by Josh Orendi

What would you do if the 100 highest quality, freshmen/sophomore students from your school sat in front of you at the request of the President/Dean to be recruited into your organization(s)?

Crazy?  Nope.  All you need to do is ask.

Fraternity/Sorority life represents a significant percentage of your school’s undergraduate leadership.  We are a partner (not a parasite) to our host institutions.  Top students come together to better the community, campus, and each others lives through a mission of friendship, service, leadership, scholarships, and integrity.  We’re the training ground for social excellence that compliments scholastic excellence.  It’s time for you to present that argument and ask the partner institution for their support.

Leverage the support of alumni and/or the fraternity/sorority life office to approach the Dean, university president, or an administrator of similar status.  This is a perfect responsibility for a high functioning Council.  Ask for his/her direct support contacting the top 100 leaders from the freshmen/sophomore class.  Ask for a letter and an email sent directly from him/her requesting that student’s attendance at a meeting, luncheon, etc.

How to define the top 100 students?
- consider the top 100 GPA’s, or
- consider non-greek students in positions of “president, vp, or treasurer” of any recognized student group, or
- consider recommendations from the faculty, or
- consider scholarship/honors recipients, or
- consider letting the students self-select themselves as being in the top 100

Require/request an RSVP and manage the entire process for the Dean.  If you don’t get to 100 confirmed guests, send out a new batch to the next 50 in line…

The top 100 non-greek students are about to show up, now what?
- it’s time to practice social excellence.
- don’t talk fraternity, be genuinely curious about them and establish a relationship
- introduce them to others in the room that they might enjoy and/or benefit from knowing
- be a great host

The Dean/President might attend to make a few comments about leadership, excellence, and the school’s endorsement of student organizations that embrace and advance the university’s mission.  That’s the segway we’re looking for to introducing the next generation of fraternity/sorority life.  A movement that redefines all the stereotypes and targets unlikely joiners … like them.  You get the picture.

A follow up meeting is a good idea, but the real magic happened when they walked in the room.  Your best greek leaders were mixing, mingling, networking, and flexing their “social excellence” muscles as they built new relationships.  It’s time for personal invitations for coffee, lunch, a study group, small social function, etc.  Now you’re recruiting the best of the best!

If you’re feeling like you need more content in your meeting, ask for their help.  Literally.  Ask them to complete a survey reflecting their opinions of greek life.  Or, ask them openly (think focus group) for their thoughts.  This does not need to be a sales pitch.  Remember that part of social excellence is being genuinely curious and even vulnerable.

PS.  There’s no particular reason why this has to be the “top 100.”  You could focus on the top 1000 or the top 10.  Your choice.

PPS.  Thank the Dean/president with a nice card signed by each member/chapter and maybe a small gift.  Be sure to include a line that says, “we can’t wait to do this with you again next year.”