• Fraternity Pledging
    Fraternity Pledging Thoughts from the Chapter Services Department of Sigma Pi Fraternity, International

 Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few weeks, you’ve probably heard about the feud between Drake & Meek Mill. You are most likely also aware that Meek Mill failed miserably in his attempt to go head-to-head and embarrass Drake. This attempt lead to hundreds of memes poking fun of the rapper, a shift in his fanbase, and a moment in hip-hop history that will dampen the artist’s reputation forever.

Two-thirds of you probably read the above paragraph and thought, “Why is he writing about rappers on a blog about Fraternity?” Well, I believe that Meek Mill’s failure stemmed from a lot of the same mistakes our chapter’s make when recruiting. So before we begin here is my forewarning -

You might be offended. I’m going 0 to 100 real quick on this blog (forgive me for that corny pun). If you see something in this list that your chapter is doing, then make an effort to fix it. Fraternity is transformative - if you are doing the same today as you were yesterday, you’re doing fraternity wrong. Not all chapters are doing it wrong, but if you think this applies to you it's not too late to change.

So now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for….

 

5 Ways You’re Recruiting Like Meek Mill Raps

 

  1. You’re lacking in authenticity

I see so many chapters creating graphics for different “marketing campaigns” that they have focused around recruitment. These graphics are used for t-shirts, social media pages, and personal profiles. I see “Rush Sigma Pi” plastered over whatever super-frat, southern-traditional brand that has fooled you into believing you can’t be called a fraternity man unless you wear their clothing. The adapted liquor bottle label, the movie poster ad, or my all time favorite to poke fun of: the “all men were created equal until XXXX year when our fraternity was founded and changed the world thereonafter.” Newsflash - none of these thing accurately represent your organization. What about a shirt that actually spells out your values based on the service you provide to your campus and community?

 

Beach themed rush in landlocked state. COOL.

 

  1. You forgot about your audience

How you’re recruiting is going to be a huge indicator on who your new member class is going to be. Rush parties will get you guys who just want to party. Service and philanthropies will get you guys who want to participate in philanthropies and community service projects. Pizza...well pizza will probably get you this guy.

 

 

 

Stay away from pizza being the only thing you are “selling”.  Having food at an event is great, but should not be the only reason people are attending. Nobody wants the guy who shows up only for pizza. Be strategic on what you want the identity of your chapter to be and cater your events, and more importantly, conversations, to creating that identity.

 

  1. You’re focusing too much on the battle

Everybody get’s so concerned on what everybody else is doing when it comes to fraternity recruitment. “Phi Delt is having this event so we need to do something bigger and better to make sure we blow them out of the water,” is the wrong mindset to have. Each organization is looking for men who embodies the values of the that respective chapter. Don’t focus on having the best recruitment on your campus, focus on having the best recruitment for your chapter. In the end, it comes down to what you’re doing as an organization to grow in the right direction.

 

  1. You’re bragging about the wrong things

    In his newly released diss track, Meek Mill bragged about his platinum watches and cars while calling Drake out for only having platinum selling records.

     

    Your big house, wild socials, crazy parties, and great relationships with the “top” sororities are Meek’s watches, while the other guys on campus have awards and recognition from the campus. What has more credibility when you run into those that say “Fraternities aren’t relevant anymore?” Focus on what’s important to sell when you’re talking about your chapter specifically. Bragging about face-value nonsense gets you those empathetic members who only want to party, but when it comes to actual work they do nothing but complain

     

 

  1. You’re freestyling and not planning

Meek Mill relied on the fact that he started as one of the best freestylers in Philadelphia during the whole debacle, but in the end, it was Drake’s researched and planned out rhymes that brought him the title of this year’s rap war. In an effort to not repeat what Meek did, I urge you to not rely on what’s worked for you in the past. The demographic of students entering college and the environment surrounding you is changing, while the chapters in your community are adapting. Be strategic and plan every step of your recruitment process. Learn who your potential new members are and what they want to see out of a fraternity. It’s time to step up to the plate and grow your organization with the right people.

