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  #1  
Old 07-17-2008, 12:46 PM
Kansas City Kansas City is offline
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Alumnae Volunteer Involvement with Chapter

(Please forgive me if a similar topic has been posted elsewhere ... I sure as heck couldn't find it)

I am a few months into advising a chapter that has had no adviser support for several years. Luckily, they are very self-sufficient and strong organization on campus. I will be putting together an advisory council this fall and have found some interest from a half dozen local alums. I have requested that interested volunteers be initiated members of the organization, be 5+ years out of undergrad, and able to travel to campus a few times each year, etc.

Here is the question ... I've got one alum that is VERY interested in helping but she just graduated 3-4 years ago and has a biological sister (sophomore) in the chapter. I really want to get this volunteer involved but want to protect the council and sorority from any unnecessary drama this might create. For example, I don't want the volunteer falling into her sister's clique and create friction among the members and board. Does anyone have an idea of how I might best utilize the talents of this enthusiastic volunteer?
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Old 07-17-2008, 12:48 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Originally Posted by Kansas City View Post
(Please forgive me if a similar topic has been posted elsewhere ... I sure as heck couldn't find it)

I am a few months into advising a chapter that has had no adviser support for several years. Luckily, they are very self-sufficient and strong organization on campus. I will be putting together an advisory council this fall and have found some interest from a half dozen local alums. I have requested that interested volunteers be initiated members of the organization, be 5+ years out of undergrad, and able to travel to campus a few times each year, etc.

Here is the question ... I've got one alum that is VERY interested in helping but she just graduated 3-4 years ago and has a biological sister (sophomore) in the chapter. I really want to get this volunteer involved but want to protect the council and sorority from any unnecessary drama this might create. For example, I don't want the volunteer falling into her sister's clique and create friction among the members and board. Does anyone have an idea of how I might best utilize the talents of this enthusiastic volunteer?
How big does your board have to be?

Doesn't your national have a rule about advisors having to be x number of years out of school?

No matter how enthusiastic and lovely she may be, this has DANGER WILL ROBINSON written all over it.
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Old 07-17-2008, 12:54 PM
Kansas City Kansas City is offline
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I see the same danger signs (and it scares me) but do not want to turn down a volunteer that is willing to work hard.

The board has to be a minimum of three and nationals would prefer seven. We can add other advisers after that. I would like to come up with a committee type of assignment for her so that maybe instead of an alum adviser, she is an assistant adviser. Due to her place in life ("age") I do not want to put her in one of the top three roles.
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Old 07-17-2008, 01:03 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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The least innocuous thing I can think of is something like assistant financial advisor. It's probably the most cut & dried. Keep her far away from recruitment or standards/risk management, at any rate.

Another option is to contact your national volunteer coordinator (if there is such a thing) and see if there's some kind of national committee or task force she can serve on. This is what I ended up doing w/ my sorority, for various reasons, and it's been a much better fit for me than working with a chapter. This way she stays involved but it's not with her chapter directly.

I know that she probably loves her chapter and wants to help them specifically, but someone that young - especially if she has a sister, especially if she is still coming to the school to visit a lot - will cause friction when she takes on any authority position.
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  #5  
Old 07-17-2008, 01:56 PM
VandalSquirrel VandalSquirrel is offline
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My one suggestion is that you find something she can help with, and to invite her to the official events (ritual founders' day whatever it is for your org.). If she wants to be involved and knows the chapter needs help, and is not included in some way, it can backfire and make her not want to be involved in the long run. That scenario can affect the chapter since she has a relative currently in it.

You're fortunate to have women who want to be involved as alumnae, and I hope it all works out for you.
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  #6  
Old 07-17-2008, 03:15 PM
basket96 basket96 is offline
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We ask that advisers be at least 2 years out of school. Also, we place younger advisers in smaller positions or as assistant advisers. You definitely need someone older and more mature (and unconnected) to handle standards, membership, finance (i.e. the BIGGIES).

I also think it strengthens an advisory board to have advisers of all ages represented. It gives the collegiates a good view of life post-college and how they can be involved with the sorority after graduation.

I'd hate to see you turn away a volunteer, who wants to help. (We never seem to have enough volunteers at my school!) Make sure she is on the invite list for recruitment, Founder's Day, initiation, chaperoning, etc. Once she has a few years in smaller roles, she may be ready for a larger one and by that time her little sister will have graduated.

