My Favorite Recruiting Technique

Attention chapter members, and especially recruitment and scholarship chairpersons, I’m going to share my favorite recruiting technique of all time. This strategy works best during the first few weeks of classes, and if done correctly, will guarantee improvement in your chapter’s recruitment performance, and academic performance. Sound enticing?

Here’s the strategy.

1. Show up to class. During the first week or two of classes, make sure that you are showing up on time, paying attention, and looking presentable. Maybe even employ some of Phired Up’s 3-7 techniques.

2. Find the smartest students in your class. If you’ve done step 1 correctly, you have most likely already identified the smartest people in class. These are the ones that actively participate in discussion, always seem to have the right answers, and genuinely enjoys the course. Pick one smart person (of the same gender as you) in your class that you think could make a good brother/sister.

3. Start a study group. Walk up to that smart student and say, “Hi, I’m (insert your name). Some of this course material can be a bit tricky, and I’m thinking about starting a study group to review some of the key concepts, and prepare for our tests and quizzes. Want to help me start the group?”

4. Recruit more members. Identify a few other intelligent individuals in your class that could be a good fit in your chapter. Ask them to join your study group, or have your other group members do the work for you. Build your group up to a manageable size of four to six members.

5. Meet as a group. If you’ve done it right, you now have a small group of some of the best minds in your class to tutor you. Try to meet at least once a week, and actually function as a study group. There’s no need to talk about your fraternity or sorority; you’re there to improve your performance in class.

6. Make friends. If you’ve seen Community, then you know it’s fairly inevitable that your study group will become friends. After a few weeks of meeting as a study group, you’ll naturally transition your study group acquaintances to a casual friendships.

7. Recruit if necessary. Only recruit members of your study group if it’s appropriate. Ideally, you’ve gained a few new friends, and if you’re making decent connections your study group will know that you’re in a fraternity/sorority. Additionally, you already know that these people are committed to academic excellence, a core principle of your fraternity or sorority. If you feel that it’s appropriate to recruit anyone from the study group, then do it! If you don’t feel that the person is right for your organization, or vice-versa, then…

8. Improve your academic performance. The absolute worst thing that can happen with this technique is that you form a study group, improve your grades, and don’t recruit a single person into your chapter. If you were able to form a group of some of the smartest students in your class, and you benefit academically as a result, then you still win.


Imagine the possibilities of this recruitment and academic improvement strategy. What if you started a study group in each of your classes? What if all of your chapter members were required to start at least one study group outside of the chapter? How would your chapter’s recruitment strategy change if your members were meeting with some of the smartest students on campus on a regular basis? How would your chapter’s academic performance be affected by recruiting highly-achieving students? How would your chapter’s academic performance be affected if every chapter member surrounded themselves with intelligent peer tutors?

This strategy is no fail. If you start a group, and are able to recruit at least one person; win/win. If you start a group and don’t recruit anyone; win.

Think this strategy can work for your chapter? Have a recruitment strategy you want to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


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Your Summer Final Exam

Depending on your college or university, you’re most likely somewhere between three to six weeks away from returning to campus. With summer coming to a close, it’s time to review your progress so far. Please take a moment to answer the following questions in essay format.

1. What have you done this summer to make your chapter better?

2. Please provide your strategic plans for the work that needs to be accomplished within your chapter during the first two weeks and the first two months of the fall semester.

3. Describe an event or activity that you participated in this summer that perpetuated the founding values of your organization.

If you can’t readily answer these questions, now is the perfect time to reevaluate your summer plans. Three months off from school, does not mean months off from your fraternity or sorority. Far too often, the summer months are lost to work, travel, and relaxation. This free time is the perfect opportunity for you to make plans to better your chapter, and show everyone back at home exactly what your fraternity and sorority is all about.

Plan a new event. Improve an existing initiative. Start recruiting. Plan a reunion. Do service in your community. Read a book on organization leadership. Whatever you decide to do, don’t let your summer go to waste.

Have a comment? Leave it here.

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“No Report”

I have a huge pet peeve when it comes to chapter meetings. I can tolerate leniency in Robert’s Rules,  improper attire, and even phones going off inadvertently. My chapter meeting ‘nails on the chalkboard’ moment is when an officer or committee chairperson utters the two words, “No report”.

