[Guest Blogger Keith Collier, an undergraduate from Grand Valley State University's Delta Sigma Phi chapter, was inspired to write this blog for Phired Up to, in his words, "pay it forward."]
ABOUT KEITH COLLIER: I am currently the Recruitment Director for the Epsilon Tau chapter of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity at Grand Valley State University. I have one semester left as an active member and will be graduating in December 2010. I am extremely passionate about recruitment and our Grand Valley Fraternity and Sorority community and am interested in bettering our community in every way possible. I have been learning from Phired Up on a daily basis, especially from their recruitment book, Good Guys and now I want to give back and explain what has worked for me by paying it forward, here, now.
Classes are done, finals have been successfully completed (hopefully), and summer has started shining upon us all.
Time for “Summer vacation”. Right?
Well for some, summer vacation consists of laying out by the pool with friends; for others, it’s working a summer job and might not seem like much of a vacation-however, it’s all about perspective. I am blessed to have one of the best summer jobs imaginable.
Currently I work as a summer orientation assistant for the Grand Valley State University Admissions office. Every weekday during the summer a new group of 100+ incoming freshman are eagerly and nervously awaiting their first taste of college life. While it might be my 40th day on the job going through the same process over and over again, it’s their first day, and a very important one. It’s crucial to make a lasting impression on every student possible-especially those men and women, who show potential in becoming a rock star within Fraternity and Sorority life.
Going into this summer, I knew I was going to meet a lot of new students but I never knew how beneficial it could become for Grand Valley Greek life and more specifically a names list. Men and women alike are very interested in Fraternities and Sororities here at Grand Valley and with this job I am able to put them in touch with the right people, dispel any stereotypes, and “plant the seed” in their minds before they step onto campus in the Fall. This aspect is extremely rewarding.
In addition to Greek life as a whole, summer recruitment and the idea of Social Excellence is alive here at Grand Valley State University. On any given day my two other brothers/co-workers and I meet at least 10-15 quality men and women who are saying to us, “Yes, I am very interested in your Greek community and will be checking it out in the Fall.” If you add it up throughout the summer, it easily totals 700+ quality men and women. Numbers like that would almost double our Greek life here at Grand Valley and bring in new and vibrant members/ideas/enthusiasm.
Having this job exposes you to every incoming freshman, BUT with any job, the job title alone doesn’t mean work is getting done. It’s almost the same thing as wearing your letters around campus and waiting for someone to ask you about Fraternity and Sorority life. Here’s the trick with a job such as this – hard work. Crazy concept, right?
You have to be willing to work, hard, everyday. Yes, it is the summer, but despite popular belief even today, recruitment never ends. Day in and day out, you need to bring your “A” game because with this job, you have one day to genuinely capture their attention and interest in order to follow up in the Fall. You have to strive to be Socially Excellent and be ready to make the extra effort to remember their names, get their contact information, add them on Facebook, and then take the time to follow up with these potential members throughout the summer and into the Fall.
The most important thing to remember with summer orientation is to make every student feel as comfortable as possible with his or her first real college experience. As mentioned earlier, first impressions are everything and incoming students will remember you for years, if not a lifetime and when the formal recruitment process rolls around, get ready, because its just that, very formal (for the most part). Summer, however, is not. I would recommend using the relaxed environment of summer to your advantage and grow the bond through casual meetings, lunch, summer events, really anything you can think of. More than likely you will have more time in the summer, so grow a deeper connection now because it will make the “formal” portion of recruitment that much easier.
Make them your friend, introduce them to your friends, introduce them to your Fraternity and Sorority community, invite them to join and become an actively engaged member. All it takes is hard work (Dynamic Recruitment), being Socially Excellent on a daily basis, and the “right” summer job to boost your names list and your Fraternity and Sorority community.