by Jessica Gendron Williams
Honestly, we have a LOT of “easy steps” you could take (and some hard steps too) to help make sorority formal recruitment easier, but here’s one in particular we want every Panhellenic sorority community in the country to know about: Use CampusDirector.
We’re really proud to recommend to the whole sorority world that your community should utilize CampusDirector from TechniPhi as your formal recruitment management software. We believe in this tool, the team, and most importantly the direction of where CampusDirector is heading.
You might know by now that Phired Up bought CampusDirector late last fall and helped to form the new company, TechniPhi (read here for more info). Every year around formal recruitment season we see our Greek Advisor friends start posting on Facebook and Twitter about how EXASPERATED they are with the job of managing sorority formal recruitment. They post cries for help in the middle of the night and they’re always sure to name the software they’re using to manage the process. CampusDirector is included in some of those desperate pleas for help from the dark. We hear you friends. We hear you.
That’s why we formed TechniPhi and acquired CampusDirector. We believe that with Phired Up’s deep understanding of the sorority recruitment experience, the knowledge of our sorority recruitment experts, and some sweat equity, we can work to make sorority formal recruitment easier for everyone — easier for campus fraternity/sorority advisors, easier for Panhellenic communities, and easier for PNMs.
Now, we’re not magicians. It’s a big job to put the words “easy” and “sorority recruitment” in the same sentence. But that’s what we’re aiming for. We’ve already started to make some exciting improvements, and those have come from LISTENING TO YOU! Here are a handful of reasons we’re proud to promote CampusDirector for your use right away…
I recommend you reach out to Ellen Chesnut at TechniPhi (she’s a Kappa Kappa Gamma from Iowa State). She can help you make the transition now so you’re ready for fall recruitment. What might be even easier is if you just click here to request a demo.
by Jessica Gendron Williams
Let me start by saying that fraternity and sorority has showed up in the news lately way more than any of us are comfortable with. We’ve been put under intense scrutiny for some very real, very big mistakes we’ve made. Mistakes that do not represent what we espouse ourselves to be about. We’re supposed to be better than that and I believe – deeply – that we are so much better than that. However, it’s time to take a critical look with a sense of some urgency at what we’ve done to put ourselves in the situation we’re in now – with more critics than ever.
I’ve remained relatively silent on most of the current issues facing fraternity and sorority – not because I don’t care or don’t have an opinion, but because I’m not an expert on hazing or alcohol or sexual assault or racism. I didn’t want to clutter the already noisy discussion when people who are experts were echoing my beliefs and opinions better than I could and with more credibility than I have on those topics. Then a colleague asked my opinion one day. And then a reporter called and asked for my opinion, too. I started to realize that my voice does matter in this larger dialogue – but maybe not in the way I originally believed.
I was asked by a reporter last week if I believed that fraternity and sorority was an outdated idea – if I believed there was a place for fraternity and sorority on a college campus anymore. I replied,
“I don’t believe the idea of a group of people gathered together around the common purpose of deep friendship, that inspires and drives oneself to be better, and that is focused on making the world a better place is an outdated idea. That idea will never be outdated. I don’t believe fraternity and sorority is an outdated idea. However, some of our ideas, practices, and traditions are outdated and this is an opportunity for us to have a national dialogue and take a critical look at some of these things that have become outdated.”
I might be biased but I believe that recruitment is the root of all good and the root of all evil in fraternity and sorority. When things are good, we can look to recruitment and see that we recruited the right people. When things are wrong, we can look to see that we recruited some of the wrong people into our organizations. Now, I am not attempting to simplify some very complex issues, however I do believe some of our recruitment practices are outdated and deserve to be a part of the larger dialogue about how we fix fraternity and sorority’s great problems of the 21st century. This is the place where my voice matters in the larger dialogue. How recruitment is effecting the current issues of fraternity and sorority.
Below, I offer what I believe to be 6 outdated practices or ideologies that are effecting our current and long-term success as fraternities and sororities – in the area that I know best – recruitment. Before I begin, it’s important that I say that this is not intended to be an epic game of finger pointing or blame. There is no one organization, chapter, umbrella group, campus or person responsible for our current reality in fraternity and sorority. We are all responsible. This isn’t an attempt to push off responsibility for problems on other people. We have to stop wasting our time figuring out who’s to blame and start figuring out how we make change. Let us, together, pull back the curtain, and take an honest look at what is wrong – and have a real dialogue about what we can do to fix it. It doesn’t matter who’s responsible for our current state. What matters is that we are all responsible for fixing it.
