needed was right and it was going to take convincing to make it happen. I’ll tell you this: It wasn’t easy, but it was always worth it. Remember, your Fraternity/Sorority Advisor is sometimes in a difficult position being your community’s advocate and a paid university staff member. Listening to member complaints, alumni concerns, national office priorities and university standards can be a daunting and draining task. I know you get frustrated with the red tape, roadblocks and the never-ending meetings. Instead of flying off the handle with a frustrating situation, work through it with your Fraternity/Sorority Advisor. Ask questions like a professional, try to get more information and partner with your advisor to develop a solution. You’ll get much farther with this strategy and you’ll save your Fraternity/Sorority Advisor from unnecessary stress. I’m not telling you never to get angry – just be a professional about it.

I liked it when you stood up for what you believed. You are a student leader for a reason. You have great ideas and I want you to share them. I liked it when you challenged the status quo and fought for what you knew was right. I appreciated it when you challenged your brothers and sisters to do better. I loved it when you talked to the Dean and University President about what your chapter really needed. They all listened, because you have great ideas and you were confident in sharing them. And I was so proud of you when you told me you never knew you had it in you to make such a difference. I knew you could do it all along. Remember, my job is to challenge you and develop you. I want you to do great things and I know you are capable of so much more than you think. I’ve always believed you could do it and I’m glad to see you’ve realized it, too. I promise I’ve seen it all before. Remote control car guided to unlock the automatic doors during closed house week? Seen it. Patching the holes in the walls with cement? Yep, seen it. Alumni sharing confidential information with parents during recruitment? I wish I hadn’t; but yep, seen it. Dumping live snakes on your recruitment chair to celebrate bid day? I can never unsee that, yikes. I don’t know why everyone thinks they’re so sneaky. I promise if you’ve thought of it, so has someone else and they did it a few years ago, so I’ve seen it before. What’s insulting is when you think you’re the first person ever to have this “great” idea. Remember, your Fraternity/Sorority Advisor is much smarter than you think. Give them the credit they deserve and understand that they’re about to call you out on that genius idea you think you’re having. I promise, this “great idea” is really not that good and you’re probably going to wish you didn’t do it in the end. I picked favorites. Have you always wondered if Fraternity/Sorority Advisors do this? Well I’m here to tell you that I did. I absolutely did. I’m comfortable with my decisions. Want to know which chapter was my favorite? Yep, I’ll tell you. It’s the chapter that worked the hardest to make improvements and did it in a mature, professional way. Every year, this chapter pushed themselves to improve their members, support the campus, develop their philanthropy and stayed out of recruitment drama. When they were down, they tried harder. When they were on top, they shared their success with others. If I could bottle this success and take their show on the road, I would. I loved this chapter; I love this chapter. When you work hard to improve; I’m right there with you and it makes me want to work harder to help you, too. Remember, if you want to be your Fraternity/Sorority Advisor’s favorite, work smarter. Do what you say you’re going to do. And do it with integrity. When you’re doing something well, help others around you. When you need help, ask for advice and make it happen. I will treasure the days. I started this job nine years ago because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to invest in students as much as someone invested in me as a college student. You meant more to me than I ever imagined and I will always remember what we’ve been through together. We’ve had hard times, good times, and we’ve had great times. We’ve been partners in building this community, developing these students and changing the world. You taught me more than I ever imagined. Thank you for everything you’ve given me. I loved being part of your life.

#AFLVCentral February 4-7, 2016 Indianapolis, IN

#AFLVWest April 7-10 San Diego, CA

Multicultural fraternities and sororities do not receive as much recognition or acclaim as National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and Interfraternity Council (IFC) groups or even National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) groups. This is mostly due to the fact that the groups are so young. The majority of multicultural groups were not founded until after 1970. Multicultural chapters often complain about feeling a disconnect with campus staff and administration. They also complain that they do not get the attention or the support they need from universities. They cite many reasons, and as an alumna of a multicultural sorority and who now works professionally with fraternities and sororities, I can understand where they are coming from. However, I have also come to the realization that many of these groups are holding themselves back. If multicultural fraternities and sororities want to continue to grow and prosper then they need to stop making these excuses. In my experience, I have found five excuses that multicultural sororities and fraternities use to hold themselves back. “THE ADMINISTRATION DOESN’T SUPPORT US.” Many multicultural fraternal organizations often complain that the university does not show them support, but they help and support NPC and IFC organizations. That’s not actually true, especially when you do the math. Multicultural Greek councils (MGC) tend to have fewer members than an IFC or NPC organization. If there are 100 students total in MGC, and if there are 600 in the IFC and 700 in the NPC chapters and each council has its own advisor, the MGC is receiving the most attention from the administration. It is MGC’s job to utilize the administration and support that they have. They have the opportunity to develop a close relationship with their advisor. Since they are smaller councils, they have the ability to have a more centralized vision and purpose that the entire community can identify with, whereas NPC and IFC chapters often have to struggle to get that. What multicultural fraternities and sororities should do is take advantage of this opportunity and invest in a relationship with the campus’ fraternity/sorority life office. This will have a bigger impact than complaining about the perceived lack of support.


