by Matt Mattson
“People Like Us Do Things Like This.”
That phrase has been stuck in my head for two days. It feels really important. It feels incredibly relevant for fraternity/sorority right now.
Maybe that’s all sorority/fraternity actually is… an agreement that “people in our organization live life like this.”
Do you know how to describe that for your chapter? “People in our chapter live life like this.”
For your inter/national organization? “People in our national organization live life like this.”
For your council and campus community? “People in our council (or Greeks on our campus) live life like this.”
That’s really important to know. If you’re a fraternity/sorority leader, volunteer, or professional, this question should keep you up tonight: What are the non-negotiable expectations you have of how your members live their life because of the commitment they’ve made to your organization? It should feel urgent and vital to answer as soon as possible.
Here’s how I wish we, collectively – as an industry, talked about this.
“People Like Us (Sorority & Fraternity Members) Do Things Like This”
- We say hi to people, shake hands, smile, and suprise people with little moments of joy more often than non-members.
- We ask more and better questions than non-members.
- We proactively serve and help people (both members and non-members) in every situation we find ourselves in.
- We lift others up, and never tear people down. We are a light in the lives of the people we interact with.
- We have interactions and conversations that are meaningful and substantive.
- We step up to lead groups and advocate for important causes more often than non-members.
- We do not hurt people. In any way. Ever. We help people become healthier and more successful, never the opposite.
- We add value to our institution and community (our hosts), we never detract from it in any way.
- We actively contribute to our society as responsible and engaged citizens.
- We are gathered as an organization to make the world better in a specific way that is important and unique to our organization.
I want you to notice something from my little list there. It’s all “social” stuff. We are SOCIAL organizations. We so often forget that sororities and fraternities only exist in the space between our members and other human beings, and the way we fill that space is what makes our organizations what they are.
That’s what it means to be social.
I want you to notice something else from that list too. That list allows each of our organizations to be decidedly unique. You can be about a wildly different cause than the chapter next to you. You should be. You don’t have to fit the mold.
That’s what it means to be about something.
But if you’re a fraternity/sorority member… no matter what letters you wear, no matter what council you’re in, no matter how old you are… you always do those ten things. That’s our code for living. That’s our shared agreement.
That’s what it means to be Greek.
*Note: That phrase “People Like Us Do Things Like This” sounded so familiar. I felt like it was planted in my head. It was… like 8 years ago. I did a little Google search and found the original article from Seth Godin that inspired this so many years later. Always like to give credit where it’s due.