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 in a bit of a dilemma. My fall semester of my freshman year in college I joined a nationally recognized fraternity, part of IFC. I then transferred to a different school for my sophomore year.
The school I’m at now didn’t have a chapter, so I tried starting one myself. It wasn’t even my idea at first, but my friends started the idea in the fall of 2011 and were down to start a chapter with me. I thought it would be a great opportunity, but this past year I’ve been a one man team. I’ve recruited a few members, but the numbers are barely ample to become an interest group, and many potential members aren’t as committed into paying dues and putting in the time and effort into the fraternity as I am. The looks of it seems hopeless.
It’s almost been a full school year and I’ve become nostalgic of being a part of Greek Life on campus. I’ve been given the opportunity to help/join start a completely new fraternity, specifically part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, with its first ever chapter. Would I be able to be part of this newly created fraternity?
No. You are not permitted to join another fraternity due to your membership in your current fraternity.
The only way you would be permitted to join is if your current fraternity gave you a release from membership. Essentially, this means that they have to expel you. You can petition to be expelled if you feel this strongly about it, but don’t expect your fraternity to eagerly release you to join another fraternity.
That being said, it seems to me that your problem is not with your fraternity, but with the experience you are having at your new school. You new chapter sucks, but you want to have the experience found in good chapters.
My advice – don’t take the shortcut! Make your new fraternity great. That will be much more rewarding in the long run.
There are a ton of resources to make your fraternity great. My site is a great place to start, as is my book The Fraternity Leader. Go talk to your Greek Life advisor. Get help from your national headquarters. Gain knowledge, and then apply it to your situation.
Finally, don’t ever forget that you made a commitment to your fraternity when you were initiated. You took an oath to be a brother for life. Your character in life will be defined with how you handle difficult situations such as this one.
Even though your situation seems difficult now, remember that you are ultimately responsible for the destiny of your chapter. This is a tremendous challenge and opportunity. However, I promise that you will be rewarded in the long-run for your loyalty.