Auburn Fraternity

I recently stumbled upon your website while I was planning on running for president of my fraternity. Your website became very helpful during that process and ultimately helped me become elected. I have now been in office for a few weeks but I face an extraordinary struggle to keep the executive board and other chair positions motivated and on-top of their work. This leaves me doing most of the work and constantly having to keep reminding people of what is expected of them. I truly believe that my best guys in the fraternity are on the exec board currently, however I need to find a means of getting them more motivated to want to do work and thus relying less on me to do everything. Other than re-electing an exec board, what do you propose?

Answer:


Congrats on getting elected chapter president.  That is a huge honor and I’m sure you are very proud of your accomplishment.

It is easy to motivate people to do the things they want to do.  For example, chances are your brothers like to come to your fraternity parties.  It isn’t hard to motivate them to come.  They aren’t as motivated to clean the house afterwards.  Keep that in mind when you try to motivate.

Set your exec board up for success.  The secret to motivating your fraternity brothers is to find out what initiatives and projects they want to do, and let them do it.

Do this by having one-on-one talks with the members of your exec board.  Find out what they are passionate about.  Remind them of the promises they made when they were running for office.  Chances are they will be much more likely to produce when you give them these projects.

Finally, your job as a leader is to make sure he finds success.  That means helping him stay on task, and helping him overcome any road blocks he may encounter.

If he is planning a party and needs another guy to help clean the house, let him know you are his man.  If he needs someone to address letters as part of a fundraising campaign, you are there.  If he needs someone to pick up rushees to make the event on time, then you will help.  And you will do all this to support the brother by staying in the background and not looking for any credit.

Remember if he is successful, then you are successful.  Let him succeed and feel good about his accomplishment.  This will lead to bigger and better things.

Question:

I am a student at a local community college, and majoring in engineering. I work a job, but also have to pay for school, so my income would have to go to school instead of a fraternity. Needless to say, school is my priority, but I have always wanted to join a fraternity since high school, and a lot of my childhood friends are Greek. Auburn University is right down the road and I intend to transfer there, hopefully in the fall. My question is how can I afford to pay for fraternity dues if my income must go to my tuition?

Answer:

It is easy to find reasons why you can’t do something.  The financial reason for not joining a fraternity is just an excuse.  Very rarely is it a legitimate reason.

I know this because I lived it.  I paid my way through school.  I got loans and always had a job.  Joining a fraternity was another financial burden, and a big one, but it was an investment in myself.  It was an investment that I knew would make me a better me.

So I planned ahead.  Like you, I majored in engineering which led me to summer jobs that paid well.  I worked my ass off during the summer and saved enough money to pay my fraternity dues for the year.

It was a priority to me, so I figured out how to make it work.

Looking back, what seemed like a lot of money turned out to be one of the best bargains of my life.  I learned to lead, made life-long friends and had a hell of a good time in the process.  I exited college a lot more well-rounded as a result of the education I had at the fraternity house.

I encourage you to think big-picture here.  You have the opportunity to associate with the highest caliber men at one of the elite schools in this country.  I promise you that you cannot put a price tag on that.

War Eagle and good luck.

Question: 

Hey Pat, first of all I want to say thanks for running this website. I’m the Founding Father of a fraternity and the information here has been really helpful. As I said, we are brand new and my school has more than twice as many social sororities as social fraternities. Also, we are not a part of the university’s IFC yet and probably won’t be until next spring at the earliest. We’ve tried reaching out to the sororities about speaking at their chapter in order to introduce ourselves, but they’ve been advised against doing events with us by the university since we are not recognized as a registered organization yet. Ideally, we’d like to start forming those relationships and to get involved with things they do like community service and philanthropy as well. How do you think we can do this despite the obstacles I just mentioned?

Answer:

Thanks for the kind words about the site.  Glad it is helping.

Regarding your issue – I wrote a chapter on a similar subject in my new book – The Chapter President.  The chapter is titled “Improving Your Chapters Image” and I think that applies here.

Your goal is to develop a relationship between your chapter and a sorority.  It seems like the IFC is making it difficult for you, but that really doesn’t matter because you don’t develop relationships by giving a sales pitch to a bunch of girls at their sorority meeting anyway.  Trust me – that won’t work.

The image outsiders will have of your chapter will be created by the image the outsider has of your individual brothers.

Think about it this way…

A sorority sister has a relationship with one of your brothers in one of her classes.  The brother is an excellent student.  Is a gentleman – he’s well dressed and has good manners.  He wears his letters proudly.  Over the course of a semester the brother becomes friends with the sister.

Because the sister doesn’t know any of the other guys in the chapter, she will assume they are all like this guy and she will have a positive image of the chapter.

These individual relationships are what form the relationships between organizations.

So make it a priority to have your brothers develop these individual relationships.  If these exist, then it will be a natural progression for the chapters to want to do things together, regardless of what the IFC says.

Question:

My chapter went through a membership review last year, and due to this and other unfortunate reasons, only 4 members were retained. However, that next fall rush we increased up to 15. We are currently struggling to get our numbers up.

Spring Rush only got us four new members and this is problematic because we are on the verge of losing our house. Our fraternity doesn’t have a pledging process and overall because we are SigEps and we pride ourselves on being different. Our Balanced Man Program is a concept of striving to improve through a sound body in a sound mind.

What I can’t seem to fathom though is that we spend so much effort on differentiating ourselves from “frats” but yet other potential new members still rush other fraternities and become pledges and go through an excruciating hazing process. My question is how do we market correctly so that we can get as many members as possible but don’t compromise our values by making ourselves comparable? How do we better boost PR for next Rush? 

Answer:

It is a great mystery why young guys subject themselves through pledge programs that involve hazing.  I think part of it has to do with the fear of losing the fraternity if they quit.

For a lot of kids pledging, this is all they know about college.  This is their entire social network, and losing all the friends in one swoop is scary.  Also, while the hazing exists, it eventually ends and a twisted feeling of accomplishment is the result.

I commend you guys for being different and above hazing.  Your chapter will be stronger as a result.

Regarding your recruitment PR issues, it is very similar to my answer above.  People join people, they don’t join organizations.

While you are very proud of everything SigEp stands for, a guy rushing isn’t really going to care.  At this stage of his fraternal experience, he isn’t interested in that.  He is interested in finding the group of guys where he will fit in.  He is looking to find friends.

Your sales pitch doesn’t need to be about selling the fraternity at all.  This will only scare him away.  Your pitch needs to be about making friends and developing genuine relationships.  If a true friendship is formed, then you can rest assured that he will eventually understand the purpose of the Developed Man Program because chances are his values and beliefs are very similar to yours.

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.






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