Here are the 6 outdated practices and ideologies I believe we need to rethink:
1. Everyone who wants to be in a fraternity or sorority should be placed into a fraternity/sorority.
I fundamentally disagree with this idea. I think many of our current recruitment practices make the inaccurate assumption that every person who expresses interest in being Greek is qualified and – frankly – good enough to be Greek. They’re just not. People come to fraternity and sorority for a variety of reasons: friendship, belonging, service, philanthropy, leadership, parties, fun, social capital, popularity, power, prestige, personal development, a place to live, etc. That list can be much longer – and much uglier – unfortunately. Why are we allowing – and sometimes forcing – people who come to fraternity and sorority for the WRONG reasons to be placed into our chapters and our communities? Why do we celebrate 100% placement?
The reality that every person that expresses interest in a Greek organization also holds the same values that Greek organizations espouse is an outdated idea. I fundamentally disagree with the practice of attempting to place everyone in an organization through a recruitment process. I believe that not everyone is good enough or qualified enough to be Greek. We used to be elite organizations with high standards of membership reserved for individuals who exemplified our values in both word and deed. It’s impossible that every individual that wants to be Greek today exemplifies what we stand for. Is this practice (of attempting to place everyone in an organization) inadvertently putting bad people into our chapters and communities?
2. We make membership decisions based on how we feel about people or the conversation.
Now, I know and have been teaching that people join people for many many years. But I believe that recruitment is 60% relationship building and 40% interviewing a person for membership. Much of our membership decisions are made in split seconds based on how we feel about the conversation/interview and the person. Do we like them? Was the conversation fun? Was he cool? Was she cute? Do I want to be their big? Would I feel good about seeing them in my letters?
We can’t be making membership decisions that are based on feelings. The relationships are important, but if this the only qualification for membership than we’re nothing more than a friendship club. Being in a fraternity or sorority comes with an extra set of expectations and qualifications. Those qualifications and expectations are quantifiable and measurable. They’re based on facts and data not feelings and emotions.
Using conversations and no criteria to determine “fit” and “qualifications” is an outdated idea. We need more quantifiable standards for membership that allow us to find high quality people.
3. We don’t know what we’re looking for, consistently and measurably, in candidates.
While in some instances, our chapters and organizations do have a written selection criteria that is supposed to be used to determine if someone is qualified for membership, I do not believe that our undergraduate members are adequately prepared to understand how to consistently assess if a person possesses those values within a conversation and/or amongst application materials. If our chapter members do cognitively have the ability to assess values and qualifications within a conversation – I’m not sure they think about how to determine that information and what questions they should be asking to figure it out. We brainstorm a list of adjectives that describe our “ideal member”, have a brief conversation about it, and then put them on some poster board that no one looks at ever again. Those words are left to each member’s own interpretation and opinion. There’s no consistency among the organizations about what each of those words quantifiably means and how you find those things in people through a conversation, interaction or interview.
In recent years, we’ve started to show more attention to preparing our members with the social skills to navigate conversations more easily. That’s a good thing. Yet, we’ve given little attention to preparing them for the conversations where they can actually figure out if a person has the same values – not just make light chit-chat about sports or whatever TV series is all the rage. We haven’t prepared them to look for the indicators that would tell them a candidate would be a problematic member or not live up to the expectations or values. If we do take time to prepare them to assess values within a conversation, we only spend a few hours, one time a year explaining it. To be masterful at it, we must dedicate more time to practicing and preparing our members to select [more] better people.
The assumption that our undergraduate members know, consistently and measurably, what they are looking for in a candidate is an outdated idea. We have to dedicate more time to helping our chapters figure out 1) what they are looking for in a candidate 2) how will they measurably know they have it and 3) how will they find that information out through their conversations/interactions with each candidate. We must have these conversations with our chapters more frequently.