Every year around this time there are scores of Sigma Pi men who have just fulfilled a dream that was not only their own, but that of many friends, family, and loved ones; graduation.  To use a few clichés, walking the stage and receiving a degree of higher learning symbolizes the completion of a chapter, a time to finally cut out the kid stuff and start acting like grown-ups, the end of the best four (or five, or six…) years of our lives. Did you notice a theme there? In many ways, the persona we possess doing our time in college, is expected to come to an end. All too often, our identity as Fraternity men, as Sigma Pi men, goes with it too.

If it hasn’t happened already, there will come a time very soon in your lives when someone new in your life will notice your ΣΠ letters on an old rush shirt, coffee mug, etc. and ask “Oh, were you in a frat of something in college?” At this moment, you are being presented with a distinct choice. One that is very telling of the path you are traveling down currently. Most people will reply one of two ways. Either “Yes, I was in a fraternity in college” or “Yes, I am a Sigma Pi”. It is my belief that those who find ways to stay involved make up the “I am” brothers.

After college, many of us have a full plate just taking on the day-to-day trials that our lives place in front of us. There are still many more who find time to volunteer their support to our great Fraternity. However, there is a third group. One that all too often doesn’t receive the guidance it so desperately is seeking. These are the brothers who wish to remain involved but simply do not know how or where to begin.

If this is you, fear not. I’d like to spend some time briefly introducing you to the various ways you can continue the Quest for Excellence as a volunteer. Whether your schedule allows for you to travel around your area and plan large-scale retreats, or simply pitch in your assistance towards a focus area such as recruitment, there should always be a way for you to get involved.

Volunteer Roles

  • Alumni Advisory Board: If you are wondering where the easiest place to get started is, joining an Alumni Advisory Board (AAB) is it. AABs serve under the leadership of a Chapter/ Colony Director, supporting a specific function of the chapter/ colony which can be tailor-made to sit the needs of the group. These advisors can easily work together or independently to foster ongoing alumni relationships and mentoring. Here are some examples of typical AAB roles:
  1. oAlumni Comptroller: This role mirrors the Treasurer. His duty is to provide training, officer transitioning, and perform periodic audits of the chapter/colony finances to ensure everything is in order.
  2. oRecruitment Advisor: Were you once the recruitment wunderkind? Does your job involve recruitment strategies or sales? Recruitment is the lifeblood of every undergraduate group, and your help could be what is needed to take them to you next level.
  3. oService Advisor: Oversees the areas of ACE, Community Service and Philanthropy. Being active on our campuses, in our communities and contributing to financial efforts that make a difference is how we become “exemplary Sigma Pi and Citizens”.
  4. oFaculty Advisor: By tapping into the resources of the faculty, the men of Sigma Pi can marry their effort to Promote Scholarship, with those of the university.
  5. oAlumni Relations Advisor: As an undergraduate, did you ever put together what was sure to be an amazing alumni event, only to discover that the alumni weren’t properly informed, or really all that interested in going? Maybe you called in every favor and bribe you could to get every last brother to attend, and yet only three alumni showed up. Something has clearly gone wrong… And that is where the Alumni Relations Advisor comes into play. His job is to network with the alumni base and get them pumped up for your chapter’s events.
  6. oCareer Placement Advisor: I assume at some point, someone told you that joining the Fraternity would help you get a job after you graduated, right? Well jobs don’t just fall into our laps, especially not these days. That is were the Career Placement Advisor steps in. He has the resume, interviewing, and networking skills and tips to help you land that dream job straight out of school. He also has a relationship with the on-campus career services center to help double down on anything they can offer.
  7. oNew Member Education Advisor: Not only is this advisor beneficial for enhancing the educational value of the New Member program, but he also stands as the vanguard of the alumni’s defense against hazing.
  • Chapter/ Colony Director: (2-3hrs/week) When it comes to alumni support for a specific chapter/colony, the Chapter/Colony Director is the primary point of contact for day-to-day activities. His greatest resource is a handpicked team known as the Alumni Advisory Board. He is able to add/drop AAB members at will and is given several powers by the International Constitution and Bylaws in order to discipline chapters should the need arise. If you are looking for a way to make impactful changes across an entire chapter, or help shape a forming colony, this is the best position for you.
  • Province Archon: (2-3hrs/week) These men act as area managers for Sigma Pi, overseeing all parts of the fraternity (colonies, chapters, alumni clubs, etc.) that are within their geographic area.  This role requires a bit more supervisory skill than the previous volunteer roles. However, they are able to work hand-in-hand with the Executive Office to make lasting changes on multiple chapters.
  • Grand Council: Sigma Pi Fraternity’s Board of Directors. The Grand Council is made up of veteran members of the organization, passionate Sigma Pi’s, and men accomplished in their field. The Grand Counselors serve two-year terms and are elected to their positions at every Biennial Convocation.