I hope this works out for you!
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  #7  
Old 07-17-2008, 03:34 PM
lauralaylin lauralaylin is offline
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I think that if you tell her up front the rules and let her know she isn't supposed to mix with the chapter outside of what her position entails and any alum stuff, things should be fine. If you don't think it will be, maybe she's not the best volunteer in general. She should be old enough to understand this and listen to you and your concerns. But I'm for giving women the benefit of the doubt. I started advising my own chapter immediately upon graduation, and that experience has allowed me to increase my knowledge that I could take to other chapters as I've moved around the country. If I'd waited 5 years after graduating, I'd never have done it. And if I did, I'd be so far behind where I could be with helping other chapters and have forgotten much of what I learned as an undergrad. Don't allow your organization to lose a great volunteer over this!
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  #8  
Old 07-17-2008, 03:53 PM
Kansas City Kansas City is offline
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Thanks for all the help everyone. I definitely want her to remain involved since volunteers are very hard to come by. What would you think of her being the "advisory council assistant" so that she can help both the chapter and the council with special needs without having any real voice in operations? The council's appointment is for a two year period of time so maybe she can move up into a more responsible position in a few years after she no longer has family in the chapter. I also thought about suggesting she work with the area alumnae chapter or an advisory council at another school to put some distance between her and her sister. It could be that she wants to get involved with the sorority again but doesn't know about all of the volunteer opportunities that are out there.
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  #9  
Old 07-17-2008, 05:04 PM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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I am the recruitment advisor for my chapter. I am only 24 years old, and just 2 years out of school. But we have a young chapter, and all of the active members were initiated after I had already graduated. I have a good relationship with the girls, and I think that at times they feel more comfortable asking me questions, as opposed to the chapter advisor who is at least 10 years older than I am. I understand that sometimes it could cause conflicts, but other times, it might work out in your favor.

The problem is, this girl has a sister who is still active in her chapter. One solution might be to have her help, but not as an advisor. What positions did she have when she was active in the chapter? How could she be of help?

Let’s say she used to be treasurer, and the chapter just had elections. She could help the new treasurer to get adjusted in her position. Or help with officer transitions in general. She could put on workshops for recruitment or fundraising. She could help with advertising. Maybe her current job or connections outside the school could be utilized.

And since she’s an alumna, to have her educate sisters and/or new members about alumnae relations would be another option.

There are an infinite amount of things she could do to assist the chapter. This way, while she’s not in an authoritative position as recognized by the national organization, she’s still helping out and she can still have a more personal relationship with the active sisters, if she so chooses.
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  #10  
Old 07-17-2008, 05:11 PM
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I became an advisor as soon as I became alum. At that time my collegiate chapter was struggling with alumnae advisors and EC got permission from IHQ to have me on board.

It was a great learning experience, but if I could do it all over again, I'd wait until I was older and had more time to distance myself from the collegians...probably until everyone I knew in chapter has gone and graduated.
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  #11  
Old 07-18-2008, 02:15 PM
SmartBlondeGPhB SmartBlondeGPhB is offline
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I don't think her age should be the issue. As has been said, I think the issues is the fact that her sister is in the chapter. I think that in itself should preclude her from having any significant role in advising until her sister graduates.
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  #12  
Old 07-21-2008, 11:30 AM
gwen1982 gwen1982 is offline
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Check your policies. If you have a Conflict of Interest position, then she may not be able to help with the chapter. But she may have many other opportunities within the org right now. Her sister won't be in the chapter forever. Maybe she can help the chapter after her sister graduates.
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  #13  
Old 07-23-2008, 02:14 PM
Tom Earp Tom Earp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kansas City View Post
(Please forgive me if a similar topic has been posted elsewhere ... I sure as heck couldn't find it)

I am a few months into advising a chapter that has had no adviser support for several years. Luckily, they are very self-sufficient and strong organization on campus. I will be putting together an advisory council this fall and have found some interest from a half dozen local alums. I have requested that interested volunteers be initiated members of the organization, be 5+ years out of undergrad, and able to travel to campus a few times each year, etc.

Here is the question ... I've got one alum that is VERY interested in helping but she just graduated 3-4 years ago and has a biological sister (sophomore) in the chapter. I really want to get this volunteer involved but want to protect the council and sorority from any unnecessary drama this might create. For example, I don't want the volunteer falling into her sister's clique and create friction among the members and board. Does anyone have an idea of how I might best utilize the talents of this enthusiastic volunteer?

First off as you and I discussed your involvment, congratulations to you for stepping up to the plate.

The reason that HQs want a few years seperation is so the Alumne won't be so close to the chapter and feel they are still a part of them in a local way. This gives them a chance to be more objective as it were. If this Alum has been out this long even though she has a biological sister, she could still be very important as an adviser.

As you said, advisers are hard to come by and everyone counts.

We at my chapter have it broken down to Adviser, with some assistants who can help with some of their expert experience. Take her and be greatful.


PS, I got on the School site and see none of the Sororities have web sites. Might be something to work on and be the first!
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  #14  
Old 07-23-2008, 09:55 PM
Kansas City Kansas City is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom Earp View Post
PS, I got on the School site and see none of the Sororities have web sites. Might be something to work on and be the first!
Off topic but ...
I can't speak for the other five but we will have our new webpage on a beta test this Saturday with the official launch two weeks prior to the start of classes. I'll PM you the link once we get the kinks worked out.

Last edited by Kansas City; 07-24-2008 at 04:29 PM.
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  #15  
Old 07-28-2008, 02:22 PM
Tom Earp Tom Earp is offline
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Off topic but ...
I can't speak for the other five but we will have our new webpage on a beta test this Saturday with the official launch two weeks prior to the start of classes. I'll PM you the link once we get the kinks worked out.
Really looking forward to it, just let me know!

My tax guy is an AKL from there!

Called him when I found out the name of the dorm as neither one of us could think of it!


It is the one that I scaled to the third floor to see my girlfriend but got the wrong room! Roberta to be exact!!!

Ah, the good old days!
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