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VOL. 5 / ISSUE 018 / SPRING 2012

Vision can become action.

The Leadershape InstituteŽ challenges participants to lead with integrity™ while working towards a vision grounded in their deepest values. Participants explore not only what they want to do, but who they want to be.

Scan this code to find out more.

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: Carol Preston • Editor Submit advertising queries to: Lea Hanson • Director of M & C 970/372.1174 888/855.8670 Connections Magazine is published by AFLV for our member subscribers four times each year. Submission Deadlines: Summer ‘12 • The Flip Side: What do others really think?: 06/25 Fall ‘12 • Do The Right Thing: 08/27 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

Creative Director • Layout & Design Steve Whitby / CAMPUSPEAK, Inc. Editorial Board Andrea Battaglia • Drury University Ryan Hilperts • AFLV Andrew Hohn • Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Carol Preston • Wittenberg University Teniell Trolian • University of Iowa Viancca Williams • University of South Florida

Photo Credits: IC LiliConCarne / P.06 mathiasthedread / P.08 kallejipp / P.12 steffne / P.22 kallejipp /

Member / Fraternity Communications Association

the inside starts here being a H.E.R.O. is important to 06 Why new member development justin jones-fosu

Justin Jones Fosu has a proven track record when it comes to educating student leaders on being more successful and effective leaders. From the lesser discussed concept of being humble to a new look at what it means to empower others, Jones-Fosu keeps it real and keeps it simple.

Hazing Necessary 08 No Tyler Micek

Micek says hazing happens for a reason: because there are people who think it has benefits and positive outcomes. We love this straightforward approach. But, Micek, unlike many hazers, doesn’t use that as an excuse not to end hazing. This article suggests using purposeful programming to phase hazing out of a chapter’s traditions. Whether or not your chapter is hazing, read this.

Seven Deadly Phrases 12 The of Fraternity & Sorority Life RICK DANIELS

We like Rick Daniels for lots of reasons. One big one is that he says it like it is. Daniels offers seven phases that, if used, can (and will) prohibit a chapter from moving toward success. Also known as a list of phrases to NEVER say, Daniels takes us the extra step. He doesn’t just tell us what not to say or do, he shows us what we can say or do instead.

Questions for Evolving 14 Four Your New Member Development Aaron Boe

Aaron Boe has outlined four questions that we know you’ve either asked or had to answer in the past year. Whether you’re doing the asking or the answering, this article gives insight. He breaks down a very big picture by offering tangible solutions for implementation. If you work best by taking one step at a time, Boe offers a great starting point.

COLUMNS 002 // letter from the editor 018 // facilitation 411 022 // taking action 024 // sorry, we’re not sorry 025 // from the road: university of central florida 025 // planning a new member program 026 // busted! 027 // new member retention 029 // one more thing

AFLV // 001

Kim Kardashian filed for divorce after 72 days of marriage. There was quite a spectacle about getting married and then - for whatever reason - it was all over. And for what? Who knows. Things got tough, she got bored, marriage didn’t pan out to be all she thought it would. We don’t really care. The problem is - at least from where I sit - too much effort was put into the wedding but not much thought was put into the marriage that came afterward. New member education is kind of like the marriage; it is too often overlooked and underdone. So much effort is put into the fancies of recruitment (the wedding) that once we get that new member class we exhale and fall back into the couch. But really, this is the time to get to work.

Letter from the Editor

I realize struggling chapters and colonies may disagree, but recruitment is the easy part. Anyone can get people in the door, but getting them to stay - and be valuable - is the hard part. Like a wedding. Sure, for some it’s a giant deal - but really, it’s basic event planning. Anyone can pull off a great event. But not just anyone can follow through by staying [happily] married for life. Too often, membership in fraternities and sororities is a revolving door. It’s interpreted as a collegiate involvement opportunity, so it’s easy for me to give up if times get tough, boring, or you start to fine me for missing meetings. One of the reasons members are so lax about their commitment is because it simply wasn’t accurately sold to them in the beginning. I mean, you hosted an exciting, lavish wedding, but being married isn’t so lavish... so here I am thinking, “I kind of wish someone would have told me this would be so hard.” Proper new member education and development is like preparing for a marriage. It’s best to know what you’re getting into. Have you determined whether your values match? Have you discussed - in depth - what the deal breakers are? Have you prepared for the good as well as the bad? Are you really prepared to put the relationship and the vow/oath above yourself as an individual? Think about it - and ask yourself: is my chapter/community just mass producing weddings or are we truly preparing people for a marriage?

Editor Connections Magazine @leahanson 002 // connections // 2012 • SPRING






Finding Your Glasses! will uncover the core values and provide a foundation of true success—for you, your peers and your organization. Justin’s success models will aid you in setting and achieving realistic goals, and prepare you for truly accomplishing academic, career and life visions. Justin shares a practical process on how to create and live an authentically successful life, both in college and beyond. Do not let your vision go blind! Start living and looking at life without regrets and through your own glasses. Perfect for new officer training, Fraternity and Sorority Life programming and student success events. His energy and practical content is a perfect blend to move students closer to their goals!

For more information about Justin, please contact us at (303) 745-5545, or e-mail You may also visit


interactive workshops


BUILDING NEW LEADERS Helping new leaders build a foundation for success

Some campuses have strong emerging leader programs. Some have just started thinking about this strategy. Some need a new, fresh spin on things. For those needing assistance, we offer a new CAMPUSPEAK workshop to help shape your future leaders into the very best. BUILDING NEW LEADERS (BNL) gives your next generation of leaders an opportunity to come together and learn about themselves and other leaders around them. You get all of these passionate students in the room, then let our talented facilitators start the conversation. Participants will have a chance to learn about values as the foundation of leadership, take a look at admirable leaders and explore leadership theories and skills in an interactive way. Your emerging leaders will explore some of the common challenges that leaders face and develop their own definition of leadership. This workshop isn’t about the organizations on your campus, it is about the students who are part of them. If you are looking for a way to impact potential leaders in an innovative and interactive way, this is the ideal workshop for you.

For more information about Building New Leaders, contact CAMPUSPEAK at (303) 745-5545 or e-mail us at You can also visit

CONTRIBUTORS Rick Daniels • Rick Daniels is the Leadership Advisor for Greeks at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and CEO of The Axis Group, LLC an independent consulting firm specializing in motivational speaking, event planning, and brand management. As a member of CAMPUSPEAK, Rick is a frequent trainer and motivational speaker for student audiences, leadership conferences and conventions across the country on a variety of topics including student leadership, Greek Life, and social media. Rick also serves as President of the National Association of Collegiate Educators. Aaron Boe • Aaron is a speaker and facilitator who specializes in relationship education and preventing sexual assault. Aaron is the author of The Dating Strengths, and is completing his third book, which is also on healthy and successful relationships. Aaron is an initiate of Kappa Sigma Fraternity and serves as an Associate Alumni Advisor. He earned both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Indiana University. He lives in Indianapolis with his patient wife and two small children. Aaron also performs standup comedy and appears in regional television commercials. When he is not traveling Aaron spends his days playing with his toddler-aged children and writing late at night. Tyler Micek • Tyler graduated from the University of Nebraska - Omaha with a degree in Secondary Education and Math. He is currently a graduate student at Eastern Illinois University working on a master’s in College Student Affairs. His a proud, lifelong member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and is glad that even after graduation, he will still be able to stay connected with Sig Ep by facilitating new member retreats and working with Illinois chapters on their Membership Development Plans. He is currently one of the advisors for Sigma Alpha Epsilon, a great group of guys. His thesis topic is regarding how to effectively advise university student groups.  Justin Jones-Fosu • Justin Jones-Fosu is an inspirational speaker, a young-award winning entrepreneur, an innovative author and a weekly radio host.  He is the President/Chief Inspirational Officer of JUSTIN INSPIRES: a company driven to provide high-energy and practical inspirational speaking and workshops to participants around the world.  He recently launched his first book: “Inspiration for Life: Dream Bigger, Do More, Live Fuller” which challenges the reader to put their life into proactive ACTion! Justin graduated Magna Cum Laude and earned a degree in Marketing.  He obtained his MBA specializing in Leadership and Organizational Change.  Justin has also gained valuable leadership experience with three Fortune 500 companies as well as by consulting with individuals and small-businesses on strategy, leadership, and organization development.  He currently serves as an adjunct professor of business at a local college.

Why being a H.E.R.O. is important to new member development by Justin Jones-Fosu • Justin Inspires International, LLC

As a fraternity and sorority leader, an important aspect of new member development is developing excellent leaders. If you are like me, you wonder what separates average from successful leaders. I have discovered that it is not necessarily pedigree, nor is it something a person is born with. After countless interviews and personal experience working for three Fortune 500 companies, managing a team of 50, being president of three campus organizations and a founder of two campus organizations, I want to share with you the common sense strategies that successful leaders employ called the H.E.R.O Leadership Model. Go beyond the basics of leadership and ACT today to become a more effective leader!

