Promoting Values-Based Recruiting in Your Chapter: Part I

Anthony Bennett

Recruiting is the most important responsibility of any collegiate organization, and even more so in a fraternity or sorority. Greek organizations exist as largely social functions, and very little intervention occurs on the part of the university in the pledge selection process; therefore, if you want members that will uphold the honor of your organization, you’ll have to find them yourself.

Recruiting pledges that truly embody the ideals of your organization is a process of two major steps: clearly presenting the values and educational benefits of your organization, and then identifying those prospective members who will contribute to that vision. This article will focus on the first step. Shaping your organization into an upstanding and successful one shouldn’t be too hard; if it’s not, you shouldn’t be there anyway. With that in mind, the focus should be on making sure rushees see the absolute best side of your fraternity or sorority, a move comprised of a few simple but potentially challenging steps:

Plan a rush that focuses on your values rather than the social aspect.

Everyone else is taking rushees to the informal activities and “invite-only” parties. Informal social interaction is vital to finding out if they’re right for you and you’re right for them, but it shouldn’t take up more than three days of your week. If you are a values-based organization, the persistence of the organization is dependent on recruiting members who can identify with and be identified by those values. Plan an informative Q&A, focusing on what separates one assortment of Greek Letters from the next. Also, include alumni in as many of the recruitment activities as is feasible. The benefits of Greek membership extend beyond the undergraduate experience and an effective recruitment allows the rushees to see this firsthand.

Institute a dry rush if it’s not required by your school or headquarters; encourage full compliance if it is.

This rule is already set by most schools and organizations as it applies to formal rush activities, but your standard of sobriety should go well past that minimum. As I’ve maintained throughout this process, rush is not a five-hour, one-week event; potential recruits are going to feel the need to hang out with you and get a feel for who they want to call siblings. And you want whoever is giving them that idea to be coherent enough to explain to them what it all means. Never forget that you’re working against deeply ingrained stereotypes of Greek Life, and the only way to overcome those stereotypes is to establish more positive ones based on the consistent conduct of your members.

Quiz your entire organization on your literature; make sure everyone knows everything, verbatim.

Any organization has its Creed/Standard/Motto/Slogan on the chapter wall or in a pledge book on the shelf for the world to see; truly effective Greek organizations ensure their members understand and embrace their founding literature. And everyone around will notice the difference. Besides the recruitment edge it gives for rushees to see how committed you are to your values, it gives another distinct advantage: a chance to reconnect with and re-forge those commitments.

Anthony is a sophomore Sigma Chi formerly of Jacksonville University, currently applying to several institutions. He enjoys writing, the arts, and being a Sigma Chi. He is currently majoring in English with a focus on Film and plans to graduate in the Spring or Fall of 2009.

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