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Old 06-27-2001, 03:55 PM
Katey Alpha Gam Katey Alpha Gam is offline
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AlphaXi girl- I think our advisors can be advisors for as long as they want. They are supposed to be out ofr 5 years to not play favorites but out CA is the only Advisor that is. I do want to talk to our Area Provence Director but I don't what to stir up too much trouble, basically b/c the Chapter Advisors HATES me for really no reason (I have done nothing but try to be a good sister) and I don't want my bringing these problems up to jeopardize my status in the sorority. It seems to me a lot of policies aren't being followed as closely as they should be in regards to this. I mean all of our advisors are in the same family line b/c the CA appointed them, even though I know for a fact there are some alumnae that want to be advisors and are more qualified and were pushed out for people that really aren't very helpful

Katey, ZA chapter of AGD
"Could I have been anyone other than me?"-Dave Matthews
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Old 06-27-2001, 06:59 PM
Tom Earp Tom Earp is offline
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We have a mentoring group that works with the active chapter and does a retreat yearly.
These are our Alums so have a more first hand grip on the situations whether we like them or not!

Advisors are at the whim of the local org. They are asked to be an advisor! This is a job that they asked to do! If they are not doing the job, tell them work it out or get rid of them! It may be hard but if it is a detriment then they are not advising you but trying to run you!

For a long time I was the ear that my House cried on because of two Alums who busted ass. Well after hearing all of the wailing and weeping I found out the real problem!!!! Not the Alums who were trying to do right but the chapter! When I started getting into them a little bit, all of a sudden I became the enemy!
If you sit down with the Advisor, and talk with them and they cannot get with the program if it their fault then so be it! Time to find a new one! If it is the fault of the Chapter, then get tose individuals staightened out! In this Society of ours today, NO ONE likes athority figurs as YOU CANNOT TELL ME WHAT TO DO! Well, being in a Greek Org. is not a right, it is an honor!
You are selected, you do not pick, you are selected because there is something that is seen in you that they want to associate with and help build what has been built by the many people before you!

In OR out IT is Your Choice! Do or get gone as you are not helping out!!

Tom Earp LX Z#1
Pittsburg State U. (Kansas)
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Old 06-28-2001, 11:10 AM
shadokat shadokat is offline
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Along with what Katie was talking about, our sorority has "teams" that work in regions. There is a chapter advisor, working locally, and a chapter operations advisor, membership development advisor and membership recruitment advisor that works regionally. Those three are all coordinated by a Regional Coordinator. I know it sounds like a lot of people, but it provides a lot of ideas and resources for collegiates, who are, after all, our future. Teams work, in my opinion.

Katie, if you feel like you have a good idea, you should speak up. There is no such thing as keeping quiet to be a good sister unless what you say will go against sorority ideals. Best of luck to you
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Old 06-28-2001, 08:25 PM
James James is offline
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Advisors (long beware)

Advisors: Book I

I am aware that most of what I am about to write applies to Chapter officers or members as well . . . but we don't expect this much from them

The way I think of being an advisor as a Chapter member is that you have freely assumed a responsibility and job description. Emphasis on the word freely.

So in my eyes you have chosen to place yourself in a position of perceived authority and expertise. To me, you begin the proverbial "A" . . . now you have to keep it.

In terms of legitimacy, your authority is not in question; it’s derived from the National, or in some cases from the chapter.

The expertise part is harder. To be a genuine resource to a chapter, or group of chapters, you have to be exactly that . . . a resource. Which can be an incredible growing experience because most of what we learn through our groups is applicable to the outside arena.

So some of what I want to go into is different than what I would call off the cuff advisorship, where you only bring what you have learned from your previous chapter, maybe some workshops, and the wisdom you may, or may not, have accumulated with experience.

I want to talk about Advisors and Volunteers as Leaders that enhance the Greek experience.

Now a comment about knowledge: Not only is it important to know things, but also it may be more important to know where to go to find things out. Awareness of the limits of our knowledge is important. So get familiar with what sources of information are available about leadership, groups, marketing, the Greek System, and all things that translate into getting things done well.
Two major things you provide for the chapter are Continuity and Perspective:

Continuity Fraternities are Sororities are kind weird as an example of groups or corporations etc. We have an almost complete membership change every 3-4 years . . . and yet still exist! And lets face its really almost every two years. This is where a good advisor can be golden. You can provide a memory over successive years by keeping good records and help the chapter build on itself. How? By keeping track of programs and good ideas and keep passing on the good to each new generation. For example, something simple like officer/program notebooks. I have seen some chapter EC’s institute them and then successive EC’s get lax which creates a gap in records. Also let me slip this in here: You can really help implement the chapter’s 3-5 year Strategic Plan. More on that later.

Perspective Often time chapter members and/or officers are kind of starry eyed on the magical utopia they want to create, but then the semester starts and they get lost in the muck of the trenches. You, as the advisor, can provide that perspective they need to keep focused on the big picture even as they feel overwhelmed by the small details. By consistent review with the chapter you can keep them moving within their plan.

