Categories
Brotherhood

Think to Your Beginnings

The Blog has returned!

It’s been awhile since The Blog has been posting, and what better way to start of this great new revival with talking about where it all began, talking about our foundations and our beginnings.

The whole culture of Fraternity and Sorority Life is centered around our foundations and beginnings, those first groups of women and men who said “Let’s start something different.” on college campuses across the country. Those men and women created organizations built on strong foundations and values which have transcended the decades into our organizations today.

Or at least they should.

Because it’s easy to forget our beginnings sometimes. They get bogged down by the weight of what is currently happening, what is being done in the present moment, and the “trends” that might be happening in our community. But sometimes these things are so far from our values and beliefs that our true purpose, our true core, becomes clouded and we have to do a lot of soul-searching and digging to find it again.

How do we avoid all of that? Because let’s be honest, it’s not the best thing to do.

Well we prevent ourselves from getting there in the first place. We reminder ourselves “Dose this align with the values and foundations of my organization?” or “Would my founders be proud of what I am doing right now?”

Every action has a series of choices and consequences that we must face in the aftermath of our actions.

So remember your beginnings. Don’t let them get bogged down by what is popular or what other people are doing.

Be different. Be unique. Be your values.

Fraternally,

Brother Lemos

Categories
Brotherhood Leadership Recruitment

the Senioritis Curse

Membership development is a hot topic in the world of fraternity/sorority life. People are starting to ask questions about how we continue to grow our members as they move their time in their chapter and eventually move on to being alumni. Now more than ever national directors, college administrators, and members alike are asking what can be done to sustain members throughout their undergraduate tenure in their organization. My question is how do we utilize senior brothers.

Senior year of college has been one of the most stressful years in my matriculation. I am in the most advanced classes offered in my chosen discipline, my involvement continues to be high, and I am tasked with the gargantuan task of figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life. It’s a lot too handle and it has made me reevaluate what is most important to me.

The area where I have the most control over my circumstances is my participation in clubs/organizations. In a time where I am making important decisions that will determine the course of my life for the next few year, the endeavors that used to occupy my days seem trivial and almost frivolous. And something that has been such a big part of my college experience, namely fraternity life, has become part of that list.

I’ve heard it and seen it before. Senioritis sets in and seniors stop caring about pretty much everything, but this is not that. My love for my chapter is unwavering but for the first time in my membership I feel absolutely useless. I feel like I serve no purpose. I am no longer an executive. I am not essential. I am a member without a cause.

Senior members are some of the most underutilized participants across the board. From others in the organization and they themselves, the notion of “this doesn’t matter … I’m graduating” runs rampant. This excuse of graduating from both us and those who fail to use us is wholly detrimental. Until we walk across the stage on commencement day we can be useful, so use us.

But in that same way don’t use us and throw us away. We deserve better than that. We’ve given our all in our membership and somewhere, deep on down there, we still want to. Recognize us and make us feel seen, heard, and valued.

We’re not motivated to do anything or to contribute productively. Recruitment for example – what’s the point? We’ll spend less than a semester with these new members before departing, the possibility of lowered dues won’t take effect until after we’ve graduated, and our interactions with underclass-peoples are pointedly limited. Of course the answer to that question is rhetorical – it’s what we signed up for, what we promised when we joined, and part of what it means to be a member. However, those brash and brazen heartstring-pulling sentiments have lost their resonance. We’re cynical, tired, and beyond rousing motivational speeches, scare tactics, and incentives. So how can we be helped?

It’s on us AND on you to make our last semester worthwhile.

Seniors

  • You’re not too old or too good to participate in events, programs, or meetings
  • Give the proper respect to your executives and fellow members – no one needs to earn from you, it’s mandatory
  • Embrace change – yearning for how things “used to be done” can be derailing; bring insight but refrain from stifling new ideas and opinions
  • PARTICIPATE – bring your whole self, show up on time, and stay to clean up; prove yourself
  • Stop blaming the future for why you aren’t living in the present – you have more time to offer than you let on

We’re a tricky bunch. We know we can still do amazing things but it doesn’t seem like anyone needs us to do so. Need us, ask for help from us, and let us teach you what we’ve learned. Make us matter! If you let us fall by the wayside that is how we will depart and that’s no way to leave a relationship that’s supposed to last a lifetime.

Members

  • Give us things to do and things we actually care about –  you should know us best so keep us involved by assigning tasks that we have always loved doing
  • Avoid belittling us – menial tasks are a no-go; we want purpose
  • Hold us accountable – if we’re flaky, disinterested, or bring a bad attitude; call us out and remind us how much we used contribute positively
  • Know our constituency – we’re not new members, nor are we your average member – treat us as we are (members who are unfortunately moving on)
  • Show your appreciation for us – thank you’s and expressions of gratitude go a long way; we will not be here forever – be good to us while you can

I love my chapter – that will always remain true but if you really think I am invaluable treat me as such before it’s too late. If you want me to come back, to donate my time or money, and to stay in touch this is the most important to make me feel wanted, needed, and appreciated. We’re your senior brothers but we’ll be alumni soon.

How do you keep your senior members engaged?

Brother Oteng

Categories
Brotherhood Community Leadership

Climb

Almost a week ago today, I had the opportunity to partake in an event that truly impacted my life. CLIMB, the UVM Fraternity and Sorority Life Social Justice retreat allowed me to meet and build so many new bonds with my brothers and sisters in FSL, but also opened my eyes and made me stop and think about my role in the communities that I am a part of. It made me think about my values, those that have been instilled upon me by the teachings of others and the ones that I have created in my own personal growth.  I had no clue what I was getting into when I first signed up for this even at my first chapter meeting in February, but now have had the time to let the lessons of that event sink in, I can honestly say it was the best spur of the moment decision that I’ve made.

You Are Always Wearing Your Letters – video

One of the goals of CLIMB is that the lessons in leadership, social justice, and the living of our values be brought back to our fraternities and sororities.

LEADERSHIP: That’s easy. Knowing who you personal are as a leader. Stepping up to take and active role in the leadership of the fraternity, even if you don’t have a position. One of the core values that Phi Mu Delta believes in is democracy. In a democracy, everyone is a leader and everyone has a voice. Every voice is valuable and as I like to say when it comes to voting and playing an active role in the decision making process, you can’t complain if you don’t let your voice be heard.

SOCIAL JUSTICE: This one, in my opinion, is a little bit trickier. The main goal is to make us aware of the personal biases and even stereotypes that might just happen without us even knowing it. The first step is always admitting that something is wrong. Also, educating ourselves on the way that we can potential help others become aware of their bias and being an ally for every person, regardless of color, race, creed, or position.

This last one, VALUES, is a little bit harder. First we have to address our values. And not only the values that we say at the end of every chapter meet, but also the ones that we carry with us in our everyday lives. It is when those personal, public values become intertwine with the values that we hold as brothers of Phi Mu Delta, do we get to the true point of CLIMB. When we start living all of our values, and our fellow brothers and sisters begin to live their values, then a web is built, one that is shown to the community and says, “We are Greek Life and this is what we TRUELLY believe!”

Climb 2

It is then that we can begin to build a wall, not one that divides, but lifts all of us up to a higher standard that we as fraternity men and sorority women put ourselves to.

It is then that a new, positive light can be shed on the stereotype that surrounds fraternity and sorority life.

It is then that CLIMB and its goals have done it job in building a better FSL community

 

Don’t Forget to Stay Awesome,

Brother Lemos