Take a second and think outside of your chapter for a second. If you were not a member of your organization, were on campus, and saw a group of 5, 10, 15 or 20 people walking around in the same exact t-shirt, you would probably find it a little odd. No one has ever seen a pack of 15 people all in the same clothing and thought to themselves “Hmmm, that looks like an approachable group, maybe I should talk to them about joining.” Where we are proud of our organizations, and rightfully so, we don’t always remember that sometimes what we do can be intimidating to unaffiliated members. This includes all of our members attempting to recruit by creating a standardized recruitment attire.
It is great to have pride in your chapter and demonstrate this through common clothing, be sure though that this is not hurting your recruitment efforts. Walking around campus with your brothers or sisters is one thing but doing this all the time can be intimidating. As social organizations, it is our need to recruit people outside our groups and not by closing ourselves off through our action. The best place to avoid this type of behavior is especially when participating in general campus events.
We often hear members tell us that they all wear the same lettered or organizational shirts to campus events because they want people to know their chapter is participating. Remember though, showing up in packs is intimidating to unaffiliated students. More so, this comes across that your chapter is only trying to sell something. To the unaffiliated member, if your entire chapter is walking around in the same clothing and you even casually bring up an event or some kind of networking, you lose your identity as a person and instead just become another person convincing them to buy your product. By this point, their defenses are likely to be up because you aren’t a potential new connection, you are now just a salesman.
Instead of constantly wearing our organization’s identification everywhere, participate in event dressed casually without promoting your affiliation. Build relationships where another person has no clue you are a part of a fraternity or sorority. Once that connection is established, then invite them to hang out on an organizational level. By establishing a relationship before even mentioning your chapter, you are more likely to come across as genuine. When people stop viewing you as a salesperson and start viewing you as a new friend, amazing connections can happen.
There is nothing wrong with being proud of our organizations, but remember, packs of people all dressed the same is kind of intimidating. Don’t use your organization and letters as a crutch. Build relationships first and the recruitment will follow.
For more information on how you can provide results-driven programming for your members, visit Recruitment Boot Camp at campuspeak.com/rbc.
Credit // Author: Tim Mousseau