“QUALITY OVER QUANTITY.” This is a phrase that many multicultural fraternal organizations tout with pride, and is sometimes the primary ideal multicultural groups will use to set themselves apart from NPC and IFC groups. The multicultural groups claim to place more importance on brotherhood/sisterhood than NPC and IFC because they don’t have nor want a quota when it comes to the number of members who join. Having smaller lines does have its benefits, but sometimes they can have a negative effect on the chapter. If the current chapter has less than ten members, then a line of four or five or even three can radically change a chapter. Smaller lines can cause a chapter to evolve or regress with each line. Again, let’s do some more hypothetical math.


Chapter XYZ has ten active members. Chapter XYZ crosses a class of five. Of those five new members, one makes poor grades and is placed on inactive member status after a semester. Two members get angry at older members in the group and separate themselves from the group. That leaves you with two contributing members. Meanwhile, Chapter XYZ has three members graduate that year, and one takes an inactive status to tend to family issues. Chapter XYZ now has only two of their five new members, and six of their active members which leaves them with a chapter of 8 members. While this is an ideal number for some chapters, it may not be ideal for all chapters. College students, in general, are a busy group of individuals. Fraternity/Sorority college students are busy as well, if not more so. Each new member is a new individual. Every individual is different, and their work loads and stress retention vary. Out of the example above, the eight members may not handle stress well. The new member process is supposed to prepare them for that, but smaller chapters usually create a chapter-only focus which can be very stressful for college students. How is that promoting the greater ideals of higher education? It’s one thing to have standards and be selective, but if your chapter refuses to cross no more than five per semester, then your chapter members are going to be under a larger amount of stress. While it is character building to manage an organization with few members, the academic success of those members may suffer, and the members will get burnt out, which may cause the members to go inactive, which means an even smaller chapter. I applaud those who keep small chapters and consistently recruit, but do not look down upon NPC or IFC organizations for wanting large lines (new/ associate/pledge member classes) to ensure their chapter will not die out.

The Top Five Excuses Multicultural Fraternities & Sororities Make That Hold Them Back

by Tiffany Dennett · University of Houston · @Ikibo

“WE DIDN’T PAY FOR OUR LETTERS; WE EARNED OUR LETTERS.” I probably hear this and see this statement on social media the most out of any of them. Multicultural organizations need to stop saying it because it makes the entire fraternal community look foolish. Many non-fraternity/sorority members say one of the biggest reasons they will not join a fraternity or sorority is because they don’t see the point in “paying for friends.” These are not people who are only interested in a NPC or IFC organizations. NPHC, NPC, IFC, and MGC organizations all pay dues. The biggest difference and/or misconceptions are when new members are allowed to wear their letters. For many NPC and IFC organizations, new members can begin wearing their potential organization’s letters at the beginning of the new member process, while NPHC and MGC organizations do not allow new members to wear their letters until after they have completed the new member process. That is really the only difference. Why would either be considered right or wrong?


It shouldn’t matter when you get your letters, it should matter what your letters mean to you. If a NPC member is consciously doing service and helping her sorority accomplish their goals, how is she worse than a MGC member who updates her Facebook every time she’s about to take a shot? The question can be reversed as well. If you present yourself to the rest of the world as a binge drinking, party animal, how are you demonstrating the meaning of your letters? Fraternity and sorority members in all councils need to remember this before criticizing or comparing their organizations to other organizations. “WE PRIDE OURSELVES ON A LIFETIME COMMITMENT.” Joining any fraternal organization should be viewed as a lifetime commitment by any person. That commitment is not exclusively for non-IFC or NPC groups. Just because you may not see the lifelong commitment doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. When comments like these are made the only thing truly communicated is ignorance. Many multicultural organizations have no clue about NPC or IFC alumni groups or alumni housing corporations. Every group has their own set of responsibilities and dues. Marginalizing others that you don’t understand is not a healthy way to prove how effective your organization is. Members in every organization are required to pay dues and complete a membership process. If they fail to do so, national organizations may not recognize these members or may not allow them to be involved in organization activities: some organizations may eventually terminate these members.


“WE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTERACT WITH OUR FOUNDERS.” It is truly a momentous experience in many fraternity and sorority members’ lives when they have the opportunity to meet and/or interact with their organization’s founders. However, this act doesn’t make a multicultural organization better than an IFC or NPC organization. Is it the fault of NPC and IFC organization members that they don’t have the opportunity to interact with their founders? In a hundred years, will MGC members stop touting this in order to one-up members of IFC and NPC organizations? Why don’t MGC members throw this in NPHC organizations’ faces?


