We Have How Many Programs This Week!? Programming Smarter, Not Harder

One of your top student leaders comes in for a one to one meeting, sits down, and bursts into tears. Their chapter isn’t showing up at the events and programs that they are working so hard to put on and there are so many events that their headquarters staff, University staff, and their Council require them to put on. Sound familiar? Here are some easy to implement strategies and tips for student leaders in this situation.

Before students start planning their semester programming calendar, they should look at four key questions.

  • What are the requirements from your Fraternity/Sorority Life Office?
  • What are some requirements from your national organization/HQ?
  • What else do you need to consider when programming?
  • ASK YOUR MEMBERS: What do they want to do?

Once they have compiled the answers to those questions, they should look at where the answers to those questions overlap and find common themes. Here are a few examples of what might arise.

  • Building connections
  • Recruiting quality members
  • Excel academically
  • Better the community
  • Promote values
  • FUN!

Here are some strategic approaches to calendaring (which you can also try out when programming for the Greek community and guiding students in planning programs).

  • Strategy 1: Make Events Count Twice
    • Meet two goals, or maybe more, with one event.
    • Instead of having a chapter development event and a continuous recruitment event in the same week, have active members invite PNMs to the event.
    • Need to continue working on conversation skills and bumping for recruitment? Have initiated sisters get to know the new members while practicing their skills at new member education. Or have sisters practice during Founder’s Day or a Homecoming event with alumnae.
    • Strategy 2: Use On-Campus Resources (and build community relationships while you’re doing it!)
      • Events already being hosted by an office or another group? Put it on the calendar!
      • Co-host an event with another organization
      • Looking for educational workshop idea? Who/where on campus can you find ideas?
      • Career Development
      • Advising
      • The Women’s Center
      • Counseling Services
      • Involvement
      • Public Safety
      • Strategy 3: Make the Most of What You Have to Do!
        • What do you have to do every week? CHAPTER!
        • Combine your requirements with the meeting.
          • Bring a speaker in to present before or after chapter
          • Host your recruitment workshop
          • Include bonding activities - ice breakers, team builders or mix up people so they talk to new sisters
  • Combining interests - bring in a favorite faculty member or staff member; work on developing skills and building relationships through these requirements

Don’t forget - there are a variety of resources from headquarters staff, organization portals, fraternity/sorority life staff, faculty, advisors, councils, and alumnae! To summarize, here are the main takeaways:

  • Be strategic!
  • Co-host/co-sponsor
  • Use events already happening to satisfy your requirements
  • Combine requirements into chapter meetings

Michelle Scali, Assistant Director, Office of Student Involvement, Southern New Hampshire University
Alpha Omicron Pi - Beta Upsilon Chapter

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