Master the Move-In

At most colleges and universities across the country, an important date looms on the horizon. It’s your opportunity to personally meet dozens of new students at your school, display yourself and your chapter in a remarkably positive light, and begin the process of recruiting new students towards membership in your fraternity or sorority.

Of course, I am referring to freshman move-in; an extremely stressful time for new students and family members alike. This is your time to shine as an ambassador for your chapter and your institution. Many fraternity and sorority communities have embraced this opportunity, creating a move-in program that helps to carry the freshman’s belongings from the curb to their room. If your school doesn’t have such a program set up, contact your Student Life Office and/or Residence Life Office immediately and ask them why they are so far behind.

Why is this so important?
Move-in is an opportunity for fraternity and sorority members to outwardly display their values to new students as well as the ever-important family members. You will become their first impression of fraternity or sorority members on your campus. If you do it right, you can leave the student and their family with an understanding that fraternities and sororities on your campus truly care about the campus community. If you master the move-in, you can walk away with much more than that.

What to do on-site:

  • Coordinate with your fellow fraternity and sorority members. As you see a car pulling up, identify if the new student is a man or woman. For the most part, sorority women should be helping women, fraternity men should be helping men.
  • Walk up to their car, greet each person with a smile and a handshake (if you’re sweaty and gross, forgo physical contact).
  • Introduce yourself, “Hi, I’m Taylor from Alpha Beta Gamma Fraternity/Sorority. I’m here to help you move in. What can I do to help?”
  • Remember the student’s name, and if you’re really good, the parent’s names, too.
  • Help them carry their stuff to their rooms (Make sure you’re taking it to the right room. We’ve all made that mistake).
  • Stick with that student for the entire time they are moving in, don’t jump to another car.
  • Strike up simple conversation with the student and family. Start building a friendly relationship. It’s easy to get caught up in the physicality of the day; try to make sure you are building a relationship with those you are helping and not just grunting up the stairs as you carry boxes.
  • Provide them with a service of value. Ask them if there is anything you can help them with such as finding the bookstore, a good place to eat lunch, or directions to the parking lot. Make yourself a knowledge resource by giving some helpful hints for successfully navigating their first couple days on campus.
  • Don’t talk about your fraternity or sorority unless asked, try to focus the conversation on the new student.

What to wear:

  • If your school doesn’t require you to wear a standard move-in volunteer shirt, find your own way to look professional and easily identified. A collared shirt with letters stitched on the chest, or simply a t-shirt with letters are ideal. There’s no need to create an entire shirt only for move-in (Panhellenic chapters, I’m looking at you here).
  • Everyone should have a name tag of some sort. Whether it’s engraved, or a “Hi, My Name Is…” you’ll want people to be able to identify who you are, and remember your name.
  • I wish I didn’t need to say this last one, but after being around move-in crews for 5 years, it needs to be said. Guys, wear some deodorant. Ladies, wear comfy shoes; no flippy-floppies!. Do your best to look presentable as to make a good impression.

Close the deal:

  • Have an event to invite this person to. It could be an all-campus event later that night, or an event put on by your chapter. This will give you a reason too…
  • Get their number! Don’t leave the room without it!  Use your Phired Up Social Excellence Skills. “Hey, are you going to big huge event later? I’m definitely gonna be there! Tell you what, give me your number, I’ll call you and we’ll meet up beforehand.” Or even better, “My friends and I are going to be grabbing dinner at the cafeteria later, why don’t you come with us? We can give you the low down on what food to avoid over there. What’s your number? I can pick you up on my way.”

If you follow these suggestions, you should meet somewhere between 15-30 potential new members throughout the day. Not everyone you move in will be right for your organization, some may even be of a different gender. Regardless, freshman move-in day is an incredible opportunity for your organization. Make the most of it!

Were you recruited during freshman move-in, have a move-in recruitment success story, or your own tips on how to make move-in day successful? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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