Having living founders can also hurt an organization because the founders have a deep emotional relationship with that organization, and they may also be trying to maintain an experience that is no longer theirs. Higher education is constantly changing, and unless a person works in the field, it is difficult to stay current. If the founders are still very involved with the organization they can sometimes unintentionally stunt the organization’s growth and development. Organizations grow and change with their leadership. While fraternities and sororities should maintain and not deter from their founding principles and values, the face and life of the organization will change and grow as its membership does. Many multicultural fraternities and sororities were formed as a way to create a home away from home in college that was similar to what the IFC and NPC fraternities and sororities had. They felt they couldn’t find that because, historically, NPC and IFC organizations were predominantly white and many multicultural organization founders wanted an organization where they could be around students they identified with and who shared the same cultural values. Some were created because the NPC and IFC organizations on their campuses were not accepting of others. Times have changed, and these organizations are evolving. While NPC and IFC organizations have had a growing number of non-white individual students join, MGC fraternities and sororities have had a growing number of white individuals join as well. This is great and something to be celebrated. Many living founders would also agree.


TAKING ACTION THROUGH HONESTY David Kroeze · Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity · University of Wisconsin - Whitewater

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How exactly do chapters begin that downward spiral toward mediocrity? Why do active members allow this to happen? What, if anything, can be done to stall this regressive movement and point the organization in its intended direction?

THESE ARE QUESTIONS THAT MANY OF US HAVE ASKED BEFORE. Model chapters are consistently reaching high achievement while others are falling to obscurity. Some chapters begin with great recognition but fade over time. So I ask again, why? In my time in Alpha Sigma Phi, I believe I have begun to unpack the answer to the-se questions. Everything - the good and the bad - comes down to honesty. Too quickly are peo-ple ready to say what is “nice” instead of what is true. For an organization to succeed brothers and sisters must embrace honesty and therefore the accountability of the chapter by saying what is truly on their minds and what must be said. Saying the “nice” thing is so much easier than saying the right thing. Saying “great work” will always be easier than saying “good job, but there could be improvements.” The former is for the lazy, hoping to placate the person instead of criticizing them. The latter is for the leader, of-fering both praise and the room for improvement. Saying the “nice” thing offers only a short term reward. The other person feels good because you said a nice thing, and you feel good for saying it. Let us assume you didn’t want to compliment them because you thought their perfor-mance was subpar. Although both of you are satisfied in the short-term, the negative repercus-sions build up over time. First, it is likely that the individual will continue performing below ex-pectations. Second, your growing frustration, but unwillingness to communicate it, will result in pent-up resentment towards that person. Third, you are likely to vent about your frustration to someone else, and this can be where drama enters the equation. By the end of this, brothers and sisters are angry at each other, the chapter is divided and stagnant from all progress, and on top of everything the chapter continues to deal with unprofessional work. All of these scenarios can be best presented with an example. Say you are a general member, and your recruitment director is named Henry. The first recruitment event rolls around and it doesn’t go well. Very few PNM’s attend, Henry isn’t inter-acting with anyone, and the event was haphazardly thrown together. As you are walking out, you want to tell Henry that he needs to do a much better job next time, but instead you opt to say, “Good work, Brother.” The next event happens and it is just as abysmal as the first. Once again, you don’t talk candidly with Henry and your frustration grows. Now it’s at the point where many people are growing angered at Henry and you and a few brothers sit in the Union complaining about it often. Still no one lets Henry know, until finally one of his close friends overhears the conversation and tells him. Now Henry is angry, but is similarly too afraid to confront these ac-cusations, and instead an underlying resentment begins to build in the chapter. Eventually, all of this pent-up aggression reaches its boiling point, until finally it explodes at either a chapter meet-ing, in public, or any other inappropriate forum. All because everybody wanted to be “nice” in-stead of being honest. Instead of being a good brother.

At no point in any of our rituals is there an oath swearing to be a nice a brother or sister. Instead, we are told to uphold the honor of ourselves, our brothers and sisters, and our fraterni-ty/sorority. We are told to be accountable for our brothers’ and sisters’ actions and performanc-es. This means instead of being nice to them, we tell them what they need to hear. The ability to be honest with our brothers and sisters and to hold each other accountable is what makes us a fraternity or sorority, and not just another student organization. Fraternity means brotherhood (and sorority means sisterhood), and being brothers and sisters means having a lifelong commit-ment of support to each other. To truly support a brother or sister, you need to be honest with each other. For both you and your sisters or brothers to improve, you need to be honest with each other. On the reverse side, that means that everybody needs to be open to criticism. They must be willing to hear and welcome the honesty of their brothers and sisters. As much as we all like to think we are perfect, we can always do better. We can always become better men and women. But the only way we can do this is by listening to our brothers’ and sisters’ honest thoughts. By inviting and welcoming criticism. Whether you agree or disagree with the criticism is not the point. The point is that you accepted their concerns, and thoughtfully considered what he had to say. From that point you can decide what, if anything, needs to be changed. Swallow our pride. Having honor does not mean being free of criticism. Having honor means being open to criti-cism. All of this is great in theory, but you have to take this information back to your chapter and put it in practice. There are many ways and different levels that you and your brothers and sisters can begin embracing honesty. First, start doing it. Speak up if you have an issue with something, whether it is in a public chapter meeting or at a one-on-one lunch meeting. Second, tell people that you honestly want to hear their opinions. This applies to everyone, but especially to directors and officers. Request honest feedback from all members of your chapter. Make it known that you genuinely care about the opinions of every brother and sister. Last, cre-ate a movement. Spread the power of honesty. Make it known that you believe the chapter has problems expressing its real feelings and that it is time to change. The only way a chapter can turn around and start solving its problems is when the problems are laid out plainly and honestly on the table for everyone to see. It is time for everyone to open their eyes, take a good long look at their organization, and ask themselves, “Have I been an honest brother or sister, or just a nice brother or sister?”


