fraternity legacy

This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.

Question:

How do you leave your legacy?


Answer:

Great, great question.

We all want to be remembered for doing great things.  I am sure you want to look back with pride saying my fraternity is better because of the things I did.

So how do you leave your fraternity legacy?

You make your fraternity legacy by focusing on what is important.  And there are really only two things that matter.

First, you can make your personal legacy by being a good brother and good friend.  When you are graduated and are long gone from the university, your brothers will not remember how great you were at rush or how you can plan an awesome fundraiser.  They will remember how good a guy you were.  Building your legacy is partially about how others will remember you.  Think about that in your daily dealings with your brothers.

Second, your fraternity legacy will be defined by the impact you had on the fraternity.  We all have different talents which enable us to all improve our fraternities in different ways.  The end goal though remains the same.  Can you create something that has such a profound impact on your chapter that it is better because of your actions?

So what are some ideas?  There are the obvious ones like eliminating hazing or drugs in your chapter.   Eliminating those things will have a huge positive impact on the future of your fraternity.

How about improving your house situation?  Maybe you need a new house or you need to renovate the one you are in.  That improvement will have a lasting impact.

What about improving your chapter finances?  Maybe you can lead fundraisers or improve collections to the point where your fraternity is in a very strong financial position.

The most important thing you can probably do is grow your fraternity.  Has your chapter been stuck at 30 brothers forever?  Maybe you are the guy who can lead the fraternity to finally get over 50 brothers.

Don’t forget academics.  It is critically important to the chapter.  If you can create a culture where brothers succeed academically, you will be helping your brothers lay the foundation for successful lives.

Like I said, there are a ton of ideas to leave your legacy, but I want to offer a word of caution in a personal story:

I went back to my chapter a few years ago.  I had been out of school about 10 years.  Out of curiosity, I asked the brothers what traditions they kept.  They mentioned a few things I had started.  I asked them if they knew who started those events, and they had no idea.

Of course, I did not tell them that I was the one who actually started those things because at that point it didn’t matter.  What mattered is the traditions I started were still going strong, and the fraternity was better for it.

The point here is you will leave your personal legacy where your brothers will remember you how great a guy you were.  But the legacy you leave on your chapter will not be attributed to you in the long-run because no one will remember.

But realize that you don’t improve your fraternity because you are looking for personal accolades.  Time has a way of erasing even the best memories.  You strive to create your legacy because you want your chapter to be better.  You leave your legacy so YOU can look back with pride on what you did.  You legacy should never be tied to the hopes of others recognizing you for being the great brother you are.

And that is what leadership is all about.  It is about busting your tail to make something better for the next guy knowing you will not be recognized or probably even ever see the benefits of your hard work.

If you have that mindset, then I am positive you will leave a lasting legacy on your fraternity that you will look back and be proud of someday.






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One thought on “How Do You Leave Your Fraternity Legacy?

  1. These are all great suggestions. I’ve been amazed by the things I helped start that my chapter is still doing. Not nearly the ones I would have thought or necessarily chosen, but nothing bad.

    What I’d tell you is a fraternity has an incredibly short institutional memory. People are there for a few short years and gone. A year or two after you’re gone few people are going to remember or pass on that you were involved in anything you left behind. 4-5 years later people probably won’t know your name, much less what you accomplished or probably even believe the traditions or programs they’re carrying on started such a short time ago. You literally do something a couple times and it’s a tradition. You do it a couple years and everyone just assumes it’s always been that way. Just make those good things instead of bad.

    I say that so you apply some humility to this effort. Leave behind traditions, programs, etc. A brotherhood by nature is not about you. It’s about the greater good. Don’t do things because you want to be remembered. Do things because they’ll make the place profoundly better for future generations of your chapter.

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