4. We have short, meaningless conversations over and over in recruitment.
A three to five minute conversation isn’t enough time to get below the surface with someone. It isn’t enough time to assess values, character, and qualifications. 20 minutes isn’t either. 12, 5-minute conversations over the course of a couple days or weeks doesn’t equate to the quality of a 60-minute one-on-one conversation with a person. Loud, crowded parties and events are not environments where meaningful conversations often happen. In so many instances, we are asking a group of members to smoosh together their short interactions with a candidate to determine if he/she holds the values of the organization, is going to be a good member, and is qualified enough to join. The mentality that a potential member needs to meet as many members as possible (or every member) is outdated. We need to focus on depth not breadth of conversation: longer more meaningful conversations instead of lots of short meaningless ones.
Oh the horror! How will we show a candidate who we are? How will this person be able to determine if he/she likes us? Simple: Through the quality and depth of the conversation he/she has with a member. When we have clearly outlined qualifications and values, and ways in which to determine those things in conversations, we can trust our individual members enough to engage in a longer, more meaningful conversation (and interview) with an individual potential member and be responsible for assessing each candidate for the qualifications of membership. We don’t need everyone to “weigh-in” on those things.
Short, surface level conversations with lots of members during a recruitment process or event is an outdated idea. We need to spend more time engaging in deep, meaningful, one-on-one conversations to truly assess values, character, and qualifications of membership.
5. We sugar-coat member expectations before they join.
We don’t talk about exactly how much it costs to join. We don’t discuss exactly what the time commitment entails. We DO NOT talk about what the behavior expectations are for our members – before they join. We don’t offer guidelines about what they should care about if they’re interested in being a member. We don’t discuss our values and how we expect our members to represent those values in their daily lives. We don’t talk about what happens when you don’t live up to those expectations. We avoid the conversation altogether, most of the time.
We lie. We sugarcoat it. We avoid the topic because we’re afraid of “scaring people away”. There are people we need to “scare away” from fraternity and sorority. There are people who want to be in a fraternity or sorority who wouldn’t be willing to commit to our expectations – and they know that before they join! What they don’t know is what the expectations are. They can only assume what the experience and expectations are by what they hear, personally witness, see in the media, and assume. Unfortunately for us, those assumptions and experiences often portray that fraternity and sorority is about fun events, parties, friendship, being perfect, matching t-shirts, etc.
It is an outdated idea that we can avoid sharing membership expectations before they join. We have to start having the tough conversations about what it takes to be a member of a fraternity or sorority – BEFORE they join – before we even offer them membership.
6. We believe we can help make people better – that we can change them.
Values don’t change. Behaviors rarely do. We are not equipped to be behavior modification experts. We are not equipped to rewire people from the values they learned from the time they were a young child. We are not equipped to change people. What we are equipped to do is to help people discover who they already are. We are equipped to help bring out the best version of who they already are.
We can connect people who already care about leadership with opportunities to lead. We can help people who are already interested in philanthropy and service connect to more service and philanthropic opportunities. We can provide academic support and enhancement programs for people who already care about their academics. We can provide brotherhood and sisterhood opportunities for people who already value deep, meaningful friendships. We can provide social opportunities for people who already desire to make more connections with others. We can provide an environment, resources, and an experience where people can become better – for people who want to become better.
What we can’t do is make people care.
We make exceptions for people who’ve shown no prior indications that they care about leadership or service or philanthropy or academics or friendship or connection – or becoming better. We make exceptions because we think we can change them. We make exceptions because we believe that they do care but need our help to do it. However, many times the reality is that they don’t actually care about the stuff that matters: They care about fun and parties and something to do and a place to live and popularity and power and social capital. We can’t expect people who want to join for the wrong reasons to suddenly have a change of heart and begin caring about the stuff that matters. That rarely happens.
The idea that we can change people and make them care about the values of the organization, when they inherently don’t, is an outdated idea. We have to look for the people who do care about what we care about – and desire to be a part of those things.
Now trust me, my brain is already halfway down the rabbit-hole with you. These 6 outdated practices and ideas only bring up more problems and more questions for me too. Changing these outdated practices has short-term and long-term consequences and effects on fraternity and sorority (good and bad). We’re likely to piss off some important alumni who liked these things about their experience. We’re likely going to lose some current undergraduate membership. We’re likely going to have a smaller pool of people (in the short term) to select from. There’s a million reasons that its easier to just keep these practices and ideologies just the way they are – and that’s likely why we still do them now.