As a chapter leader, you are either elected or appointed because the chapter values the work you do for the organization, and trusts you to work diligently to advance the causes of the organization. Chapter members take time out of their busy schedule to gather for chapter meetings. They get dressed up, proudly place their badge over their heart, travel to your meeting location, sit through dozens of reports, and take notes (sometimes).

They do all of this to gain a full understanding of current chapter operations as well as the short-term and long-term objectives of the chapter’s leadership. They want to hear your ideas, get a better understanding of your plans, and find ways to support your initiatives.

Yet, when a chapter leader addresses the general assembly, and decries, “No report.”, they are telling the chapter one or more of the following:

– I have done absolutely nothing with my position since the last time we met. Despite the fact that I hold this important position in the chapter, I do not value my position enough to put forth consistent work output. You trust me to continuously work to make this aspect of our chapter better, and I have let you down.

– What I’m doing in my position is best left behind the scenes. I’m committed to getting the job done… under my terms. I don’t want, nor do I need your input; my way is the best way, and asking for your help or input is futile. When I finally reveal my plan, I expect you to do exactly what I tell you to do.

– My position is irrelevant!! Sure, my title looks great on a resume, and I get to sit in the front of the room, but there is nothing more that I can do with my position. Why do we have a Director of Recruitment T-Shirts anyway?

– I’m lazy. The bare minimum is just fine by me. I’ve already done everything that my predecessor did last year, and I’m fulfilling the written obligations of my position. Innovation and progress isn’t something I need to worry about, that just means more work for me.

"My Bad"

– I don’t value your time. Sure, I have plenty to talk about; we actually have a big event coming up that I could use some help with. The thing is, I got caught up in a “Clarissa Explains It All” marathon before our meeting, and I didn’t take the time to collect my thoughts or prepare a report. Sorry you went out of your way to come to this meeting to hear what I have to say; I’ll just e-mail everything to you tomorrow.

So the next time your sitting in a chapter meeting, executive meeting, committee meeting, or even a council meeting, and somebody stands up and declares they have nothing to report, feel free to ask them why they have nothing new to tell the chapter.

Thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment.

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The 6 Commandments of Fraternity & Sorority Life

Inspired by the stand-up of the late George Carlin, in which he simplifies the 10 Commandments, I decided to take some time of my own to simplify everything we are doing as fraternity and sorority members into a brief list that anyone should be able to understand.

(In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the bit – warning, language is definitely NSFW)

And so, without further delay, I present to you my
6 Commandments of Fraternity and Sorority Life

Thou Shalt Make a Life-Long Commitment
Joining our organizations means that you are committing to a life-long membership in a remarkable organization. This means you’re not allowed to go into hiding during your senior year, or graduate never to be seen or heard from your organization again. This means being a good alumnus/alumna, giving back to your chapter, staying financial, and forever holding true the the values you accepted in Commandment 2.

Thou Shalt Hold Yourself and Other True to Your Oath
At some point, we all took some sort of an oath to hold true to the values of our organization. Most likely, you were kneeling down, maybe with your hand in the air, on a book, or over your heart. That commitment isn’t just something we do for ritual when we cross or get initiated; it is your personal commitment to yourself and the organization. If you can’t rememeber exactly what it was you committed to, go back and read your ritual book. Of equal importance, you need to hold your brothers/sisters accountable to this commitment; feel free to remind them of the oath they took whenever you see them behaving “questionably”.

Thou Shalt Work to Understand the National Organization
The true value and significance of your fraternity or sorority isn’t truly understood until you get outside the walls of your own chapter. Attend a local/regional/national meeting, visit another chapter, apply to serve as an undergraduate representative or summer intern. When you get a visit from a consultant, truly work with your consultants to understand the structure and current state of your organization. Finally, if you truly want to understand what it means to be a fraternity or sorority member, attend an interfraternal event such as UIFI or AFLV.

You are absolutely no help to your chapter if you fail out of school; remember that you are a student first. One of the best things our organizations have in place are the programs and services designed to improve the scholastic efforts of our members. Let’s assume for a minute that your chapter embraces this value and has a chapter GPA above the all men’s/women’s average at your school. How great does it feel to be able to tell prospective members, parents, and Greek haters that statistically speaking, your chapter is academically outperforming the rest of the student body?

