My fraternity has made great improvements over the past couple years.
We have improved numbers and the quality of the men we are taking in. We got a house and have abundant numbers of people who wish to live in there. We have incentive for executive positions and members with the highest grades getting spots in the house.
We have problems with alumni not supporting us because we changed pledging so that we no longer haze – go us! But they don’t support us anymore and always personally attack members.
Some are supportive but it is ripping our chapter apart. Guys that make it through are motivated at first then decline because you lose sense of family with the disturbances. People want positions for titles and not to help. New members seem to fit the persona more than older members solely because of the dedication and faith. Older members are lazy when they get positions. We need help!
Elections are soon (beginning of APRIL) and I want to give a speech to encourage people to change our direction and create more clear and concise expectations. We are smaller (25) and each person has a genuine relationship with all others. Not sure how to go about and I graduate in one semester. I don’t want to leave my house in this condition.
A chapter of 25 guys isn’t always a reflection of a bad chapter. However, it is a sure sign that the chapter is in the danger zone. It only takes a small blip in recruiting to be a chapter in the teens, and when that happens it is only a small blip from closing.
You are obviously doing a lot of good things. Eliminating hazing is great – you guys should be proud of that. You have some work to do though. Here is where I’d focus:
1 – Nothing brings a group of guys together faster than working together to accomplish a common goal. We teach that in our pledge programs, then we often forget to continue to teach that important lesson with our brotherhood. Put a goal or two out there that the brothers can get behind. Make sure it is something that will motivate them. Working together will strengthen your chapter – especially when they get a taste of the success it brings.
2 – If the alumni aren’t buying into your no-hazing culture then the hell with them. This isn’t the 60s anymore. Hazing isn’t tolerated in any way, shape or form in today’s fraternity culture. Don’t let them bully you into not following your values.
3 – Don’t get hung up on change. Change is such a cliché buzzword that doesn’t mean crap. Focus on getting better. Focus on improvement. Get with the future leaders of your chapter and discuss ways you can get better. Leadership is about these types of small, continual improvements.
4 – Celebrate the winners in your chapter. Be sure the guys with high GPAs are recognized. Be sure the guys who do the dirty work for the chapter are thanked publicly. Be sure the guys who live in the house feel appreciated. Gratitude is one of your biggest weapons as a leader.
5 – Get the chapter to focus on the future. More importantly, get them to focus on ideas. These ideas for improvement are the foundation for the future of your chapter. Obviously, in your current position you have the ability to mentor and guide the younger leaders in your chapter down the right path.
6 – Recruit! If you can score a ten man pledge class, that will have a profound impact on your chapter. A membership of 35 is significantly better than 25. You will have the manpower and resources to do a lot more things. Really make a strong push to improve your fraternity recruitment.
7 – Chill out. Being a former chapter president is tough. You pour your heart and soul into the position and then it is over in a blink of an eye. I’ve been there and I certainly understand. However, part of leading is having the ability to let go gracefully. Let the future guy know that you will do anything they need to support them. Then get out of the way and let the next guy take his shot. What he accomplishes may surprise you.
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