006 // CONNECTIONS // 2012 • Spring

Be Humble.

Be Relational.

Sample ACTions of Being Humble:

Sample ACTions of Being Relational

1. Assess of yourself. Do it regularly - perhaps monthly or quarterly. There is a simple activity I call a Plus/Delta. Ask the people you are leading what you do well (Plus) and what you can improve or need to start doing (Delta). This is humbling, but can help you grow as a leader. If you do not know your Delta(s), how will you ever improve and make progress?

1. Ask your followers why they joined and what will make their experience successful. Then, help to make sure they accomplish it. In humility, you realize it is not all about your vision but rather the mission, values, and vision of your organization.

Most books, trainings, and speeches on leadership overlook this leadership quality as it is not generally considered a sexy leadership trait. Too often, we emulate scenes of leadership we have seen from movies and experience. They depict a leader who is sometimes domineering, maybe a great delegator, but usually in charge and in control all of the time. Great leaders can do these things, but they must also possess great humility to know when to admit they need help, when they made a mistake, and when they need to share their weaknesses. People do not respect a leader who acts as if they have arrived at perfection, but they do rally around those who are working to progress and be better. Be a leader who people can tell is authentic.

2. Realize you do not know everything and make an effort to learn more. Go to conferences, read books, and listen to your the suggestions of others.

Be Empowering.

Do you want this to be the best year ever for your council, fraternity or sorority, or organization? Do you want people to look back at your leadership and remember how it was great? I was like this until I realized that this approach was actually not effective leadership. Two years after I left one of the organizations I led, it ceased to exist. I realized I failed to empower others to take my place. Successful leaders want future years to be better than the last. Are you grooming the next generation of leaders in your organization or are you making it all about you? Take a step back and realize you do not always need the spotlight. And, if you start sharing it now, others will be equipped to carry the torch after you have moved on.

Sample ACTions of Being Empowering: 1. Don’t just delegate things you don’t want to do. Sometimes, make an effort to delegate the “sexy” stuff, too. Your members will appreciate it. 2. Give credit where credit is due. Recognize your members. Don’t hog the spotlight. 3. Create a succession/transition plan where you share knowledge, both tangible and intangible, you have gained as a leader. Help others be better than you by sharing your successes and failures. For succession plan best practices, check out www.justininspires. com/additionalresources

Do you know who is following you? Many leaders treat their members as robots and objects to accomplish their vision and goals, but strong leaders are relational and get to know others. Do you know why your members joined your council, fraternity/sorority, or organization in the first place? Some joined because it is their passion, others to build their resume/paycheck, and others out of a sincere interest. If you do not know the answers to these questions, you might not be showing that you care about them as people. When people know their leader cares about them, they tend to be better members and more engaged. If you do not know where your members want to go or what a successful experience is to them, how will you help them get there?

2. Get to know your members and take time to simply hang out and talk non-business to better understand them as people. Who knows? You just might find out you actually like them.

Be Optimistic.

I am not talking about the hocus pocus of “everything is all right” and looking in the mirror and giving yourself a motivation speech. What I am saying is that your attitude affects how your members approach situations. If you are in a tough situation or have received bad news, your members will watch you and wait to see your response. If you respond with negativity, your members might do the same. Maintain a proper perspective and remember there are people who would love to have your bad days. Challenge your perception and champion your perspective.

Sample ACTions of Being Optimistic: 1. Catch your members doing things right. Poor leaders focus only on the negative things, but people actually do like to be recognized for their good deeds and actions. 2. If you have a challenging member, take time to discover what is happening with them and try to help. They will remember you were willing to fight for them. Plus, when their behavior improves, it will help the organization.

With these simple, yet powerful strategies, you can be a HERO in your council, fraternity/sorority, or your organization and for the rest of your life. Will you apply ACTion or be an average leader? The choice is yours!

No Hazing Necessary A No Risk, High Reward Programming Strategy for Developing Positive Fraternal Values in New Members by Tyler Micek • Eastern Illinois University

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Blindfolded runs through the woods. Forced memorization & recitation of chapter information. Making pledges clean the house & operate on minimal sleep. Forced alcohol consumption. Humiliating acts in front of sororities. Hell Week.

these hazing traditions are common within the fraternity & sorority community.

Are you ready to end them? Hazing happens for a reason; it would not happen if people did not see the benefits. Unfortunately, it is undeniable that some believe there are positive outcomes of hazing, which is the central reason fraternities and sororities keep hazing alive. In addition, it is why members who try to abolish hazing face adversity. Arguments for why hazing is positive include new/associate member unity, an increase in chapter brotherhood/sisterhood, an increased amount of chapter knowledge, a feeling of acceptance, and keeping “tradition� alive. While hazing can seem to bring about these positive aspects at times, is it really the best way to do new member programming? Do you want to unify the new/associate members in misery or celebration? Do you want your chapter to come together to degrade new/ associate members, but once you take away the alcohol and the hazing, the brotherhood/sisterhood is gone too? Should new members gain knowledge out of fear of not being able to recite in unison, or should the motivation for learning the information be out of pride of being a part of something greater than yourself and knowing why you are connected to hundreds of thousands of other men/women who have taken the same oath that you have? Instead of figuring out a method to gain positive outcomes in a more productive and lasting way without putting individual members, the entire chapter, and the national fraternity/sorority in danger, hazing is the easy way out. Whatever justification members think they have for keeping hazing activities around because of positive outcomes, there is a way to get those same positives without hazing – you just have to take a little time to think about it.

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One way to turn hazing around is through purposeful programming during the new/associate member semester or pledging period. In order to have purposeful programming, you must have some desired outcomes. Common outcomes may include the following: > Provide an understanding of the local and national history, traditions, programs, organization and governance structure > Better acquaint new members with each other and other new initiates > Develop and enhance leadership skills and problem-solving techniques > Develop and enhance time management skills > Ensure that new members are meeting the organization’s standards and requirements > Provide education and create awareness on topics such as substance abuse, risk management, sexual assault, diversity issues, etc. > Develop and enhance etiquette, social skills, personal responsibility and strong values and ethics These examples transcend most fraternities and sororities on campuses across the nation. All of these outcomes are necessary if a new/associate member or pledge is to become a quality member of the chapter he/she joins. The problem lies in how the chapter chooses to arrive at these outcomes. Some chapters give their new members chapter information packets, force them to memorize it and recite it as a group at 4 a.m. the night before finals week. There is a lot of power and control associated with that process, and as a new/associate member, I would question the rationale behind learning the information. Is the goal to mindlessly regurgitate information, or is it to gain the foundational knowledge to support pride in being part of something greater than yourself and knowing why you are connected to a vast network of alumni who have taken the same oath that you have and believe in the same core values? If it is the latter - which as a fraternity man myself, I hope it is – why not have an older member teach them the history of the fraternity/sorority and the impact it has had over the years since its founding? Talk about values it has instilled in its members and what certain alumni/ae have accomplished with the help of their involvement in your fraternity/sorority. If you fear they will not take the information seriously or want to learn it, you should rethink your recruitment process. If you are looking for a way to hold them accountable, have them challenge the new/associate members of another chapter to a friendly game on who knows more and can better articulate important information about their chapter (after all, fraternities and sororities do have a tendency to enjoy competition). Do you fear that your new members will not know your older members? Try implementing an interview system where members go out to grab lunch together or meet before chapter meetings to talk to someone they may not have on their own. Beware: interviews quickly turn into hazing if new/associate members are forced to complete tasks to “earn a signature,” so make sure the expectations are explicitly stated and monitored throughout the semester. If you fear losing the unity that hazing instills in new/associate members, try restructuring your meetings to include team builders or group tasks to get them engaged and working together. Have new/ 010 // CONNECTIONS // 2012 • SPRING

associate members plan their own brotherhood/sisterhood activities based on their interests. That way, they are more invested in the activities because they planned them, it transfers some of the responsibility from the older members to the new/associate members, and it gives them the opportunity to learn what it is like to plan and run an event. Is the thought of an extended period of nonstop “bonding” during Hell Week too hard to give up? What about implementing a new/associate member retreat? With a retreat, there is an extended period of togetherness that far exceeds that of regular meetings. When put together correctly, the opportunities to make connections, deepen relationships, and expand on knowledge that may not fit in weekly meetings come together nicely without feeling forced. Here is one example of an agenda for a fraternity/sorority new/ associate member retreat: Activity


2:00 - 2:30

Pipe Game

Team building exercise

2:30 - 3:00

Time Management Activity and Discussion

Educational/developmental session

3:00 - 3:30

Cross the Line Activity

Understanding each other’s backgrounds

3:30 - 4:00

Likes/Dislikes so far

Figuring out what the new/ associate members are thinking about their time in the chapter so far

4:00 - 4:30

Pole Lowering Activity

Team building

4:30 - 5:00

Sound Body in the Park


5:00 - 5:30

Sound Body in the Park

5:30 - 6:00

Go somewhere for dinner

6:00 -7:00


7:00 - 7:30

Zoom and Perspective

Educational session on understanding other people’s points of view

7:30 - 8:00


Educational session on understanding and managing conflict

8:00 - 8:30

National/Chapter History/ Values

Discussion on important chapter concepts or pieces of knowledge

8:30 - 9:00

Flag Drop Activity

Team building activity focusing on chapter values

9:00 - 9:30

Values and Incorporating them into your life

How do you live the ideals and values you represent

9:30 10:00

The Chapter will be yours, what will it look like?

