The guys over at Phired Up Productions, LLC recently wrote a book on fraternity recruitment. The book, entitled “Good Guys: The Eight Steps to Limitless Possibility for Fraternity Recruitment,” is a step-by-step approach to getting better men into your fraternity and to utilize the skills that those men have to create a better chapter overall.
I really enjoyed reading this book as I suspect many fraternity volunteers would enjoy reading it. What really got me about the book was the universality of the message (to fraternity men, that is). Anyone who has ever taken over a chapter of a struggling fraternity knows that it is one of the hardest things in the world to change that chapter into something worthwhile. Not only do you have the innate problem of running a fraternity chapter which is most likely stacked with hormone-enraged young men, but you have the old 1970’s stereotypes that you have to overcome, too.
But rest assured, it CAN be done! The secret to reforming a failing chapter of any fraternity is shared by the Phired Up team in “Good Guys” and was the same method that we used at the Delta Beta Chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity at Monmouth University – look at your ritual, read it, understand it, and follow it. For fraternity men, the “ritual” is what makes you unique. There are things said and ideas brought up in Sigma Pi’s ritual that are wholly unique to our organization, just as there are likely to be the same secrets and mysteries in your own organizations. If you’re a fraternity man, ask yourself this question:
If you are NOT following what it is that makes you unique, then what exactly is the difference between joining your organization or another one? The letters on the shirt? Guys – shirts are just made of fabric. What? Are you going to talk about how “tight your brotherhood” is? Well look at that for a minute. If you do the same thing that a bunch of guys who live off-campus and are NOT in a fraternity would do for each other, then what’s the difference other than that you’re wearing the same fabric on your chest?
There IS something that makes fraternity men different and it’s got nothing to do with Bluto Blutarsky and his drunken rampages. Fraternity men stand for something. What do you stand for? Do you even know? Is it time that you picked up your ritual book and really, actually read through it?
This is just one area in which “Good Guys” excels as a “How to Guide” for operating a fraternity. Which brings me to my next point – though this book is being marketed as a guide to recruitment it really is a guide to overhauling your chapter and making it something worthy of being proud of. I e-mailed the guys from Phired Up and told them that they’re really selling themselves short by saying it’s simply a recruitment book – and they understood my point. However, I also understand their point that recruitment is the lifeblood of a fraternity.
Often, as alumni volunteers or even men working for fraternities, we tell our undergraduates that they are running a small business. And that’s true, except that there are no long-term employees in this particular business other than the volunteer advisors and the Executive Office staff. This is a hard concept for undergraduates to grasp because they are joining a lifelong brotherhood, and that is also true. What the “catch” is here, though, is that you won’t have a chapter to go back to during Homecoming or other alumni-themed events if you choose to be shitty with your recruitment. “Good Guys” teaches you how to have solid recruitment throughout the entire year and how to constantly bring in men that are worth your organization’s time and effort.
Sure, some bone-headed fraternity guys would read this and say, “Whatever, man. I’ve got a bunch of guys who like to party and I’m sticking with what works for us.” Well hey, that’s good for you. And please, party your asses off now, because the chances of you having a chapter that you’d want to bring your family back to one day or have your son join are slim to none. But hey, kegger this weekend, right?
That’s the other thing that “Good Guys” touches on and something that I’ve begun to talk about with my undergraduates – being a top-ranked, highly efficient chapter and having ridiculous parties that you’ll always remember are NOT mutually exclusive! No one EVER said it’s one or the other. In fact, I think there is a solid argument to say that if you have a highly efficient chapter, your parties will be better overall. Think about it – doesn’t it make sense?
My recommendation for “Good Guys” is as high as it could be. It’s a quick, good read that many of you could probably get through in a night. And what’s also great about it is that you can purchase an e-copy of the book for about $12 instead of a hard copy. If any fraternity men would like to talk some more about the pros and cons of this book, please contact me. It’s definitely worth the money!