Grocery List Recruitment

by Branden Stewart, Phired Up Undergraduate Intern

grocery_250x251The other day I went to Target with one thing on my mind: toothpaste. I’ve been out of town and hadn’t been thinking to grab any since I’d been running low. After distractions with sales on DVDs, thoughts of buying a frozen pizza for dinner, storage containers for some files I have in my apartment, and some fun t-shirts…I walked out of Target with a box of cheese balls. Not once did I even go down the toothpaste aisle.

After getting home and realizing that I had failed at my initial purpose of getting my toothpaste, I was frustrated. Here I was sitting in my room, munching on this giant tub of cheese balls, frustrated that I just spent the last hour of my life doing something pointless. Yeah, I got SOMETHING out of my trip. And to be honest, I was happy with what I got. But I didn’t get what I NEEDED.

Think about this in relation to recruitment. You graduate some amazing seniors in May, losing past chapter leaders, compassionate listeners, and the kinds of people that can always make you laugh. There is now a void in your chapter: while those people will always be a part of your fraternity or sorority, they can’t be there for your chapter every day. If you know that you’re down some great soccer players for your intramural team, why not recruit from the soccer team. If you know that your chapter will need to cultivate some new leaders soon, look at recruiting already proven leaders from your student government or RHA.

Consider a typical college student grocery shopping adventure. If you don’t want to waste a lot of money, you go in with a list: cereal, ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese, frozen pizza, and Doritos. Once you get to the store, you make sure to look for the things that are on your list, but you might also pick up some other things that you didn’t know you wanted or needed: gum, a magazine, soda, and ice cream. By the time you head out of the store, you’ve left with what you NEEDED (and you might have even gotten a little EXTRA if you had enough money).

Look at recruitment the same way. If you don’t want to waste your resources on people that won’t move your chapter forward, go into recruitment with a list: athletes, student leaders, honors students, and student employees. Once you get into recruitment, you make it a point to recruit the people that you know you NEED to make your chapter great, but you can also meet and look at everyone else that could someday make a great brother or sister like the guy next to you in your first class or the girl who works out at the same time you do. By the time you’re done with recruitment, you’ll have left with the things you NEEDED (and you might have even gotten a little EXTRA if you were socially excellent).

If you go into recruitment with your “grocery list” and you know what you’re looking for, there is a good chance you’ll spend the time and resources that you have getting the best members to move your chapter forward. You don’t have to be ultra-specific with your list; if you’re looking for all the dark-haired, green-eyed kids, you read this blog wrong. Put your best foot forward to collaborate with your brothers or sisters before school starts to develop what you’re looking for on your “grocery list”, and don’t forget what you came to get in the first place: a high quantity of high quality new members.

What If… Fraternal Extremes in Action

by Matt Mattson

Back in December of 2009 I delivered a small breakout session with my friend Brandon Cutler at AFA titled Fraternal Extremes.  Some pretty wild ideas came out of the session that you can see here and hereImagine the compelling story we could tell potential members if these ideas were put into action.

Funny thing…  Someone actually put these ideas into action!  I love being inspired by fraternity/sorority life, and this is one of those occasions. 

Two quick notes to make this post absolutely relevant to our blog and Phired Up’s messages.

  1. If we’ve never clearly stated it before, Social Excellence necessitates a dedication to social good (at least that’s what I believe).  If fraternities & sororities are going to truly become socially excellent, they must do bold things like the stuff described in the E-mail below.
  2. Want to be better at recruitment?  Have cool stories to tell.  Don’t be boring.  The stuff in the E-mail below makes me want to join their organizations.

What’s really cool is that I’m about to deliver a similar session to the one I helped deliver at AFA when I’m at FEA Field Staff tomorrow.  Could this E-mail I got (below) be any more timely?

Read and be inspired.  Thanks Alex.

 —–Original Message—–
From: Brown, Alex
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 8:43 AM
Subject: Extreme Fraternalism Follow Up

Good morning sir,

This is Alex Brown, and I met you at the 2009 AFA Annual Meeting. I attended your Extreme Fraternalism presentation, and shared some of our projects from the South Dakota State Chapter of Delta Chi. I wanted to take a few moments to share some successes that I’ve seen from my own chapter, and others that I worked with.

threeatfloodwallI had mentioned when we met how we had brothers bike from Brookings, SD to Las Vegas, NV for our National Convention to raise money for the Jimmy V Foundation. This year, our Convention will be held in New Orleans. Four brothers decided they would canoe from Brookings to New Orleans to raise money for the Jimmy V Foundation once again. For more information about their trip, you can visit their website:

At the time of the AFA Annual Meeting, I was the Greek Life Graduate Assistant at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. As I told you before, I came back more energized than ever, and was ready to share that with my students. My first opportunity came when I helped lead a service trip to Ecuador in January. A newly member to our STG chapter was along, and we began to have discussions about what it truly meant to be a member of Greek Life, and it was amazing to see how he responded. When we got back for the start of the Spring Semester, he took off and truly became a leader in his organization. When their recruitment efforts faltered, he lead the charge and brought in nine new guys. Along with other young members of the chapter, they organized an organ donation event, which served as a kickoff to a new program by the state of Wisconsin, as well as raised a significant amount of money for a new transplant house in Madison, WI. The state organ donation organization was so impressed and grateful. They’ve also begun to spearhead other projects, including their new push to coordinate a sexual assault/prevention program sponsored by fraternities across the state of Wisconsin. He has been just one of the shining examples from the community that has responded to Extreme Fraternalism.

However, there was one event in particular that made me the proudest. During your session, you asked us to write down one idea that we would like to implement. I wrote about my desire for our community to host a supply drive to benefit an international community in need. Moved by his experience in Ecuador, my student (along with many supporters) recommended that the philanthropy event for Greek Week be a supply drive for the needy families in Bunche, Ecuador. The community responded very well, and raised over 750 lbs of clothes, books, school supplies, medical supplies and so much more. The donations continue to roll in, and many community members are planning on participating in the service trip to help deliver these donations.

This week, I began my new job as the Coordinator of Greek Life and Student Leadership at Keene State College in Keene, NH. This is a newly created position, and I have the opportunity to really begin to give this community the attention, support, and advising they need. I’m very excited to be a full time professional in this wonderful field, and am eager to see where the next few weeks take me. I wanted to thank you and the entire Phired Up team for the work that you do. It is truly appreciated! Thanks again for everything, and have a great day!

Best Regards,

Alex Brown
Coordinator of Greek Life and Student Leadership

L.P. Young Student Center
Keene State College
229 Main Street
Keene NH 03435

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”- Aristotle

Summer Jobs, Recruitment, and Hard Work

[Guest Blogger Keith Collier, an undergraduate from Grand Valley State University's Delta Sigma Phi chapter, was inspired to write this blog for Phired Up to, in his words, "pay it forward."]

ABOUT KEITH COLLIER: I am currently the Recruitment Director for the Epsilon Tau chapter of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity at Grand Valley State University. I have one semester left as an active member and will be graduating in December 2010.  I am extremely passionate about recruitment and our Grand Valley Fraternity and Sorority community and am interested in bettering our community in every way possible. I have been learning from Phired Up on a daily basis, especially from their recruitment book, Good Guys and now I want to give back and explain what has worked for me by paying it forward, here, now.

collier2Classes are done, finals have been successfully completed (hopefully), and summer has started shining upon us all.

Time for “Summer vacation”. Right?

Well for some, summer vacation consists of laying out by the pool with friends; for others, it’s working a summer job and might not seem like much of a vacation-however, it’s all about perspective. I am blessed to have one of the best summer jobs imaginable.

Currently I work as a summer orientation assistant for the Grand Valley State University Admissions office. Every weekday during the summer a new group of 100+ incoming freshman are eagerly and nervously awaiting their first taste of college life. While it might be my 40th day on the job going through the same process over and over again, it’s their first day, and a very important one. It’s crucial to make a lasting impression on every student possible-especially those men and women, who show potential in becoming a rock star within Fraternity and Sorority life.

Going into this summer, I knew I was going to meet a lot of new students but I never knew how beneficial it could become for Grand Valley Greek life and more specifically a names list. Men and women alike are very interested in Fraternities and Sororities here at Grand Valley and with this job I am able to put them in touch with the right people, dispel any stereotypes, and “plant the seed” in their minds before they step onto campus in the Fall. This aspect is extremely rewarding.

In addition to Greek life as a whole, summer recruitment and the idea of Social Excellence is alive here at Grand Valley State University. On any given day my two other brothers/co-workers and I meet at least 10-15 quality men and women who are saying to us, “Yes, I am very interested in your Greek community and will be checking it out in the Fall.” If you add it up throughout the summer, it easily totals 700+ quality men and women. Numbers like that would almost double our Greek life here at Grand Valley and bring in new and vibrant members/ideas/enthusiasm.

Having this job exposes you to every incoming freshman, BUT with any job, the job title alone doesn’t mean work is getting done. It’s almost the same thing as wearing your letters around campus and waiting for someone to ask you about Fraternity and Sorority life. Here’s the trick with a job such as this – hard work. Crazy concept, right?

You have to be willing to work, hard, everyday. Yes, it is the summer, but despite popular belief even today, recruitment never ends. Day in and day out, you need to bring your “A” game because with this job, you have one day to genuinely capture their attention and interest in order to follow up in the Fall. You have to strive to be Socially Excellent and be ready to make the extra effort to remember their names, get their contact information, add them on Facebook, and then take the time to follow up with these potential members throughout the summer and into the Fall.