I just don’t think we have a choice any longer. I don’t believe that we have the luxury as fraternity and sorority to keep coasting – and ignoring some of these issues because fixing them would be hard or different or unpopular. We have to start, not only talking about, but taking action on making fraternity and sorority relevant to modern day society. We have to stop relying on ideas and practices of the generations that have long-since passed. Those ideas are outdated. Let’s not let fraternity and sorority become an outdated idea, too.
by Tina VanSteenbergen
I know, I know. You’re reading this title and thinking, “Tina, who forgets about the PNMs?? No one. No one forgets about them! They’re one of the most important parts!”
We don’t forget about them in the obvious ways—we know they’re coming to recruitment, and we know the goal is to create a recruitment experience that matches each PNM with a chapter with which she shares a mutual love and admiration. They, the PNMs, are part of the reason we work so hard on recruitment in the first place.
And so the planning process begins. We start with the logistics—oh, the logistics! Schedules, room reservations, busses, programs, maps, wardrobe, etc. The sheer planning of the recruitment process could be a full-time job in and of itself. We work hard on this piece, pay attention to all of the details, so that the process by which PNMs find their future sisters is seamless.
Then there’s the recruitment counselors—recruiting, interviewing and selecting the women who will be the leaders of our sorority communities. We pour our energy into planning a great training experience for them (maybe even a retreat!), ensuring that they have the opportunity to learn everything they’ll need in order to best help the PNMs connect their values with those of a chapter on campus.
Working with each of the chapters in our communities is one of the largest parts of values-based recruitment planning. We check in with the recruitment chairs, offer them rule and schedule updates, help them create their recruitment training plans with their chapters, and collect and inspect their recruitment videos. We do all we can to help each chapter be the best versions of themselves so the PNMs can find their homes.
And then, of course, there are those PNMs! We have to work to find them, to encourage them to register for recruitment, and make sure they have everything they need to know about the schedules, the chapters, and what they need to wear each day.
I’m sure it doesn’t sound like anyone is forgetting the potential new members—sounds like they’re at the core of each part of the recruitment planning process, right?
We do it all for the PNMs, and yet, so often, we forget the most important part—we forget to teach them, prepare them, and empower them to confidently participate in a values-based recruitment process. I mean, really train them. We teach our recruitment counselors how to lead and guide their PNMs with values and purpose. We ask our chapters to eliminate frills and focus on their values instead. But when it comes to our PNMs, while we tell them what to wear, to bring snacks, and to “trust their hearts” when it comes to selecting a sorority. We can sometimes forget to teach them about their role values-based recruitment.
What would recruitment look like if we shared with potential members how to have deeper conversations, how to ask about values in a way that facilitates real conversations, how our behaviors and conversations show our values, how to set measurable selection criteria they can use to select a sorority? If we prepared our PNMs for recruitment the way we do our recruitment counselors and our chapters, we can truly achieve values-based sorority recruitment!
Don’t forget the PNMs—to train them, educate them, and help them use their values to find a sorority. If we can help you, call us!
by Woody Woodcock
Have you heard anyone say something in 2015 that caught your attention yet? Last week I heard a man say something valuable that really stuck with me. It was so simple and I thought he was absolutely right. I hope as you read it sticks with you, too.
“It is often the SMALL things that no one sees that result in the BIG things that everyone wants.”
Read, it again.
“It is often the SMALL things that no one sees that result in the BIG things that everyone wants.”
Wow! What if I thought about his simple phrase more in 2015? What if WE as leaders and members thought more about this phrase for fraternity and sorority? What if we thought about this phrase more in RECRUITMENT? How could we benefit from using this wisdom?
What are the small things that we can do in recruitment, that will add up to the BIG results at the end?
At Phired Up we care deeply about putting more people and better people into fraternity and sorority. We also care about the SMALL things and believe that the doing them well can lead to BIG results.
If you are new to Phired Up or Dynamic Recruitment let me share a few of the SMALL things that can impact the results in recruitment for your chapter. This SMALL things will add up to BIG results for your chapter in recruitment:
Apply this RIGHT NOW:
Step One: write down the SMALL things that you believe your chapter can do better
Nothing should be taken for granted. Nothing is to SMALL just write down whatever comes to mind.
Step Two: Next begin creating a SMALL plan of how you will focus on SMALL measurable wins to do the SMALL things better in dynamic recruitment.
