Top FraternityWhat is a top fraternity?

It’s the following 12 aspects that separate a fraternity from a top fraternity.

On this site, we discuss how you can transform your fraternity in each of these twelve ways.

12. Members Graduating

You cannot be a top fraternity unless your members are graduating. This is the goal of college. Top chapters produce graduates. Fraternities must never lose sight of this fact.

11. Active Seniors

When older brothers disappear, a fraternity often blames that particular brother for being the problem. It is actually the fraternity that is the problem. The fraternity must cater to all its members, not just the younger ones. Top fraternities have programs in place that the older brothers want to be a part of, and as a result the most experienced brothers remain active in the fraternity.

10. No Hazing

Top chapters don’t haze. They focus on building their new members up. This makes the brothers more active in the new member program and makes the new members productive brothers once they are initiated.

9. Strong Risk Management

Universities have little tolerance for fraternity shenanigans these days. If a fraternity breaks a rule, the university will make an example out of them. This is something that top fraternities realize, and they put a solid risk management plan in place to prevent this from happening.

8. Active Alumni Involvement

Top fraternities seek guidance and assistance from their alumni base. They realize that what the fraternity can gain in knowledge is much more important than the finances their alumni can contribute.

7. Clean House

The house is a reflection of the fraternity. This is a fraternity’s most prized possession. Top fraternities take great pride in their house’s appearance.

6. Active Community Service

The top fraternities are active in community service because they want to make a difference, not because they are forced to participate. Make the community service events fun, and the brothers will want to show up to do their part.

5. Strong GPA

Top fraternities take pride in their academics. They realize they must work hard to play hard, and this is reflected in the chapter GPA.

4. Leaders in Other Student Organizations

Does your fraternity develop leadership in the brotherhood? This is a primary focus of the very top fraternities. The easiest way to see if your fraternity is producing leaders is by the brothers participation in other student organizations. Top fraternities have leaders all over campus, not just in the chapter house.

3. Lively Social Life

Is your fraternity providing the social outlet that the brothers expect? This is much more than having parties. Top fraternities have countless brotherhood events that ensure the morale stays high.

2. Strong Finances

Keeping finances in order is probably the truest internal reflection on the strength of your fraternity. The brotherhood in a top fraternity will want to pay their dues, because they realize that the fraternity provides great value to them.

1. Strong Recruitment

You are either growing or you are shrinking. If your recruitment is strong, that means that outsiders believe in what you are doing. This is one of the strongest signs that you have a top fraternity.

Did we miss something? Let us know with a comment below.  If you are interested in learning more on how to make your chapter the best on campus – be sure to check out my book – The Fraternity Leader and The Chapter President – both available on Amazon.

10 thoughts on “12 Things a Top Fraternity Needs

    • Hazing is a holdover from the Civil War days when young men were prepared for war and the only way was to break them of their civilian habits and re-orientate them into the ways of military procedures and battle. The rule was to make these young men rely on each other as a unit. Unfortunately, Fraternities and Sororities are not at war and the use of hazing to instill the character most fraternities want and need is totally counter productive. The end result is cliques of men who only work with each other and further divides the club into little groups which do not always work together. This weakens the undergraduate chapter and leaves the Alumni chapters begging for new members. It is a no win situation and one the universities will no longer tolerate because of the publicity and legal costs associated with it.

  1. I’m with yall on a lot of the above conversation. I think in a lot of these organizations the younger members get more social gain because they can’t get into or at least easily drink at bars. It’s not that seniors grow out of the drinking/fun aspects, but they grow into access to alternatives that they didn’t previously have.

    It can be difficult to keep them involved when one of the biggest returns of their investment is significantly devalued. Which happens at the same time they’re getting burned out from being leaders in the chapter for a couple years, and at the point they need to seriously focus on graduating.

    I don’t necessarily have great answers to keeping them involved. We try to slide some key leaders into certain roles, like a past president as sgt-at-arms so he’s effectively an advisor and backup to the current president. We try to get an older guy at alumni relations, cause he has more interest in that being good.

    Something we do to make the connection from #11 back to #8 though is alumni events. Our chapter’s alumni association has a regional director for each of the major metro areas in the state. They do a quarterly happy hour in each of those cities. Those aren’t huge deals, probably 15-20 alumni attending each event. But, it’s a feeder for our couple big centralized events back at the chapter each year. What we do though is we have seniors road trip to a couple of those. It becomes networking that leads to a lot of jobs or internships, and it helps make the transition from active to involved alumnus.

    We don’t have a province system anymore, but we started inviting a few more chapter’s alumni association to participate in those regional events, particularly the couple chapters in the state that don’t have a charter right now but do have alumni floating around out there without a chapter to support any events.

    We’re also using those regional groups as a logistics foundation to run summer recruiting events. Meaning actives reach out to their high schools all spring to identify prospects coming to our school. Then they meet up with them when back home for the summer & if they like them then they invite them out to a couple events we’ll do in that metro area – like pool party/bbq at my house. Again that’s something a bunch of chapters can work together on cause they each individually don’t have a lot of guys to work with in that geographically separated city, but together they can come up with a sizable group.

  2. “Do you think that part of it is we thrust your youngest members into leadership roles too early? It isn’t uncommon for a 2nd semester sophomore to become a chapter president.”

