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 am the president of my chapter who has recently been struggling with almost every aspect from recruitment, to candidate education, brother development and most importantly brotherhood.
We have begun to make huge strides since we have rid ourselves of the deadweight and everyone seems to be excited about being a member of the fraternity once again. My question is: what are good standards and foundations to have when we decide what information to quiz our candidates on? We obviously include our own fraternity and chapters history, but what about general Greek Life history and such?
First off – I applaud you for taking the hard steps to improve your chapter. Getting rid of the deadweight is always super-painful. It will be worth it in the long run though I assure you.
About your candidate education – don’t forget the fundamental purpose of it. First, you want to be sure these guys are guys that you want to be your brothers. Second, you want to start teaching them the skills they need in order to become successful, productive brothers.
As for the first part – that is easy. By spending time with these guys you will know if you want them to be your brother or not. This doesn’t’ mean that they met any challenge you put in front of them. It just means are they good guys of high character that you would be proud to call a brother.
The next part is a little trickier, because it is an opinion scenario. Who is really to say when a candidate knows enough that they can enter the brotherhood and be productive?
My personal opinion is that they should know the history of the fraternity/chapter before initiation. Greek Life history isn’t as important in my opinion. However, when they have learned whatever they are required to learn – move on. Often chapters use their chapter history as a platform to haze and quiz their new members because they aren’t creative enough to teach them anything else. This is a disgrace to their history and to the founders of the fraternity.
You need to spend this valuable time teaching the candidates how to recruit, how to throw a social function, how the risk management program works, how to put together a community service event and other critical fraternity functions. It is especially important to teach them these skills as candidates because they will be the most captive audience during this time.
If you need some ideas – there are a lot in my pledge program category. Also, I have devoted an entire chapter of my book, The Fraternity Leader, to a new member program that is extremely challenging but devoid of hazing. The best part about it is you can be assured that it will teach your candidates the skills they need to become productive brothers.