Not sure where to start? Just send a SMALL email to us. We’d love to help.
“It is often the SMALL things that no one sees that result in the big thing that everyone wants”
Phired Up recently selected a group of 10 undergraduate students from across the US and across fraternity/sorority membership. This group of students will provide Phired Up with valuable feedback about the undergraduate experience, how to make our messages more relevant and inclusive, and what resources undergraduate fraternities and sororities need to help them grow, engage, and retain more high-quality members.
See below to meet our Inaugural Student Voice Coalition. We asked them a set of silly and serious questions to get to know them better. Below you’ll find some of their responses:
Todd Edmonds: Delta Tau Delta – Oklahoma State University
Todd Edmonds: Delta Tau Delta – Oklahoma State University
What are two things you love about your hometown? Traffic jams only come from slow tractors and basketball is the end all be all.
Why do you love being Greek? The immediate impact that we have on people’s lives whether it be new freshmen in our organization or the sweet old lady we rake leaves for.
What is the name of the person(s) that is the reason you joined? Nathan Hammond.
List five things that are your favorite. Math, Dogs, Motorcycles, Lemon pound cake with frosting, Teaching
Anything else? I am not the best at understanding sarcasm.
Molly Bennett: Alpha Omicron Pi – Northeastern State University
What are your two things you love about your hometown? I’m from Tulsa, Oklahoma. My favorite things about Tulsa are Riverside Drive and Downtown. I love being from Oklahoma!
What is your third favorite color? Purple.
Why do you love being Greek? I love being Greek because it teaches people to become better versions of themselves. I’ve learned life lessons that I don’t think I would know the kindness and charity that I do if it weren’t for being a Greek Woman.
What is the name of the person that is the reason you joined? Abby Beck.
List five things that are your favorite. Some of my favorite things are: Dogs, Office Supplies, Mexican Food, Traveling, and Kendra Scott earrings!
Mindy Cao: Alpha Sigma Tau – Oakland University
What are two things you love about your hometown? I grew up in Sterling Heights, MI and I love that it’s a city filled with so many diverse people. They make up many different races, cultures and life experiences that interacting with them on a daily basis teaches me to accept differences in others. I also love the annual art and music fair, Sterlingfest every summer. It’s a weekend where the community can get together to enjoy the dog days of summer.
What is your third favorite color? Mint Green.
Who is the person that is the reason you joined? Lisa-Marie Fredericks, my chapter advisor.
What do you love being Greek? I love being Greek because it allows me to meet and work with the most inspiring and motivational leaders in the community. Greek life is all about making the connections so chances are that if you need help with anything, Greek life can provide you the resource to them.
List five things that are your favorite: Favorite Animals: Kittens, Favorite Book: Harry Potter Series, Favorite Beverage: Tea, Favorite Artist: Sara Bareilles, Favorite Quote: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Luis Lopez: Sigma Nu – Midwestern State University
What are two things you love about your hometown? My two favorite things about Fort Worth would have to be the history and diversity Fort Worth has!
What is your third favorite color? Maroon.
What is the name of the person who is the reason you joined? Sam Shelley.
Why do you love being Greek? I love being Greek because it gives me a group of brothers that share the same values and want to achieve the same goals in life that I have.
List five things that are your favorite. My top five favorite things are my family, soccer, being from Texas, going to Midwestern State, and my fraternity.
Kelci Jacoby: Delta Gamma – Willamette University
What are two things you love about your hometown? Being from Helena, Montana, provides the ability to drive between 10-30 minutes and be at a river, lake or creek to fish. Also, the culture of Helena, and friendliness of the people is a definite plus!
What is your third favorite color? Purple.
List five things that are your favorite. Fly Fishing, history, Montana, animals, and my family.
Why do you love being Greek? The leadership possibilities, the fact that we are all bonded together by being in Greek organizations, and the ritual of my organization are my favorites.
What is the name of the person(s) that is the reason you joined? I didn’t join because of one specific person, there were many reasons I joined. Hannah Goodwater, my Big, is the reason I stayed.
Emily Wychoff: Zeta Tau Alpha – Texas Tech University
What are two things you love about your hometown? Well, my hometown (humblebrag) is really good at football. I am proud to be where I am from, and I loved high school! It it also a suburb, so I got to enjoy a small town and big city life. These are the things I love the most!