    For the most part, I do believe we actually “trick” men into joining our organizations. They join for the people, but they actually don’t necessarily understand all the expectations or what they do. For the most part, I think they realize they made an excellent decision to join and are motivated..and we put motivated men to work. Partly because the older guys are burnt out, partly because of the day to day drama that comes with keeping 20/30/40/50 college men on the same path.

    “That means by the middle of his junior year he is done with his term in office. I can’t help but think that the mindset of a brother in this situation is that he has accomplished everything he can, so what is really left…”

    Good point. My ritual stresses that I need to continue to learn and improve myself..and in turn use that to help the group. Whether that is better alumni relations, networking, different social group I can introduce to the chapter, a higher level position in another organization…recruitment. Recruitment might actually be the most important. We preach to our younger members, you are the ones interacting with the freshmen/sophomores on campus, go recruit your dorm, your classes, your organizations. But every member has a resonsible to recruit. If every junior and senior didn’t recruit that’s a lot of men that aren’t “pounding the pavement”. As an undergrad junior/senior. Seniors need to be the “closers”, they need to be the example that new recruits look up to and say, “I want to be that guy.” Also, seniors, in their wisdom, need to go find the guy that will replace them…be in the guy who is always DD, always calms the hotheads down, always pays for X,Y,Z, always…

    “Officers and Chairmen should always be open to support, advice, and even direct guidance in their roles by other brothers.”

    Agreed – being elected doesn’t mean you become a dictator. Do our officers and Chairmen ever say, “Hey, what did you think about the way I did this?” Our chapter actually sent out a survey to members via surveymonkey so that it was anonymous…allowing for feedback. Send it to your BOA, your chapter advisor, your alumni.

    “I would add lucky number 13. I think a fraternity’s prized possession is its ritual, and I personally don’t think you can call any chapter “great” if it doesn’t prize its secrets and execute (on all levels) flawlessly.”

    Agreed. Whenever I visit a chapter president, the visit always goes the same way. First they want to vent about all the things that are going wrong and then they want ideas for solutions. 99% of the time, I start each response by going back to the ritual. Saw this on twitter:

    Q2 – With a copy of creed, mission statement handy, brainstorm a start doing, keep doing, stop doing list – Translate to action! #GreekChat”

  3. To add to the discussion above, I think we have to explain to our undergrad ‘experts’ (aka seniors) how they can be useful–they have knowledge the younger brothers need. Officers and Chairmen should always be open to support, advice, and even direct guidance in their roles by other brothers.

    I would add lucky number 13. I think a fraternity’s prized possession is its ritual, and I personally don’t think you can call any chapter “great” if it doesn’t prize its secrets and execute (on all levels) flawlessly. You can’t really talk about it, and you shouldn’t brag about it with your brothers, but a great chapter should feel greater when all of its brothers prove their dedication to these facets of fraternity. And in my opinion, if you don’t take ritual seriously, you don’t deserve to call yourself good.

  4. Agreed. Which why we need to examine how we recruit. Can’t take the easy way out. Do we rush into things? Do we rush with the values of our ritual in mind?

    Should we cater to our older members, yes…but we also need to think about how we go about recruiting the men who join in the first place.

    For the organizations that have young members focused on the right things, we need make sure everyone is doing their part, holding every brother accountable…or the leaders will get burnt out down the road, and we will have to deal with what I commonly hear:

    “He was such an important member of the organization, now where is he?”
    “We need brothers to step up.”

    • Do you think that part of it is we thrust your youngest members into leadership roles too early? It isn’t uncommon for a 2nd semester sophomore to become a chapter president. That means by the middle of his junior year he is done with his term in office. I can’t help but think that the mindset of a brother in this situation is that he has accomplished everything he can, so what is really left…

  5. Good breakdown of the basic, but key characteristics that make up a top fraternity. Would be interested to see you expand on #11. Joining my fraternity was not an undergraduate experience, but a lifelong experience. I see so many of the men that join fraternal organizations lose interest in their later collegiate years…and once you lose that members interest as an undergraduate, it will be very difficult to reinvolve that member as an alum. And if you’re not graduating active seniors, that is a direct detriment to #8.

    Do we see men leaving the organization, going out into the real world and focusing on personal endeavors, careers, family, etc and then returning to alumni involvement in later 30’s, early 40’s? Yes – but the younger alumni can generate the greatest impact on the chapter since they are in a position to relate to the undergrads more directly.

    Going back to #11..if the seniors see no value in the organization, who would be most likely to inspire them…the successful recent graduates who can connect with them…but we’ve lost some of them from poor alumni relations programs…it’s a vicious circle.

    To me, the answer is unselfishness. When you put the organization before your needs, and you remember the bond you took to be a part of a lifelong fraternity, you focus on doing your best to help the chapter as an undergrad, you engage alumni and creation continuing education and networking events for juniors/seniors and you remained involved after you leave the chapter. You are always a member of your organization, even if now you’re an “alum”.

    • Very good points. Joining a fraternity is a lifelong experience, something that not many undergraduates probably realize.

      Per #11, I think a lot of weaker chapters confuse the fraternity for a drinking club. The younger members focus on parties and drinking, and eventually the older members grow out of that phase. Fraternities must do a better job catering to the older members or run the risk of losing them forever.

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