The most important thing to remember with summer orientation is to make every student feel as comfortable as possible with his or her first real college experience. As mentioned earlier, first impressions are everything and incoming students will remember you for years, if not a lifetime and when the formal recruitment process rolls around, get ready, because its just that, very formal (for the most part).  Summer, however, is not. I would recommend using the relaxed environment of summer to your advantage and grow the bond through casual meetings, lunch, summer events, really anything you can think of. More than likely you will have more time in the summer, so grow a deeper connection now because it will make the “formal” portion of recruitment that much easier.

Make them your friend, introduce them to your friends, introduce them to your Fraternity and Sorority community, invite them to join and become an actively engaged member.  All it takes is hard work (Dynamic Recruitment), being Socially Excellent on a daily basis, and the “right” summer job to boost your names list and your Fraternity and Sorority community.

Beta Theta Pi’s 6th Recruitment Step

by Matt Mattson

We deeply respect Beta Theta Pi Fraternity.  I know many colleagues in our fraternity/sorority field share that sentiment.  We look to Beta as an organization that consistently leads with integrity and continually delivers fraternity with excellence. 

Our partners at the NIC just posted a blog on how Beta has adapted the NIC’s proven 5 Step Recruitment Process by adding a sixth step, and I had to immediately look into it.  As expected, some great stuff on recruitment can be found if you read what I read.

Here is the blog post from the NIC.  Here is the magazine article from Beta Theta Pi (pgs. 14-17).

You should read those.

Below are some highlights from what I read…

  • First, here are the NIC’s 5 Steps plus the new one from Beta: 1) Meet him. 2) Make him a friend. 3) Introduce him to your friends. 4) Evaluate him against standards. 5) Introduce him to the fraternity. 6) Ask him to join.
  • The new “6th Step” Beta is teaching is “Evaluate Him Against Standards.”  Love it.  Sounds like a Values-Based Selection Process to me.  I absolutely love when organizations and people I respect are teaching messages that are consistent to ours and doing it in their own way.  Here are some other areas of agreement.
  • Quantity Drives Quality. From the article, “The phrase we should be embracing is ‘Quantity Drives Quality’ which simply means the more people we meet in a meaningful, quality way, the more selective we can be.”
  • From the article, “People join people.  Not brochures, not T-shirts, not parties, and certainly not websites. People join people. Period.”
  • The way Phil Fernandez and Allen Hardin (authors) open the article about wasted money is beautiful.  Makes me want to high five them the next time we see each other (by the way, the project Phil’s doing at University of Michigan this year is worth watching if you’re interested in cutting edge expansion — actually all of Beta’s projects are worth watching).

There are more highlights throughout… mostly I wanted to give some props to our friends over at Beta Theta Pi.  They’re good.


by Josh Orendi


What a cool word.  Don’t you think?  Well, I’m a little bias because I think I just made it up.  ha!

I don’t know where the word Indistractable came from, but it’s been stuck in my mind for two days now.  I like that it sounds powerful and intentional.  It sends a message of action.  When I repeat it in my mind I picture someone with laser focus, singular purpose.

In reviewing the hundreds of blogs on the Phired Up page and thinking about the thousands of recruitment ideas, tips, stories, and testimonials that we love to share … I had a moment of clarity.  There is a time for gathering ideas, and there is a time for action.  When any of us arrive at the moment of action, that is when it happens.  You know what I mean, right?  Remember that moment at the free throw line, the second before tearing the seal on the SAT exam, or the part of the evening when you lean in for the first kiss?  It’s that moment of being in the zone, being fully present.

It’s a beautiful, euphoric experience to be indistractable.  To know exactly what you want and know that you are in hot pursuit.  Most of us live for and love those moments.  They are the times when we are at our best doing things that we define as most important in our lives.  Those are the moments when we are truly brilliant … being not thinking … tuned in 100%. 

I mention all of this to draw your attention to the rarely discussed skill that makes all this possible.  Not adding new information, but deflecting it entirely.  The ability to shut off all the input, silence the inner voice, block out the external noise, live entirely in the moment, and be excellent. 

On an everyday level this is the difference between being paralyzed by a long to-do list and being intentional about completing the most important single item on that list.  In a room full of strangers indistractable is the difference between feeling overwhelmed or awkward and choosing to give yourself entirely to a conversation with one new friend.  During a recruitment speech it’s the difference between speaking from your head and speaking from your heart.  Indistractable will be the moment in time this year when you personally place the pin of your organization on your best friend and know that you can call that person your brother/sister for the first time. 

Indistractable.  What a powerful word with a profound implication.