Congratulations! Your fraternity or sorority chapter has gotten the academic year off to a fast and furious start. You helped fellow students on move-in day, you showed up and showed out for “Meet the Greeks” and that first party of the year was OFF…THA…HOOK! Now, it’s time to get down to the real business. That business is making sure your chapter puts its best collective foot forward to rep your letters the way they were meant to be repped on campus.
How do you really get things started the right way? Concentrate on these areas:
Leadership is more than a notion; it is an expectation in Black Greek life. The reason everyone in your chapter (theoretically) has letters is a group of people had faith that all of you would wear those letters with dignity and pride. After all, your chapter exists because the national organization felt it could find people with the leadership abilities that your fraternity or sorority requires.
It’s okay to proclaim that the chapter will “run the yard” but you need a plan to do it. Is your executive board on the same page to ensure efficient chapter operation? If your members hold leadership positions in other campus organizations, what are their plans to leave those organizations better than they found them? Remember that great leaders are concerned with results, not popularity.
What is your plan to build your membership? Do you know which students you want to attract and how you will get their attention, or are you stuck on attracting “cool kids” on the yard? What about chapter members who seem to be falling off? How will you get them back on the same page as everyone else?
Just so you don’t think I’m a stick in the mud, I do believe in social engagement. Heck, I’m not going to act like parties aren’t effective promotional tools for Black Greek chapters. And it is true that college students need to blow off steam, especially the ones who are serious about academics. The trick is to make sure social events are done in a responsible way. Meet with campus police to get a list of need-to-know items for your engagements. Also, have a meeting of the minds to make sure chapter members represent the fraternity or sorority responsibly at social events.
The first order of business is to make sure your chapter is prepared to execute nationally mandated programs. As for other service projects, plan them with a sense of purpose. Be ready to plan service-oriented events and projects which address concerns and issues on campus. Make your service efforts about more than collecting hours. Show your peers that you are thoughtful servants. Finally, create goals and aggressive promotional plans for your fundraisers.
Remember, you’re at the beginning of the academic year. That means academics count. In fact, you’re in school to have a great academic experiences. Academics are important. Catch my drift?
Now is the time for chapter members to hold each other accountable for doing what you came to college to do–learn to contribute to your field by either improving operations or by creating knowledge. Everyone should share their class schedules, plan study sessions, and push each other. After all, quality students pay the most attention to the fraternity and sorority chapters with the highest GPAs.
By the way, did I mention that, regardless of your chapter’s plans, it’s an academic year?