October started off with a bold move by the Interfraternity Council at Vanderbilt. Chapters voted unanimously to adopt the IFC Inclusivity Agreement, “a document that affirms each chapter’s commitment to fostering a community of acceptance, openness and freedom of expression.” Chapter presidents will sign the agreement articulating their chapter’s willingness “to include men of varying races, sexual orientations and socioeconomic statuses.”

Through new programming and this agreement, the Vanderbilt IFC intends to send the message of inclusivity directly to its members and potential members. One Vanderbilt faculty member commented that “[The Inclusivity Agreement] is an example of how the Greek community, because they are so organized, can have a very strong leadership role on campus, and they ought to…they can move the whole campus in a very positive direction.”

The agreement itself is one to be celebrated. Even more noteworthy is the IFC’s rationale behind the agreement. It opens with the statement acknowledging the “possibility that [IFC] organizations may have fallen short, in decidedly more traditional times, of maintaining a fraternal and loving environment open to all.” With all chapters indicating agreement with the creation of a more welcoming community, Vanderbilt chapters are making positive steps to inclusivity.

This agreement was unveiled during IFC recruitment in October. Potential members shared that “I had heard some bad stereotypes that may have disoriented me a little bit from [IFC fraternities], but I think what I saw tonight got rid of any false ideas and reaffirmed this is a place I want to be.” Others remarked on the increased diversity of membership they expect to see as this agreement takes hold in community culture.

In addition to this document, IFC chapters are creating the Greek Allies program, a student-run initiative to “establish confidential sources of advice for rushes [sic], pledges and brothers who may feel uncomfortable in Greek life based on their sexual orientation, race, socioeconomic status or physical ability.” Greek Allies will be trained through the Green Dot program (a program focused on increasing bystander intervention), Mental Health Awareness and Prevention of Suicide, and Safe Zone.


When you read media coverage of fraternities, many times the statistics of sexual assault at fraternity houses are reported. This September, fraternities at Indiana University moved to counter that statistic. Following the White House’s call to men in their “It’s On Us” campaign, fraternity chapters decided to take a stand against sexual assault. Fraternity chapter presidents took to video to share statements denouncing sexual assault or abuse by their members. These statements represent the values the chapters hold and the pledge members take to hold members accountable, even to the point of expulsion from the chapter.

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More information on this decision can be found here:

Twenty-one chapters, over two-thirds of the IFC community, chose to make statements. These chapters worked with the Sexual Assault Crisis Service Office at IU to share this message of support in the campaign against sexual violence. Following the IU campaign, Florida Gulf Coast University’s IFC, NPHC, and MGC members joined together to share a similar message. In their brief “It’s On Us” video, members share facts about sexual assault and make pledges in support of this campaign. More information and copies of each chapter’s statements and the FGCU video can be found here:

AFLV // 019


During their tenure, many student leaders and new professionals will be involved in accountability-based conversations. For some of them it’s a new, under-developed skill and experience can be the hardest of teachers. Help colleagues understand that accountability conversations don’t have to be a single-defining moment, they are simply partnering together until things are right. Many times accountability-based conversations are small, repeated moments that develop patterns, patterns that change behavior and behaviors that begin a positive culture shift. Anyone – with the right training – can be an accountability master.

LEARNING OBJECTIVE Encouraging an increased level of confidence and accountability understanding of others from all areas of life. With this activity, students will be asked to think critically about themselves and the situations they are in on a regular basis, including professional, personal, familiar and new. By thinking about small behavior changes and thought processes in varied environments, participants are more likely to develop the skill-set needed in defining situations. Support participants and reinforce behavior in regular conversations, role modeling behavior and teaching them to appreciate the foundation of developmental outcomes. The goal of each of these activities is awareness, understanding and implementation. Students will learn through discussion, activities and takeaways about varied experiences and people. Students should become more aware of their actions and the effect on others as well as others effect on them. And students should gain a larger understanding of the tools necessary to build an improved community during their collegiate years and beyond.


