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.
I’m the president of a colony at my school. My school’s fraternities run small about 20 to 30. We’re currently at 18 after one month on campus. We just got a house this summer. The sororities love us, and we have plenty of people wanting to rush. The newer guys we’ve brought in a far better quality then many of the original brothers.
However, the original 10 to 12 guys are pieces of work. I love them and I know we’ll do anything for one another when push comes to shove. But getting them to do simple things like help clean the house after a party can be difficult to impossible. Also the major work; rush, fundraising, charity, and the house, is run almost completely by 5 guys.
Now I need to get all the original guys to do what is required of them. Also it was agreed that we were all going to put ourselves through all our own new member events before we take in another new member class.
How do you think we can effectively go through 12 events in a month, before taking a new member class in the beginning of October while keeping a social agenda running to rush and keep sororities and ourselves happy?
Your story is very typical of colonies. Normally, there is a big rush of enthusiasm with the alpha class. It is easy to get guys to join, because everyone is on level footing and no one quite knows what they are getting into. It is also cool to be part of starting a new fraternity.
However, after that first year many colonies realize that there are brothers who really don’t belong. Most of the time the brothers in question will realize that the fraternity isn’t right for them, and will quit on their own.
Your story is a little different though. It looks to me that you don’t have a very clear understanding of what your fraternity is all about, and what your brothers want. This could be causing the issues you bring up.
Having events after events makes the fraternity seem like work, especially if it isn’t what the brothers want to do. If you deem all these events you have planned mandatory, then I can assure you that a faction of the brotherhood will blow them off.
My suggestion #1 – find out what your brothers really want out of the fraternity. Talk to each one individually and in groups. Make it the focus of your chapter meetings. Find out what the brothers want and make fulfilling their wants the goal of your leadership team.
Once the brotherhood comes up with an agreement what the fraternity is all about, make sure each brother realizes their responsibility. If there are brothers who do not share the vision or refuse to meet their obligations, expel them. They are a cancer to your fraternity and have to be removed quickly before it spreads.
Suggestion #2 – DO LESS! Your colony sounds like work. Think about it from where your brothers sit. They have class, jobs, girlfriends, other student organizations and other friends. However, the schedule they have for the fraternity probably takes more time than all that combined.
An interesting thing will happen when you start doing less. The brotherhood will become more excited and start really looking forward to fraternity functions. This enthusiasm will make accomplishing all your goals much easier.
Suggestion #3 – Don’t put yourself through your new member program. You are just wasting time. Focus on having a quality new member program where your focus is teaching your new members how to be good brothers. Eliminate hazing and make if fun for all involved. I actually detail how a new member program should be run in my book, and I highly suggest checking it out (The Fraternity Leader).
It sounds like you have a ton of positives going on in your colony. It won’t take much for you to make it to that next level.
To learn more, check out our most in-depth article on being a fraternity president: How To Be a Great Fraternity President