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 love your info and read it all the time. Your book (The Fraternity Leader) is awesome and a definite must-read for all fraternity men. I wanted a little more one-on-one advice, if you could give it.
My colony is a great group of guys and our nationals is behind us 100% towards our chartering, but our school’s IFC and student life refuse to let us ‘on campus’. We are not recognized by either of these institutions and, therefore, cannot officially mix with any sororities or hold any official functions on campus.
There was a rule that there could only be one colony on campus at a time, which I think is a completely anti-freedom and anti-greek anyway, and when the other colony on campus finally chartered it came time for the school/IFC to ‘vote’ on who they would allow on campus next. We were already a colony of 15-20 guys, but they voted to bring on another group with a cold start recruitment, meaning they had no guys, no interest group, nothing.
My fraternity has done nothing to deserve this treatment by our IFC. In my estimation, IFC could see that we had the drive and national reputation to become a force on campus and this is the reason they voted the way they did.
We have been moving forward and making strides despite this setback. We are now a colony of 30 and are on course to charter. As you can see, we are doing what we can, but this issue has been a continued source of discouragement for our chapter. We are trying to do what we can to continue to support the Greek system and put ourselves in a positive light with them, but do you have any advice as to what we can do to help the situation? As always, your advice will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for the positive comments about the site and The Fraternity Leader. I am glad you and your brothers are getting a lot out of them.
My chapter actually went through the exact same thing. We were chartered by our nationals the semester I became a brother, but we weren’t recognized until a year later.
It seems like you guys see this as a negative, but we turned it into a positive. We used it as a fuel to create an “us vs them” mentality with the other fraternities on campus. It helped us during recruitment, because we could honestly say we were different from the other guys. We had a chip on our shoulder, and it helped our young chapter build a strong foundation.
The only negative we saw is we couldn’t play intramural sports in the fraternity leagues. We had to play in the open league. Outside that there were no negatives.
Your sorority mixer issue should not be an issue. Invite a sorority to one of your functions. If they are hesitant to call it a mixer, then don’t call it a mixer. There is nothing wrong with inviting them over for a social function (we did plenty of times). Don’t get hung up on labels.
Also, don’t forget the added benefits of not having to pay IFC dues or abiding by their rules. Most schools don’t allow rush to happen until a few weeks into the year. You guys don’t have to abide by that. Your school may also have screwy social rules which you don’t have to abide by either. Be sure to take advantage of this situation.
That being said, I PROMISE you that sooner than later you will be accepted into IFC by invitation. They will see that you are kicking their butts in recruitment and they will want you as part of their organization. If you want to speed the process up, have a talk with the Greek Life Director and explain to him your concerns. He will be able to ‘coach’ the IFC president into being more receptive of the idea.
Finally, remember that fraternity is about YOU and your brotherhood. You don’t need acceptance from anyone else to become successful. If your brothers are having the time of their lives because of their association with the fraternity, then they won’t care if they are members of the IFC or the girl scouts.