A couple things you need to develop for yourself are expertise and models.

Experitse: Ok so we need to become experts . . . First start at home. Read your GLO’s Exec manuals. They are provided, often free on the net, absorb them and make notes. Read other organizations exec manuals etc. Plagiarizing is punished in school but rewarded with promotions and bonuses in real life! Especially if we can synthesize what we learn and improve on it! Do a search on leadership books and see which ones seem recommended. Get some of the cute funny ones also, they are easier to read and often simplify what should be kept simple. (we’ll have to make a different post to suggest a leadership reader list). There are probably 5-10 basic principles of leadership that everyone makes big money restating in one million different ways. Wish I knew that before I spent hundreds on them . . .* sigh* Don’t forget to talk to people, this site is a great resource, I spent a year on sites like Greek Source and Duncan’s Webpages before I even started my chapter, it gave me a great edge. And revealed some major deficiencies in some of the alum volunteers I met.

Models: Now you need to take the knowledge you developed and create a series of models to deal with the different aspects of Chapter operations. Basically this means being able to recognize that a situation “looks like” this “type” of problem and you have several different types of responses available right away, that you can either refine to the situation or throw away all together if the situation proves “Unique”. Make up some simple note cards with questions on them to help out. For example, for recruitment:
  • How much is money is budgeted and for what?
  • How many people do we have working orientation?
  • Who is on the recruitment team and why?
  • Etc.
If you write some simple stuff in question form that uses the knowledge that you have learned it makes it easier to avoid missing things. Like a checklist, and it also helps you spot problem areas.

How a 3-5 year Strategic Plan can keep you honest: This is something no chapter should be without. It’s a comprehensive plan that should have measurable and have time sensitive goals in every aspect of the chapter’s operations: A blueprint of what the chapter will be doing. It should be large enough that the chapter and its individuals have room to grown and flexible enough that the how(individual events) can change but firm enough that the why(Principles and relationship to the school) and what(the effect trying to be achieved) remain consistent.

The existence can also help you remain grounded and focused on where you are trying to help and how. Some of the problems mentioned in some of the above posts may be partly because the Advisors don’t have a clear and consistent view of what they are supposed to be doing. The object of a 3-5 year plan is to keep everyone on track.

Some more general comments:

Consistent Presence What littlegirlblue and others said is very true. If you only come down when there are problems you will become like the albatross and about as popular as a harbinger of doom. Try to make consistent appointments . . . and keep them!

Defend the unpopular opinion Related to what Katey said, try defending people that are right but unpopular from being character assassinated it spoils their experience, hurts the chapter, and creates a dangerous environment. That is how things like hazing can get really out of hand, there is no place for people to go against the vocal leaders in the chapter, even when they may have more support than they know from the silent majority (often sheep-like). Actually this is supposed to be the responsibility of any civic minded member (but doesn’t happen) and then the responsibility of the officers (which still doesn’t happen) and ultimately the President (usually fails there also *sigh*).

Chapter Contract/Evaluation You should have a contract between you and the chapter that encompasses your behaviors as an advisor also with periodic built scheduled review. That way honest communication can go back and forth in a less threatening way and before things build up. No one should say they haven’t seen you for 6 months without having brought it up after the first 1 or 2. Also, the document protects you from people just trying to cause problems because you have a definite job description.

Confrontation: Katey I have definitely found reasons not to confront advisors over issues, or not know how, especially if the gap was in my mind incomprehensible. And you know what? Avoiding the situation because I thought it would worsen my relations with an advisor or not do much good . . . NEVER HELPED CHANGE THE SITUATION!

When in doubt confront, when in emotional conflict about it, write it down first and get them the written copy and then discuss it. That way all your thoughts are on the table and you won’t find yourself tongue tied, or verbally manipulated. And if you can’t agree, ask a simple question . . . “It seems that we are at an impasses, who do I go to next?” It may not do much good, volunteer and badly run organizations are notorious for backing up the bad decisions of their subordinates, they usually would rather cover-up than correct and they know that they will outlast your attention as an undergraduate. But . . . at least you will be performing consistent to your beliefs.

Got to eat so . . . To be continued . . .

[This message has been edited by James (edited June 28, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by James (edited June 28, 2001).]
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Old 06-29-2001, 01:00 AM
Katey Alpha Gam Katey Alpha Gam is offline
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Thank you for your support shadokat. It sometimes really seems like if I try to go against something that I know is wrong in the chapter, that I get stepped on and a few people even try to kick me out, make me feel unwelcome etc... So it is really nice to have someone say that I am doing that right thing by stnading up and saying that this is wrong! I just want to tell eveyone too, that though it may seem that I hate my sorority by saying all this stuff, that isn't true at all. I actually LOVE AGD and that is why I need to stand up and say something is going wrong when it is so that my chapter can meet the ideals that our 97 years and 250,000 members have set for us!! I love AGD so I want it to be as good as it can be!

