Joining a fraternity and sorority isn’t just a four year commitment—the alumni from your chapters are just as vital to the success of your organization as the current members. Creating positive alumni relations can strengthen your chapter and Greek community, provide invaluable advising, create professional contacts, and of course, funding for special projects.
We got together with Mindy Sopher, speaker on Alumni Relations: Reconnecting Brothers and Sisters, to find out the scoop on what’s so important about staying connected.
You may be thinking, “Why do we have to talk to the old people who used to be in this fraternity/sorority…they don’t care anymore.” Wrong! Members took a lifetime vow to live the values of their organization. Staying connected with undergraduate members can provide that outlet for alumni to stay connected, an opportunity to give back or to save the undergraduate chapter members the pain of learning the hard way how not to do something. Alumni don’t need 18-22 year old friends, but they do want to help you have a rich and rewarding Greek experience. Most of the time, they are just as invested as you are.
The mutual benefits for alumni and undergraduates are huge. “A couple direct benefits of staying connected with alumni are the usual suspects of job/career networking or officer and member advising. Graduate members can also provide cost-saving legal means to achieve chapter goals, they can provide personal and professional developmental mentoring, and explain the lifetime value of Greek membership,” said Mindy.
Mindy reminds students that alumni can be so much more than a bank for fundraising, a baker for recruitment cookies, or just that “boring old person” you have to listen to at Homecoming. They are an untapped resource that can be a positive force in chapter development if connected and educated well. For Mindy, she gets excited about sharing the potential for a lifetime commitment to that original fire of membership!
Alumni have been known to do great thing throughout chapters. Mindy shares just a couple of examples she’s encountered over the years.
1) Alumni have helped chapters move new students into the campus housing as a lifetime commitment to service as a fraternity man.
2) Graduate Brothers took on medical residents in their private practices for the benefit of all concerned.
3) Unsolicited recommendations come from loyal and aware alumni for new members from among the new students on campus.
4) One chapter held their three week long non-alcoholic principle-centered recruitment on a zero budget—everything they did was completely funded by Graduates who were tired of paying for alcohol and reaping the recruitment results associated with “big party rush.”
Whether their contributions are big or small, concerned with the entire chapter or on a more personal level, alumni are there to help. Students should realize that no matter where your alumni live or what chapter they joined, everyone benefits from this relationship.
Next time you hear the word alumni, take a different perspective and think about the potential possibilities after connecting with them.
“Alumni are our backbone, our consistency, our role models—good or bad*#8212;and the foundation of our organizations. At the very least, they have earned a degree from our institutions and have hopefully learned something from their academic and their Greek journey to the ‘outside world.’ Our connection to that learning, maturity and experience of responsibility over time has the potential to give members and chapter leaders more benefit than we might normally imagine. We also live our values by connecting with our graduate Brothers and alumnae Sorors, holding them accountable to their lifetime commitment to our organizations,” states Mindy.
For more information on Mindy’s keynote, Alumni Relations: Reconnecting our Brothers and Sisters, visit campuspeak.com/sopher.