Thou Shalt Serve
All of our organizations emphasize service as an essential value that is core to the development of our members, and the betterment of our communities. You can check out my last post, “Life Changing Philanthropy“, for some tips on improving your philanthropic and service endeavors.

Thou Shalt Represent Every Fraternity and Sorority Member
To the general unaffiliated public, there is no difference between the letters on your chest, and those on mine. When you or your chapter screws up and ends up on the nightly news or campus newspaper, it hurts your schools entire fraternity and sorority community, as well as the international fraternity and sorority movement. Every single fraternity or sorority member carries this tremendous burden, understand this fact, and ensure that you are doing your best to represent all of us.

Do you have your own suggestions for additional commandments? Make sure to leave a comment!

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What Betty White Can Teach You About Fraternity and Sorority Life.

So I’m a big fan of Betty White. I have been ever since my high school girlfriend and I used to watch her flawless portrayal of Rose Nylund on reruns of “The Golden Girls” on Lifetime (Television for Women, and sucker boyfriends).

I watched cautiously as Jay Leno maliciously tried to kill Betty White via heart attack with his game “Will This Make Betty White Flinch?”.

I immediately hopped on the “Betty White to Host SNL” Facebook bandwagon in support of this octogenarians next comeback. As fun as it was to support her bid, it was even better to see her kill as the host of a great episode. Needless to say, Betty White has still got it.

So just what can Betty White teach us about fraternity and sorority life? Let me give you some details…

Before her role on “The Golden Girls”, Betty played Sue Ann Nivens, the quick witted, sassy, and man-crazy co-star on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. As a result, she was offered the role of Blanche Devereaux, a similarly man-crazy and sassy character on “The Golden Girls”. Betty White, not wanting to be type-cast, chose to switch roles with her co-star Rue McClanahan, who was slated to play Rose.

Betty wanted to expand upon what she had already created. She could have been perfectly happy playing the same role all over again; it was familiar, it would be easy, and it is what people expected. As fraternity and sorority members, it is very easy for us to simply repeat last years events, and hope that they’ll end up bigger and better than last year. Your chapter may even be pigeon-holed as “the jocks”, “the pretty girls”, “the academics”, “the artists” or any other stereotype. Don’t allow your organization to fall into a rut, or to be typecast as only catering to a specific segment of the campus population. Have the foresight to expand what it means to be a part of your organization, as well as the limitations of what your organization can do.

According to Wikipedia, “White is a pet enthusiast and animal health advocate who works with a number of animal organizations, including the Los Angeles Zoo Commission, the Morris Animal Foundation, and Actors & Others for Animals. Her interest in animal rights and welfare began in the early 1970s, while she was both producing and hosting the syndicated series, The Pet Set, which spotlighted celebrities and their pets.”

Like many of our chapters, Betty makes sure to find the time to incorporate service into her incredibly busy schedule. More importantly, through her work, Betty was able to find a cause that was of particular importance to her. Many fraternity and sorority members view service as a chore, a mandate from nationals, and/or a necessary public relations tool. For those of us who have been truly impacted by a particular cause, it is easy to explain why we enjoy devoting countless hours helping others. Allow your organization to find a cause that is of particular importance to your members; this could be your national philanthropy, your school’s philanthropy, or another cause that your members truly care about. To do service right, your heart needs to be in it.

Despite the great work she has done for animals, Betty doesn’t want to be called an activist. In her own words, “You know what the problem that animal activists sometimes have? They only concentrate on the heartbreaking things to the point where the general public think, ‘Oh, here comes those animal folks again and I’m going to hear all the things I don’t want to hear.’ They forget to celebrate all the gains that we’ve made. … Sure, there are still big problems, but we’re making some good moves. I’m a big cockeyed optimist. I try to accentuate the positive as opposed to the negative.”