Discussing the future of the chapter and what directions they see it going

10:00 10:30

Blanket Flip

Team builder

10:30 Midnight

BroTime (Share your stories)

Give everyone the opportunity to share what they feel comfortable with and truly build bonds

Everyone’s got to eat

This is one example of a new/associate member retreat. All chapters have their own formats and sessions to incorporate, but chapters can modify the retreat to fit the current needs of the group and focus on any aspects that have been lacking or need more attention.

Finding the programming components to take the place of your chapter’s hazing activities will take some time, energy, and creativity. Unfortunately, for many it will not be the hardest part; once you have a plan for change, it is time to implement it. Before you start changing things, make sure you are ready to ruffle some feathers because it will take some tough skin to make big change in a chapter with a strong hazing culture. Once you are ready, know that change will not happen overnight; it is a series of many steps: Ensure the key players are on the same page. Whoever is in charge of New Member Education, Chapter Development, Recruitment, Standards and the President are key to this process. All of the executive board should be on board with whatever changes you are proposing, but those five positions are going to be most crucial for the implementation of new, non-hazing programs. Getting a consensus on the importance of non-hazing should be doable if you have the right people in these positions. The hard part is making sure everyone is up for the challenge of making positive change in the chapter (if you need to do some convincing, try using the process in step four). Get support from your overhead. Advisors, national headquarters staff and traveling consultants are people you need to have on your side when trying to implement anything new. Show them that you are being proactive about correcting hazing behaviors before there is an issue with it. Letting them know what you are doing and what you are proposing will keep them in the loop. They can also give you additional suggestions or input, and if things go south, they are the ones you want defending you and your stance on the necessary changes to the chapter. Predict responses but do not assume. It is important to prepare yourself before you bring up these changes to the people who will challenge you. I hope that you know your chapter well enough to predict some of their defenses and have a thought out response ready. Do not assume you know how they will respond as that may have you start on the defensive. Work the back of the room. Many times the loudest and most influential members of the chapter are the ones who sit in the back of the room at meetings. Either way, you know who the people are who can convince the chapter of anything, good or bad. Talk to these few people first and get them to see where you are coming from. If you can convince them why your non-hazing initiatives are necessary, they can help rally on your behalf instead of against you. Here are some steps to help you in that process? > Speak with them individually or in a very small group. > Let them know what your concerns are with the current hazing practices. > Have them give you a purpose for those activities. > Acknowledge the positive outcomes but explain the huge liabilities that go along with them and how those actions do not align with your organization’s core values. > Have them help you come up with some alternative activities (in other words, try getting them to come up with the plan you already have). > Make sure they have input and feel like they are being heard. > Come up with some sort of mutual decision. > Thank them for their input and let them know you would really appreciate their support on this new, mutually created initiative.

Meet with the other older members. This is very similar to speaking to those in the “back of the room.” Hopefully, it will go more smoothly now that you have the more vocal members on your side (or at least not completely against you.) Take it to the chapter. Again, this is very similar to the previous step, but by taking on the chapter while you have the most vocal members and the older members behind you, you have a better chance of avoiding the “mob mentality” and actually gaining the support of the chapter. The older members will not be in shock by the announcement and will hopefully be able to see that this is a necessary change when keeping in mind the best interest of the chapter. Formalize the plan. Take into account suggestions and concerns that you hear from the chapter while still doing what you need to do to eliminate hazing. By now, the plan may have been revised a dozen times, but with a formal one ready to go and agreed upon (to whatever extend you can get the support, even it if is not the whole chapter), it is time to implement it! Stick to it. It is a new plan and everyone knows it. There will be hiccups along the way, and you will probably have some members ready to attack you on any little thing that goes wrong. They may even want to get you to go back to the hazing “traditions,” but you need to hold strong and stick to the plan as best as you can.

Tips/Things to Consider: “But we have always done it this way.” That is a funny comment because who in the chapter knows how it has “always” been done? It is amazing how a chapter’s memory can be similar to this: > First year – “Whoa, this is something new, what are we doing?” > Second year – “Are we still doing this?’ > Third year – “This is tradition now.” > Fourth year – “This is how it has always been done.” At this point, all current members of the chapter should have seen the new process. Most changes are easier to make with smaller groups of people. If you usually have smaller new/associate classes in the spring semester that would be a good time to kick off the change. It is unfortunate, but you may have to implement smaller changes to start out depending on where your chapter is at and continue to make additional little changes every semester/year until you are where you need to be. Depending on the severity of your chapter’s hazing activities, you may need immediate and definitive action from your alumni/ae or national organization.

I wish I could tell you that by following these steps you will be guaranteed to get the results you are looking for overnight. I cannot. This is a process I have seen work repeatedly. There is uncertainty with this process and your plan will have to be revised numerous times. But if you stick to what you believe in and keep in mind what is truly best for your chapter and its members at all times, hopefully you will see progress in the right direction.

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Seven Deadly Phrases of Fraternity & Sorority Life by Rick Daniels • University of Wisconsin Whitewater & CAMPUSPEAK, Inc.

Ever heard of the seven deadly sins?

Well, in fraternity and sorority life there are seven deadly phrases that, if mentioned even once, can do terminal damage to any chapter. Fraternity and sorority life is designed to be a progressive and forward moving environment for members. However, the following seven phrases have done more to hold fraternities and sororities back than almost any one person or problem. This article will expose and explain the seven phrases your chapter should stay away from and provide a few helpful tools on how to keep your chapter moving in a positive, healthy direction for years to come.

012 // CONNECTIONS // 2012 • SPRING


“Well, when I was President…” This one is a classic. Fraternity and sorority life has strong traditions, but the problem with too many chapters is that they stick to those traditions with no vision for the future. In other words, we fear change. If you hear this phrase consistently from your alumni/ae members, it may be time to pull them to the side for a talk. Let them know their insight is appreciated but if the chapter wishes to change some things around, they have every right to do so. It’s a tough conversation to have but it’s a must if you want to keep your chapter moving forward.


“This is the way we’ve always done it.” Sometimes change is good and sometimes traditions should be left alone in order to keep them sacred. But for the most part, when someone says this phrase, it indicates a resistance to change. So your chapter has a steady decline in grades and you, as the scholarship chair, want to eliminate study nights in hopes of having something with more focus. If someone says this phrase, you may want to take a stand and encourage him or her to try your new program for a few weeks and then debrief to determine their effectiveness. This is always a good way to compromise.


“This event is mandatory!” Ok let’s just be clear on something…in fraternity and sorority life, ALL events are mandatory. But, for the most part, making events mandatory isn’t necessary. As a chapter leader, be strategic with the events you make mandatory. The more events your members feel they have to attend, the less weight the “M” word will have when you need to use it the most.


“I didn’t sign up for this.” Some people believe that fraternity and sorority life is nothing more than a tool to boost their social lives. While our organizations certainly have a place for socializing, students interested in joining should come with the expectation that fraternity and sorority life is hard work. I once had a young lady tell me that she didn’t “sign up” for all the work she committed to in her sorority. My response to her was, “Well, what did you sign up for?” After a few moments of silence I told her that being a member of a fraternity or sorority was hard work and that her responsibility as a new member was to find out what she could contribute and go about the business of doing it. Sometimes all we need is someone to point out to us that we are members of these organizations for a greater purpose. Realizing what you’ve signed up for before you sign up for it will make for a much better fraternity and sorority experience.


