Top 20 Chapter Tips Part 1

From Good to GREAT!

20 ways to achieve chapter stardom in 2009-2010 ~ Part 1 of an exclusive 2-part series!


September 9, 2009

YOU KNOW HOW AT THE BEGINNING OF EVERY ACADEMIC YEAR, you and your chapter sisters are thoroughly motivated to achieve greatness – not just within Phi Sig, but among all Greek organizations on your campus?

The best way to keep that momentum going is if you have a plan in place! That’s why this year - to help you achieve your dreams of chapter stardom – we’re sharing the top 20 practices that Phi Sig’s best chapters are using to become even better, establishing themselves as the premier sorority at their universities.

In this article, we’ll look at the first 10. These techniques are proven to work, so try any or all of them to take your own chapter to the next level! (And look for part 2 of our story in our next issue of Savvy.)

1. Discuss Phi Sig’s 3 core values often.

Believe it: Top chapters often use this phrase in their meetings → “How does this reflect and promote our core values?” To them, our values are more than words on paper. They define the very essence of what Phi Sigs worldwide believe is important to living a high-quality, even more meaningful and impactful life. These values are:
  • LIFELONG LEARNING – a commitment to academic excellence
  • INCLUSIVENESS – a focus on recruiting and meeting the needs of diverse sisters representing all walks of life, viewpoints and backgrounds, and
  • LEADERSHIP through SERVICE – a dedication to philanthropic projects that have a positive impact on the world around us.
By keeping these values always at the forefront, you’ll stay even more focused on chapter plans and projects that promote the true purpose of our historic sisterhood – and avoid ones that mirror incorrect stereotypes of Greek life.

2. Become genuinely 'Greek.'

Set high standards for yourself, and be a role model for your sisters and students around you.

Forget what you see on TV or on the Internet: To be “Greek” has always meant to excel and achieve your fullest potential as a talented, inventive and intelligent human being…. Think about what the Greeks accomplished in art, literature, science and so many other areas: They expanded the human mind and experience in ways that had never been seen before. That’s what being Greek is truly about – pushing our limits, and achieving even more (often with the help of our sisters and other Greeks, of course!).

3. Expect more of chapter leaders.

Make every effort to elect (and support) an executive board that truly listens to members and respects their opinions, but is most committed to making and standing by decisions that are in the chapter’s best interests. Having a unified, communicative e-board is critically important! While everyone may not agree on certain decisions, the best e-boards accept the majority vote and encourage the chapter to move forward without controversy.

TIP: Consider having a fall and spring e-board retreat to foster discussions about the kinds of leaders you envision being, goals you want to achieve, positive ways to resolve conflicts, and the specific legacy you’d like to leave behind.

4. Expect more from sisters, too.

Encourage all members to “aim high,” keep a good attitude (even in the face of challenges), participate in as many activities as possible and take leadership roles within the chapter and in various organizations on campus.

Leadership roles are actually opportunities to grow and try new things (plus, they look great on a resume)! One of the benefits of sisterhood is having the chance to step up and prove to yourself and your peers what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. The more sisters who take advantage of these opportunities, the more successful your chapter will be – not to mention the impact such leaders will have on your high-profile image on campus!

5. Get stronger by growing your membership.

Commit to reaching Maximum Recruitment Potential. If you aren’t currently at total, this is the year when you can and should work hard to get there! Phi Sig chapters across North America are growing by leaps and bounds, capitalizing on the many ways our Fraternity is poising itself to be the premier sorority for the New Millennium – especially as we approach our Centennial in 2013! If ever there was a time to get all fired up about recruitment, it’s now: More Phi Sig chapters are reaching total than ever before by working closely with their membership managers and advisors and using resources in our secure online library. Learn more by clicking here.

6. Choose women who will contribute to your success

As you know, Phi Sig prides itself on being an “inclusive” sorority. It’s part of our unique heritage!

