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Old 01-18-2006, 10:28 PM
carnation carnation is offline
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Question Does early initiation=early boredom and attrition?

Our niece, a college freshman, was just elected treasurer of her chapter. Two of our daughters were elected to important sorority chairmanships as freshmen. It kinda seems like if you let freshmen be elected to big offices early then they'd be likely to burn out early.

Until fairly recently, new members weren't initiated until they'd made their grades and since officers were slated in the fall, the earliest you could hold an office--unless an officer left school in the spring--was the last half of your sophomore year. Usually it was a small office and then bigger and better offices usually came in your junior year.

What do you think? Could early initiation and getting early offices result in burnout?
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Old 01-18-2006, 10:48 PM
AGDee AGDee is offline
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I went through rush (yes, it was rush then) in February, was initiated in April and returned in September to find the Recruitment Chair didn't return to school. I became the Recruitment Chair. I have been an Alpha Gam for 22 years now and I have not gone through any full calendar year without an office of some sort (Exec Board, Advisor and House Association, International Finance Committee, Province Director, Area Coordinator).. I'm not burned out yet! I think it depends on the person. If I didn't have an office of some sort, even of an alumnae chapter, I don't think I'd stay active. It's just the way I am. It feeds me, it drives me and it makes me want more and more.

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Old 01-18-2006, 10:55 PM
KSUViolet06 KSUViolet06 is offline
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Every initiated member serves on a committee in my chapter, but new initiates usually choose the more uncomplicated committees (t-shirt,formal, etc) first, and then slowly move up to more involved ones like COB, formal recruitment, ritual, etc. As far as officers, we have a sophomore serving as our Treasurer and she does a fabulous job. It simply depends on the motivation level of the younger member.

I don't think freshmen in officer positions is a good idea personally because they still have alot to learn about just being a MEMBER without the added responsibility of learning to be an officer. A highly motivated sophomore should definitely have the opportunity to serve if she wants.
"Remember that apathy has no place in our Sorority." - Kelly Jo Karnes, Pi

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Old 01-18-2006, 11:00 PM
PSUSigKap PSUSigKap is offline
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I held a minor position spring of my freshman year into fall of sophmore year. Then I was on exec spring sophomore year to fall of junior year. I was definately burned out by the end of my term on exec. We also had a lot of drama to deal with though. The whole exec board was ready to be done when we turned our positions over.

I think by the time you're a senior and you've dedicated so much time and energy to the org, you're going to burned out at least somewhat. I know I was ready to go alum when I graduated.
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Old 01-19-2006, 01:43 AM
Betarulz! Betarulz! is offline
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I definitely think that it does probably increase burnout.

Just from my experience in undergrad, the one chapter (Chi O) that waited to initiate until second semester (waiting for grades) has always had much, much better participation from their seniors and fifth years. I'm willing to bet a lot of money that they had the largest number of seniors still active in the house out of any chapter on campus far and away.

Giving freshmen BIG leadership positions probably also hurts...or at least I'd imagine it would. Not necessarily from boredom either, more from just having to deal with all the little bullshit things and the stress. Makes it a lot less fun.
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Old 01-19-2006, 01:56 AM
PiKA2001 PiKA2001 is offline
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I think it depends on the chapter size. In my fraternity a freshman would never be on e-board because of lack of experience in the fraternity. On the other hand there were some groups on campus that only had 15-20 members so having a NIM serve on e-board was almost necessary sometimes.
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Old 01-19-2006, 07:27 AM
AlphaFrog AlphaFrog is offline
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I was elected to Vice President of Alumnae and Heritage when I was a new member. I was initiated on a Thursday and Installed as VP on that Saturday. I throughly enjoyed it!!
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Old 01-19-2006, 09:02 AM
AOII_LB93 AOII_LB93 is offline
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As a new initiate, I was elected to Social Chairperson as a freshman. Subsequent offices held: New Member Educator, Vice-pres of Education, then Recruitment Chair. It didn't cause burnout to me, but I guess it depends on the person. If anything I think it gives the members more of a sense of ownership of their chapter. I don't think I was ever just a member at large. I can't even imagine what it must be like.
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Old 01-19-2006, 09:34 AM
33girl 33girl is offline
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If you hold exec board offices EVERY SEMESTER from the time you initiate till the time you graduate, yes, you're going to burn out and not want to hear a thing about sorority by your senior year.

I think the problem comes with "well, Sally's already been on exec board...we can hardly ask her to be something lower like the Greek Week chair." Maybe Sally was great for rush chair when she was a sophomore....maybe 1) that is the only exec office she's a good fit for and 2) maybe her circumstances change. I mean, if ex-Presidents of the US can go back to practicing law I think our sororities can handle something similar.
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Old 01-19-2006, 09:43 AM
GeekyPenguin GeekyPenguin is offline
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33girl makes a great point. My best friend was president sophomore and junior years, and senior year was t-shirt chair. It worked out great for her.