FACILITATOR CONSIDERATIONS The facilitator for this exercise should be a qualified professional with experience in accountability conversations. A student affairs professional, a community professional or a seasoned student leader would be an appropriate facilitator. Developing self-confidence is a continual process. Encourage participants to step out of their comfort zone with an attitude for learning and understanding. It is important to regularly work on strategies to proactively understand building self-confidence and holding others accountable. Reinforcement is key with this topic. Regularly practicing accountability conversations, both large and small, throughout the day changes a student’s threshold for understanding leadership methods, self-confidence and accountability.

PARTICIPANT CONSIDERATIONS The participants for this exercise need to learn basics of accountability methods and need to understand practices for developing self-confidence. New professionals, community partners, new officers or newer members of the group would be appropriate participants. Developing self-confidence is a continual process. Participants need to enter these activities and exercises understanding that they will be pushed out of their comfort zone, should anticipate feeling uncomfortable at some times during the exercise and participate with an attitude for learning. Participants will need to plan to regularly reinforce on strategies to proactively build self-confidence and holding others accountable. ROOM/GROUP SIZE Adjust as appropriate for the needs of the activity.

ACCOUNTABILITY is understanding and practice of the obligation to report, explain or justify something

ACTIVITY TIMING This exercise involves continued conversations and role modeling, which could be incorporated into an afternoon of activities, a semester of development, or a collegiate career of leadership.

DELEGATION is the process of committing powers or functions to another on your behalf

For practice sessions, as listed in this guide, plan for 15-30 minute conversations with each session. This keeps participants alert and engaged during training.

SELF-CONFIDENCE is believing in yourself and your abilities

STANDARDS are the morals, ethics and habits established by authority, custom or individual as acceptable REINFORCEMENT is a procedure, as a reward or punishment, that alters a response to a stimulus.



Prepare in advance – with effective discussion points. Whether it is approving a project or holding a standards board meeting, review each situation and prepare appropriately in advance.

Perfect conditions rarely exist for accountability-based conversations, but remember – perfect conditions don’t exist for many situations. These conversations should be focused on working to make things right – and that is doable.

REINFORCE: You’re 7x more likely to remember your point if you write it down. Get a piece of paper and make a list of everything you need to say in your accountability-based conversation. Now organize it by topic and review to make sure it’s professional and appropriate. When you’re satisfied with your final product, bring enough copies for everyone (just in case) and put them in your binder to bring to your meeting. Engage Support – you may need help. It’s usually a good idea to enlist the help of a mentor, leader or trusted friend. They can provide support, serve as a neutral voice and keep conversation on track. REINFORCE: If your conversation is a progressive counseling-based conversation, it’s a good idea to enlist help. Ask your Fraternity/Sorority Advisor or another professional to sit-in on your meeting. But first, set up a meeting with them to describe the situation and give an overview what help you need from them in this situation. Know your role – here to fix the problem, you didn’t start the problem. Don’t stress out about the upcoming conversation – whether it’s small or large – your job is to fix the problem and address the current situation. REINFORCE: Take a deep breath and review your written materials. Prepare with your Support Person (Fraternity/Sorority Advisor, etc.) what you will do for a few common questions or combative statements – “This isn’t our problem” or “Why are you talking to us about this?” or “We have no intention of changing” – what would you say in each of these situations? Practice positive statements that will begin to fix the problem. Be confident – you need to maintain professionalism. You are in this leadership role for a reason – you are a qualified professional or a capable student leader. Be confident in your role. The person respects your position and will respect your conversation with them – even if they don’t like the conversation as it’s happening. REINFORCE: Draw a line down the center of your paper. Think of what you really want to say and write it down on the left side of the paper. Leave for an hour and don’t think about your upcoming conversation. After an hour, come back to your paper and on the right side of the paper, write the most professional way to ask the question or frame the statement. Have an honest, direct conversation – most people will appreciate this (eventually). Review the facts of the situation, whether its addressing house cleaning duty standards or questionable risk management behavior. Don’t bring in other problems to the conversation; focus on the issue at hand. And keep the conversation between the people involved and only during the actual meeting – don’t spread rumors or talk about the problem with those not involved. REINFORCE: Look at what you’ve written down in your notes. Is it only focused on the topic? Does it only state the facts? Were you emotional when you wrote it? Do you see “I feel” or “I think” statements? Are you directly addressing the problem? Offer reasonable solutions – reframe the situation, if needed. This conversation needs to have a point and this is it – when you offer reasonable solutions and hold others accountable to these solutions, your accountability conversation becomes a productive action-based accountability conversation. And this is exactly what you want. REINFORCE: After you’ve written down the situation, the problem, the facts – spend some time developing 2-3 solutions. They may complement each other or may be independent solutions. Either option is fine. As you have this conversation, ask questions that will help guide the other(s) to uncover these solutions, which could help guide your conversation and plan of action.