“Bros before Hoes.” Whoa! Language! Yes, this is a racy phrase but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard men use it. To the seemingly normal fraternity man, this phrase could, in many ways, define the meaning of brotherhood. After all, the principle in this is putting your brothers first. However, it’s exactly this kind of thinking that has the potential to hold fraternity men back for centuries. Putting a high level of importance on your brotherhood is great but NO ONE should disrespect women in order to do it. All men have to reach a point in their lives where respect for women reaches beyond their mothers and sisters. Women play a powerful part in the lives of men and derogatory slurs should never be used or accepted. Fraternity and sorority life can be a platform to begin the journey that leads to finding a lifelong partner and a family. One day you may have a daughter… you wouldn’t want for her to be referred that way, would you?


“It builds brotherhood/sisterhood.” Okay, so maybe this doesn’t sound like a deadly phrase at first - until you realize that I’m talking about hazing. Unfortunately, some members of fraternities and sororities have been tricked into believing that mentally and physically abusing someone is the best way to get people to appreciate organizational membership. Think about all of the things you appreciate in life like family, school, or maybe even your job. Now ask yourself, “Did I have to get hazed in order to appreciate those things?” If the answer is no, then your fraternity or sorority shouldn’t fall into that category either. There have been countless phrases coined in order to keep hazing alive but this one isn’t just a phrase – it’s a thought process. If you go into a new member interest meeting or recruitment event and somehow this phrase comes up, stop what you’re doing and make your way to the door. No man or woman for any reason should be hazed or participate in hazing others. In short, hazing doesn’t build brotherhood or sisterhood it actually tears it down.


“If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” I can remember being a young man interested in my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and actually thinking that if I did not become an Alpha, I wouldn’t even be Greek. At the time, I used the term “GDI” but have learned a lot since then. Sure, people don’t usually mean it literally, but there are many many non-affiliated people in our society - my own family members included. To me, that’s a good reason to never use that term again. Instead of using GDI for its original acronym, try replacing it with Growth, Development, and Integration, or Great Developers of Individualism. When we replace the meaning of this derogatory and pretentious term, we will soon realize that there’s a little GDI in all of us. Conclusion Membership in a fraternity or sorority is one of the most incredible experiences anyone can have, however, it’s time for us to start taking what we say and do more seriously. Let’s start thinking before we speak and rephrasing some of the classic adages of fraternity and sorority life to create a more positive experience for everyone.

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Question 1: Why Mess With It?

Should we change how we do new member development? Are we even able to do that? Why change the way we’ve always done it? The idea of changing new member development might seem obvious to some and crazy to others. It can seem like one of the areas that is so institutionalized that to change it would be a radical notion. A major transformation of your new member development program might not be appropriate, but there are a number of reasons why it should be reviewed consistently so that it can evolve and be strengthened. Evolve it On Principle Every great organization has evolved and continues to do so. It does not always entail radical change, but each aspect of their organization is systematically reviewed so it can be improved upon. Whether it is a Fortune 500 company, a tech start-up, an established nonprofit, or a chapter of a fraternity or sorority, an integral part of organizational success is willingness to evolve. Organizations evolve their products and services not only to more closely match what their customers and clients need, but also to evolve their internal practices such as employee/member training and development. The Unique Window of Opportunity Whether conscious of them or not, each new member has a few questions in mind. Every new member is seeking answers to questions such as: “What are the written and unwritten rules in this new environment? Where do I fit in? What is normal around here? What is valued? What gets praised and acknowledged around here? What is off limits?” Those very natural questions present an opportunity. Your new members are beginning a new journey, and because of that they need specific guidance on which paths to take and which ones to avoid. Furthermore, they are more open to accepting guidance and tools at this time. The more specific the directions and the better the tools are, the greater the impact you make. A robust and continually evolving new member development program can equip each member for success in college, build future leaders for your organization, break negative cycles in your chapter, and prevent multiple problems before they arise. The Responsibility During the first few weeks and months in your organization, an impact will be made, but how positive and powerful it will be depends on you. The responsibility is not just to have a “net positive” experience, in which the positives outweigh the negatives. It should be a radically positive experience. It should be a time for new members to realize that this organization they have just joined is even better than they thought. Determine your current program’s relevance. > Is your current program already: > Addressing sexual assault? > Addressing abuse in relationships? > Covering sexual health? > Equipping them for time and stress management? > Doing significant education on the abuse of alcohol and prescription and illegal drugs? > Promoting the value of the campus mental health resources? It is likely that your current program provides a lot of value, but if it can be enhanced, it just makes sense to do so.

Question 2: What is Currently Preventing the Evolution?

Evolving your new member program will happen naturally if you first remove the obstacles that prevent it from happening. Evolve Beyond The Tradition Trap One of the primary obstacles to enhancing your member development program is the common error of “The Tradition Trap.” We tend to assume our obligation is to our traditions. It is not. Your responsibility is not to tradition, it is to people. It is to the new members you have selected into your community. When you build people, those people will build your organization. If any tradition inhibits or threatens the practice of building people, it does not serve the higher purposes of your organization and your obligation is to transform it or discontinue it. Traditions do not run your chapter, you do. Defending a practice primarily on the basis that it is a tradition is an unthinking person’s way of making decisions. Tradition cannot be held responsible when someone gets hurt, but you can be. If you lose a high quality new member because s/he doesn’t respect the way you do things, tradition doesn’t care. Ultimately, “tradition” does not exist; people exist who choose to take part in what they call a tradition. Some traditions are fantastic, others are absurd. Those that are great are easy to explain and defend for their value completely independent of the notion that they are “the way we’ve always done it.” Traditions that cannot be easily defended should be transformed or discontinued. Transforming Traditions It may seem unthinkable to do away with some traditions. You may have one in mind that you think is problematic, but to even think of suggesting to your chapter that you should discontinue it makes you nervous. It should be feasible, however, to recruit enough support from other mature members to lead the way in at least transforming your tradition. Traditions themselves can be evolved. Think of it this way: It might not necessary to do away with a tradition if you can transform it into something free from risk or destructive practices. Face the Fear Another obstacle to enhancing your program is the fear of innovation and deviation. First, we can fear there is something wrong with changing the way things were previously done. But when we get past that, we experience the fear of wondering if doing something different will fail. Fear of failure stops many people from doing great things, because it keeps them from even trying. The fear of failure can be a healthy fear. It can be used as motivation to put extra effort into preparation, and can even get us to do that incredibly wise thing of asking for help. Savvy leaders are not above needing help, they are just smart enough to ask for it.

Question 3: Evolve what?

Evolve the Way You Look at It Innovation is aided by asking better questions. When we ask better questions we get better answers. Innovators step outside of how things are done currently and ask themselves, “What are we really trying to accomplish?” “What else might we be able to accomplish with all of our resources?” “What are the various ways we might be able to accomplish that?” and finally, “Of those various ways, what would produce the ideal results?”

Question 4: How Do We Evolve What We Teach?

Be Clear About Your Goals Evolving your program content is easier to do when you are clear about your goals. With a little bit of thinking about what you are really trying to accomplish you have a better goal setting experience. Here are a few questions to ask: > What if you could connect every new member with the exact resources on campus they need to optimize their college experience?

Evolve your new member development by evolving the way you look at it. Are you trying to remain faithful to what was done last year or is your ultimate goal something much higher than that, such as unleashing individual potential and making as much of a positive impact as possible on your new members?

> What if we put applying our values in our daily lives over simply knowing our organizational history?

Recruit a Team of Educators New member education and development is not the role of two people, and certainly not just one. Evolve your program by recruiting a powerful and diverse team of people to provide education and support on all relevant topics.

> What if it was about taking them from the nice sound of values and ethics to getting specific about how to apply those concepts in daily life?

Rather than asking ourselves, “What did we do last year, and who is going to run for this position to do that again this year?” we should ask, “How much could we provide for our new members? In how many areas could we positively impact them, and where are all of the places we could go to find those resources to help with that?” Although it is sometimes not considered an executive position, there may be no more important role in your chapter than that of leading new member development. Therefore, at a minimum, it would be wise to actively recruit the very best team of initiated members in your organization and look beyond your chapter to resources on campus to which you can link each new member. In other words, recruit a team of people from all of your internal and external resources. For each goal and area of impact, ask yourself who the best person or persons would be internally to speak to them and lead a discussion on that topic. Then look beyond your walls to resources such as deans, advisors, alumni, and guest speakers to augment what you are able to provide from within. Set a goal to be the campus leader in bringing in outside resources to equip your members for success. Evolve Your Content and Structure There is no better opportunity to prevent problems than by addressing them in the first few weeks of being a part of your organization. Virtually every problem that comes up in risk management and leadership discussions can be reduced or prevented by properly addressing them near the very beginning of new member education. How is that possible? It is possible because you have a unique power to influence your new members, particularly in those first few weeks and months. When you are speaking the truth and talking about morality, respect, authentic strength, and the various ways of applying those principles in daily college life, even the least mature member can be influenced.

