Valuing Connection Beyond Joining

by Drew Hopson

Earlier this Fall I attended a chapter meeting of Phi Delta Theta at the University of Chicago, which I chair the advisory board for. At one point, an officer mentioned that the chapter had initiated all but one of last semester’s Phikeia (Phi Delt’s Greek-y name for “new member”), whom I’ll call George. This officer noted that George had a personal issue that prevented him from being able to join. However – and this is the important partthe officer went on to encourage everyone to keep in touch with George, saying, “Just because he didn’t join doesn’t mean that he’s not our friend.”

Few readers may find this revelatory at first glance, yet I’ve seen tons of collegiate men and women miss this seemingly obvious points.

Perhaps we, in our haste to welcome our new members, let other relationships fade.

Perhaps instead, we feel awkward about communicating with this individual who “didn’t make it”.

Perhaps we truly think that our relationship with that new member was a function of their membership (I hope not).

I’m sure that isn’t a comprehensive list of possibilities, but maybe you’ve felt that way about someone your chapter recruited – maybe even someone from your new member class.

At the end of the day, our organizations are about building strong friendships.

If you invited someone to join, and especially if they went through most of your new member education experience, presumably it’s because they are your friend.

I don’t know about you, but my friendships aren’t tied to when I learned the Greek alphabet. They’re instead tied to the late-night conversations, the jokes at chapter meetings, the random lunch outings, and other great memories, notable and otherwise.

I’m writing this blog not to criticize you or your chapter but instead to encourage you.

Social excellence isn’t just about building relationships, it’s about maintaining them.

The Phi Delts down in Hyde Park learned this lesson long before I did, and I hope you’ll do the same. Many of us may have reached out to family and friends we don’t often see or keep in touch with over the past holiday season. Let’s continue that outreach and connection-building into the New Year. I’m sure you know someone who deferred their recruitment or maybe decided joining wasn’t for them. Remember that they’re your friend, too – and give them a call.

For more information visit: phiredup.com

PUP_Headshot_About our Guest Author: 

Drew Hopson is the Head of Growth for CrowdChange, a leading partner in fraternity/sorority fundraising. Prior to CrowdChange, he spent nearly a decade as a headquarters professional, with his most recent role as Assistant Executive Director for Triangle Fraternity. Drew is a proud initiate of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, honorary initiate of Triangle Fraternity, and national volunteer for multiple fraternal organization