Five Ways To Start 2017 Off Right

by Dr. Colleen Coffey-Melchiorre

Its official, the holiday season is over.  Many of you traveled home to Mom’s cooking, Dad’s weird jokes, and your old room with your old trophies and stuffed animals. You probably saw your high school crew, shopped at your favorite places, ate at your favorite restaurants, and rested. This holiday season maybe you found out some interesting things about your crazy Aunt Betty, or ran into your sister’s ex girlfriend, or found yourself in an awkward situation with your Dad’s new golf buddies.  Whatever the case, the season has come and gone, and it’s bittersweet. Now, you are going back to school and many of you have formalized recruitment processes to tend with as early as this week! Those that don’t still have a pretty big job ahead.

Here are five things you can do to make sure 2017 is a banner year for you and your chapter:

1)   Make a to do list. Literally, get a piece of paper and pen and write down all the stuff you need to accomplish this week, this month, and this semester within your chapter. Don’t leave anything out- write every little task down on this list. When the list is completed consider- who do I need help from? what do I need to be successful with this project?  how long will each thing take?  Make this list your mantra. Post it wherever you need to in order to look at it everyday, set reminders in your preferred calendar, and start plugging away at this stuff. Sometimes, getting it out there gives stuff such clarity.

2)   Check in on your existing membership. Sit down with a roster and consider each person on that roster carefully. How are they doing in the chapter? In school? With their significant other? In general? Are they a person that is connected to people in the chapter or lacks that connection? Also consider who is returning from study abroad or a semester away.  Create a list of people that maybe could use a little extra love and appoint yourself and your group of friends as the welcoming committee. Reach out to each person that may need it (we all do at some point) and ask about their break, ask them to hang out at a specific time, and if it moves you, ask them what they hope their chapter experience will be like this semester.

3)   Make resolutions with your chapter. The very first chapter meeting back to school, engage your members in a facilitated conversation where you ask the general membership intentional questions.  You can have them write their answers to themselves and then share in small groups and with the larger group, or just ask as a big group conversation.

STEP ONE- Ask them some of these questions:

  • Describe what we can do better as a chapter in 2017?
  • What do we need to do more of and less of to accomplish that?
  • What do you specifically need to learn and grow as a member in this group this year?
  • What is most important to us right now and why?

STEP TWO- Find commonalities among what they are all saying. Finding common themes is not hard you just listen for words that are said over and over again.

STEP THREE- Create a resolution based on those themes. It can look like anything a sentence, three words, a paragraph- just put something out there that says: “This year we resolve to…

4)   Review the recruitment basics. We here at Phired Up say it all the time- people join people. Go back to basics.

  • Where is your names list? When did you last log on to chapter builder? Go ahead and update that list and start encouraging a 2017 full of small, normal activities to get names off that list. If you don’t have a list yet, create one with a free ChapterBuilder account. As you update the list, keep adding people, and keep thinking of new ways to make more new friends that may eventually join your chapter.
  • When was the last time you talked about using open-ended questions to get to know potential new members? Consider teaching open-ended questions as a review early in the semester.
  • How old is your “formal recruitment”? If you are a sorority member, review your rounds and take an audit of what you should change this year. Think about teaching the stuff that is staying the same now if you are a Fall formal campus.
  • Who needs to be added to your recruitment committee?  Are there some men or women that would be great workers in some capacity? Add them to your inner circle by asking them if they’d like to help.

5)   Fall in love again. I try to fall in love everyday with something, someone, some place or some circumstance. Remind yourself why you joined this group and why you stay in it!

We can’t wait to support you in 2017, and we can’t wait to see what you accomplish this year. We are all here, cheering you on this year and beyond.

Don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Melchiorre for a little motherly love this year – she’s a great texter and even better talker on the phone: 615.260.5055.