Katey, ZA chapter of AGD
"Could I have been anyone other than me?"-Dave Matthews
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Old 06-29-2001, 09:22 AM
LeslieAGD LeslieAGD is offline
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Thumbs up

James, very long but effective post...very well written!
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Old 06-29-2001, 06:05 PM
Tom Earp Tom Earp is offline
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A little throw in, Advisors can be a very important part of your Organization! If they hinder find another, if they do not do anything find another!
It is a fine line for both, My International requires an advisor! He is titled High Pi. He can and does report to out International so there is some sway there! I liken it somewhat to a House mother who will keep a little decorum in the House! Teen agers who come to college and away from home still need guidence! Listen and learn, they are not going to spank you!
My old SX house mom before I got booted said eat butter before going to a party as will keep you from getting stupid!

Still love her to this day even tho she has gone on to the beyond! She made a lot of men out of her boys!
A tribute to Mom Buck of the SX House at Pitt. St. U. Kansas!

May all of use be as good as she was!

Tom Earp LX Z#1
Pittsburg State U. (Kansas)
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Old 07-12-2001, 11:38 AM
Kapsig1 Kapsig1 is offline
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James - MAN, I can't wait to meet you in Memphis at Conclave. I DIG the post of yours on topic.

I have served as a Chapter/District/National advisor for over ten years, and I can tell you James is dead on right. The plan and strategies laid out are solid, I've used many of them myself and can assure you they work.

The only thing I would add: I currently serve as a Commissioner for Kappa Sigma - big title for a small job. I say that because the real "action" is at the chapter level. My home chapter is about 20 minutes from my home and office. So last year about this time, after having not been directly involved/responsible for the chapter for over 3 years - I decided to make a run at getting involved. I started visiting the chapter at least once a week, unannounced. I just show up, watch TV with the guys, help clean the house, play volleyball, whatever. I also attend a meeting at least once/month. I found that getting to know the Brothers and pledges personally made a HUGE impact on my credibilty effectiveness when helping face any issue. I can honestly say there are MANY young men in the chapter that now call me with personal problems, not to mention the weekly calls from the president.

I hold no title as a chapter advisor (although I did discuss my involvement with the titled advisors and still keep them informed of things) and the guys keep me coming back. Several graduating seniors in the last meeting in May brought me to tears with stories of how thankful they were to have a "plain ol' brother" alum like me around when things got tough for them. That's what keeps me going back.

The point - if you see an alum that you think would be good for you chapter - INVITE them to start spending time with the chapter. Be a friend (albeit one that draws very clear lines) first, then offer advice.

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Old 07-27-2001, 03:39 AM
MooseGirl MooseGirl is offline
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Well, to add my opinion on the board, I'll tell you my expectations of an advisor and then tell you about mine.
I believe an advisor is a person who is there for the chapter, and the individual members to guide them in their pursuits and to provide support. An advisor is of course a liaison between the chapter and national personnel, but always is on the side of the chapter in disputes. The advisor gives an opinion or suggestions on how business should be performed, but does not order it.
The advisor should devote enough time to the chapter for their needs, although the chapter has to realize that it is a volunteer position.

The advisor of my chapter is the ideal. She was a founding member of our chapter, and has been in the role of advisor for about 4 years now. With her comes old tradtitions, but she also welcomes change(and encourages it!). She attends just about every meeting even though she works full time and has two children. She attends most philanthropies and fundraisers. She always lets us know her opinion, especially on important matters but then reminds us that she is alum and does not vote...but we usually agree with her. She gets on our backs when reports are due to make sure we don't slack off. She is someone we can all turn to as individuals if we have a problem as i know many of my sisters have. She really is one of the greatest women I have met; she has restarted our local alum chapter,and is active in her church and with the Scouts. I don't know how she does it all!
Anyways, I just wanted everyone to know how lucky my chapter is to have Laurie as our advisor...even though we stress her out sometimes.
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Old 08-07-2001, 09:07 PM
AGDLynn AGDLynn is offline
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Speaking from experience of being involved with multiple collegiate and alumnae chapters, I don't honestly know about the AGD rule of having to vote on collegiate advisors.

One of the largest problems for these multiple chapters has been the problem of being able to find ANYONE to be an advisor for various reasons.

In some cases, 2-3 alumnae shoulder the responsibility of being both alumnae and collegiate advisors.

True, some chapters have "lost touch" with many of the initiated sisters..some sisters give the reason of "if SHE'S involved, I'M NOT!","I have a family life now "((what about your AGD (fill in blank) family and so on..

The responsibility goes both ways. When you were intiated as an Alpha Gamma Delta (or whatever organization), you vowed to support the org. for life. If they can't find you, FIND THEM!

I agree with the other posters, make the alumnae (officer or not) feel welcome and not as an object-to-stare-at! How would you like feel when you have graduated and come back to visit?

Call/write notes to the advisors..and not just when you want something...(which I constantly have heard over the years, different chapters, different states). They took the same vows you did!

As the new school year starts around the nation, my wish is that all collegiates and alumnae review and renew their committment to their organization..because if it doesn't happen, there might not be a Greek chapter of your organization at your alma mater any more.
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