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  #1  
Old 07-24-2008, 09:49 AM
jennlovesgphib jennlovesgphib is offline
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Creating Enthusiasm in Your Chapter

How do you guys instill enthusiasm in your chapter and get all of the chapter members to be excited about doing things other than social events? I advise a small chapter who most of the members just seem to go through the motions and aren't excited about things like meetings, philanthropies, etc. Any suggestions on how to increase their excitement are welcome!
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  #2  
Old 07-24-2008, 10:11 AM
Hazel_KDPxi Hazel_KDPxi is offline
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Choosing a philanthropy that the girls can get behind is really important for people to enjoy it. Maybe you just need to shake up your routine a bit. Come up with something that the members will enjoy that still meets the ideals and goals that bring your sorority togeather.

As a chapter grows the members change and this sort of seems to be what creates the individual "flavor" of a chapter. It's what seperates you from your sisters on the national level.
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  #3  
Old 07-24-2008, 02:01 PM
rufio rufio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennlovesgphib View Post
How do you guys instill enthusiasm in your chapter and get all of the chapter members to be excited about doing things other than social events? I advise a small chapter who most of the members just seem to go through the motions and aren't excited about things like meetings, philanthropies, etc. Any suggestions on how to increase their excitement are welcome!
ha welcome to my life.

When i was on eboard, we went through some post-charter blues. we just chartered the previous semester. what we did to try and remedy that was to start having surprise events for the chapter and keep a positive attitude.

For ex: one time at chapter we adjourned real early, like within 20 min. and then exec told everyone not to leave and that we had a surprise for them. and we led them outside to a caravan of cars and drove them to a local hockey rink for some surprise broomball. That really got them going.

Also we never complained if members didnt show up to philanthropies or other events. Instead of screaming our heads off at who didn't show up, we made due with the members that we showed and had a blast. Then the next chapter meeting we would rave about how fun it was and how everyone who didn't go missed out. that started building hype up for whatever was next.

lastly, retreats. they worked wonders for us. everyone comes back with a fire lit under them that usually lasts for most of the semester.

hope this helps.
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:14 PM
SWTXBelle SWTXBelle is offline
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Oh, sis, I was in your exact shoes!

And to make it even better, the chapter had been burned by advisors who only came a few times and then dropped out. They couldn't believe that my mother and I were going to make a 5 hour round trip once a week just for them. (We did it for years, and even moved into the dorm for recruitment!)

I would suggest getting some of the members who are most unhappy to get in there and plan things. Do you have PACE once a month? Get some suggestions as to what the members would like to do, or see about inviting some speakers (I have a great speaker I can recommend for an incredible recruitment workshop - pm me.) Do a craft project - have a "spa" meeting - watch the chapter's favorite television show somewhere on campus - be together having fun with no pressure to "perform".

If I remember correctly, you do not have a house. This means you may have to work a little harder at getting the girls together at times other than meetings. For philanthropy, again, get input from the girls. I found that projects that required more than just raising money were big hits - is there something the members can do that would get their hands "dirty", so to speak?

Retreats are great - we planned some great ones with speakers, activities, and tried to have them at fun places. My grandmother's beach house, a university camp - you get the idea. (And all those camps around Asheville - could you get into one cheaply during the fall/spring? Maybe Black Mt.?) The chapter's ennui would be easier away from the day-to-day. Have them identify what they need to work on, and brainstorm on how to approach it. They will be more invested in a solution they have come up with then something the advisors tell them they should do.

Sunshine committees, or secret sisters, or something along those lines could work. Goofy things are amazingly affective - give a funny award every week to the sister who has best exhibited Gamma Phi spirit.

Good luck -
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  #5  
Old 07-25-2008, 12:00 AM
Bella796 Bella796 is offline
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I think all the above are great ideas. When I was on exec it was hard to make people interested in things but I sort of found fun ways to do things.