What is your third favorite color: Grey.
What is the name of the person that is the reason you joined? Madeleine Cloutier.
Why do you love being Greek? I love being a part of something bigger than myself. I am able to walk through campus or fly across the country, and have a network of people that I am connected to.
List five things that are your favorite: My favorite things include: dogs (puppies included), my bed and the 10 pillows on it, chocolate and anything with chocolate in it, all things gold and glittery and girly, and The Bachelor.
Nicholas Bratvold: Lambda Chi Alpha – University of South Dakota
What are two things you love about your hometown? (Greencastle, PA) I loved how small-town and friendly the atmosphere was but, at the same time, how easy it would be to leave or a weekend to visit the Capitol, VA Beach, and a slew of other locations.
What’s you’re third favorite color? Purple.
What’s the name of the person who is the reason you joined? Michael Roach & James Gulbranson
List five things that are your favorite: The movie A Good Year, Chinese food, The Remedy by Jason Mraz, Fall, and the poem Bluebird by Charles Bukowski.
Why do you love being Greek? I love being Greek because of the relationships it breeds. It seems to me that there’s a special kind of courage and selflessness that comes with the men and women I have met through Sorority and Fraternity Life. The relationships can be wild, stressful, rewarding, exciting, and time-consuming but usually there is a mixture of all of these and always for the benefit of something larger than one’s self.
Sara Burns: Alpha Sigma Tau – Belmont University
What are two things you love about your hometown? I was born and raised in Binghamton, NY (way upstate, an hour north of Syracuse) and loved Joey’s Italian Ice (the best place to get Italian Ice) and the history of the carousel in that city is amazing. We have six in the entire town that you can go on for free and it was all thanks to Charles and George F Johnson. When they were little it cost a nickel to ride the carousel (which was expensive in the late 1800′s) and they did not understand why someone would have to pay for this luxury. So when they became older and created the Johnson show factory they bought the carousels in Binghamton and made them free. They are still free to this day!
What is your third favorite color? Slate Blue.
What is the name of the person who is the reason you joined? Sammie Gould and Allison Short.
List 5 things that are your favorite: My favorite animal is a small clawed Asian otter, favorite word is pickle, favorite movie is Pride & Prejudice (with Kiera Knightly), favorite musical artist Mumford & Sons and my favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate chip cookie dough.
Why do you love being Greek? I love Greek life because I feel like I am a part of something bigger then myself and that I am making a change in the world, even if it is a very little change. I love how I have grown as a person and the connections I have made throughout my college career. I love how I am now a strong and confident leader because my sisterhood showed me that I can be one.
Madison McGahan: Zeta Tau Alpha – Lehigh University
What are two things you love about your hometown? The two things I love about my hometown are that it is the same distance from NYC and the beach, so I get the best of both worlds and there are so many amazing restaurants and diners.
What is your third favorite color? Yellow.
Why do you love being Greek? I love being Greek because it has given me amazing leadership opportunities, a voice to make change, and has introduced me to friends that I will have for a lifetime.
List five things that are your favorite. Puppies, the beach, all music from R&B to throwbacks to 90′s alternative rock bands…but I especially love Gavin DeGraw, Netflix, playing basketball or volleyball
Anything Else? This past year as a ZTA and student at Lehigh University, I have dedicated my time to bridging the gap between the LGBT community and Greek Life at Lehigh. As a member of both communities, I am dedicated to getting rid of the stereotype that an identity to the two communities cannot be. This past fall semester I organized Lehigh University’s first Pride Walk where all different organizations, including Greek chapters and athletic teams attended to show their support for the LGBTQIA community. This is a cause I am very passionate about and dedicated to.
Emily Pride: Alpha Omicron Pi – Western Kentucky University
What are two things you love about your hometown? My hometown is also my college town! We have the most restaurants per capita so there’s always something tasty to eat.
What is your third favorite color? My third favorite color is AOII’s official color – cardinal (red!).
What is the name of the person(s) that is the reason you joined? Dr. Charles Pride & Julie Pride.
Why do you love being Greek? I love being Greek because I admire the challenge it issues: to become the greatest version of yourself through union with others.
List five things that are your favorite. Diet Coke, Lilly Pulitzer, helping St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, polka dots, the book “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg.
