by Taylor Deer
Dear Greek Life,
I haven’t told you this but, I miss you.
Look, don’t get all weird on me here, just listen for a second.
We’ve been through a lot together, so I feel like I need to be honest with you. We don’t hang out that much anymore, and lately I’ve noticed that you’ve been hanging out with Popularity a lot. I know you’re “just friends”, but ever since you’ve been hanging out with her you’ve changed. I know she’s cool and everything…but whenever you hang out with her you act totally different. My fear is that everyone loves Popularity, and I think you only want to hang out with her because of the attention that comes with it.
Whew… I said it!
Looking back, I started to notice it before we first met. When you spend too much time with her, you become a warped version of yourself. It’s almost as if you decide to parade yourself in the way that you think you should look and act. I saw you as loud. Obnoxious. Self-important. Clearly compensating for something else. People called it Formal Recruitment, or Rush week, and you know what? That’s the perfect name for it, because everything was rushed.
You asked me, ‘Hey, how’s it going?” However, like a used car salesman, I knew you were just impatiently waiting to drop the real question….. “Ever think about joining Greek Life?”
Look, you and I have been through a lot, so I feel like I can be honest: Rush week was tacky. You might as well wear a sign around your neck that says: “I’m desperate!” for a week, and I bet it would have the same effect.
Anyway, my first impression was so bad that I had to ask people about you.
Everyone had an opinion: good, bad, and straight-up ugly. I heard every story in the book. After listening to these stories, I felt like there was still more to you than meets the eye. There were too many conflicting views to draw an accurate picture. I almost decided not to meet up with you, but I think Curiosity pushed me into it (you know how she gets). To this day, I still don’t know what compelled me to walk the 20 minutes across campus to show up to a strange house where 22 dudes all live together and who refer to themselves as a Brotherhood. But I did.
That’s where we first met.
At first, you still hung on to that pretentious vibe, probably because Popularity was still on your mind. But the more and more we hung out, it was like you finally felt like you could just be yourself. You were friendly, relatable, relaxed, genuine, quiet, and honest. I saw you as someone who wasn’t trying to be anyone else. There was real beauty in your imperfections, and you made other people feel like they could be themselves around you too. You know what? That’s what everyone loves you for.
The problem is, like me, they have to bushwhack their way past the horrible first impression you create when you want Popularity’s attention. The matching T-shirt wearing, obnoxious chanting, boisterous, overly extroverted, picture (retaken until) perfect, version of yourself. It was shocking really, the difference between who you think you should be and who you actually are. One time, when you were around Popularity a lot, someone next to me said, “pfff, I would never hang out with Greek Life.” The only way I could defend you was to say, “Ah, well, you just have to know ‘em….”
Look, I know that was a weak argument, but what else was I going to say? Whenever you are around her….. you kind of are a tool. Its like I don’t even recognize you. I’m sorry, but someone has to say it!
It’s nothing against Popularity. Popularity is neither good nor bad, but we are who we surround ourselves by. When Popularity is your only friend, you tend to only focus on your life through the eyes of others. You start to relentlessly pursue all that is shiny, flashy, exciting, and new, just to hang out with Popularity one more time. In that pursuit, I’ve seen you stray away who you really are and where you come from.
I’m writing to you because you are one of the biggest influences in a young person’s life who goes to college. Ben Parker (Spider-Man’s Uncle, don’t you dare act like you’re too cool for Spider-Man) said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Young men and women worship Popularity and they will do just about anything to get a moment of her attention. This is dangerous if gone unchecked, and right now there is not a lot showing young people that there is more to life than the attention being liked brings. It is hurting people.
You, Greek Life, have the power (and responsibility) to change that.
I think when you spend too much time with Popularity, you are just amplifying everything that hurts our young men and women. The students who spend their lives with you might get caught up in that pursuit, unless you start showing students the things that I know you love so much but don’t normally talk about. Things like: empathy, kindness, respect, love, generosity, care, passion, purpose, genuineness, peace, and patience.
The people who love you know you’re not loud. The people who love you know that you’re not perfect. They know that there is more than enough strength and beauty in your true self, which for some reason, only comes out when you forget about Popularity. I know this because I got to meet the real you. I hope that you continue to give people a place that encourages that in others. There are not a lot of places young men and women can go in today’s world which do not judge them for who they are, and I know you are the best version of yourself when you give them that place.
I only hope that you don’t forget to love who you really are, and show people that there is more to this world than the pursuit of Popularity.
Like I said, I miss you, and I think we should hang out more often!
by Taylor Deer
When advising a chapter, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of what a chapter needs to be successful for recruitment. After working with hundreds of chapters, I’ve learned is that they really don’t like to spend time mastering the fundamentals. I’ll hear “We already know that” or “We’ve tried that before” or anything that lets me know that they are more interested in focusing on the “sexy” parts of recruitment like branding and reputation management.
