I’m the President and My Fraternity is Really Suffering – What Should I do?

fraternity probation

This question was submitted by a reader. If you have a question you want me to answer – go here.

Question:

I was initiated my freshman year into a house that was on probation for alcohol-related incidents and we have been on probation ever since. Probation has made our house alcohol free and we’re not allowed to have social events unless they are educational. We are also not allowed to participate with other Greek houses on campus.

As you can imagine, this discouraged many of our members and we continually lost members, as well as motivation. We are currently at 6 members with 2 pledges and a pretty good sized names list. I am extremely worried about our house and don’t know what to do to increase our numbers and get us out of this rut. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks!

Answer:

This is a tough situation to be in. However, being in this situation actually has a few advantages which I’ll explain in a minute.

Before you can focus on rebuilding your fraternity, you must make sure you have a clear understanding of what your chapter is all about. Why should guys want to be a part of your fraternity? What do the brothers get out of being part of your organization? What are your goals?

Once you get a clear understanding of what your fraternity is all about, then you will be able to sell potential new members on those ideas. Hopefully, you will be recruiting guys with the same mindset.

And when you recruit these guys, explain to them that they will be expected to run the fraternity once they are initiated. You and the other brothers have to be willing to give away control of the fraternity to the newly initiated brothers. This is a huge recruiting advantage you have over the other fraternities on your campus. It will also attract leaders, something desperately needed by a struggling fraternity.

That is the first major advantage. Another one is the guys you get to join will be highly motivated. Older, more established fraternities can lack guys with the drive to innovate. You won’t have that problem. The excitement of the new brothers will be contagious, and your fraternity should be able to rebound fairly quickly.

As for your probation issue – you need to do a few things there. First off, you need to understand why your fraternity got in trouble, and put the safe-guards in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Fortunately, no probation lasts forever. Be sure you are proactive with the Greek Life office, Student Conduct and your National Headquarters during this tough period. Ask them for advice, and let them know the things you are doing to turn your fraternity around. It is on you to reach out to them, not the other way around.

I know you don’t believe it right now, but these folks want to see your fraternity succeed and prosper. Treat them like they are on your team, and your fraternity can come out of this stronger than ever.

If anyone has additional thoughts, please leave a comment below.

To learn more, check out our most in-depth article on being a fraternity president: How To Be a Great Fraternity President

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