For almost 13 years we’ve been teaching that the source of all our fraternity/sorority success is RECRUITMENT, and the cause of all our fraternity/sorority woes is also RECRUITMENT. I believe that more now than I ever have.
Our recruitment processes set the tone for our membership experience. The experiences, conversations, expectations, social cues, process and everything a potential member experiences while being recruited creates the foundation for your organization’s next several years. Each year we have the chance to make that recruitment experience better, more befitting our organizations’ historical purposes, more worthy of our rituals, more VALUES-BASED.
We teach VALUES-BASED RECRUITMENT too. Check out iValU, our Keynote & Training Workshops, and our Quick Recruitment Prep Course. Our training services are built to help solve the problems of Greek Life, not just add more people to our chapters. We believe in, and teach, a highly values-based approach to fraternity/sorority recruitment. Whether it is through a formal process, year-round recruitment, or some other variation, we can help you put VALUES at the center of your recruitment efforts.
There has never been a more important time than NOW for Values-Based Recruitment. We have to make bold moves to improve our reputation, image, and the overall quality of the fraternal experience on every campus. We believe in fraternity and sorority. We believe more fraternity/sorority members equals a better world. We also know that there is a right and a wrong way to recruit — if you’re reading this blog, it’s likely that you believe all that too, and you believe that fraternity/sorority is a beautiful thing but it can be done better. Let’s work together to make Greek Life the values-based experience it is meant to be.
by Taylor Deer
No matter where I go on the road, whether it is the largest public university in the city or the smallest private college in the middle of nowhere. I ask the audience to perform one action for me, I say:
“Raise your hand if you had no intention of joining Greek Life before coming to your school”
Without any hesitation, the large majority of students participating enthusiastically raise their hands. Most with a laugh because they were probably very against the idea of them ever becoming a Fraternity man or Sorority Woman. My follow up question is:
“Why did you decide to join Greek Life”
A volley of hands shoot up and begin telling their story, almost always starting with something like:
“I was playing Basketball… when I met…”
“I was sitting in the quad…. when I met…”
” I was in a study session when I met…. who was an upperclassman in my major”
“I was playing Humans Vs. Zombie’s when I met….”
Ok, maybe that last one was just my school, but most people who come to college have no intention whatsoever to seek out and selectively choose to pledge their lives to a values based membership organization.
Put yourself back in your own shoes as a freshmen. You just get out of your last class of the day in the middle of your first week of school. You still have no idea where any of your classes are (even though you’ve already been to some of them). Your parents still text you to tell you that your pets miss you. The only person you know on campus is your roommate, and s/he’s a bit strange. You want to meet some new people and make some friends, where do you go, what do you do?
List off the top 10 places you’d go or things you’d do.
Where did “A Fraternity Recruitment BBQ at their house across campus” end up on that list? Or, “Walk around campus looking for the first dude wearing Greek letters, pulling him aside and asking, ‘How can I join?!?!’” Oh, those didn’t make it on there?
We all do this weird thing — we understand that we decided to join our fraternity doing something that had nothing to do with recruitment. Yet, when we become members we try to recruit the next generation by throwing on a rush shirt and walking around campus and having people stand around a BBQ. When that doesn’t work, we are baffled!
Ask yourself this question with your chapter’s current recruitment strategy. Would you be able to recruit you?
by Matt Mattson
“We’re about quality!” says nearly every fraternity/sorority member.
Prove it. Please. Prove it.
Be exceptional. Be people your alumni can be proud of. Be “high quality.”
Today is another dark day in the history of Greek Life. Our demons are haunting us. The former members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon at The University of Oklahoma proved that our members are not all “high quality guys.” Those guys were horrible. They are an embarrassment to fraternity and sorority. And they’re in all of our organizations. All of them. We have so much work to do.
When you say your chapter is about “high quality” members, please be ready to prove it. Be excellent. Be kind. Be special. Be people we can all be proud of.
When you recruit new members this coming year, there are two things you should probably consider.
1. Be ready to PROVE that you’re not racist sexual assaulters. Because the evidence available publicly would suggest otherwise. Start having some very real conversations about how you can prove your quality to people who have been taught otherwise. Not just claim it, prove it.