THE INDIVIDUAL: Select a quiet, private location where you won’t be interrupted. Turn off your phone and be prepared to focus on your upcoming conversation. Start by addressing the problem and asking for the individual’s input in making changes. Then work together to develop a solution. During the conversation, reaffirm the positive points the individual makes and continue to reframe the problems within the conversation and turn them into solutions. THE GROUP: Prepare for the meeting in advance to ensure you’re speaking about the facts and not involving your emotions. Address the group with the problem and provide 2-3 solutions for the problem. Ask the group which one of the solutions they would prefer – don’t open the conversation up for group discussion of anything – keep the group focused on the approved solutions. When the group has selected their solution, provide the group with the action plan and for each question, have the group choose between appropriate solutions. THE SUPERIOR: Enlist a support person who serves as a mentor to you or to the group. Review in advance the issues with your support person and discuss the best resolutions for the situation. Write your solutions down with the problem and discussion points. Think about how to continue the relationship – if this is needed and approach your conversation professionally and appropriately with your support person present during the entire conversation.

PLAN FOR SUCCESS Participants and facilitators get more out of experiences that they enjoy. When leading or participating in Facilitation 411 activities, make sure it is an activity that helps participants change their perspective in a safe, beneficial way. Allow participants to have the opportunity to do what they want with the information, it may take days or months or years for them to grasp the concept.

EVALUATION & ASSESSMENT After you’ve hosted or lead any event, assessment is essential for improvement. Consider holding a follow-up conversation with participants, distributing surveys to participants or sponsor a feedback meeting to gather successes, opportunities and goals for the next program.

CONTRIBUTORS Andrea Battaglia, Director of Annual Giving & Alumni Relations at Drury University Cassie Atchley, Independent Student and sophomore at Drury University Sarah Mariani, 2014 Kappa Delta President and junior at Drury University Lillian Stone, 2014 Pi Beta Phi VP Philanthropy and junior at Drury University


Many of you will be starting internships this year, and we are excited for the amazing gigs you’ll land! Internships are a great way to get more experience in your field, learn more about professions you could enter one day, or even just to get professional experience. However, there are many small details that can take you to the next level or brand you as “that guy” or “that girl.” For most internships, you have a small window of time to make an impression on professionals in the field, and we want to help you make that a great impression! Follow our Pinterest board ( for more tips to be polished and professional instead of the conductor of the #hotmessexpress.

Old News: Not at all Polished

New News: Polished


We know you’re smart enough not to wear running shorts or jeans. But are your clothes appropriate for the company you’re working for? Throwing a blazer over clubwear does not make something appropriate.

There are tons of articles and pins that talk about what is appropriate. Every company is different, but some general rules are no spandex, no boat shoes without socks, and no t-shirts (even if they’re nice t-shirts!). See our Pinterest board for more helpful tips.


This is obviously one of the biggest benefits of your internship. But don’t go overboard and try to become everyone’s bestie. It’s pretty transparent when someone just wants something from someone.

Just like recruitment, be genuine in your conversation. Make authentic connections based on things you have in common with someone and take a real interest in others.


You’re at your internship to get work experience. But it’s pretty boring to just work, go home, watch TV, go to bed, and do it all over again.

If you’re in a new city, or even a new part of your city, explore everything! This will enrich your experience and can be fun!


Especially after a negative experience, you may feel like everything’s over when you leave, but it’s not. Figure out what you did that was résumé worthy and work to maintain your professional network.

Keep in touch with your supervisor; ask him or her to help you review your résumé with your added experience. If you have added to your portfolio, make sure you take and save your projects (with permission, of course).

Source: AFLV. (2013, May). Old News/New News: Summer Internships [The Bulletin]. Retrieved from Reprinted/modified with permission from the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values.

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This is a shout out to fraternal members, chapters, councils, or communities that have opted to do the right (albeit unpopular) thing. These people have stood for what they believe in - their fraternal values - despite the fear or reality of being ostracized or ridiculed. You’ve heard the saying “what’s popular is not always right and what’s right is not always popular.” It’s the truth.

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Last August, members of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu chose to do something most people would have nightmares about. They entered a burning building. They saved a man’s life. And they skipped celebrating with their friends at the biggest back-to-school party on campus to make it happen. SAM members Anthony Santa and Steve Hauser noticed trouble and acted swiftly. Entering a burning apartment building after hearing fire alarms, the brothers immediately hit a roadblock when they found the front door of the apartment locked and the apartment windows with impenetrable bars. Instead of waiting helplessly as the blaze wore on, Santa and Hauser searched for a way to get in the burning building. They found their entrance through a sliding glass door they shattered with a ceramic tile. Taking action once inside the apartment, Hauser noticed the fire had engulfed the stove and spread throughout the kitchen. Using water from the sink, he put the fire out. Meanwhile, Santa noticed an elderly man lying unconscious on the floor next to his wheelchair. Santa, Hauser, and a few fraternity brothers rushed the unresponsive, barely-moving man out of the building in his wheelchair. The man was given treatment from smoke inhalation before being transported to the local medical center. Fortunately the fire, which was caused by a pot burning on the stove, did not spread throughout the rest of the apartment building and no one else was reported injured. We all have moments to act under pressure. The easy thing to do, and the safe thing to do, would have been to wait for firefighters to arrive on the scene and put out the blaze as they are professionally trained. But what would have happened if these Sigma Alpha Mu brothers had waited and followed the easy and safe route? What happens when fraternity men and sorority women wait for someone else to act because they’d rather let an expert handle a tough situation? Anthony Santa and Steve Hauser are living up to the standards set for fraternity men across the country. Instead of waiting for someone else to help, they were fearless and took action, even if it meant putting their own lives at risk to save another. We might not all have the chance to run into a burning building to rescue someone in peril. However, there are plenty of opportunities presented each day to make a momentary choice of action. Sorry we’re not sorry that real fraternity men and sorority women shouldn’t be afraid to take a risk to take action for what’s right. If it can be done in Sin City, it can happen in your college town, too. SOURCE:


Cal State Fullerton sorority Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi), Zeta Alpha chapter is facing serious sanctions following a culturally inappropriate “Taco Tuesday” recruitment event last month. On Aug. 19, 2014, the sorority held the event as part of its recruitment week training, according to the university’s administrative review. Ninetythree percent of the sorority members attended the event, and of those, 90 percent came in costume. Some members were dressed in culturally insensitive attire, which included sarapes, sombreros and in some cases, gang costumes, said Tonantzin Oseguera, Dean of students. “Since a large majority of the members took part in the event, the chapter as a whole is being held responsible, despite the fact that the sorority did not request its members wear costumes,” Oseguera said. “In the end, we have concluded that the women were responsible for the event, that it’s definitely grossly inappropriate, and we’ve awarded a list of sanctions that they have to complete,” Oseguera said. “Our approach with this has been very intentional. We have worked and crafted an approach that’s about helping the women to learn and to be as receptive to learn and move forward,” Oseguera said. “Our intention is not to shame these young women.” Dear chapter leaders who argue the stance that an event can’t be considered an “official chapter event” because it wasn’t endorsed by said chapter: let this disastrous dinner party be a lesson. The entire organization is being held responsible for this event, “despite the fact that the sorority did not request its members wear costumes.” How many times can it be said: Your letters never come off. 93 percent of the chapter attended the event, with only three percent attending that chose not to wear a culturally insensitive costume. Some might argue that those three percent should be commended for not wearing a costume. The question is this: is it more likely the abstaining three percent didn’t get the message to come out in their best gang gear, or took a stance against racism? You’re probably not going to win any money on that bet.

Busted! S T U P I D T H I N G S Y O U H AV E D O N E L AT E LY

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. Actions such as these do nothing but reinforce the negative stereotypes of today’s fraternities and sororities. Embarrassed? Then knock it off.

There are plenty of individuals out there who are asking themselves, “What is wrong with wearing a sombrero or gang outfit to dinner?” Those women have a right to freedom of speech and the right to express themselves as they would like. True. As members of a sorority (or fraternity) we stand for higher ideals. If living as women (and men) of character doesn’t mean not marginalizing an entire culture, what does? And, just a reminder, when you took an oath to uphold your organization’s ideals, you agreed to some pretty high standards which sometimes include deferring your right to express yourself as you like for the sake of your organization’s good name. When did this chapter develop a culture that allowed them to perpetuate these stereotypes? When did our incessant need as fraternity/sorority members to theme every hour of our day lead to marginalizing an entire culture? When did “Taco Tuesday” turn into a day to enhance an ignorant, stereotypical representation of Mexican culture in the name of Alpha Delta Pi and sorority recruitment? Apparently August 19th. Snaps to the Dean of Students for trying not “to shame these young women,” but it wasn’t necessary. They did it to themselves. Reference:

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The National Chi Omega Fraternity and the University of Alabama investigated after the photo made the rounds on social media.

The message, penned in black ink on what appeared to be a white sheet at the Delta Kappa Epsilon house, was captured in photos by fans and posted on social media, the website reported. A staffer captured a photo of the sign; the banner read, "Michael isn't the Only Sam Getting the D Tonight."

A University of Alabama student who allegedly posted a Snapchat using a racial slur has been removed as a member of the university's Chi Omega chapter.

The photo was allegedly posted by a Chi Omega member on Saturday afternoon following bid day. It shows three white women with a racial slur in the caption, "Chi O got NO n-----!!!!!!" According to Chi Omega, officials say the organization actually pledged two black women. Chi Omega's headquarters says the original Snapchat image was altered, but the offensive word was used in both the original image and the altered image. The University of Alabama gave this response when asked about the authenticity of the post:

A game-day banner hung over the entrance of an LSU fraternity house Saturday mocked the NFL's first openly gay player, Michael Sam, according to

LSU defeated Sam Houston State University 56-0 on Saturday in Baton Rouge in its first home game of the season. The university asked the fraternity on Saturday to "remove the offensive banner," LSU Media Relations Director Ernie Ballard said in an email to | The Times-Picayune. The banner is down, but it's unclear when that happened. Ballard said it's his understanding that the fraternity did not respond to a message from the Greek Life office asking the fraternity to remove it.

