Contrary to popular belief, the social chair is the second most important position in a fraternity. Don’t ever forget that a fraternity is a social organization. It would only make sense that the person responsible for the social events would be vitally important.
The key to any chapter, and the mission of the social chair, it to make sure the brotherhood is always looking forward to something. A chapter needs something to look forward to just like a person needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
To create this feeling, the social chair must always be one step ahead of the chapter when it comes to planning events. Once the date is selected for an event, the social chair needs to serve as a cheerleader to get the brotherhood excited about it.
I believe a chapter should have one major event a month that the brotherhood looks forward to. In the fall, I recommend having on party thrown by the brothers, one party thrown by the pledges, a semiformal and a road trip. In the spring, I recommend one party thrown by the brothers, one party thrown by the pledges, a formal and a year-end awards banquet.
It is easier to promote an event and get the brothers looking forward to it if the event has become a chapter tradition. For example, my chapter started a spring tradition of having a beach party. We would first flood our front yard with several inches of sand and put a hot tub in the middle of it. We would then cut down bamboo and use it to make a tall fence around the chapter house property. Brothers would wear the most ugly Hawaiian shirts they could find, and they would be on the lookout for them all year. Brothers always looked forward to the event because they knew it would be a great time.
Most chapters look forward to the formal being the highlight of the year. Our chapter was no different. We would often rent a few beach houses in a row and make that our destination. It was easy for us to get to the beach by car in a few hours. The allure of a beach destination worked great for us. It worked great because the focus was on the houses and the beach. The entire chapter would stay together the entire weekend because that was the place to be.
We found it important to make sure costs were kept to a minimum. It is always a shame when a brother cannot attend formal because it is too expensive. The social chair (or formal chair if this responsibility is delegated) should make sure that the event is reasonably priced to ensure that everyone in the chapter can be a part of this event.
Every chapter should have at least one road trip per year. My chapter probably had the greatest road trip of all time. Our road trip took us to a chapter a long way away from home and one long weekend turned into a semester’s worth of memories.
A year-end banquet is probably the most important event of the year. It is at this event that the chapter should recognize brothers who will be graduating. We would have the little brother give a short talk on his graduating big brother at this event. The little brother would highlight the brother’s contributions to the chapter, thank him for everything he had done, and congratulate him on graduating. Then the big brother would say his goodbyes to the chapter, often in an emotional speech. The chapter needs to take this opportunity to thank these brothers for their contributions. It will create a lasting memory for the graduating brother, and it ensures he realizes he is appreciated for everything he has done.
Also, this event is the opportune time to recognize the highlights of the year. Showing a slideshow of all the great times is a great way to do this. People never get sick of seeing themselves, and this is a way to capture and remember all the great times you had that year.
Chapter awards should also be given out, along with changing executive offices. Alumni should be invited. After the ceremonial part, everyone should have a great party to celebrate the great year.
Finally, the social chair needs to fill the gaps between great events with a bunch of informal events. This includes football tailgates, basketball games, cookouts, movie nights and whatever else the chapter likes doing. We actually created a separate position for these responsibilities called the brotherhood chair. It was his job to schedule an event where everyone was invited. Most of the time, these events did not cost the chapter any money, but were a great time for the brothers who participated.
Again, the key is making sure the brothers had fun, and these types of events did that.