Key Success Factors: Building a consistent presence on campus and a good name socially.
We often talk about the “why” behind each thing that we do as a fraternity, and every bit of it is justified. Knowing our purpose drives us to excel. That is important to keep in mind as we continue. As it applies specifically to our social events, quantity is always important. However, don’t let quantity supplant quality. People will recognize when an event is well planned and executed.
Good events provide greater attention and better attendance; all of which can positively influence future events as well as recruitment. This can seem a little cyclical, and to a degree it is, but it will always require great effort and attention. Point being, if you aren’t active on campus, you are greatly limiting the impact you are capable of making as well as the potential for each member’s personal growth. Each event is an opportunity to build relationships.
If you’re confused at what BYX is supposed to look like socially, use this blog as a resource when brainstorming ideas, deciding which ideas to move forward with, planning, communication and execution. We will also cover what meeting expectations looks like.
A typical semester in BYX should be filled with date parties, mixers, open parties and philanthropy events. Date parties include formal and semi-formal in addition to more frequent and less extravagant date functions. A friend of mine took his future wife to a BYX date function. That was their first date. I’m not saying that’s definitely going to happen to you but hey, who’s to say that it can’t? Be creative too. It is always important to hold events that your members want to attend, so throw your chapter a curveball and plan a grab-a-date event, blind date function or something out of the ordinary.
I can’t stress how important it is to start planning early. This goes for each and every event you throw. Start planning at least six weeks out. Have your venue and entertainment with four weeks to go, and with two weeks to go, you should have all the details worked out: catering, travel arrangements, etc. By getting a head start, you may also be able to work out a deal with a venue or service provider that lowers your cost for the event. Something unexpected will always happen, whether it’s a canceled venue, double-booked band, your date drops out, extreme weather or otherwise. That extra two weeks before your event will give you time to make adjustments.
Some chapters also call these socials, functions and swaps. Whatever you decide, they’re a large part of what your chapter should be doing in the Greek community. Each one is a new opportunity to show a different sorority what it’s like to be treated with respect and dignity.
Creativity is a common theme when it comes to campus involvement and you need to be especially mindful of this when mixing with your school’s sororities. If at all possible, don’t repeat ideas/themes. There are plenty of ideas, like an 80’s mixer at a roller skate rink or Cute Dads & Fun Moms, to need to recycle.
Again, timing is your friend. Sorority calendars fill up quickly. Many have a certain number they are able to do and sometimes even have fraternities they must mix with so communicate with them early and set a date. If you give yourself time, you can work out the theme and other details later.
The last thing to keep in mind is avoiding favoritism. Treat every sorority equally and exceptionally. This applies to mixing in particular. It may be easy to always mix with one sorority but make an effort to get involved with as many as you can.
One of the ways we can impact campus is through philanthropy events. Whether your chapter is putting on the event or your members are attending a sorority’s philanthropy event, be sure to participate. Not only does this give your chapter other opportunities to be represented on campus, it also strengthens your relationship with that organization.
Though the events may vary from school to school, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. From Delta Gamma’s Anchor Splash to Pi Phi’s Arrow Jam, encourage your men to take part. From my experience, there’s not one event that I regret attending or participating in. You’ll be creating memories and increasing the brand of BYX at the same time.
One of the most overlooked ways to impact your campus is through leadership and involvement in organizations outside of BYX such as SGA, various local ministries, academic clubs and even intramural sports. It doesn’t take a title to make a difference in these spaces; just a presence and intentionality. People take notice when BYX is represented and involved. Expand the potential for BYX to impact your campus and encourage your members to get involved outside of the fraternity.
The way we are capable of reaching the largest audience is through our open parties. These can take many forms, and there is no single right way to go about them. House parties, a campus-wide rave or organizing a concert are just a few of the many ways to host an open party. As with any event, early planning will reduce stress and may provide the possibility for discounted venues or entertainment, depending on the format.
The most notable of these will almost always be your Island Party. It can seem daunting because of its reputation but in reality, it should just be another well planned event that happens to occur annually under the same name. Don’t let it be overwhelming. Start early and nail down the necessary details, giving you enough time to adjust if needed and without stress.
With all campus-wide events, you need to communicate very effectively. As soon as you know the theme, date and venue, begin advertising. Your most valuable resource is your membership. Utilize them and get them involved so make it a priority to communicate all critical details to them. Get the word out on campus by handing out flyers at other campus events, chalk or paint your campus commons and send a few of your well-spoken guys to sorority meetings and personally invite them to your open events. Those are a few of the many ways to creatively get the word out to your campus.
You are expected to be involved on campus and the following should give you an idea as to how a normal semester schedule might be filled. However, do not let these guidelines be limitations. An exceptional chapter will go above and beyond the minimum.
As a general rule, you should be holding two to three date functions each semester. That can include a formal or semi-formal and one to two other events. A normal chapter should aim to have three mixers with different sororities as well as involvement in two philanthropic events, either hosted by BYX or attendance at another organization’s events. The typical chapter will hold two open parties each semester as well. One of these may be your Island Party. Motivate your chapter towards other campus involvement as well, whether that’s through leadership in other organizations or intramural sports teams.
In the beginning, there are no bad ideas. From there, pick your best, most feasible ideas from what you’ve come up with. Determine the essentials: cost, date, time, location and take care of as much as you can as early as possible. Then, effectively make known the event details to your intended audience. Holistically, that may seem like a lot but each part is important in developing and maintaining the impact of your BYX chapter.
Remember that it all begins with preparation. If you lay out a plan for the semester early on, you won’t get to October 28th and be wondering if you’re going to have a Halloween party or not.