Stepping Up Your Underdog Sorority

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I founded a local sorority at my school, and while progress has been made, we’re nowhere near where I’d like to be. As I’m graduating soon, it’s important to me to leave behind something that will stand the test of time, and show me that all my hard work was worth it. My organization needs a complete PR overhaul, as we aren’t taken seriously by our peers- and really, we can’t blame them. While we’ve had unique obstacles in trying to establish a sisterhood that many other chapters probably haven’t encountered, it starts with us, and if members can’t treat the sorority like it’s something worthwhile that matters, we can’t expect those on the outside looking in to. These are steps that are being taken for the upcoming school year, that any organization trying to improve both their numbers, their image, and their overall functionality can utilize.

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Organize, organize, organize – One of the things that sets many local chapters apart from national chapters is the lack of organization. While many national chapters struggle with organization as well, it’s much more of a challenge to get and stay organized when there are no national headquarters giving direction or guidance, or giving you a strict calendar of events. Chapters that want to grow and flourish need to make organization their top priority. Events should be planned months in advance, with vacations (like summer and winter) being ideal times for brainstorming and figuring out the logistics of each event- from transportation, to cost, to decoration.

Preparing for a killer recruitment – Recruitment is key in improving a sorority. While you may not be able to afford all of the bells and whistles as a KΔ at Ole Miss, you can still plan an awesome recruitment that new members will never forget, as well as set the precedent for an amazing school year. No matter your budget, bid day should have a theme, and you should have something to give to new members, even if it isn’t a shirt. Oriental Trading is a great, inexpensive resource for bid day (as well as other) decorations.

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Video – You definitely need a video to show (prior to recruitment) that will basically act as an advertisement for your sorority, and once again, while you may not be able to afford a top of the line videographer or video editor, you can still make the most of what you have and positively showcase your sisterhood. You’d be surprised by what can be accomplished with an iPhone, good angles, and decent lighting. A habit that I’ve noticed is that many chapters are using videos to prove that they’re the “hottest,” and I guess there’s nothing wrong with that, because let’s be real- who wouldn’t want to be in the “pretty” sorority? But when all is said and done, the focus should be on sisterhood. I should feel like I’m watching a recruitment video, not 150 girls auditioning for Instagram Babe of the Day. Here are some examples of videos that I think were done right:

XΩΡ (local sorority!) 2014

XΩ @ Quinnipiac 2014

ΔΓ @ LSU

ΑΔΠ @ BU (long, but I like it)

AΦ @ BU 2015

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Quality over quantity – I made this mistake last year. Eager to build the sorority and increase our membership, I gave bids to girls that didn’t deserve them, and faced the consequences soon after as they dropped like flies. A lot of people like the idea of a sorority more than they like the responsibility and commitment, and it’s important to be able to distinguish between the two during recruitment. You need girls that are going to wear your letters proudly when it’s time to roll up sleeves and work hard, not just when it’s time to party or take pictures for Instagram.

Visibility on campus – People have to see it to believe it. You have to make yourselves, your events, and your efforts well known on campus not only to attract more PNMs but to improve your overall reputation, because as sad as it is, people are very reluctant to take on ventures that aren’t perceived as “cool” by their peers (no matter how ignorant their peers are).

Shirts – This is part of being visible. Even if you can’t afford shirt orders on shirt orders from premier Greek clothing companies like The Social Life and Adam Block Design, you can still use sites like Customized Girl and Custom Ink to wear your letters in style and pride.

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Social Media – You need to have well managed, frequently updated social media. Make an effort to post colorful, attractive, well designed graphics and pictures of a decent quality. If you’d be embarrassed to have it on your personal insta, it definitely shouldn’t be on your sorority’s insta.

Website – You also need an attractive, easy-to-navigate website that is kept up to date with information that PNMs (and their parents) might need.

Last but not least, don’t tolerate mediocrity. It is your right and duty to enforce a standard of excellence. You’re better off with a few dedicated sisters than a bunch of indifferent, uninvolved sisters.

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