We all joined our chapters for different reasons – a sense of belonging, a way to be involved on campus, a way to share good times and create memories, a place to learn how to become a good leader, and/or a place to develop lifelong friendships.
Not one of our rituals says please join our chapters, use us for a few years of socializing and then move-on. If we were only a social outlet for our undergraduate members, we would not be called fraternities or sororities. We would be called social clubs. We are supposed to be about academics, leadership, service and socializing, but most important, we are about brotherhood and sisterhood for a lifetime.
If you are a current undergraduate, ask yourself, are you just in your fraternity/sorority and passing through to the next phase of your life, or is your fraternity/sorority in your heart, and you will be committed for a lifetime?
If you are an alumnus, ask yourself, have I been a lifetime committed brother/sister? Have I given my time and treasure for the betterment of my chapter, and/or my national/international organization, and/or Greek Life in general? Organizations with complacent members do not prepare for the future and they eventually fail.
If you answered “yes” to the above, thank you. Know that you will make a difference. If your answer is “no” it’s time to conduct a good assessment of your role and re-commit yourself.
Like no time in the last century, our very existence as Greek-lettered social organizations, is at a crossroads. We must provide more value to our members and the universities are chapters are located. The acceptance of alcohol and drug abuse, bias, hazing, and sexual assault must stop! While I know it is the minority of our members crossing the line here, society is dictating that we are responsible for all of our members. We must become living-learning centers: a place that young men and women are supported, become career-ready, and develop a lifetime affinity for our chapter, national/international organization and university.
Student members who have been nothing more than social members…why are you expecting a few undergraduates to manage the chapter? Get out of the back row at the chapter meetings or if you’ve already stopped attending meetings, make the commitment to return. Get involved on campus and in the chapter. Provide some service to others. Tell us what we can do to get you more engaged in our chapters. If you joined only to “party” and “hookup”, move-on. You are not bettering yourself or others.
Alumni/ae members who have not been engaged…why are you expecting a few alumni/ae donors and volunteers to do all the work for you? Did that ritual have any meaning to you? Did you have some fun, develop some leadership skills, start some lifetime friendships, and/or maybe even meet your spouse because of your chapter? If you can answer “yes” to any of the above, it’s time to re-commit. The leadership programs, scholarships, and first-class facilities do not happen by accident. They happen because of the commitment of our alumni/ae.
Please make an oath to yourself right now:
- I will stay engaged in the chapter for my entire student membership and serve as an officer and/or committee chair at least once.
- I will commit myself to achieving the highest GPA possible.
- I will be involved on campus in at least one campus organization and make it a meaningful experience.
- I will contribute no less than 25 hours of service and $100 per year, as well as learn more about the non-profits I’m supporting.
- I will take the time to get to know as many members as possible.
- I will respect myself and others. No alcohol or drug abuse. No hazing. No fighting. No sexual assault.
- No bias of those different than you. No damage to the Chapter House. No ignoring alumni when they walk through our doors.
- I will pay my membership fees in a timely manner.
- I will encourage others to join our chapter.
- I will make it a goal to improve myself and the chapter during my years as an undergraduate.
- I will commit to my fraternity/sorority and university the day I graduate to be a lifetime committed alumnus.
Note: if you can’t commit to the above, please resign because you are in your chapter for the wrong reason.
- I will quit complaining about the younger generation being too entitled and commit to getting to know as many of them as possible, and finding ways to help them become better men and women.
- Live the life that our ritual teaches.
I will make every attempt possible to serve as volunteer with my chapter or another via the
- Alumni/ae Association, Advisory Board, Foundation Board and/or House Corporation Board.
- I will make an annual gift to my local chapter, national/international organization, and university.
- Think equal sacrifice, not equal giving. Give until it feels good.
- I will commit to attend an alumni/ae event at least every other year.
- I will help alumni/ae and undergraduate members network in their careers if I can be of any help.
- I will encourage students to attend my university and recommend members to join my fraternity/sorority.
Note: if you can’t commit to the above, understand you are not respecting the obligation you made as a student member to be a lifetime member.
If you care about your fraternity or sorority you will commit right now to making it a better organization. To quote John Shertzer, another alumnus committed to the success of the fraternal movement, “You joined. You’re in this experience now. You might as well make it extraordinary.”