This past summer, RISE revisited its purpose, and accepted the challenge to help every member become more active and engaged in their fraternity / sorority experience. While the extent to which members are “active” will vary, it is an appropriate goal for us, a company committed to improving the fraternal movement. As dedicated supporters of the interfraternal community, we challenge our fellow professionals to be more “active" in their role. By active we don't mean volume, we mean intention. Here are five ways you can become more active as a fraternity/sorority professional:
- Develop a professional development plan: being active means you’re aspiring the reach the “next level” through ongoing professional development. Development should be focused on improving existing skills, developing new competencies, and reflecting on how work may be modified given new knowledge. Components of a professional development plan include conference workshops, campus-offered trainings, taking courses, and reading. Developing skills to help you better enact your work, which should be to help students have a positive and developmental experience, is the best way for professionals to be active.
- Evolve your philosophy: you’re becoming more active through development, so it makes sense your philosophy will change right? You might think, but I know headquarters and campus professionals who have been doing this work for 5, 10, 20 years that still approach student interactions the same: meet, discuss issues, and offer advice. We must foster an increased sense of commitment, resulting in all members being “active”. Old approaches obviously haven’t worked.As professionals, we need to reach the masses – rather than meeting only with a chapter president, we should involve more chapter leadership and general members, involve alumni (in-person or call-in) and engage campus and headquarters colleagues. If our historical philosophy to involving students hasn’t worked then why would we think the same approach will help us realize every member active.
- Improve relationships: if you’re a campus professional who is too busy to involve headquarters staff and alumni in your work, then change something. If you want every member active then you have to involve others: alumni advisors and headquarters staff influences the programs and services chapters receive. Working together demonstrates that people are actively collaborating to improve the undergraduate fraternal experience. If you’re a headquarters staff person, you’re equally guilty and should involve campus professionals and alumni as well!
- Approach interactions as education: help students see their experience is contributing to the primary goal of college: learning. I think undergraduate members will stay active if they can identify that the experience helps them learn and can articulate how membership fosters important life skills. However, unless professionals help students connect membership and learning, students will not likely make the connection naturally.
- Contribute to the movement: Find your niche. How can you contribute in different spheres of influence? AFA? NASPA or ACPA? Regional conference involvement? Your fraternity/sorority? What can you do to be “active” beyond just your role on a campus or at the headquarters level?
While our team RISEs to the challenge of getting every member active, we ask you to join us in the same cause. We are helping undergraduates become more committed to the fraternal movement, and we hope you will renew your dedication to taking intentional steps towards your own personal leadership and professional development!