Constructive New Member Class Activities

Short Description

A list of several activities that are easily planned and effective in membership orientation

Target Audience

Membership Orientation Officers
Recruitment Retention Advisors

Borradaile Challenge or Area of Focus

Membership Orientation

Content

Constructive Associate Member Class Activities

Chapter Mini Retreat

Objective: To "touch base" on the meaning of the Fraternity. To reevaluate the goals and progress, and to stir an excitement or commitment to improve.
Activity: An all-chapter mini-retreat during the week before initiation. Possible topics for discussion:

  • Identifying reasons for apathy and creating workable solutions.
  • Are the founding philosophies and ideals of the Fraternity still relevant today?
  • How can we improve the chapter? What direction should we take?

Event Planning 101

Objective: To further the associate member's knowledge of running a chapter socially; to finance and organize (on his own) a social event for an associate/brother night together.
Activity: Following a presentation by the chapter's social and risk management chairpersons (possibly half-way through the new member program), the new member are asked to host a social event or a brotherhood function for the members and their dates. New members are also allowed to invite dates, the emphasis being on taking responsibility to organize an event (not providing a service for the members). This should be reciprocated after initiation by the members giving the new initiates a congratulatory dinner. Note: Alcohol should not be present at this activity.

Improving the Chapter Essays

Objective: Learning the evaluation and goal-setting process and how it solves problems or improves the chapter.
Activity: Anonymously, every associate member is to write a short essay on what he feels could improve the chapter or the thing that he feels the chapter needs to focus more energy on. Then he is to come up with what he feels is a viable solution to the problem, explaining why it would provide a solution. Each week several of the essays are read at the associate or resident council meeting and discussed openly. The severity of the problem and the effect on the chapter, as well as the possible solutions should be discussed. Note: This activity has the possibility of heated debate and argument. Make sure the chapter fully understands the purposes and goals of the activity beforehand.

Brotherhood Bonding

Objective: To stress interaction between Brothers and associate members in a fun activity that would be enjoyable for everyone and encourage getting acquainted.
Activity: A formal lunch or dinner; a non-alcoholic theme party; movie night with popcorn, wings, etc.; bowling or a team-oriented sport, such as basketball, volleyball, baseball, etc. The key here is to have a brothers-only function (no dates, no guests, no alumni, etc.) One requirement would be that every chapter member must attend.

Alumni Event

Objective: An opportunity for every member and associate member to meet every alumnus attending and get to know him on a personal as well as professional basis as time allows. Improves alumni relations. Secondly, for every member and new member to hear a short statement from each alumnus on what he feels is important in the job market today and in his field in particular.
Activity: Advisors and officers invite a select group of area alumni back to participate. Each alumnus arrives at dinner time, is introduced and everyone eats together with the guests spread among the members. Following dinner, each alumnus gives a short speech on his/her feelings about the job market and his field. All alumni should field questions, followed by informal group discussions or mingling. A good topic to start with is how the alumni got into the field in which they are presently working. Note: Another good topic is to discuss how the Fraternity contributed to his success.

Sorority Introductions

Objective: To improve relations with sororities and acquaint the members with the sorority system.
Activity: Present each sorority with flowers, a greeting card or an informal reception on their founding dates.

Committees

Objective: Build and develop leaders; set the tone for involvement in an undergraduate fraternity member's career.
Activity: Assign each associate member, based on his interest, to a committee in the chapter. Channel associate member enthusiasm to constructive use which provides a service to the chapter at the same time he is learning about the chapter. This sets the tone for continued involvement and combats apathy. Note: Why wait for a member to be in the chapter for a year before letting him take on responsibilities? Allow associate members to work on projects with the chapter. They are full of enthusiasm and ideas (or they wouldn't have joined). The earlier you allow them to step up to bat, the more effective leaders they will become.

Developing Responsibilities

Objective: To develop awareness of responsibilities.
Activity: The associate members and members meet at the beginning of each associate meeting. Their objective is to write a contract with two purposes in mind: 1) What are my responsibilities to this chapter?; 2) What are this chapter's and this fraternity's responsibilities to its members?. The contract should be agreed upon by all and signed by all. The contract can also be brought out periodically to remind all of their commitment, responsibilities to the group and the group to its members.