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> What if new member development was actually about doing everything in our power to equip all new members to discover their full potential?

> What if new member education was not about putting them in their proper place, but about pointing out potential in them they do not see in themselves? The Power of Specificity There is great power in being very specific about what to do and what not to do. Most of us know this because we can remember receiving certain rules as new members and we kept them at the forefront of our minds. We even reminded each other of them as a way of looking out for each other. Some of those rules make sense and some are - quite frankly - silly. Even though you may be very selective and only recruit the highest quality people, there is still the simple truth that good people can make poor decisions. In other words, personality doesn’t necessarily equate with morality. As Kohlberg’s Moral Development theory explains, many college-aged people are still developing their moral reasoning. Because of this, clarifying ethical standards and then giving specific examples of how they are to be applied can help implant the cognitive structures necessary to prevent poor choices. The more straightforward and specific you can be, the better.

From a fraternity standpoint, consider this: There are some serious things to cover about being a man in our fraternity and in life. We don’t take advantage of women. No matter how angry you get with a female, you do not hit, slap, shove, or even threaten to do any of those things. It’s not a sign of strength to do any of that. We don’t do that, and if you see anyone doing that or hear about it you need to tell me because that is not what we stand for. It’s not manly or strong to take advantage of your size or situation over a female. And just to state the obvious, we don’t drug people so we can take advantage of them, and we don’t force anything sexually. You’ll do just fine getting a date by just having some self-respect and treating others with respect. It’s not a strength to pressure someone to do something sexually they’re not comfortable with. Where do you think the safest place on campus should be for a woman? It should be here, at our house. Our house should be the safest place on campus because any woman here should have every one of us looking out for her well-being, even willing to stand against any other brother who might harm her. Our loyalty is to each other, but above that our loyalty is to what is right. Once again, if you see something wrong going on in this house or anywhere else on campus, it is your right and responsibility to speak up and do what you can to look out for people. Does this stuff make sense? Why do you think so? You tell me why these things are true.

From a sorority standpoint, consider this: There are some serious things to cover about being a woman in this organization. We choose our sisters and we choose what is right over any other option. If you see a woman too intoxicated to help herself - whether or not she is a sister - you help her. If someone tells you she is in danger or afraid, you help her. If you see a situation where it looks like a woman is in a situation to which she hasn’t consented, you help her. If you need a back up, you get one. We don’t leave women alone in bars, houses, residence halls rooms, or fraternity houses. Ever. We choose our sisters over fraternities. If someone is raped or assaulted by a member of a fraternity - even if it’s the most popular, well-liked chapter on campus, we support that woman - even if we lose social interactions with that fraternity. Does this stuff make sense? Why do you think so? You tell me why these things are true. The above comments can be done in a matter of minutes and they make a direct statement about multiple key issues. Furthermore, you are not only reducing the risk of a problem occurring, you are equipping your young members with something very valuable when you clarify ethical standards and show how they apply in daily life. The Tradition of Evolving The more comprehensive your program is the more impactful it will be, but evolution is not necessarily about perfection. Begin by pondering on what you are really trying to accomplish, what you could ideally accomplish and seek help both from within your organization and beyond. Start a tradition that unleashes potential. Start a tradition of consistently reviewing and evolving your new member development program, and people for generations to come will have their lives impacted because of your efforts.


Students and fraternity/sorority life professionals will identify necessary components of a developmental new member experience. They will also understand those cultural and environmental factors which may support or hinder the implementation process. For college students to integrate a developmental new member experience into the chapter, they need a clear plan, structure, and understanding of the “benefits” that come from this approach. Just as important, they need to understand and account for the environmental factors in play. The goal of this session is to create learning through experience, guided reflection, and group processing. By examining and understanding the concept of new member development, students can then map out a process of new development within their organization (this would be “the what”). From here, students explore “the how” – how to actually implement a developmental new member experience within their organization. This is the critical component of this program, as students must honestly examine their organizational, campus, and alumni/ae cultures and identify how they will respond to a developmental new member experience. Using the definition of culture as noted above, some campus cultures are heavily rooted in a pledging and demeaning new member experience. Some campus and fraternity/sorority alumni and undergraduate fraternity/sorority chapters also are deeply connected to a traditional, pledge-based model. The same can be said for some fraternity/sorority headquarters. Helping students navigate the cultural and environmental factors creates opportunities to not only identify threats to the creation and implementation of a developmental new member experience but also provides a means to identify those groups or individuals which will provide support and guidance in this process. This allows students to both strategically and emotionally prepare for the moments that will compel them towards their goal and teach them how to work through and around those barriers which provide roadblocks in achieving the implementation of a developmental new member experience.

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Facilitator Considerations

Know your audience and “meet them where they’re at.” If your audience is participating in this program because they have to change (required program, sanction or term, etc.), they will respond differently than if they are participating because they want to change. “Facts are Friends” – today’s college student wants to know “the why” behind things. Be prepared to answer follow-up questions from your campus or the broader fraternity/sorority movement. Whether it is proactive data (performance and outcomes from chapters/organizations with developmental new member experiences) or reactive data (injuries, closures, unintended consequences from pledging incidents, etc.), have facts and figures ready. Prepare before your session. Do not make your flip charts / do things on the fly. You can mitigate the impact this topic and the anxiety potential change can produce through controlling your room. Pay attention to what’s not being said. Note the nonverbal cues: arms crossed, legs crossed, leaning back, lack of willingness to make eye contact, etc.; these are signals of disengagement and defensiveness. Note the verbal cues: “we do this/that” should prompt a “well tell me what you do instead” response from the facilitator; “we don’t do this or wouldn’t do that” should prompt a “help me understand why/why not” response from the facilitator. Use what is not being said as an opportunity to peel back another layer of dialogue.


Map out your plan for the program, ensure you know your audience, and ensure you have included adequate time for breaks and small group discussion. This program is designed as a three-hour experience, though sections can certainly be shortened and/or lengthened to meet necessary learning outcomes as determined by the facilitator(s). ROOM SET-UP Preset the room in a “theater circle”, with your total number of chairs set in a complete circle. Ensure you have a 6-foot table for your supplies, music/ sound and other needs. GROUP SIZE Total participants (large group) should be < 20 Workgroups (small group breakouts) should be < 5 SUPPLIES At least one flip chart (with paper that will stick to the wall), at least seven markers, music playlist of current “Top 40” hits (on your smart phone, iPod/iPad, etc.), small speakers or device to amplify music sound, pack of colored Post-it notes. Also, having snacks (granola bars, hard candy, chocolate, etc.) is highly encouraged to be given out as snacks and as rewards / recognition for participation.

Definition of Terms:

New Member Development • employing a curriculum and process to fundamentally shape new members’ development towards a specific outcome (skills development, cognitive/behavioral development, etc.). Change • moving towards and ultimately adopting a developmental new member model is a process anchored in change management. Individuals and organizations change because they have to (demanded or coerced by internal or external forces) or because they want to (inspired by action or desire to evolve, alter, or grow). Knowing your audiences and their collective state in this process of change (want to or have to or a little of both) is critical. Culture • the group norms and assumptions which form historical anchors and a paradigm of identity. Campus, undergraduate chapter, alumni/ae, and organizational culture impact the implementation of a developmental new member experience. Readiness • the collective state of the aforementioned cultures regarding adoption, implementation, and support of a developmental new member experience. Energy • identifying what will give undergraduates energy in the process of change, and, more importantly, what barriers they will encounter that take away their energy in the process of change.


> Welcome: Intro & Desired Outcomes / 10 min > Exercise: Pledge or New Member…What Are We Building? / 15 min > Exercise: Destination Change – New Member Development / 45 min > BREAK / 15 min > Exercise: Barriers & Culture / 45 min Barriers to Reaching a Destination of Change Exercise: Working Around Barriers & Gaining Momentum > BREAK / 15 min > Exercise: Celebrating and Sharing Success / 25 min > Wrap Up & Review / 10 min

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What to do Welcome / Intro & Desired Outcomes (10 min) Facilitator Background > Share who you are, how you serve the campus/community in your professional or council role, and your personal connection to this program and why you feel it is important. Desired/Learning Outcomes from the Day (examples below for facilitators to use/not use and build upon as they see fit) > Gain awareness and understanding of the values in a developmental new member experience > Clarify the benefits of a new member development model vs. demeaning pledge models > Create plans and ideas on how to implement a new member development process on your campus / in your chapter > Identify the barriers to successfully implementing a developmental new member experience, as well as identify the strategies to work around those barriers > Leave with a plan on how to create, implement, and support a developmental new member experience

stimulating allows for a further understanding of what the organization stands for, rather than a demeaning attack on a person’s character through unproductive activity.

