‘Tis the Season… for Reflection

by Erin Chatten

Can you guess what time of the year it is?

Exams? Nope!

Holiday season? Guess again!

Officer transition? Graduation? Finals? Close… but no again!

We may think this insane time of the year is the time spent to shop for others, engage in  holiday traditions with our friends and family, cram for final exams, or prep to transition in or out of our existing positions- but that’s not all it is. Tis the season for reflection and assessment…. Of your chapter that is!

Yes, you may be sitting there thinking… is this some weird Canadian tradition they do up there in the great white north? (No silly… that’s Boxing Day.) This time of the year is a prime opportunity for you to reflect on and assess how your chapter is doing.

Each year we hear about setting New Year’s resolutions, but those are mainly individual goals we set for ourselves. What about making resolutions for our fraternity or sorority? You know… these organizations we invest our time in to to help us grow us as a group and as individuals? Doesn’t that deserve some reflection and resolutions as well? You don’t need to be a chapter officer to assist in this reflection either, you just need to be able to ask and answer a few questions.

Chapter “success” varies by each individual organization, but after years of doing research on fraternity and sorority, we know a few key indicators of success and happiness in organizations. If you want to do a solo reflection, answer these questions for yourself. But, if you want to help assess your whole chapter, try asking these questions to as many brothers and sisters as possible:

  • Explain to me how you contribute to the success of your organization?
    • Members are happiest when they feel like they are being heard by the organization and add to its success. It doesn’t need to be a huge contribution, just something that matters to the individual. If they haven’t contributed to the success, how would they want to do it?
  • Tell me about how this organization betters you as an individual? For your future?
    • Our research shows that many join our organizations to find friendship and belonging, but they also want to develop themselves  for the future. If friendship is all that we are offering, we are more likely to lose our members over time.
  • Do you understand what is expected of you as a member of the organization?
    • Expectations need to be communicated both in recruitment and during membership. This doesn’t just mean rules and standards, but what it looks like to be an engaged member.
  • Is there someone in the chapter who truly cares about me as a person?
    • Everyone wants to belong and to matter. If there is not at least one person active in the chapter that cares about you, you are more likely to leave. Think about the individual in your chapter you rarely see at events or meetings, when is the last time someone reached out to them to tell them they care?
  • In the last month, have you received praise or recognition for your contributions to the organization?
    • The praise doesn’t need to be an award or huge recognition, but our members need to know they matter, that they are heard, and that they are contributing. When is the last time they were thanked or recognized, even for something small?

After answering or asking these questions, what themes emerged? Take the largest challenge points and turn these into your chapter resolutions! If more people need to feel connection and that somebody cares, set up a time to do intentional compliments or speed date to help members get to know each other better. Are not enough ideas heard? Have each chapter member write down one thing they wish the chapter would do and start implementing them. Remember, what a sophomore member needs from the organization and what a senior member needs are very different.

Want to reflect and assess your recruitment too? We have a FREE tool already built for that!

Click this link to take the Dynamic Recruitment Assessment that will give you a score to help assess and improve your future recruitment.

Happy reflecting! We wish you a wonderful kick start to a fresh new year!