Fraternity Party

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:

Our chapter is and has been falling apart and I’m concerned about our future.  Many of our brothers do NOT agree with our exec board’s decisions because of their poor communication. It has gotten so bad, that they have conducted secret exec meetings and made decisions without the chapter present to vote or decide on what is right for us. I am going to stand up as a member in defense of the chapter because our chapter president is very, very self-centered. He is in this for himself only, and although he loves the Fraternity he is not a good leader…


The chapter needs change. A select few don’t understand the meaning of brotherhood. I’ve been stabbed in the back, I’ve seen brothers fall down the wrong path with drugs and I don’t want this to continue.

Please help!

Answer:

This is a tough situation.  You know your fraternity is struggling, but you feel powerless to do anything about it.  You need to start a grassroots revolution, but you don’t know where to start.

Follow these steps and you will be able to improve your fraternity.

1)      Be sure you understand your vision for the fraternity.  There are a lot of people who complain that the fraternity is falling apart and that it needs to be better.  However, a lot of times these people don’t have ideas on how they would change the fraternity.  People who complain, but don’t offer solutions are whiners.  If you want to be part of the solution, be sure you understand what needs to be changed.

2)      Have private talks with current leadership to better understand the current state of the fraternity.  It sounds like communication is a problem, and you don’t understand why the executive committee is making the decisions they are making.  As a common courtesy among brothers, you owe it to them to talk to them before you publicly voice your discontent.  During these talks you may find out that your vision is very similar to theirs, but there are barriers that prevent that from being a current reality.  If that is the case, you can be strong ally in overcoming those barriers.

3)      If you still believe that they don’t get it – then you need to take the initiative to improve your fraternity.  Just because you are not in a leadership role doesn’t mean that you can’t lead.  Here are things you can do to improve your fraternity while not being on an executive board:

  • Strengthen the brotherhood – The foundation of brotherhood is the strength of the friendships of the brothers.  Work on making your brothers better friends.  This means eating more meals together.  The means working out, going out and studying together.  Don’t exclude anyone, especially the exec members.  The more time you spend with your brothers, the closer you will become.  This will strengthen the brotherhood.
  • Improve your fraternity’s image – The first step in improving your image is to make sure you represent yourself in a way that brings credit to the chapter.  Be a model student, friend and member of your community.  And wear your letters in the process.  Let everyone know you are proud to be in your fraternity.  The second step is by letting others know how good you are.  Never miss an opportunity to brag on your chapter with outsiders.  There are good things about your fraternity – focus and celebrate those things.  Tell sorority girls how awesome your social events are.  Tell prospective new members about the great brotherhood events you have.  Tell your professors about how being in the fraternity has improve your academics.  This type of positive energy is infectious.  If enough brothers take in upon themselves to share how awesome the chapter is, it won’t take long before the entire chapter actually believes it.
  •  Recruit – Fresh blood does wonders for a fraternity.  New members are excited to start their fraternity experience, and have no idea the baggage the chapter has.  Don’t let them know it.  Focus on the positives, and feed off their energy.  Empower them to improve the fraternity.  TFA has a ton of great recruitment advice – and here is a great place to start – fraternity recruitment.
  • Learn how to improve your fraternity – It is great that you want to improve your chapter, and it is great that you have a vision on how to get there.  But do you know the first thing about leading a fraternity?  Do you know how successful chapters are run?  To find out, read my book The Fraternity Leader.  This will give you a blueprint on how to run a successful chapter.  There is also a great chapter in there on leadership.  Also, talk to your Greek Life advisor and your National HQ.  They know what it takes to improve your chapter – lean on them for advice.  You don’t need to be an executive officer to tap into these resources.  You just need to be a motivated brother who wants to learn.
  • Plan something out of the box – Struggling chapters need something awesome to happen to them.  They need a story to tell or an experience to brag on.  Be the brother who comes up with an awesome idea and makes it a reality.  Whatever you choose to do – make it truly epic.  This will bring the brothers closer together.  Also, it will boost the pride in the chapter because they now have something they can be proud of.

4)      Share your vision.  Get others to buy into what you are doing.  Explain to them that you are doing these things to improve the fraternity – not get back at the exec board.  Get their buy-in to help.  If you can get other brothers to start doing the things you are doing to improve your fraternity, it won’t take long before you start seeing dramatic improvements.  And be sure to share your ideas with the exec  board as well.  Change doesn’t happen unless people know what the possibilities are. Don’t hoard your great ideas.  Let others know about them and make them a reality.  This is how you start a movement.

5)      Don’t look for credit.  If you do the things above – your fraternity will start to improve.  Your fraternity will start having more fun and the brothers will be happier.  You will know a lot of it (if not all of it) will be because or your leadership.  NEVER, EVER, EVER, take credit for the turn-around in your fraternity.  Remember that one of the things that motivated you to improve your chapter was a chapter president who was only in it for himself.  If you try to take credit for the chapter turnaround, you will be seen the same way.  And that will undermine all the work you have done.  Great leaders are interested in results and don’t give a damn who gets the credit for it.

6)      Plan for the future.  Your chapter voted the current exec board in.  You are stuck with them for better or worse.  However, one of the beauties of fraternity is that leadership turns over a lot.  You will have elections either this semester or next.  When that happens, be sure that you or someone who feels the same way you do is prepared to take over.  Check out this past article on how to win your fraternity election to make sure you are prepared to get elected.

If you follow these steps, your fraternity will improve.  These are subtle things you can do that will have dramatic results.  The underlying theme is to focus on the positive by taking the personal initiative to improve your fraternity.  And always be planning towards the future.

They key is to take action.  Stop complaining and do something.  It will be a hell of a lot of work – but will be extremely rewarding.  Someday you will be able to look back and know that YOU were the guy who turned around your chapter.  Your fraternity needs you.  Make it great.

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.

As The Fraternity Advisor, Patrick Daley has written over 500 articles and helped over 1,000,000 undergraduates improve their Greek Organizations. He has delivered the keynote presentation at national conventions and is the author of two books – The Fraternity Leader and The Chapter President.






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