However, I’ve also learned that all the stylistic components of recruitment are worthless without a strong knowledge of why recruitment really works.
With every single chapter I’ve worked with in the past four years, there are five things that I make sure every chapter has in order to be successful.
Here they are:
1) Recruitment Bedrock: Relationships
Everything else a chapter does is built from their attempts at building relationships with students on campus. People don’t want to join fraternities and sororities, until suddenly they do. What makes that sudden switch happen? A relationship. A student really doesn’t want to join a fraternity, but he makes a friend playing basketball every week. The student realizes his friend is in a fraternity, says “wow, he’s pretty cool, maybe fraternities aren’t so bad after all”. Then, he meets the friends of his friend who he calls “brothers”, realizes THEY are pretty cool too, then a realizes that this fraternity ISN’T what he thought it would be, and joins. Recruitment isn’t magic, it’s just intentional relationship building.
2) Names List
Your chapter has to keep track of the people they meet. There is no way around it. The only alternative to having a names list is not having a names list, which relies heavily on the supreme photographic memory capacity of a group of 18-year-old men (bad idea). So, they should have a way to track and manage the interactions with their potential new members. This will help in not only having a measure of success, but also make sure that no one gets forgotten throughout the process. Here is an excellent link to a FREE names list tool. Click Here!
3) Recruitment Team
There has to be a group of people responsible for recruiting the next new member class. Otherwise, everyone thinks someone else will do it for them. The trick is to getting a great recruitment team set up is to internally gather members who are already motivated to recruit, set weekly goals throughout the year, keep track of their progress using the names list, and have this team hold the responsibility of the chapter’s recruitment. It sounds crazy, but for people that like to recruit, they will be right at home meeting people and building relationships for recruitment. Always teach the chapter and leave the door open for them to meet new people and recruit, but consider their efforts icing on the cake, rather than the cake itself.
4) Personal Recruiting Fundamentals
Every chapter must know the fundamentals of how to carry themselves throughout the year. How to have engaging conversations. How to put together a small event. How to follow up with a potential new member. How to pre-close someone. How to use their daily routine to fit in meeting new people and building new relationships. The more a chapter feels comfortable with the fundamentals, the more they are willing to help in the recruitment effort. If your members can’t do these things, your advising efforts would be well served to help them develop these skills.
5) New Member Education
New members are essential in a recruitment process. They are naturally connected to new students on campus. They are passionate about the fraternity or sorority, and they have an initial desire to bring others into this new experience. That’s all good, but if they aren’t educated on the above-mentioned things, then they might not necessarily approach recruitment in the right way. Either they are way over the top in shoving fraternity at their friends, or they discount certain potential new members because “they’re probably not interested in joining a fraternity or sorority”. If you read the previous blog, you’d understand that those are the exact people that we want!
We know it takes strong advisors to help chapters have strong recruitment efforts. Looking for more resources? Check out our Free Resources page, and look up our two of our latest blogs here and here! Need more support from Phired Up? Reach out to us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org!
by Taylor Deer
Being a recruitment advisor can be overwhelming. This is especially true if your “real” job has nothing to do with fraternity or sorority recruitment. Most advisors simply fall back on what they know from their student experience, and that’s a problem.
Not many people were going through their undergraduate recruitment career thinking, “I’m going to be a recruitment advisor someday, so I better write these intricate processes down, and cross reference my notes with successful chapters, and stay up-to-date on the latest nationwide trends.”
If you did all that as an undergraduate, please move on and start your fortune telling career, smarty pants.
For the mere mortals who are just doing their best as recruitment advisors, we can help. In the last 15+ years in the industry, we have evolved, adapted, and innovated our curriculum every year based on current trends on college campuses. Our strategy, called Dynamic Recruitment, is a year-round, values based, relationship centered, proactive framework on how to grow undergraduate fraternity and sorority membership.
In other words, we love recruitment, and we are here to help.
We know the truth hurts sometimes. In recruitment, the truth can hurt so bad that chapters make up myths to help them ignore it. These myths may take on different names like “our truth” or “the way we’ve always done it”. These myths help justify their decisions so they can sleep well at night avoiding the truth.
As an advisor, it might feel good to jump on board with these myths, because you will score a few points with the chapter. But myths just help them run further away from something. They need the truth, even though it may hurt, because it is worth embracing.
Here are 3 myths I’ve heard consistently from chapters, what they want you to say as their advisor, and how you fight back with the truth:
Myth #1: That’s just not the way it’s done around here
Myth #2: People just don’t want to join fraternities at this school
Myth #3: We’re about Quality not Quantity
The first trial you are going to have to face in being an advisor is digging through the myths in search of the truth. In my experience, it’s a rare chapter that comes to you with a developed sense of self-awareness. It’s tough to own up to why your chapter is failing. It’s much easier to shove the blame in front of it, rather than standing face to face with it. Once you find what is REALLY holding a chapter back, only then can you start to help as their advisor.