by Matt Mattson
Today’s fraternity and sorority leaders, that I talk to… they’re inventors, they’re originators. They’re some of the most driven, brilliant, and thoughtful people I know. They’re trying to build modern organizations for modern students. They’re not stuck in “history” or “tradition.” On the contrary…
They’re ready to create the future of fraternity and sorority.
Here’s the thing. I’m 100% convinced that the way to create that future is to TRANSFORM THE WAY PEOPLE JOIN.
Let me explain.
Great organizations are made of great members, right? Healthy, safe, thriving fraternities and sororities are made up of healthy, safe, smart members who understand the expectations of what it means to live as a sorority woman… to live as a fraternity man.
But to be honest, right now… too many of the wrong people are joining with the wrong expectations about what it means to be a member.
- Our fraternities’ reputations are attracting dangerous men with a warped idea of what it means to be in a fraternity. (Certainly not all, but some).
- Our sorority recruitment processes are creating tier systems of haves and have-nots that reinforce socially unjust and emotionally damaging societal problems.
- We put on a show of a “fun buddy club” during recruitment, and then smack our new members in the face with the reality of dues, time commitment, and behavioral expectations right after they’ve received their bid.
- We’re asking people to be our brothers and sisters for life after a few rounds of surface-level B.S. conversations where they barely understand what our organizations are, and we don’t know much more about THEM than that they have a heartbeat and a haircut.
Listen, before I say any more, let me say that none of this is your fault… I think we ask way too much from our undergraduate fraternity and sorority leaders. We’ve given you 150 years of problems and the worst reputation in our industry’s history, and we’ve asked you to fix all that in your “spare time” between classes. I’m sorry. You didn’t ask for this burden of creating the future of fraternities and sororities, but because I’ve talked with a lot of you… I know you’re ready for it… and we’re ready too.
It will require a full transformation of how people join. It will require strategies that are smarter, more relationship-oriented, more data-driven, and more focused on putting the RIGHT people in your chapters. It will require informing and empowering potential members in ways that we’ve never done before. It will require a shakeup of systems and a great big overhaul of processes…
But we can’t just keep doing things like we’ve always done and expect our problems to go away.
We have to transform. And it absolutely starts with revolutionizing who we invite into our organizations and how we go about doing that. Changing the way we market to, recruit, select, and on-board our newest members is the one way I know for sure that we can make a major impact on the overall health and well-being of our organizations.