Meetings- I would do cute things like place some sort of gift under a random seat and at the end of chapter everyone would check to see if they won. Or I would bring in a bowl and tell people that they can bring in a $1 and write their name on it. Someone would pull a name from the bar and they would win the money. You had to be there to get the prize so it was cool. I also did a survey to see what they wanted to learn. I found out that they wanted to learn more about other sororities so I would tell them we were learning a sorority of the week and then quiz them the following chapter. We also had a journal that someone would write something in it about their experiences in and who they wanted to thank for the journal and it would be passed ot that person and then passed on. It is a great tradition and it is fun to look back at the journals.

2. Philanthropies- I'm not sure what yours are but I would actually get members of the philantrhopy to come in with video's and even guests. The girls would be responsible for all aspects of the philanthropy day so that nearly everyone had a role. People like ownership of things. We sort of played a large role in the whole process b.c as a chapter we all chose what wish we wanted to grant. We would meet the family, have dinner with the family and when we raised the money follow up with them. It became something they were really proud of and they could see the difference they were making.

I think in general you need to remind people that what they put into the sorority is what they get out of it. I think that maybe you should ask the chapter what they would want and what they would change. Remind them that they chose to join your organization not just for the parties but b.c of the whole package. Maybe you can even resite something from ritual about sisterhood, doing good and being responsible adults and women. That usually worked for me.

I hope this helps and things get better. Things tend to peak after bid day and there is fresh blood and new friendships are formed.
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  #6  
Old 07-25-2008, 12:44 AM
AGDee AGDee is offline
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I have always found that the more involved the members are in planning the events, the more excited they are about the event. They need to feel like they own it. Make sure that it's not just a couple members planning everything and then telling everybody that they "have" to be there.

I don't think they have to be "excited" about the meetings themselves but having them plan little fun things to do at the end of a meeting may make them grumble less.

I just thought of this one and have never seen it used in a sorority situation but my kids' school uses "positive action" tickets. When someone is caught doing something good (thoughtful, kind, generous, polite, etc) they get a positive action ticket. Then they can use them in auctions twice a year. You could do something like that for participation with the tickets themselves being raffle tickets for things that cost no money ... like "1 free casual dress meeting" where they can dress casually for a formal meeting or other things that might motivate them a little bit more.
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  #7  
Old 07-25-2008, 10:18 AM
ree-Xi ree-Xi is offline
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Is it mandatory that every member serve on at least one committee?

If so, you can have a different committee plan a treat at the end of the meeting. That way, each member gets to be involved in planning something (preferably relating to their committee), and at each meeting, there will be some sort of "surprise".
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  #8  
Old 07-25-2008, 10:51 AM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Originally Posted by Bella796 View Post
Meetings- I would do cute things like place some sort of gift under a random seat and at the end of chapter everyone would check to see if they won. Or I would bring in a bowl and tell people that they can bring in a $1 and write their name on it. Someone would pull a name from the bar and they would win the money. You had to be there to get the prize so it was cool. I also did a survey to see what they wanted to learn. I found out that they wanted to learn more about other sororities so I would tell them we were learning a sorority of the week and then quiz them the following chapter. We also had a journal that someone would write something in it about their experiences in and who they wanted to thank for the journal and it would be passed ot that person and then passed on. It is a great tradition and it is fun to look back at the journals.
These are all such awesome ideas!!

You do have to conduct the meetings in a businesslike manner (esp if you have a lot of stuff that needs to get done) but adding stuff to make it less cut & dried doesn't hurt and makes meetings enjoyable.
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  #9  
Old 07-25-2008, 03:04 PM
LAblondeGPhi LAblondeGPhi is offline
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I love all of these ideas!

When I was an undergrad, we also went through a little bit of a slump one year. Several of us were very interested in getting the house back in the game, so to speak. We, as undergrads, worked hard to get members involved with meetings by having fun activities.

