Message to Fraternity and Sorority Headquarters

Fraternity and sorority headquarters must be willing to close chapters that do not meet our standards and remove members who are not reflective of our values, even if it impacts the financial bottom-line. Our programming needs to focus on successful on-boarding, an impactful undergraduate experience, and instilling the importance of a lifetime affinity. We speak often about how great the leadership experience is in our chapters. How about we develop certifications and maybe even associate degrees for those staying involved for four years and meeting all of our requirements?

Sorority headquarters must quit “sitting on the sidelines” when it comes to alcohol and social activity. The current campus conditions leave almost all of the decision-making and risk management to 18-21 year old men. Passing rules that do not allow your chapters to co-sponsor events with alcohol has maybe reduced your liability but it has not stopped your members attendance, and it has only turned the social events into “open parties” with very little accountability or leadership from the sororities participating.

To see the path to more excelling chapters for our Headquarters click here.

The Path to More Excelling Chapters for our Headquarters

  • Headquarters staff need to have a defined number of chapters and members per staff and volunteer that enables them to have the time to provide a positive impact. On the most part, our number of undergraduate members, volunteers and chapters being managed by our professional staff is way above an acceptable standard. This probably means a need for additional funding.
  • There needs to be a consistent set of social policies across all of our headquarters so the local chapters and universities have a simple set of rules to enforce. This needs to be no hard alcohol as well as alcohol-free housing or simply all events with alcohol must be held at 3rd party licensed establishments.
  • Recognize our chapters and individuals of excellence in as many ways as possible. Close chapters who do not meet a set criterion. Consider removing members who do not meet a minimum standard as well, and not just not removing members for behavioral reasons.
  • Develop regional volunteer teams that complete assessments of our chapters on an annual basis and spend more time recruiting & developing stronger local volunteer teams.
  • Ensure that our local chapters represent our brand. Place more emphasis on not just what our chapters promote about their chapters but how our individual members promote our chapters. The sub-culture of social media is marketing high school and college students in direct conflict with what our organizational marketing message is.
  • Review our funding model to ensure that it meets our needs today and do not be afraid to make the adjustments needed.
  • Recognize your chapters of excellence in as many ways as possible (ensure that you have set a criterion that ensures solid undergraduate operations and volunteer involvement). Use your websites, e-news, social media, and leadership conferences to share progress towards metrics as well as other messaging needed. Send notes to parents with the chapter’s metrics.
  • Develop a plan with your staff and volunteers that focuses on academics, career preparation & networking, financial planning, health & wellness, engagement, leadership development, new member development with successful onboarding, officer & committee training, ritual, and lifetime affinity. This involves working relationships with campus partners that impact these areas.
  • Review your membership recruitment, member education and initiation requirements. The standards for new members/pledges needs to increase. Having too many members not committed to chapter and personal excellence is a guaranteed recipe for closing of the chapter.
  • Move to one of these choices: a) alcohol-free housing, 2) no events with alcohol in chapter houses and a requirement of all events with alcohol must be at 3rd party, licensed locations, or 3) cash bar with licensed servers and security at any event that will include alcohol but limit to only a few social events with alcohol per school term. Enforce infractions of hard alcohol with more significant sanctioning. Note: if events with alcohol just move to off-campus housing, the headquarters needs to focus on suspension and expelling of members whose names are on the leases if significant issues arise.
  • Develop a stronger volunteer identification, recruitment, training and recognition plan. Provide our volunteers with more funding to support what they do and do not spread them so thin that they really can’t have a positive influence on the chapters they work with.

Please feel free to share your comments with me at matt.noble@fmgtucson.com.