If you are doing it right, membership in a fraternity or sorority is amazingly life-changing stuff. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of negative stories floating around about us, and the media never seems to talk about the good things that we are doing. We can only do so much with our words. Writing letters to the editor and posting responses on news stories has about the same effectiveness as PETA members standing on a street corner passing out pamphlets. If you really want to change the way people see your organization, do it through action. Let the public see you truly living your values everyday. Instead of complaining about unfair stereotypes, get out there and change them yourself! To translate Betty’s words, “Sure we still have big problems, but we’re making some big moves. Be an optimist; accentuate the positive by dispelling the negative”.

Betty’s got her first performing gig in 1939, and has been entertaining the masses ever since.

Betty made a commitment. She has spent over 70 years working on her craft. As fraternity and sorority members, we make a life-long commitment to serving our organizations. Do not let your fraternity or sorority experience end on graduation day.

Hopefully I’ve given you a little bit of an insight to my appreciation of Betty White, and got you thinking a little bit while doing it. Feel free to leave a comment.

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Summer Fun: Regional Reunions

So you made it through another school year, Congrats!!

Summer has finally arrived. For the next four months, your going to be abandoning your normal routine of classes, work, and typical chapter activities (i.e. meetings, events, socials, service, etc.). You have a litany of options facing you as you plan out your summer; you can live at home, stay at school, travel abroad, complete an internship, take summer classes, work, or just relax and enjoy your time off.

This interruption in your regular routine has the potential to pull your attention away from your chapter, and your campus’ fraternity and sorority community. I propose that you take action, and reunite your chapter and/or your entire Greek community this summer to reinvigorate your passion for fraternity and sorority life.

Put simply, plan a regional reunion this summer that brings fraternity and/or sorority members together to demonstrate our shared values, and keep this thing we call fraternity and sorority at the front of everyone’s mind.

What Does This Look Like?

Regional reunions can be a simple get together between two brothers/sisters, or an elaborate event bringing together mass amounts of individuals from a variety of chapters. Here are just a few examples of what you can do this summer:

Plan a Lunch Date: So you know that brother/sister in your chapter that just joined this semester, and it wasn’t until weeks later that you found out that he/she is from your hometown? Or maybe it’s the guy or girl from another chapter that you went to elementary school, or high school with. Regardless of whether this person is your best friend, or if they’re someone you haven’t really talked to much, getting together can be a great opportunity. Here’s some helpful questions to ask when you meet up:

What was your favorite thing your chapter did last year?
What are you most proud of accomplishing for your chapter?
What chapter event are you most looking forward to next year?
What is your chapter’s biggest issue right now?
What is your future within the chapter and/or fraternity and sorority community?

Use this opportunity to recharge your Greek battery; get excited for next semester, and plan how you can make a personal impact on your fraternity and sorority community.

Organize a Day of Fun: What fun stuff are you planning on doing this summer? Wouldn’t it be cool if you got to do them with your brothers/sisters or other Greeks? You can go to the beach, go to an amusement park, play golf, go shopping, go to the movies, visit a museum or art gallery (I’ll stop now but you get the idea).

Use this opportunity to reconnect with fraternity and sorority members outside of the traditional campus environment. Make new friendships, strengthen preexisting ones, but most of all, just have fun being Greek!

Organize a Day of Service: Summer break offers you the time to step away from your hectic schedule. It does now, however offer us the opportunity to step away from our values. A service event is a great way to bring together fraternity and sorority members in an outward display of our shared commitment to service. If you have the luxury, work with your local alumni/graduate chapters, as this is a great opportunity for collaboration.

Use this opportunity to show the community our shared values, while bringing together members of all ages and affiliations to proudly show our shared values.

It starts with you.

All of these things are great to talk about, but it takes an individual with commitment and determination to actually get them done.

Most likely, you don’t know every single fraternity or sorority member who will happen to be in the same town as you this summer. Right this minute, you can work to change that. I suggest creating a Facebook group for the sole purpose of organizing the Greeks in your area. This group page will allow individuals to connect, and plan events in your area this summer. Invite everyone you know to join, even if they won’t be living close to you (it may inspire them to do the same for their area).

Regional reunions provide you with a unique opportunity to connect with your chapter members in an environment away from school. It also gives you the opportunity to connect with members from other chapters to build and enhance fraternal bonds. Take the initiative today to incorporate your fraternity and sorority experience into your summer plans.

Can you think of another way to have a regional reunion? Make sure to leave a comment for other to read!

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