 

Staying involved after you graduate isn’t as easy. You don’t have mandatory meetings and events to attend, brotherhood camping trips to bond over, or all-night study sessions to cram for final exams together. Personally, when I graduated, there was a short period where I wondered if it was time that I merely was a Sigma Pi in college. As fate would have it, the Chapter Director at the time, Brother Tyler Buske (UTSA - ΙΔ) had to step down for personal reasons. I was approached about taking the opening, applied for the position and never looked back! I can honestly say that in the two and a half years that I served as Chapter Director before taking this position on staff, I was able to impact the lives of dozens of Sigma Pi men. What I couldn’t have guessed was the level of personal growth I received in doing so. I could once more feel the bonds of Brotherhood made real in my own daily life and have been able to proclaim boldly ever since that I am a Sigma Pi.

How to Volunteer

To start your volunteer career, visit http://sigmapi.org/volunteer/. *REMEMBER* If there is not a CD or PA positions available near you, or you don not believe you’ll have time to fill these roles, you should speak to your local CD or PA about joining an AAB to contribute and stay involved in any way you feel you can. 

 

The purpose of the Sigma Pi ACE Project is to instill pride and respect for one’s alma mater by performing philanthropic activities specifically benefiting the university community; including students, faculty, staff and administration. Unlike any other fraternity or sorority philanthropic program, Sigma Pi Fraternity’s ACE Projects directly give back to our host institutions.  This is our way of showing our appreciation to the greater campus community. Since each campus is different (some public, some private; some large, some small), each project is designed and implemented locally to address the specific needs of the individual campus.

Every chapter should plan on completing one Altruistic Campus Experience by June 1st.  Through the ACE Project, our chapters identify a unique problem or struggle that their campus is experiencing, brainstorm creative solutions, create an action plan and get to work in being a part of the solution.

There are three main components to a successful ACE Project:

  • Altruistic: the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines altruism as "unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others".  The best projects involve our brothers rolling up their sleeves and donating their physical strength to drive a real change.
  • Campus:  the ACE project is your gift to the institution which you attend.  The project should benefit as much of the community as possible.
  • Experience:  a strong ACE project should be an experience to remember.  The ACE project should benefit your campus, but it should also benefit the chapter and the individual members.  Physically working together in your chapter and in your community will create a lasting memory that everyone will learn from and grow as fraternity men.

Advance planning and strong communication are essential for ultimate success.  There are also a couple of reports that each chapter should complete in order to successfully prepare for their project, document the project and receive SOE Points for that project.

ACE Project Approval - meet with someone from your campus (probably your campus fraternity/sorority affairs professional) to discuss potential struggles or problems your campus is experiencing.  This should be completed about two weeks prior to the ACE Project.

ACE Project Pre-Event Press Release and Social Media Event Page - We want your chapter to create a press release about your project.  The press release should answer who, what, where, when, etc.  Send this to the school newspaper, local newspaper, and various departments around campus. The ultimate goal of the press release is to share the good work you are doing in the community.  You will directly upload the press release file to this report.

Additionally, we want you to create a social media event page.  The most popular form is Facebook.  This is another way we want you to get the information about your project out to the university community and boost participation and attendance.  Take a screen shot of this social media event page and directly upload that to this report.

As Sigma Pis, we are all responsible for sharing the positive things we are doing in the community.  It is very important that we share as much as we can to combat the current stories in the media that incorrectly portray all fraternity men.  These are both relatively simple.  They can be as basic or advanced as you want.  The most important thing is that it is completed.

ACE Project Report  - After you complete your ACE Project, we want to hear about it.  This report collects important data about your project that we will record at the Executive Office.  There are a few questions about the project that we would like you to answer.  This should be done no later than two weeks after the project while the information is still current.