Recruitment Workshop

Objective: To instruct the entire chapter (associate members and members alike) in recruitment techniques.
Activity: The members and associate members should be involved in a seminar discussion to develop recruitment skills. Included should be: 1) How to approach a prospective member; 2) What types of things to talk about; 3) What to look for in a prospective member; 4) What positive things the Fraternity offers. Note: Brainstorming new methods of recruitment and doing role playing activities are also very effective methods of recruitment training.

Career Planning

Objective: Achieve better scholarship and career direction. Educate members about what assistance is available to them and how to obtain this assistance.
Activity: Arrange for a person from the University Career Planning and Placement Center to talk about resume building and interviewing, as well as someone from the Learning Center to talk about study skills. Another good resource is the Wellness Center, which provides workshops on time and stress management.

Fraternity History

Objective: Educate the associate members on the advantages of a thorough knowledge of the history of the Fraternity, this providing a common knowledge about a common background as a unifying force among members.
Activity: Poll the members to find a speaker knowledgeable and willing to speak to the chapter about its beginnings, tracing it to today.

Quiz Bowl

Objective: Develop pride in our Fraternity, school, etc. Provide entertainment to the chapter. Develop a sense of working with, depending on and helping your brothers.
Activity: Quiz Bowl - teams of two or four (mixed members and associate members) compete in tournament which can last over a period of time or just one evening. Prizes awarded can be serious or humorous.

Big Brother Program

Objective: A viable and functioning Big Brother Program.
Activity: Bigs and littles scholastic competition; Big/Little banquet; Periodic self-evaluations of the big brothers/sisters; a Big Brother Retreat to explain their responsibilities and establish goals within the Big/Little Program.

Creed Workshop

Objective: To understand the Creed of Phi Kappa Tau - an alternative to memorization.
Activity: Break the entire chapter into workable groups which are mixed (associate members and members).
Each group then discusses how these founding principles relate to them individually. Questions such as, "What does it mean for me to…", "How can I fulfill…", "What is our chapter doing to…", "To me this means…". This is a serious activity which should be approached as such and which will also further a better understanding of each other.

Executive Offices Tour

Objective: To enhance the members' appreciation of the history and traditions of the Fraternity and instill a better understanding of the role of the National Fraternity.
Activity: Arrange a visit to the Executive Offices. If possible, plan to spend time in the archives or participate in some Executive Offices’ activity. Ask the visitors to report about their visit to chapter members.

Associate Retreat

Objective: To develop a close-knit group, helping members and associate members become one group striving for the same goal.
Activity: Hold a retreat with the associate members and members to discuss what the AMs expect to gain from a fraternal experience and what the role of the members are in the attainment of this goal. What are the expectations of both groups and are they compatible?

Regular Brotherhood Nights

Objective: To instill a sense of true brotherhood and togetherness in the chapter house.
Activity: Hold special nights when the whole chapter gets together. Everyone must be involved. This should be a night when only brothers are included in the activities. Examples include: watching TV, learning Fraternity songs or telling stories. The activity is not as important as the interaction.

Etiquette Dinner

Objective: To become more socially aware of etiquette, manners, etc. and how these social customs relate to the "real" world.
Activity: A seminar conducted by a professor or one of the member's parents. Table etiquette, such as what fork comes next, how to order from a menu, wines (which one for what), what happens if you spill soup or have spinach stuck in your teeth, etc. Use physical examples such as table place settings.

Sporting Event

Objective: Provide interfraternal enjoyment and fellowship.
Activity: Hold a sporting event of the chapter's choice which provides an opportunity for friendly competition between mixed groups of associate members and members of different fraternities.

Ideals conversation

Objective: Create a greater awareness of the ideals of the Fraternity and the purposes of the initiation and the use of ritual in everyday life. To provide a sense of oneness through this common bond.
Activity: Set aside at least one evening the week before initiation on which both the members and associate members will speak openly to each other on their interpretation of the ideals of fraternity. Discuss topics such as brotherhood and what it means to all the members.

Revising the Program

Objective: To provide all members an opportunity to participate in revising the present Membership Orientation Program through a number of successive terms.
Activity: The chapter will divide itself into small groups to revise and improve all segments of the Membership Orientation Program, such as public relations, fraternity structure, history, and leadership development. Not only will this help improve the Membership Orientation Program, but the members will have the satisfaction of having contributed to their chapter's future success.

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