Let’s Leave the Big Top for the Circus

by Matt Geik

Previously in this little corner of cyberspace I left a little brain dropping about the unnecessary need for Greek organizations to have to tell everyone who is non-Greek about how great they are (here). Remember, if you and your organization are truly excellent, people will know and not because you told them, but rather by what your actions and others have said about you.

As I looked ahead in my calendar I was quickly reminded that a new semester was upon us.  Suddenly, I quickly flashed back to my days as an undergrad and remembered the shear chaos, stress, exhaustion and arguments that were about to take place if they hadn’t already.  See, in most Greek systems the start of a new semester means the start of a new rush period (formal and informal alike).

Now, most of you are probably feeling your anxiety levels kicking up a few notches as you read this and are suddenly considering not returning for the next semester.  That or take spring break early this year.  However, there’s a distinct difference in why you’re suddenly checking on flights to Cancun and what I’m referring to.

As I look back on my days as an undergrad and consider what continues to happen on campuses across the country I see frustration from having to fight over things like how many wings are we going to order, how many lanes and bowling shoes will we have to pay for, how much is the cool local band going to cost us and the biggest question of all…..who’s in charge of all these events?

Now before I share the answer to those questions with you, as a side note, I want to share one other question that everyone should be asking while all of this freaking out is happening.  It’s the question that everyone forgets.

“How many people is this going to introduce us to and possibly recruit?”  Isn’t that the point of the events?  But we’ll see why it’s OK that no one asks, let alone answers that question amongst all the Red Bull induced 2am planning sessions.

All of those questions that create all that stress have the same answer to them.

STOP HAVING EVENTS!!!! 

[Please stay with me here... at least read the rest of this post to see where I'm going with this.  It may be a controversial position, but just consider it for a few more minutes.]

No, that doesn’t mean that it’s OK to invite 75 non-Greek students to your smelly, scary house to play pool, Foosball and have wings and watch the game.  That’s an event.  You call it “Wednesday Wing Night”.

STOP HAVING EVENTS!!!!

“But Matt…” NO!  STOP HAVING EVENTS!!!!

Here’s the deal.  Excellence speaks for itself.  Excellence makes people want to know more, want to learn why you do what you do.  Excellence sets you apart.

Events say that you have too much money to waste and don’t know how to talk to me as an individual.  Events say that you’re not willing to learn what a potential member might have interest in doing. Events say that you’re selfish.  Events say that you have no substance.

OK, I’ll stop there.  If you’re feelings are a little hurt right now, that’s OK.  They should be.  They should be hurt because you do want to learn what a potential member might have interests in because you know they may be able to help strengthen your organization.  You’re not selfish.  You provide service to those who need it.  You raise money to help support amazing causes.  You have a lot to offer to people outside of the walls of your house.  You have substance.

So, what should you do you ask?  Here’s what I want you to do.  Instead of sharing cheap food, inside jokes that only you understand, and music that other people do not like….I want you to share your organization’s substance.

Click your way on over to the “Free Resources” page of the website and check out some ideas for small activities for fraternities and sororities that you can do multiple times over as well name generating ideas for your lists that come out of doing a few activities that will allow you to have the conversations you need to have to find the new horses for your stable.

After you’ve completed these activities and added these new horses to your stable I want you to do one more thing…..

…have an event for your organization.  Events are for you.  Small activities are for your potential members.  Celebrate your excellence together, for each other.

When you wake up the next morning, be sure to wash, rinse and then repeat this process.  You should be celebrating a lot this semester!