As summer comes to an end the time to start preparing for school year as fraternity men is now. Preparation may be the most important thing to set yourself for a successful year in all aspects of your fraternity. It’s time to cut your vacation a little short, knock some work out and enjoy being completely ready to hit the ground running when you head back to campus.
Community Service/Philanthropy – The last few weeks of summer are perfect to start your community outreach and figuring out your plans to make community service/philanthropy a priority this school year. Many times it’s an after thought, nothing more than a nagging requirement that begrudgingly gets fulfilled. Community service ends up being last-minute thing that’s done with an annoyed attitude. That doesn’t have to be the case. Contact your local non-profits and see what you can do. If your events are planned months in advance, there’s absolutely no reason for any brother to be lacking on service hours. Food banks, homeless shelters, woman’s centers, orphanages, retirement homes, parks and recreation, community centers – the list of places that need your help goes on and on. Reach out and create partnerships, form bonds and be consistent in returning to help those same people. With this time you have you could plan a signature event like a car wash/bakesale, dance-a-thon, bachelor auction. Google ideas and make moves!
Social Events and Networking – Yet again, you should already be on your game when it comes to getting connected with people. Find that you’re getting blocked out of sororities’ social calendars? One way to avoid it is to contact the officers of the sororities before school starts, get on their calendar as soon as possible, especially if there’s competition from other fraternities. Choose dates, locations and themes for events. Mix things up, try something new and venture out of your comfort zone (http://tinyurl.com/mixer-ideas). Play games, sing karaoke (terribly), dance video games, hold a picnic or a speed “friending” event – just get people together. Do not be afraid to collaborate and socialize with other fraternities. Our campus does show much inter-fraternal brotherhood but this is the year to change that. Sports games, movies, athletics, and the usual. Friendly competitions are welcomed, or combining for educational programming is also useful. It helps to have to friends in other fraternities.
Recruitment – It’s either your favorite or the most dreaded thing to plan for. It’s no secret that if you don’t recruit your chapter literally and figuratively dies. This will not be that year (may it never happen) if you buckle down and get cracking. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as a chapter in direct correlation to your recruitment attempts (conversion rates, social skills, connections, recommendations etc.). Find what you do best (faculty connections, strong campus image, incoming first year friends) and go with it. Pay extra attention to what you do poorly (get phone numbers, following up, sealing the deal, being explicit) and fix it to the best of your ability. Reach out to your national headquarters for help if need be and the advisors for fraternity/sorority life on your campus and in your chapter. Contact alumni and figure out what they did to survive. Make a plan of action, figure out which events you’ll attend, and plan some of your own. Have that information ready for move-in day (especially if you’re helping first year’s out with it) and get to talking. Recruitment doesn’t have to be this hardcore weird thing, it’s just talking to people, connecting with them and being a friend – that’s it. Brotherhood comes naturally afterwards. Set realistic (keyword here) goals for recruitment and take it step by step. Here’s a list of quick recruitment event ideas (should mostly be free, but if you’ve got money to spend, spend some) : http://tinyurl.com/recruit-quick & Recruitment Tips http://tinyurl.com/recruit-tips
Master Calendar – I can’t tell how absolutely essential having a fraternity calendar is. There are so many events that happen and things people need to be aware of. Calendars are the best way to keep your whole chapter organized. As the VP of administration I take full responsibility in congregating everything onto our calendar. Make sure to have as much information as possible available. If your brothers are like mine, searching for info is not their top priority. I include website/Facebook event links when possible, full addresses, attire, cost and if anything is required. In chapter we have people verbal commit to events and I record them in the notes section in our google calendar as well for extra accountability. As soon as I hear of an event, I put it on there. The further ahead you are the better. Make alerts 3 days before an event to remind brothers that something is coming up, in the midst of college life things tend to be forgotten and overlooked until we’re left scrambling the day of.
The school year is upon us whether we’re ready or not. This is the year you finally put your prep plans into action instead of regretting it after the fact. Here we go, back to campus.