So when choosing the right women for your chapter, cast a very wide net… and be selective, too. For example, look for great women representing various backgrounds, cultures and religions – as well as all walks of campus life: sports, academics, arts, community service, etc. The key to success is being sure they share our core values and understand how Phi Sig can help them achieve their fullest potential. Remember: Not everyone is meant to be a Phi Sig, and that’s OK. The more carefully you choose potential new members and let them know all we have to offer, the stronger your chapter will ultimately become, and the closer your sisters will be.

7. Promote positive sister-development practices.

You already know all about our Reflections program, designed to help new members and initiates learn more about themselves, each other, the chapter and the Fraternity. (Learn more about this great program by contacting your membership manager.)

This year, why not also take a good look at the long-standing chapter traditions you may be associating with sister development: Do they support and promote our core values? Is it possible any should be retired – especially those that may not fully comply with our anti-hazing policies in any way, even remotely? Top chapters from coast to coast are 100% positive in their approach to sister development; their members have an even better Phi Sig experience, and their groups are happier and even more successful as a result.

8. Make your chapter a campus leader.

Top chapters don’t follow the pack at their universities; they set new standards – which can be difficult at times, especially when other organizations might be “getting away” with certain practices – frequently old traditions associated with recruitment or social gatherings.

While it may be difficult at times to stand up for what we believe in, there has never been a more important time to do so in order to maximize the fullest, truest enjoyment of your Phi Sigma Sigma experience while minimizing any risk to your chapter, e-board, members and others. Often, when one chapter on a campus sets a new, higher standard, two things happen: a) Potential new members notice, respect the change and flock to that chapter, and b) other groups on campus are influenced to embrace change as well. Strive to be campus leader, not a follower. Rely on your collegiate and alumnae sisters for support!

9. Practice philanthropy at the international and local level.

You’ve no doubt heard news reports calling you the most volunteer-focused, philanthropically-minded generation since the 1960s, right? Use that fact to bolster your chapter’s success:
  • Commit to raising more than the “status quo” $35 per sister for our Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation. Many chapters donated in excess of $100 per sister (some as much as $287 per sister!). In fact, our chapters raised more than $225,000 worldwide last year – the most ever, and possibly the most of any Greek organization! And every dollar went to excellent causes, such as two North American kidney foundations, grants and scholarships for sisters, support of events like the incredible U.S. Transplant Games, and more.
  • Turn a recruitment or COB event into a hands-on opportunity for potential new members (PNMs) to help out with a worthy cause. Hint: If PNMs are doing a craft or activity, they’re relaxing and getting to know you while feeling good about helping others!
  • Do something fun or different to spice up a traditional Rock-a-thon - and get even more out of your efforts. Example: Invite representatives of all Greeks to participate and “compete” for a prize or small donation to their own foundations (promoting interfraternalism), or invite community VIPs like the mayor and local DJ to get in on the fun (free PR, great community relations).

10. Create a 'signature' event designed to earn great PR and new recruits.

Our “best of the best” chapters create and organize annual events that are uniquely theirs on campus. Whether it’s a fashion show fundraiser, a golf outing for sisters and alumnae or “Princess for a Day,” they’ve come up with interesting, dynamic and fun ways to promote the spirit of Phi Sig and their women’s commitment to aiming high! What kind of annual, signature event can you and your chapter come up with so sisters years from now will say, “That’s what we do! That’s who we are!” – and love their Phi Sig experience even more? Shoot for the moon!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Next month, we’ll share another 10 tips to round out the list of 20 - and help you keep the ball rolling. So watch for it! In the meantime, consult your membership manager and advisor with any questions or ideas. Remember: Our friendly, dedicated staff and alumnae volunteers are here to help guide you so your dreams for chapter stardom come true!


Get more information!

    Want more details about any of the ideas in this article? Contact your membership manager by calling Phi Sigma Sigma at 410-799-1224, or e-mail us at phisighq@phisigmasigma.org.