This Spring, thousands of college graduates will walk across the stage to receive their degree. What awaits them is exciting. New jobs for some, graduate school for others, new cities for many, and new experiences for all are only days away. Leaving college can be an exciting time, but it can also be a nerve-racking time as well.
In college, making friends is relatively easy for most people. Everyone lives in pretty close quarters, there are always new classes to meet people in, and there are tons of clubs and activities to check out and find other students with similar backgrounds, experiences, and interests. For so many students, college is a comfort zone. A home away from home. College is the perfect environment to practice Social Excellence.
However, once you get in “the real world”, practicing Social Excellence takes a bit more work than it did in college. Here’s what we’ve learned about being socially excellent after college ends:
1) Social Excellence is outside of your comfort zone
You can’t meet people sitting on your couch. As an adult, it is really easy to fill your days with work and home responsibilities. However, those often don’t lend themselves to meeting and engaging with new people. In order to practice Social Excellence in the real world, you’ve got to actually out into the real world. You’ve got to step outside of your comfort zone. You’ve got to remember that every friend you’ve ever had was a stranger first. You can’t make new friends without first meeting a few strangers. Yes, meeting strangers is scary. We’ve talked before about how making new friends is hard. It is. But if you want to have a social life outside of just your friends and family from college (or be successful by pretty much any measure), you’ve got to be prepared to get off the couch and shake some hands.
Need a few ideas on how to make this happen? It can be really tough, especially in a new city! Here are a few places where you can make new friends:
2) Social Excellence isn’t a #SquadGoal
You’ve had a squad for years. If you’re reading this blog, odds are your squad was made up at least partially by members of your fraternity or sorority. But don’t forget that Social Excellence isn’t about having a ton of friends – it is about creating meaningful relationships with others. Through being generous, curious, vulnerable, and authentic, you can build these types of relationships with new people as you navigate the harsh realities of #adulting. Remember that just because you had an endless supply of friends and new people in college, it doesn’t mean you need to recreate that endless supply after college. We applaud you if you can, but its ok to have just a few new close friends too.
3) Social Excellence happens on social media too
We would never want you to be one of those people who only communicates with others behind their computer. Sure, you can make great friends online –but the power of in-person connection matters. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep up with your friends on social media. It is a great way to help encourage friends from a distance, show them that you’re thinking of them, and stay involved in their lives even if you might not see them as much as you used to. We’ve shared quite a few ways for you to demonstrate Social Excellence on social media. However, don’t’ forget that you can’t keep relationships entirely online. Catching up in person is critical to keeping long-term friendships healthy.
We are excited to congratulate you and welcome you to life after college! There are so many awesome, exciting adventures ahead of you. There are also so many great friends you’ll have that you haven’t met yet. And you won’t meet them until you step outside of your comfort zone and make it happen!
By Vince Fabra
Recently, I was asked, “What is your favorite word?” My response was “Philanthropy.”
I know what some of your are thinking. “C’mon. The guy that teaches values-based recruitment says his favorite word is ‘philanthropy?!’” It’s a little cliché, but I can honestly say that of all the words I know, ‘philanthropy’ is my favorite.
First of all, the phonetics of the word are beautiful. It is wonderfully constructed, rolls off the tongue perfectly and hits the ear nicely. Say it out loud… “Philanthropy.” It’s so beautiful!
Then, after adding meaning and context, the word maintains its beauty and also becomes powerful.
philanthropy: goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially: active effort to promote human welfare
Fraternities and sororities were created to be philanthropic organizations — to actively “promote human welfare” and spread “goodwill to fellow members of the human race.”
Both as an undergrad and as a fraternity professional, I have witnessed organizations work very hard to change the meaning of my favorite word. ‘Philanthropy’ on some campuses is now synonymous with ‘competition, bitterness, drama’. With the constant flow of embarrassing news stories in the media, we can add ‘inappropriate’ and ‘misogynistic’ to the list of twisted synonyms too.
To all of my philanthropy chairs across the country, allow me to share a message with you. This is the same message I’m trying to get across to your recruitment chairs.
“Philanthropy does not equal event.” (and “Recruitment does not equal event.”)
It is fine to host philanthropy events, but the act of spreading “goodwill to fellow members of the human race” is not exclusive to dance competitions and food events. It can be done every single day with a budget of $0.00. You don’t need to reserve rooms on campus, “get the word out there”, or drive fellow organizations into a competitive frenzy over a trophy THAT DOES NOT MATTER!
All you need to do is actively promote human welfare and spread goodwill to fellow members of the human race.
However, if you feel like an event in necessary to your philanthropic efforts, by all means, I hope you plan and execute an immaculate one. But during the planning process, please continue to ask yourself and your members…
Philanthropy is still my favorite word. It still sounds beautiful. I want to thank the thousands of fraternity and sorority members that work towards preserving and restoring its true meaning —also, in the process, thanks for spreading goodwill to fellow members of the human race.
By Dr. Colleen Coffey-Melchiorre
We talk a lot about recruitment of new members, but what about sustaining that membership for a lifetime? Too often members enthusiastically join an organization only to lose their passion a few short months later. At Phired Up, our team is particularly curious about why these members withdraw from their organization. Why do people swear their lives to a fraternity or sorority and then leave? What makes people exit organizations they once pledged to love forever?
We have heard from hundreds of “left members” (people who resigned membership of their own accord). What we’ve learned about their top reasons of resignation are surprising. Here are two of the most common reasons:
1. Mis-aligned expectations. – “I thought I was getting into one thing, and it was totally different after a while.”
2. Lack of Connection. – “I did not matter to the organization in the way I thought I would.” At Phired Up, we call this reason: “people join people and people leave people.”
As leaders of fraternities and sororities, your primary job is to conceptualize the core purpose of your organization through example and action. This means understanding what your group is all about, communicating that purpose, and acting on it.
To help make this happen, start by examining current practices. How does your organization communicate who they are? Are we lying (to ourselves and others) or telling half-truths? Are we sugar coating the nature of membership? Why?
How often are we considering our people first? Are we focusing on listening to our members? Do we teach inclusion? Are we intentional about making sure everyone has a place? How often do we ask members what they think and how they are feeling?
It’s likely your group is somewhere between having no retention focus and being rock stars at retaining members. The truth is, retention is work because it’s about building and maintaining meaningful relationships, knowing your people, and communicating your actual experience to the outside world.
Ready to start building better retention practices? Start by doing these four things:
1. Evaluate your roster. Who is disengaged? Why? Can someone intentionally and deliberately build a relationship with that person to include and understand them more?
2. Evaluate your recruitment strategies. Be more real. Let’s be honest, you don’t have football throwing barbecue parties on the lawn everyday of the year. You don’t always dress in matching lily prints and love everyone all the time. How can you showcase the beautiful, and sometimes broken, reality of your group? Be honest about time, money, values, and day-to-day experience.
3. Put your people first. Work to make each person in your group know their specific purpose. Share it with them and appreciate them.
4. Ask questions. Evaluate your membership’s current feelings by asking them what they like and don’t like about their membership and what they need more of.
What sustains people in relationships, religions, on diets, and in brand loyalty? Getting what they thought they would get, and feeling like they are an important piece of the whole. By promoting the truth about what it’s like to be part of your organization during recruitment, and through taking active measures to help each member feel important, you can instill a similar sense of loyalty in your members and boost your chapter’s retention results.