ACE Project Attendance - Successful ACE Projects have strong chapter participation.  It is very important that you get your chapter involved in your project and inspire their participation and attendance.  Chapters should utilize their Chapter Workbook to track chapter attendance.  Chapters receive Standards of Excellence points for the percentage of chapter attendance.

12 Points - 90%+

10 Points - 80%-89.9%

8 Points - 70%-79.9%

0 Points - Less than 69.9%

Some examples of past successful projects include campus beautification projects, faculty/staff recognition dinners, collections for campus food banks accessible by your fellow students and large-scale programs or awareness campaigns that increase the education of the campus community on a particular relevant subject.  Some projects last a week and others are just one day.

Chapters are permitted to combine their ACE Project with either the Amazing Day Foundation or Donate Life.  Prior approval for combining these two Standards of Excellence expectations from your Regional Director is required.

If you have any specific questions about your project of if you just want to discuss some ideas, please do not hesitate to contact your Regional Director of campus fraternity/sorority affairs professional.

I just realized that there are roughly two and half months of school left for most of our chapters – Wow! It seems like time has gone by so quick this school year, and graduation is almost here. I have visited 14 different campuses so far, and I have another ten that I will still visit over the next few months.

I find that our chapters are performing better than ever and are doing great things on their campus in philanthropy, community service, intramurals, brotherhood, and academics. One area that I have noticed to be a struggle for most chapters is ongoing education. As part of the Standards of Excellence (SOE), each chapter should conduct a workshop in each of the following areas:

Harm Reduction Workshop (Risk Management, Relationship & Sexual Violence)
Financial Literacy Workshop (Personal Financial Planning & Management)
Academic Success Workshop (Learning Styles & Study Skills)
Etiquette Workshop (Chivalry & Decorum of a Gentlemen)
Professional Development Workshop (Resumes, Interviews & Conduct/Dress)
Goal Setting Workshop (Personal, Professional & Organizational)
Men’s Health Workshop (Fitness & Wellness)
Recruitment Workshop with 90% attendance AND provide Continuous Recruitment Education
It is the responsibility of the chapters 2nd Counselor to schedule these workshops, and they need to be conducted throughout the school year. There are four different ways to hold or participate in these workshops:

Have a campus professional give a presentation on the topic.
Have a community expert give a presentation on the topic.
Have an alumnus, who is an expert on the subject, give a presentation on the topic
Attend a campus approved workshop on the topic.
In the past, chapters have had active members give their presentations. We have found that these presentations do not have the quality that an expert on the topic would have. Involving campus professionals, community members, and alumni volunteers also provide the chapter with better public relations and connections that they might not have before. The Recruitment Workshop is the only exception to this and can be presented by the chapter members.

Another recommendation is to substitute these workshops in place of chapter meetings. You can still have about 15 minutes of general announcements for the week and then let the presenter have the next 45 minutes to an hour. Your member attendance will be much higher, and you can rotate these workshops every other week until you have had them all.

Once you have your workshop set up, make sure to fill out the pertinent information in your Chapter Workbook Google Doc. In order to receive points for the SOE, you will need to have the following attendance:

Conducted OR participated with 80%+ attendance is worth 12 points
Conducted OR participated is worth 6 points
The Recruitment Workshop attendance is a little different:

Workshop with 90% attendance AND continuous education is worth 16 points
Workshop with less than 90% attendance AND continuous education is worth 8 points
Whoever you have present for these workshops remember to dress professionally, give them your undivided attention, be sure to thank them, and send them a thank you note. By doing this, you will leave a good impression with the presenter, and you now have a future resource for your chapter.

These workshops will provide education that your chapter may not receive in the classroom and can be a recruitment tool that you can provide to potential new members. Ongoing education for your chapter will help you on your Quest for Excellence! 

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About Chapter Services

The Chapter Services Department consists of five Regional Directors that oversee each active chapter in Sigma Pi.  This blog consists of thoughts from the Regional Directors, as well as Assistant Executive Director Jason Walker. Founded in 1897, Sigma Pi Fraternity is the leading, international men's collegiate fraternal organization which provides training, guidance and innovative opportunities for Leadership Development, Social and Personal Development, Academic Achievement, Community Service and Heightened Moral Awareness for its brothers throughout their lives.

Contact Jason Walker:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: 615.921.2300

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