Facilitator Action: Five minute discussion… > Is today’s notion of a pledge program consistent with the historical nature of pledging? > Is the historical nature more in line with new member development? > How do we change and bridge the gap and move towards new member development?

Exercise: Destination Change – New Member Development (45 min) What goes into a Plan? (10 Minutes)

Exercise: Pledge or New Member… What Are We Building? (15 min)

> Facilitator Action: Discuss that there is a need for a structure to be in place for a new member development process to take root and be successful Structure has to be anchored in the organization’s recruitment efforts and aligned with the organization’s ritualistic teachings > NOTE: While we are discussing a plan, the plan must be something that is demanding, but is not demeaning This means that the New Member Development plan must demand that the new members have a strong understanding that they will be asked to exert themselves mentally to grow and develop as young men and women, and not be demeaned by the older members and subjected to foolish things that actually stunt their growth and development > NOTE: In essence, these are the two guidelines that need to be firmly in place for the generative thinking to continue

Activity: Pledge Program vs. New Member Development

Organizational Values (25 Minutes)

Outline for the Day > Facilitator: Place the outline for the day’s activities on a flip chart page and review them with the group (include the breaks but do not specify times).

> Facilitator Action: Break your participants into small groups of three to five (these will be their small groups for the day; numbering off is a prudent approach to separate clusters already formed) > Give each group a flip chart and a marker and have them get into small groups > Facilitator Action: Have small groups write down the first words that come to mind when they hear pledge program (2.5 minutes); then do the same thing for new member development (2.5 minutes) > Facilitator Action: Facilitate small group reporting > Have small groups report what they wrote down > On one sheet write the word Pledge Program, the other – New Member Development. Either you or someone you choose should write down what you hear and note recurring words or themes.

Activity: Debrief > Facilitator Action: Explain that before we dissect what this says about the differences between pledge programming and new member development, that historical context needs to be examined: History of Pledging • 1776 first new members of a Fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa at William and Mary College • Pledges were upperclassman and Faculty • Learning the values of the organization by pledging loyalty to the organization and understanding their values. Societal acceptance of Pledging • First account of hazing from a society traced back to the 1830s • According to Hank Nuwer’s book, Wrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing, and Binge Drinking, “Every year since 1970, at least one fraternity or sorority member, or pledge, has died as a result of alcohol abuse or hazing.” • Although many Fraternities and Sororities have changed terminology, the word pledge has stayed and not been replaced by the local chapters and on college campuses. Demeaning vs. Demanding • A new member program can be intensive without the mental, physical, and emotional strain that a demeaning program can contribute towards • A chapter can demand the time and attention of new members to affirm that the education and values of the organization are being understood Participation in experiences for education that are both educational and 020 // CONNECTIONS // 2012 • SPRING

> Facilitator Action: Explain that everyone in the group has specific organizational values and teachings NOTE: These teachings and values are not mutually exclusive from organization to organization Ask them to individually think about their organizational values and teachings Everyone will have 2 minutes to silently reflect on their organization’s values > Facilitator Action: Split into small groups & direct the following: Create a list of your organization’s values and teachings Without going into the ritualistic pieces, what does your organization value? NOTE: This portion of the exercise should take about 5 minutes and will allow for the small groups to discuss their values and missions/visions, etc. > Facilitator Action: Have each group present its list of values and teachings Spend roughly 5 minutes discussing how we as individual organizations match up to our value-sets For the most part, the organizational leaders should identify that they have not quite aspired completely to a level that their inter/national organization would like NOTE: This should be an “AHA!” moment for the group, as they see that every list will be fairly similar and rooted in similar beliefs

How do we get there (10 Minutes) > NOTE: Utilize the values and teachings to establish events and experiences that are consistent Facilitator Action: This can be a small group conversation with one specific example taken from one of the lists Choose the value that appeared the most, so that everyone can see its relevance Ask the group to identify a few events or experiences that may relate to that value, in the frame of having it fit in with what their organization would like for them to be doing as a Fraternity/Sorority Now that they have worked through it for one, illuminate for them that they can do that for other values and with other experiences that the chapters are doing to identify how to bring the organizational values into the New Member Development Program through experiences, reflection and dialogue (rather than servitude and traditional pledge activities)

BREAK (15 min)

Exercise: Barriers & Culture (45 min) Barriers to Reaching a Destination of Change (30 min)

Wrap Up & Review (10 min) Wrapping the Day

> Facilitator Action: Explain to the undergraduates that they may encounter several barriers from different groups internally and externally due to historical anchors and culture, i.e., alumni, campus, chapter, headquarters, etc. The undergraduates need to understand how to work around those barriers and how to gain momentum after working through barriers. > Facilitator Action: split students into their small groups and have them examine and discuss the potential culture barriers they may encounter from each group when discussing and then implementing a developmental approach for new members.: Chapter/Campus/Alumni/Headquarters – discuss each with the following questions: What is the culture of your (chapter, campus, alumni, headquarters), and what barriers might you encounter with this approach to new member development? How might you work around these barriers? Who else can help you work around these potential barriers? What responses can we give to the pushback our ideas receive? > Facilitator Action: debrief the barriers section by asking each group to identify a barrier and how they plan to work around it / who will support them.

> NOTE: Hopefully you have served as both facilitator and cheerleader throughout the day, encouraging and pushing dialogue and recognizing students who are invested and modeling the way. > Facilitator Action: In wrapping this up, start by thanking everyone for their participation and investment in this process. Give those that would like an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings on the day. Clarify that “where we go from here” is implementing these plans and working to change and evolve our new member development. Share your final thoughts on the day, and then review the learning outcomes. Once you do that, thank everyone again, and give out any remaining candy/snacks.

Maintaining Momentum and Progressing with Positive Change (15 min) > Facilitator Action: Explain that this process is helping them identify barriers (roadblocks along the way that will take their energy) but that positive experiences which give them energy will occur as well. In the process of change and implementing new plans and ideas, we have to be prepared for barriers that take our energy to work around and be prepared for those positive occurrences which will give us energy and help us maintain momentum. > Facilitator Action: in the small groups have students examine and discuss what types of experiences will give them energy and help maintain momentum in implementing a new member development experience: What will keep you motivated in implementing this new approach? What “wins” might you look for that would help maintain momentum in this change process? What positive benchmarks or aspects of implementation can you look for as you go forward? How can you look for momentum within the brothers/sisters in the chapter? What can we do on small/large scales to identify/meet goals and benchmarks? > Facilitator Action: debrief this exercise by having each group share one “win” they can look for that will help maintain momentum in implementing this new approach

BREAK (15 min) Exercise: Celebrating and Sharing Success (25 min) Celebrating and Sharing Success > NOTE: In this final exercise, a discussion on how to celebrate achievements is needed to start things off. If the students map out plans with mile markers or benchmarks for small goals as part of the larger plan, meeting those goals is something to celebrate. Additionally, identifying how to celebrate and share success is just as important. > Facilitator Action: in the small groups have students examine and discuss what types of benchmarks would warrant celebration, how they might celebrate, and to whom they should communicate both minor and major accomplishments. Then bring them back into the large group to spend a few minutes sharing. What goals or benchmarks should warrant celebration or communication once accomplished? Why would we want to celebrate achieving our goals and implementing this new approach? What are some ways in which you could celebrate these “wins” in a way that supports and builds upon this new approach to new member development? Who will be responsible for organizing these celebrations? When should we communicate our “wins” and accomplishment of minor/major goals? To whom should we communicate our successes and accomplishments with new member development? Why communicate these accomplishments?


Before you lead this program, engage members of your fraternity/ sorority life community/chapter in a brief dialogue regarding the various cultures and their readiness to change. Also, ensure you have done your homework to know your participants. Again, understanding the mindset of your participants and the cultures in which they have learned is knowledge. This knowledge will give you the power to maintain your presence as the leader of this session and navigate the course for your participants. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. This is also a wonderful opportunity to engage your council/chapter’s executive board prior to the program and co-opt them in as de facto small group leaders who can ensure your participants stay on point and prevent negative emotional responses from derailing your agenda.


Understanding the nature and desired outcomes from this program, it is great if you can organize a follow-up meeting to discuss progress. As each program participant should identify a plan, barriers, and strategies to work around barriers, there is ample opportunity to do “check-ups”/“check-ins” on progress with individuals, small groups, or all attendees. If a council or chapter is finding success, explore why/ how and share that with others. If a council/chapter is not able to overcome/work around barriers, then you have an opportunity to get more hands on with the process and address those barriers.