2. Please only recruit people who are VERY different from the idiots in SAE’s former Oklahoma chapter who were filmed chanting on a bus. There are two ways to do that… a) build a big Names List – the more people you know, the more people you can choose from – Quanity Drives Quality. b) Use a Values-Based Selection Criteria that disqualifies anyone except truly remarkable people who will make our organizations better.
If you love fraternity and sorority like I do because it taught you the opposite of what we’re all reading in the news today, please decide right now to work much harder to stop this sh*t from happening. Fraternity and sorority is something that I believe can and does make the world better. But too often we’re making it worse. I know that only really high quality people read this blog so I’m “preaching to the choir,” but we have to DO business differently, not just post about it on Social Media. It starts with recruiting differently, selecting differently, and educating new members differently. VERY differently. We were founded to be models of humanity to the collegiate communities that host us, but lately we’re allowing mediocre to terrible members (that we recruited) be perfect models of utter inhumanity.
I’m still committed to making us better. I’m promising to continue pushing and doing and creating. I know many others are too. Certainly our team at Phired Up (and Innova and TechniPhi) are. Let’s get to work.
We are working with some incredible people on a really cool project — we’re calling it a “Creative Content Push.”
OUR GOAL: To share amazing stories from all over the country that can teach important lessons about fraternity and sorority growth and membership.
In order to find, develop and share those stories, we have sought the help of some awesome undergraduate students who are serving as our interns for the next 6 weeks or so. Led by Tina VanSteenbergen and Vince Fabra of the Phired Up staff, the Creative Content Push is a six week project that is aims to highlight interesting, unique and inspiring stories — and we’ll share them right here on our blog.
It is our pleasure to introduce our team.
Alison Butala Delta Phi Epsilon, University of Michigan
Alison is Phired Up about the team: “The CCP team is amazing because of the focus on the ‘Creative’ side of ‘Creative Content Push’. We are quickly transitioning to more creative platforms for getting information out and to be able to utilize that along with working with Phied Up is a dream come true.”
Becky Cohen Delta Zeta, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale
Becky on being a part of the CCP Team: “I am so excited to be a part of Phired Up’s Creative Content Push for so many reasons. I am excited to help sorority and fraternity life grow. I cannot wait to hear and share other people’s stories. Most importantly, I am so excited to be able to give back to a community that has given me so much.”
Adrianna Czostkowski Alpha Delta Pi, Oakland University
Adrianna on finding sorority on her second try: “From that point on, I had a constant debate if Greek life was really for me. When I met with the VP of Panhellenic that summer to talk about going through recruitment again, I went in thinking that I wasn’t going to put myself out there again, but I realized that I wanted to be a part of that sisterhood that had everything I was looking for and more in an organization and I ended up coming home and signing up for recruitment that night and I guess the rest is history.”
Seve Moralez Phi Kappa Tau, Central Michigan
Seve sharing how his fraternity experience has challenged him: “Our ritual has inspired me to become a better leader, become an advocate for my community, challenge myself to become a student in any situation and, most importantly, has taught me about the powerful bond of brotherhood that is meant to last a lifetime.”
Aly Ruhl Kappa Delta, University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Aly is a Phired Up Phan: “I’m so excited to be a part of the CCP Team for Phired Up! Three years ago I read the book I Heart Recruitment, and with that book was able to push myself to think different about recruitment and become the best VP-Membership that I could. Two years ago when I first saw a Phired Up presentation at AFLV I knew I wanted to get involved someday with this organization. I’m very excited to get to hear the stories of fraternity and sorority members and show the world what being Greek is all about, why Greek life is so important, and share the stories of fraternity and sorority done the right way.”
Kylee Siefke Kappa Kappa Gamma, University of Akron
Kylee sharing about her KKG experience: “I always find it interesting that people ask why did you join, but I believe we should ask why did you stay. This organization has shaped me into the woman I am today and I could not be more proud of who I am.”
Johanna Wirth Delta Delta Delta, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Johanna is going to be great for this project: “I am passionate about creative story telling. I am a firm believer that everyone has a story and everyone’s story is worth sharing. I love content creation and can’t wait to share more with the Phired Up community.”
You’ll be hearing from us a lot over the next six weeks. Get involved with the sharing this week, using the hashtag #whyijoined. Share the story of why you joined your organization. We’re Phired Up to hear from you!