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Question: My chapter is doing very poorly in almost all aspects of fraternal life – athletics, recruitment, social, philanthropy, alumni connections, etc. If anything, we’re extremely close to dying because our numbers are slowly diminishing. And to add more salt to the injury my brothers are not motivated and are content with where we are at. It’s almost like they have given up. My question is, as a graduating senior, what can I do help my fraternity? Where do I start and how do I go about it? I love my fraternity because it’s given so much to me and I hate seeing what it’s become.
Answer: I first want to commend you on being a graduating senior that still wants to make a difference. It happens everywhere when seniors are on their way out, they feel that “they have served their time” and pretty much do nothing. I can tell you are frustrated and I can sense where your feelings are. I have seen chapters in this position and I have seen their leaders, seniors or otherwise, look around and wonder what to do. Though I do not have a silver bullet or the perfect plan of attack, there are some key strategies that can help identify key issues and start moving the chapter in the right direction:
How a Graduating Senior Can Help Their Fraternity
Be the Example
Chapter apathy can be turned around. Many times chapter members need an example to look at and emulate. Why not be that example? It’s even better if you have others who share your concerns. As a group, even if it’s just a small coalition of brothers, get out there and do some work to repair your chapter one step at a time. I’ve talked before about Positive Peer Pressure. Use it to your advantage.
Focus on What Matters
You listed quite a few areas of concern. You cannot fix everything simultaneously. For your campus and your chapter, what are they truly important aspects that need to be remedied before you can effectively move forward? From the looks of it, and this is an altruism of any chapter, recruitment needs the bulk of your attention. Which leads to…
Strengthen Recruitment Efforts
Every problem is a recruitment problem. You can have quality and quantity, yes. However, do not sacrifice one for the other. The best way to inject excitement from new members is to recruit a solid class of young men that “get it” and have that same drive you appear to have. Even if you have to do it yourself, it can really help a chapter rebound. It won’t happen immediately, but it can take as little as two recruitment cycles to make it happen!
Look for Help
By checking in with Fraternity Advisor, you’ve done this already! Your Nationals and/or local advisors are more than willing to help. Since these folks tend to not know each and every single detail of what is going on, they often don’t know there is a problem until they get information about it (grade reports, Greek Awards reports, etc). Why not be proactive and ask for help? Why not include these folks in your plan? There is a reason they do what they do. They love their fraternity and want you to succeed.
I know you are a graduating senior. I understand that it can feel impossible to look at those tips and get a great concrete plan of attack. However, if you have asked for advice and help, you have the will to do it. Find your brothers that can help you get the ball rolling, and I think you may be surprised at what happens. Best of luck!
This answer was written by Joe Russo, an alumni brother from Phi Delta Theta and contributor for the thefraternityadvisor.com. If you are interested in writing for thefraternityadvisor.com – let us know (CLICK HERE)!