Seriously? If your first Snapchat after recruitment is a proudly prejudiced declaration, you’re doing it wrong. There have to be hundreds, thousands, of posts they could have sent after recruitment; “I finally got a full nights sleep!” “Rush Crush = Future Little!” “I can’t wait to live my values every day because Chi Omega means everything to me and I would never do anything so stupid that it will go viral and paint my entire chapter as bigots!” Too many characters for Snapchat?

How many inappropriate banners do the men of Delta Kappa Epsilon at Louisiana State need to hang at their house before someone steps in? The banner that mocked Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay athlete, wasn’t the first sign that these men just don’t get it. We even featured them in Busted! in our fall 2013 issue of Connections (for the record, that’s not a compliment). “Getting massacred is nothing new to Kent State,” read one banner in September of 2013. "The only winner from Florida is Casey Anthony," said another. Last but not least, “Like the Batman premier, we’re starting off with a Bang.”

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Remember last year when sororities at the University of Alabama were accused of excluding potential new members during recruitment, specifically because they were black? Or when a potential new member, who happened to be black, was prevented from receiving a bid, not only from current chapter members, but alumnae and an UA employee as well? No? Well this young woman’s clear excitement in embracing a culture of ignorance and exclusion might jog your memory.

Cleary these banners are made not only to broadcast to the world their homophobic views, but to draw attention to their chapter in whatever way possible. Is it funny? No. Do people talk about it? Absolutely. Are there dozens of social media posts, with photos of the banners, which are liked by hundreds of people supporting these men? Yes. These attention starved young men are getting national media coverage for their antics. There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right? We disagree.

While her choice of words is offensive enough, what’s more alarming is the clear excitement evidenced in her smile as well as the execution of the statement. What she’s really saying with her post is; “We have no racial diversity in our chapter and I could not be happier! Excluding others based on their skin color is the best! Yay me!”

In order to bolster what has to be very low self-esteem and a lack of confidence in their own masculinity, they’ve taken to diminishing the worth of others. Very much like school yard bullies, when things aren’t going well in class they take it out on the kids wearing glasses. When their chapter can’t uphold the values of Delta Kappa Epsilon through the “development of a spirit of tolerance and respect for the rights and views of others,” they lash out in the most juvenile way possible. We thought after the Kent State banner that the chapter learned their lesson; they even sent an apology to Kent State citing the banner as a “poor attempt at humor.”

"The office of Student Conduct is investigating the incident to determine whether there have been violations of the Code of Student Conduct."

Her words are inappropriate and insensitive, and her excitement is disturbing, but in the end this situation is nothing but tragic. She thinks her behavior is ok. Why? Think back to the last time you had a really ridiculous idea. Did you immediately share it with others knowing they would go along with your idiocy? Hopefully when you know you have a terrible idea, one that is not going to be embraced by those you care about, it’s scratched and you go back to the drawing board. Or at the very least you don’t post it for all to see. Cleary she posted this, with two friends by her side, hearts, exclamation marks and all, because she thought she had an appreciative audience. When did the culture of fear at the University of Alabama, the fear to be groundbreaking or different in some way, the fear to live as women of integrity and character, prevent these students from standing up for what’s right? Beyond that, when did this chapter create a culture of intolerance and exclusion? Better yet, when can it end? Reference:

Gentlemen, take a look at your behavior and make a change. People aren’t laughing with you, they’re laughing at you. Reference: mocked_on_lsu_frat.html


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one more { thing we know you’re near the end, but we’d love to tell you


before you go and look at the back cover of the mag.


LEADERSHIP BY THE NUMBERS If you're reading this, chances are you're already a leader in your chapter or council. Quantify your experience on your résumé. How many members were in the chapter while you were president? How many people were involved in the recruitment process you managed? Exactly how large was the budget you developed and managed? Be clear about these numbers, and recruiters will be impressed.


VALUES-BASED PERSPECTIVE More and more companies are starting to realize how important their core values and missions are to their success. Guess who has direct experience with using core values as guiding principles? You do! Research the company's core values and work it into your strengths, talents and abilities in your cover letter.


WORKING WITH VENDORS Remember when you had to thoroughly research all the venues for your formal? Or bid out a bunch of different options for your Homecoming t-shirts? Or when you were thorough in your contract review and saved your council thousands of dollars? You have way more experience working with vendors than other entry-level employees who didn't have those same experiences. Highlight your accomplishments!


MANAGING OTHERS As an entry-level employee, you won't be supervising a lot of people (if any), but your prospective employer wants to see potential. Don't be afraid to talk about your leadership style and how you managed and worked with your peers and people above you, like national officers or campus officials.


NETWORKING You have dozens of brothers or sisters and an advisory board in your chapter alone. They all want you to succeed, but it's up to you to ask for help and make meaningful connections. Use your immediate touch points to tap into a network that is wider than you realize. We're sure there is someone in your community who can help you achieve your goals.

Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values PO Box 1576 Fort Collins, CO 80522-1576



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Connections Fall 2015  

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