I got elected Standards chair a week after I was initiated - which was hard, because sisters were angry with the decisions I made (which needed to be made) saying that I hadn't been a member long enough to do that - but I was the one they elected! I think that's the biggest problem...the younger members may be more willing to make the tough decisions that need to be made for the good of the chapter but then the older sisters get angry at them for being "power-hungry."
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Old 01-19-2006, 09:47 AM
NebraskaDelt NebraskaDelt is offline
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Burnout depends upon the person. I served as Chapter President for 2 terms, while also serving as President of History Honor Society, Director of Academic Affairs for IFC, Director of New Member Ed. for IFC, Election Commissioner for the Student Government, as well as several minor roles of leadership.

I think that if I could have continued my college career, a la Van Wilder, I would still be Chapter President. And after 4 years away from school, I would not have been burned out.
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Old 01-19-2006, 12:01 PM
ISUKappa ISUKappa is offline
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I think holding an office (particularly a large office) early on in membership *may* have an affect on burnout and level of activity as a senior, but there are so many other factors that come into play. A lot depends on the individual person, the office held and the attitude of the chapter.

We have a big issue with young officers and frequent turnover in the chapter I advise. Holding an office is seen more of a hassle than a privilege; no one wants to hold an office as a senior because they would prefer to live out, and you can't hold an office and live out at the same time.

It's really only been in the last 5-6 years that this has become an issue, incidentally, coinciding with the switch to a shorter new member program. Personally, I think the change to the different NM program had something to do with the change in attitude, but the change in attitude of the women coming through recruitment and being pledged had more to do with it.

We're going to have to find a different way to encourage women to stay active and participate their entire college career because, unfortunately, we're not going to go back to a longer NM education period.
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Old 01-19-2006, 12:16 PM
KSigkid KSigkid is offline
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It completely depends on the chapter and the person involved. I've seen it happen both ways: a person gets a lot of responsibility quickly and stays involved throughout, or they become overwhelmed and stay hands-off from that point onward.

One point though - there are plenty of chapter founders who are freshmen/sophomores, and plenty of young chapter presidents who stay involved through graduation and beyond. I don't think you can make a hard and fast rule to cover everyone.
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Old 01-19-2006, 12:43 PM
CarolinaCutie CarolinaCutie is offline
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We had problems in my chapter with newly initiated sisters getting elected into exec board positions and then becoming overwhelmed. I don't think it was their particular office that did it- rather the fact that Exec deals with a lot of the "bad" stuff in the chapter and it's hard to adjust when you've been in the New Member Bubble. Also, our discipline committee is comprised of various members of Exec, so that becomes another opportunity to access the negative side of chapter operations. Without a strong positive outlook, it's easy to get dragged down.
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Old 01-19-2006, 01:32 PM
adpiucf adpiucf is offline
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In general, we've seen a trend where there is a drop in retention the year following the first year of membership. I would attribute this to the time management balance, increasing pressures from school, personal realationships and that your new member class have been assimiliated fully into the chapter and there is no longer the rosy glow of being brand-new.

Burnout depends on the person and her limits. Some members can be chapter president two terms in a row; other members can barely get through one week of serving as a committee chair. Others who don't actively become leaders and sit in the background might be your best rushers... or they might just be there for the socials. Keeping everyone actively engaged for 4 years of college is tough.

I also think it is a good idea to promote leadership opportunities to members among the classes, and for various classes to make up chapter leadership so that it feels like all the years in school are actively represented. But I also think it is important to meet basic chapter needs like being at total to have a range of members to support leadership positions... and to recruit members who will benefit the chapter as rising leaders and/or strong team members.

Burnout and attitude clashes among members (which can lead to dropping numbers or lower levels of involvement) are inevitable. I think spreading the responsibilities around (committees, delegating work around, giving members different types of leadership opportunities) and keeping members personally engaged through programming that speaks to their needs and providing the right resources to support chapter development and prevent burnout are a good way to go-- in the past few years, ADPi has supplemented its Total Member Education program specifically to address this issue.

As far as waiting to initiate, that's an ongoing debate. I think... If you wait as long as possible to initiate them and then make it impossible for someone to be an inactive member (either you're active or you're out), you're going to cut the dead weight earlier on in the process, and more likely end up with a senior class who is really dedicated, as opposed to a group that may initiate in a few weeks' time and go out of their way to accomodate your lifestyle. But there are others who would disagree that we want to appeal to a broader base and need to engage them earlier on and accomodate their outside sorority lives.
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Last edited by adpiucf; 01-19-2006 at 01:41 PM.
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