Organize & Mobilize New Member Educators: if your chapter or council is working to change chapter/campus culture and/or move from a traditional pledge model to a new member development model, you need the support of new member educators (and likely their big brother/big sister coordinators). This type of change needs ongoing attention and support, and the new member educators are typically the most hands on when it comes to the new member. Put This Topic on the Agenda for Chapter Advisor Meetings & Roundtables: chapter advisors are typically the connection to local alumni. This means they can communicate the need to change and help alumni get over the hurdle of emotional reactions and eventually approach the topic both prudently and pragmatically. Make This a Priority for the Councils and Chapters: adopting a new member development approach means no more pledges setting up for tailgate, staying there all day in dress clothes, and then cleaning up the tailgate mess before offering sober rides until 5:00 a.m. This also means other “traditions” will need to fall by the wayside in the process of growth and evolving your chapter/campus culture. It will take time and commitment from councils and chapters to make this work.

Taking Action: The Lost Art By Brady Ruffer • Delta Sigma Phi • Kent State University

One of the most important aspects, if not the most important aspect, of building a successful fraternity is recruitment. Many chapters’ recruitment plans look something like three weeks of social events, followed by extending a bid because a person seems “cool.” Too many chapters employ this type of recruitment strategy and some of them have produced outstanding fraternity men. However, this type of recruitment is often where fraternities falter in creating strong chapters. I believe the typical three-week, socially-driven recruitment process is what leads to the dilemma of 10% of the members doing 90% of the work. It is great to see that the 10% of members have such a strong sense of passion and desire to build a successful chapter, but there is a better and more efficient way to do so. One of the most important responsibilities of a fraternity is to build relationships with potential members. This may seem like a simple task, but it is something that many chapters have pushed to the wayside as they strive to reach a higher number of members. It is important for fraternities to create opportunities for potential members and current members to develop genuine friendships. In doing so, potential members will become friends with members and hanging out with them will become a regular part of their college social life. Then, when it comes time to ask those potential members to join the fraternity, they will be more inclined to do so. For my chapter, applying this strategy was as simple as inviting potential members to hang out with our members until they got to know who we were as individuals. This gave potential members a chance to build personal connections with each of our brothers. Additionally, because genuine friendships had already been created, new members were more likely to contribute to the work of the chapter because they did not want to let down their friends. I don't think this type of relationship building can happen within the typical “rush” period, it must happen year-round to be truly successful.

As president of my chapter, one of my constant worries was the image we held with students, faculty, and staff. We had to work hard throughout the year to sustain a positive image so potential members would be interested in learning more about our chapter. By doing this, we did not have to worry about “looking good” for just three weeks in order to attract students to our organization. By hosting events like philanthropies and educational programs, we were able to meet a wide range of students and create conversations with them about the values and goals of our organization. In other words, they didn't just hear us talk about our image, but actually see it in action. Our chapter's main goal was to create an impressive fraternity “résumé” that would speak for itself. For example, we sponsored an entire week dedicated to sexual assault awareness in which we involved many departments and organizations in the university. During this week long event, we raised almost $2,000 for a nonprofit organization in our community. The first year we held this event, we had over 400 people attend and the event received great reviews. Afterwards, more people recognized us for our hard work surrounding sexual assault awareness and began to better realize our values and high standards. This type of image building was what our chapter needed to recruit new members beyond the first three weeks of the semester. There are many approaches a fraternity can take to implement a year-round recruitment strategy. But, to truly be successful, it boils down to relationship building. When you extend a bid to a potential member, you are asking that person to commit to lifelong membership in an organization with high standards. With this much at stake, each student who is considering joining needs to have an understanding of both the fraternity and the members who will be part of his (or her) experience. This understanding is not possible to develop during the few weeks of formal recruitment; it takes a recruitment strategy that occurs year-round and allows time for potential members to build relationships. Just like the tortoise and the hare, 365 recruitment is steady - and will ultimately win the race.

IFC Bans Fraternity Parties on State Patty’s Day

Penn State’s fraternity houses won’t be going green this State Patty’s Day, the IFC ruled Monday night.

Sorry, We’re Not Sorry

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. These people have got guts; they’ve owned their values.

At an Interfraternity Council President’s Council meeting Monday night, the IFC voted to ban parties in fraternity houses on State Patty’s Day, a student-created holiday set for Feb. 25 this year.  In place of parties, the IFC aims to create an increased “sober presence” downtown with other student organizations during State Patty’s Day, IFC President Vinnie Lizza said. The council had been working on this legislation for some time, Lizza (senior-energy, business and finance) said. The idea for canceling social events at the houses originated at a student roundtable discussion with other student leaders from across campus, and Lizza said it was time to move forward with the plan. “We always talk about State Patty’s Day,” Lizza said. “We took it upon ourselves and started a major initiative.” The decision also comes as a means to end the “senseless ‘holiday,’” according to a press release issued by IFC Monday night. The release also states the IFC believes the student created holiday has been “unfairly linked to the Greek community.”

While there are no official plans for what the IFC plans to do on the holiday, Lizza said he hopes to work with the State College Borough and involve students through a philanthropic event downtown. Members of the Greek community are also encouraged to take part in “sober events” that will occur in downtown State College, according to the IFC release. Lizza also recognized that some students may not agree with his decision to ban parties on State Patty’s Day. Still, he said he hopes that, with the support of other student leaders, the news will be well-received.

What can we say, we’re impressed.

We love that this IFC has stood up and called a spade a spade - a senseless, made-up holiday set aside for getting wasted is just that: senseless. And, it’s a university “holiday,” not just a fraternity/sorority holiday. So that makes it even better that the fraternal community is opting out. These folks are saying, “We’re not hosting parties for the rest of you to get drunk on a made up holiday. Sorry we’re not sorry.” Kudos to this IFC, they deserve a high five. This probably wasn’t an easy decision and the individual leaders probably got some heat for it. It takes a lot to make that first step toward positive change. We like it. REFERENCE: Horn, B. (2012, January 31). IFC bans fraternity parties on State Patty’s Day. The Daily Collegian of Penn State University. Retrieved February 22, 2012 from: http:// parties_on_state_pattys_day.aspx

024 // CONNECTIONS // 2012 • SPRING

Keys to Planning a Successful New Member Development Program Evaluate your current new member development program – What works well? What doesn’t work well? What would your ideal new member program look like? What’s keeping you from getting there? What new things can you introduce to help new members develop? What practices need to be removed? How can your program be more in line with your organization’s values? Once you’ve evaluated all of these things (and feel free to add more evaluation questions), begin making changes. Use your national organization, chapter advisor, recent new members, executive board, and fraternity/sorority advisor to help with answering some of these questions.

FROM THE ROAD sigma Pi fraternity University of central florida

Students Helping Students

The Altruistic Campus Experience (ACE) Program of Sigma Pi was created by Executive Director Mark Briscoe back in 2003. Briscoe stated “We are not going to bounce basketballs to raise money for books.  We are going to really get involved with what our colleges and universities need by volunteering labor where they need it.  This program is conducted in the spirit of altruism, and as our campuses improve, we will all share the benefits of a better collegiate experience.”  Each ACE event across the nation will vary at each university based on the needs of that local community.

Contact your national organization to see if they have resources that will help in making your new member program more developmental. Determine the goals and purposes of the program and make sure they are in line with your organization’s founding values. Create a list of expectations and responsibilities related to the program for both new members and initiated members. Brainstorm topics that meet the goals and purposes of the program and place them within each week of the new member program. Remember that the new member development program should help new members understand the history, values, and protocol of your organization AND what it means to be a member of your organization. Plan activities with the entire chapter so that new members understand chapter unity and the responsibilities associated with being an initiated member of the chapter. Do not wait until the last minute to plan – take time to plan out each week’s topics and activities at least a month before starting the program. If you’re planning an Inspiration Week prior to initiation, make sure the activities are in line with your ritual and are approved by your national organization and your fraternity/sorority advisor.