Sisterhood meetings:
-Chubby Bunny contest (where you stuff as many marshmallows in your mouth as possible and try to say "Chubby Bunny", it sounds stupid, but everyone winds up laughing hysterically).
-Another sisterhood meeting we painted rocks and made a rock garden that still exists.

Every quarter we had several study marathons that offered food, prizes, lots of quiet time, and the inevitable dance party around midnight (just when you're getting silly off the studying).

Outside activities:
We turned everything into a competition. We always wanted to win another chapter's philanthropy, have the most people at an event, have the highest GPA. It's amazing how excited people get when there's a competitive aspect involved, even if it's just for the sake of house pride.

Scheduling:
Maybe the chapter is a little burnt out? It can be hard to juggle chapter responsibilities when you have chapter meeting one night of the week, a social event another night, and an optional event on a third night. At my school, it was relatively common to have social events on Monday nights after meeting. It also helps bring women to meeting in the first place, especially if there's a surprise aspect (they don't know who it's with or the theme, etc. until meeting).

Retreat:
The absolute best retreat I ever went to was an all-weekend retreat where we stayed in some (large) cabins in the mountains. It was relatively inexpensive, and there was lots of together time. Lots of fun, cheap activities: design little paper bags to hold "love notes" from your sisters (other sisters then write notes about how wonderful you are and drop them in your bag all weekend, like valentines); have each class make up a song/dance/rewrite the lyrics to a song and make it Gamma Phi; games; goal-setting; bragging time; learn all the songs that the younger members don't know; learn flip-flop; etc.

Get a couple of actives on-board:
Maybe you can spearhead a "Chapter Improvement" committee and ask for volunteers who want to help the chapter in any way. Some women will want to focus on recruitment, others on sisterhood, etc. At least then you have your girls who are dedicated right in front of you, even if they are new members or don't hold positions.

Contests
Make up some kind of contest in the chapter with a cool prize. Maybe the member who attends the most Greek events in a month, etc.

Hope this helps!!
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  #10  
Old 07-25-2008, 04:00 PM
AOEforme AOEforme is offline
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Our chapter did a renewal of sisterhood vows, which was really neat. We had candles, pieces of rituals, and retook our vows, discussed our ideals and history, and bonded with each other.
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  #11  
Old 07-25-2008, 04:43 PM
Kansas City Kansas City is offline
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You've gotta get ALL members of the chapter involved so that they feel like they have ownership of the chapter. You mention that this is a small chapter and my guess is that you have the same half-dozen people managing EVERY activity. This type of organization makes it very easy for people to sit back with a "don't-care" attitude. Require members to be on committees (maybe multiple committees) for EVERYTHING. Do not allow only the active six members to run the chapter exclusively. Have committees or members in charge of the little things that others have mentioned in this thread (raffle committee, prize committee, etc.) to (1) get them excited about coming to the meeting and (2) actively participate in the meeting.

Also, limit the "boring things" on occasion. For regular weekly meetings, have a time limit so that after 30-minutes, meeting is adjourned, no questions asked. You will be amazed how much can be accomplished in a quick and efficient manner when there is a limited amount of time. Perhaps you can call it the "academy award" meeting where each committee member gets 3 minutes before they are cut-off (just like the award show).

For those few meetings a year when there is not much going on, distribute the agenda before hand and when everyone shows up for the meeting, surprise them with a chapter development or sisterhood activity instead. Any comments regarding the meeting agenda can then be handled electronically (email, message board, etc.) following the meeting. Obviously this will only work a few, very select times per year but it gets people to the meeting and participating in something more fun and exciting.
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  #12  
Old 07-25-2008, 04:46 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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For those few meetings a year when there is not much going on, distribute the agenda before hand and when everyone shows up for the meeting, surprise them with a chapter development or sisterhood activity instead. Any comments regarding the meeting agenda can then be handled electronically (email, message board, etc.) following the meeting. Obviously this will only work a few, very select times per year but it gets people to the meeting and participating in something more fun and exciting.
Good idea but...make sure this is permissible in your national and/or local bylaws before doing it.
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