Hero Nero Zero (Undergraduate Perspective)

by Branden Stewart (Phired Up’s Undergraduate Intern 2009, learn more about Branden here)

A story I heard during my new member period called “Hero, Nero, Zero” detailed three types of fraternity/sorority members. The first was the Hero, who does their best to elevate the chapter and push it in the right direction; the second is the Nero, who seems to want the fraternity/sorority to serve their own selfish purposes, often leading to problems and destruction; last and least is the Zero, who doesn’t do much to help elevate the chapter but doesn’t do much to hurt it either (in fact, they don’t do much of anything).

The story didn’t have much plot, just a lot of description of how these members interact during their years as an undergraduate fraternity/sorority member. Once I gave it some thought, I realized that the story could really be illustrated with recruitment for chapters. Whether you enjoy recruitment or run away from it, every member of a fraternity or sorority is partly responsible to recruit new members. This gives members the chance to become a Hero recruiter or a Nero recruiter”but most simply fall into the Zero category by doing no more or less than what is “mandatory”.

Who exactly is a Hero? What makes a Nero? How do you know if you’re being a Zero? Read on to see what each recruitment personality looks like and decide which category you fall into.

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ZERO:
The most typical recruiter is a Zero. This member doesn’t strive to be on the recruitment committee, and they don’t voice their opinions when recruitment events are planned. A Zero’s biggest concern is whether or not the recruitment calendar is going to get in the way of all of the other important things they have to do. 

This recruiter is mediocre”when they meet a recruit, they usually can strike up a good conversation, let the potential new member know a bit about themselves and the chapter, and relate to them in a friendly way. However, when it comes time to choose who is eligible to receive a bid, the most information that a Zero member can offer is that the recruit was a “good guy” or a “nice girl”. 

Zero recruiters don’t leave a mark on their chapter the way Hero and Nero recruiters do; members don’t look back one day and say “that Zero member is the reason I’m here”. Because of this, Zero members leave the chapter without the kind of bonds and ties that their founders intended for them to have. Once they’re gone, many chapter members may actually forget that the Zero recruiter even existed in the first place.

NERO:
It’s hard to say what’s worse: a Zero recruiter who does nothing to bring in quality new members, or a Nero recruiter who does their best to bring in as many members as possible. It doesn’t matter to the Nero that a potential may not have the best grades, interests, or character. Nero recruiters are much more concerned with the “important” things about a recruit like their social life, their drinking tolerance, and their appearance.

Nero recruiters are at every recruitment event, whether mandatory or not. To the Nero, the bigger the event the better! This way Nero recruiters have the chance to find out the important details about the recruits like what brand of shirt they’re wearing. 

For some chapters, Nero recruiters have brought in the most members and have helped the chapter grow to a large size. For this, the Nero is rewarded by other Nero’s with important recruitment responsibilities. Nero’s who find themselves as recruitment director often do the most damage to their chapter; Nero’s tend to recruit other Nero’s.

The important thing to know about a Nero is that they don’t always see that they’re hurting their chapter. They genuinely think that they’re doing what is right, often times because they’re doing what came before them. Before a Nero can realize that damage that they’ve done, they have graduated”leaving the depleted treasury, the dirty house, and the organization’s broken ideals behind them.

HERO:
Hero members are usually the ones who never even realize they fall into the top category. Hero recruiters do their best to continually improve the membership of their organization. Meeting with potentials one-on-one, developing relationships, and helping develop the skills of other chapter members are daily operations for Hero recruiters.

Hero’s aren’t too big on the event concept, and prefer just hanging out with potential members. Hero’s see through the fakeness that some recruiters put forth, and do their best to be genuine with potentials coming through recruitment. Finding out about a recruit’s high school experience or the reason they came to college tells the Hero recruiter a lot more about a member than the cut of their jeans or their hairstyle. 

Hero recruiters are the ones that often struggle the most within a chapter. They do their best to motivate Zero recruiters to get off their butts and help out, and try to help Nero recruiters stay on a values-based recruitment path. Coupled with the desire to help their chapter grow, these issues can take their toll on a Hero recruiter’s drive. When this happens, it is important for other Hero recruiters to encourage their struggling brother or sister, helping them to recharge their batteries and get back in the game.

When a Hero graduates from their chapter, they can look back and see that the changes they wanted, though met with resistance, were truly beneficial; they helped to bring in quality and quantity members. They area also the ones who have the closest personal connection with other members; brothers or sisters look back and say that they were brought in by that recruiter, and without them the fraternity/sorority wouldn’t be what it is today.

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So what type of recruiter are you? If you don’t quite think you’re a Hero recruiter yet, then approach one of your chapter members that you think is and ask them how you can become a better recruiter! Being a Hero recruiter is tough at times, but if you’re ready to commit to the true betterment of your chapter, the Hero path is right for you.