The members of Sigma Pi at the University of Central Florida are committed to the Knights Helping Knights Pantry. The mission of Knights Helping Knights Pantry is to assist students through financially tough times. This organization is a student driven program that was established in the spring of 2009.  It provides food, clothing, and other items to members of the UCF community in need.  This unique program recently received a large donation through the men of Sigma Pi Fraternity. The UCF chapter recently hosted their ACE Program which collected over 2,500 cans of food through a competition among different organizations on campus.  Sigma Pi asked student organizations to get creative with their donations by competing against one another by building creative structures out of their donations.  Together, Sigma Pi has found a way to fill a need at the University of Central Florida and have dedicated their efforts to help their peers in need.  This program is a great example of a positive philanthropic event with a tangible outcome rather than simply passing a check from one organization to another.  Keep up the good work! Reference:

Marshall Baseball Player Sues Frat After Being Startled By AnusMounted Firework Louie Helmburg is a sophomore, and the backup catcher for the Marshall Thundering Herd. He hit .226 last year, with three RBI and four runs scored, and missed part of the season when he fell off a deck at the [Alpha Tau Omega] ATO house after one of the brothers fired a bottle rocket out of his a**. Helmburg is suing the Alpha Tau Omega house and one particular member, Travis Hughes, for neglect causing pain and suffering at a party last May. Let’s go to the complaint! “Defendant Hughes was highly intoxicated on this date and time, and decided in his drunken stupor that it would be a good idea to shoot bottle rockets out of his anus on the ATO deck, located on the back of the ATO house... “Defendant Hughes placed a bottle rocket in his anus, ignited the fuse, but instead of launching, the bottle rocket blew up in the defendant’s rectum, and this startled the plaintiff and caused him to jump back, at which time he fell off of the ATO deck, and he became lodged between the deck and an air conditioner unit adjacent the deck.” Helmburg claims he suffered pain and medical expenses, and lost playing time due to his injuries. I can’t speak to the legal liability of ATO or Hughes, but I f*#%ing love this complaint more than life itself.

We have no words. Actually, we can think of a few. Even though this writer at Deadspin seems to be even more appropriately sarcastic than we could ever hope to be, we still want to add our two cents. First, yes. This is real. We don’t know a lot about duty in the legal form, but we did take Law for Higher Education... so we know the basics. Sure, organizations and institutions have a legal duty. That means that there is a level of assumed protection from harm. Like, if you want to put a lake on campus, you have to fathom that someone might drown. Therefore, you have an obligation to make efforts to warn and/or protect people from that possibility because you (as the institution) have a duty to care for students on campus. But, you can’t always assume or predict all possible ways someone could get harmed. A reasonable person would assume potential harm of falling out a window - which is why hotel windows don’t open all the way. A reasonable person might also assume the potential harm of falling off a second story deck - which is why decks have railings. But, who would ever assume you’d fall from a deck because you were startled as a result of someone else shooting a bottle rocket from their you-know-what? Like we said, we’re not lawyers. Thank goodness.

“Firing bottle rockets out of one’s own anus constitutes an ‘ultrahazardous’ activity ... Defendant Hughes owed plaintiff and others on the ATO deck a duty of care not to drink under age, or to fire bottle rockets out of his anus.”

Busted! Stupid Things That You Have Done Lately References

Humphrey, J. (2012, January 18). Cocaine, guns and money seized at EWU frat brothers’ off-campus party. KXLY TV. Retrieved February 29, 2012 from: Petchesky, B. (2012, February 3). Marshall baseball player sues frat after being startled by anusmounted firework. Deadspin. Retrieved February 3, 2012 from: marshall-baseball-player-sues-frat-after-being-startled-by-anus+mounted-firework

026 // CONNECTIONS // 2012 • SPRING

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.

Cocaine, guns and money seized at EWU frat brothers’ off-campus party A trio of Sigma Nu fraternity brothers from Eastern Washington University was arrested Sunday after Cheney Police officers raided a late night party at a drug house that turned up guns, cocaine and cash. Arriving officers smelled burning marijuana and... had the door slammed in their face. “It got slammed in their face. The person they were talking to did not want to assist with the investigation so the officers applied for and received a search warrant and entered the house,” Cheney Police Department Commander Rick Campbell said. Inside the house police say they found a smorgasbord of illegal street drugs. “We found cocaine, we found methamphetamine and some psychedelic mushrooms marijuana, alcohol, underage drinking,” Commander Campbell said. According to the search warrant police also found a digital scale and drugs pre-packaged for sale and the men involved had armed themselves with guns to protect their profits, which included almost $1,000 in cash. EWU officials want to know more about the frat’s activities and issued a statement saying Wednesday afternoon which said, in part, “[W]e have initiated an inquiry with that organization to determine what, if any, role or involvement the organization may have had related to the individual students.” Both campus and Cheney police executed the search warrant. Both agencies want to make sure Eastern Washington University is a safe place to attend classes, but both agencies also want to make sure that the school’s growing population of students doesn’t affect Cheney’s quality of life.

Strategies for Increasing New Member Retention Let them know expectations ahead of time: the quickest way for you to lose new members is to not let them know ahead of time what’s expected of them. Make sure when you do this, cover things such as what they will learn during the new member education program, financial responsibilities, time commitments, dates they need to take off of work, and behavioral expectations. Nothing about their new member experience should be a surprise once the program has begun. Appreciate them: whether it’s through handwritten notes, doing a new member spotlight at chapter meetings, or taking them out to lunch one-on-one to get to know them, help new members understand why you’re excited they chose your organization to be a member of! Offer opportunities for development: your new member education program should teach them about your organization (its history, values, and protocol) but it should also help them develop as individuals. Do activities that enhance their interpersonal skills as well as help them clarify their personal values.

Here is the full transcript of EWU’s statement on the incident: We are presently working with authorities to ensure we have a fuller account of what happened and are taking appropriate action regarding individual students. Because the three arrested students were current or alumni members of a fraternity, we have initiated an inquiry with that organization to determine what, if any, role or involvement the organization may have had related to the individual students. Drugs and guns are never a good idea. That’s why most states have laws that severely change the crime you can be charged with if you’ve got both. Having just one or the other really is better - not good, but better. The thing is, any person who has drugs or guns would - or should - know this. And, not to minimize these guys’ drug-dealing skills or anything, but you’re telling me you need a gun to protect $1,000 in cash? This whole situation is a hot mess. We know that three members doesn’t automatically, in all circumstances equate to chapter activity, but the concept of always wearing your letters is strong here. Sure, three members who “happened to be” members of Sigma Nu lived here. That’s only three... but you’re going to try to tell me that a fourth, fifth, sixth, and twenty-fifth member didn’t know about this, buy drugs from these members, and/or ever attend a party at the house? We don’t buy it. Therefore, this leads to the whole bystander effect. Come on, guys. We know that you knew these members had drugs and guns in their house. Even if you really and truly DIDN’T attend any parties or every buy party favors from these brothers - you knew they were into this... and didn’t do anything. Not only did you fail to try and get these guys to stop selling meth (METH!), you didn’t even try to disassociate yourselves from them.

Ask them what they want out of their new member experience – and follow through: while you may have set guidelines for what they will be learning and doing throughout the program, by having their input on what they want covered you automatically gain their buy in, they feel like their opinions matter, and you start training them on how to make suggestions to make your chapter better. Empower them to be leaders early: if there are chair positions available, encourage them to run for these positions and mentor them to be exceptional in the role. Help new members understand they are part of the chapter: while new members are going through their own program, make sure they are integrated into the chapter’s activities and are building relationships with initiated members not just with other new members. Beware of the amount of time you ask of them: college students at all levels are busy – don’t expect more of the new members than what’s reasonable for them to be successful academically, allow them to maintain other responsibilities in their lives (like having a job), and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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disease that is virulent & devastating -- some-

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thing that is destructive or pernicious. A plague is

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prevention rather than just response. Nationally recognized faculty teach a prevention framework based on proven principles that are grounded in research. The Institute is designed for professionals, volunteers and undergraduate and graduate students as individuals or interdisciplinary teams involved in or with college and university student organizations. a direction and a sense of hope that “ Itthiscreated is a problem that can be addressed directly and successfully from a position of caring. ” Howard Foltz • Greek Alumni Council Lehigh University

You can end this plague. We can teach you how.

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Early registration: $675 by April 20, 2012 Registration after April 20: $750 Registration Deadline: May 11, 2012 Students: $650 $400 discount for interdisciplinary teams of five or more with a senior administrator or staff member. Scholarships available AFLV is a Champion Sponsor of the Novak Institute for Hazing Prevention. For sponsorship information, visit & click on the Sponsor/Donate/Volunteer tab.

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one more { thing we know youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re near the end, but weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d love to tell you

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

TEN ACTIVITIES to TRY instead of hazing.

1 2 3

Ropes course activities with a trained facilitator.


Have respected and successful alumni/ae speak to new members about how membership in the fraternity/sorority has helped them personally and professionally.


Attend an athletic event at your institution and show your pride then have a conversation about what it means to be a true (insert your school mascot).

6 7

Do a vision exercise of the ideal chapter experience and create goals to help you get there.


Take a leadership or personality inventory and discuss the results as well as how they pertain to being a member of the chapter.

9 10

Participate in a community service project. Discuss your creed and do activities throughout the new member education program that bring the creed to life.

Participate in a campus wide event like Homecoming, Greek Week, Dance Marathon, or other event of your choice and show others why being a member of a fraternity/sorority enhances the college experience.

Conduct a fundraiser for your philanthropy. Host an alcohol-free new member mixer with other fraternities and sororities.

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