|Event Name||Primary Purpose|
Description of Event
|Reflection Dinner||Generosity & Reflection|
Brothers serve new members a sit down meal that is 100% silent. Giving information before the meal about the fraternity, the brotherhood, etc helps everyone focus their reflection. At the end of the meal, process how it felt to be served by the brothers, to enjoy a slow silent meal with friends, to reflect, etc.
|Visit Another Chapter as New Member Class||Bonding; wideing their understanding of the national fraternity.|
Coordinate a visit to a nearby chapter. Road trip. Offer a challenge or something productive for the group to do at the other chapter (this could be in their community or on their campus not just at the chapter house). Try to choose challenges that focus on one of the fraternity's values and/or history.
|Secrets Disclosure||Understanding rewards of secrecy|
Give new members access to a secret/restricted part of a meeting (e.g. opening prayer, closing ceremony, candle/gavel pass, etc) or the fraternity house. Make it a big deal. Explain why access is special and given only to a privileged few. Tell them why they are worthy. Share stories of the meaning of that room/item/experience. Invite them to participate. Tell them they will soon be responsible for protecting the secrets and deciding who will next have the honor of discovering them.
|Yarn Activity||Tie new members closer together|
We had a giant thing of yarn that we passed around to each new member, and each time you got it you'd wrap it around your hand. To pass it, you have to give a genuine compliment, thank someone for something, share what you've learned from them, etc. You can get the yarn more than once, and the activity should end once everyone has had it at least once (twice or three times for smaller classes). This helped to give the brothers a chance to share deeper feelings with each other and is usually done closer to the end of the new member period.
|Heirloom Gift||Demonstrate tradition, Reinforce values of organization, mentorship|
Passing down and entrusting a new member with a meaningful gift builds trust, connection, and deepens understanding of the organization. There's nothing wrong with gifting down a t-shirt with letters but a true heirloom should be around for decades (centuries?). For example: A pen that's used to sign his initiation card, a frame he can keep his member card in while he's an undergrad, a tie clip, chain that attaches to his badge, a metal cup that engraves each new member of his big brother tree, a replica item that has historic relevance to your fraternity/chapter, etc.
|Brick in the Wall||Bond new members, reinforce values, integration into fraternity's past/future|
Construct a 100+ year wall -- one brick per member at a time. Give each new member a red brick early in their new member period. Their brick is an ordinary brick. It looks like many other bricks. By itself it is of little use. During the middle of their process, ask the new member class to come together and bring their bricks (this works well as part of an overnight/campfire retreat). Have each new member paint their brick. Each side can have something symbolic (e.g. your nickname, something you love, something you fear, the reason you joined, who you aspire to be, what motivates you, first time you were part of a meaningful team, etc). Facilitate each member talking about their brick as a way to get to know each other deeper. Have a few older members join in wither their bricks from years past. Stack the bricks and talk about the "wall" or "house" the fraternity is building. What it will stand for. How long it will last. Why it will be worth coming back to. OPTIONAL: Construct a wall in a secret spot of the fraternity house or somewhere secluded in the woods near campus. OPTIONAL: Allow seniors to add their brick to the chapter wall during the semester they graduate as a meaningful senior send off and a way to encourage retention of membership.
Trash Your Values (*Alternative Trash Yourself/Identity)
|New Members get to know each other on a deeper level (builds empathy)|
A facilitator (New Member Educator, Exec Board, grad brother) will begin by giving each member 5 note cards. The members will be given five note cards and instructed to write the five things that mean the most/most influential to them. Traditionally you do this by category (person, possession, value, goal, memory). However, others have put their own spin on it and ask just for values or ask for things that make up that person/how they identify. (e.g. someone could identify as black, gay, parent, etc.)
After the members write one item/value on each card the facilitator will begin by asking each member to go around the room and place a card of their choosing that they care about the least (into the trash). Students should share why they put the item in there at this point. It is important for the facilitator to be open and encourage others to be vulnerable to make the most of the activity.
You continue to go around the room until each member is left with one value/item that means the most to them (that they identify with). They will again share why they kept that for last and why it means so much to them. You learn about what people carry with them on a daily basis (good or bad) and members will learn how to empathize more with their brothers/friends, rather than having quick judgement. People will also begin to appreciate what they have and the privileges they've been given.
|5 year & 25 year Time Capsule||Connect new members with alumni young & old in a meaningful way|
New members create a time capsule that will be opened by another new member class in 5 years and during homecoming/alumni weekend in 25 years by his new member class. Items for capsule might include: photos of new member class, quizzes, gift from big brother, personal letters written by each new member, etc.
|Flagpole||Bonding. Values reinforcement. Community. Patriotism. Recruitment.|
Every new member class fund raises to purchase a flag pole. Flag poles are donated to local community neighbors. Constructed by the new member class and dedicated by the fraternity to a war veteran or his/her family. A plaque is mounted with names of new member class and family/vet being honored. Over time the collection of flag poles become a walkable memorial of honor and tribute. During recruitment week, the flag poles may be used to fly the frater key flag with the American flag. Photos of the new member class at their flag pole are sent each year to local media and student newspaper for PR.
|The lost member walk||Reminder of the dangers of drunk driving and our job to hold each other accountable.|
Many chapters, fraternity communities have lost a member on campus to drunk driving. Take time to learn about this story, and then lead a walk to the location of the crash. The facilitator then reads the entire story of what happened and new members discuss how to be responsible in party environments.
|Pledge Class Philanthropy||To instill the value of service into the pledge class while building unity.|
The pledge class must brainstorm and complete an acceptable philanthropy project before they are initiated. The project should be with an organization in need and have an impact on people in the surrounding community.
|Historic Campus Quest||Build pledge class unity while finding historic artifacts.|
This event has pledge classes go around and find historic markers that are relevant to the university and the chapter history.
|Values Night||To openly discuss what is truly important in being a fraternity man|
The officers and pledge educators host a peer-facilitated discussion intended for new members. We will sit all the new members down in a room and discuss the important things of being in a fraternity, such as building relationships, sticking to your personal values, developing as an individual (maturing), and seeing through the social pressures of college.
Show some interesting video (preferably focusing on values based leadership), give examples, ask questions, and get opinion from the new members and brothers in attendance.
We have had positive feedback on this from our new members saying that values night was more meaningful than any other activity they did during pledgeship because they got to learn about their pledge brothers on a deeper level.
|New Member Class Project||Bonding. Reinforce affinity to fraternity in a tangible way.|
New member class (or members from same big brother family tree, or 2 members each from each academic class) is responsible for building something technical for the chapter or a chapter event. Examples might include a custom coffee table, end table, wall art, patio, unique chair, foosball table, trebuchet for game days, etc. The item is intended to last for 10+ years, should be functional for use by the chapter, gifted to the fraternity, requires participation from every member of the team/class, and documents all the members of the team someone on/in the item. New item should have a loose ceremony attached where it is officially presented to the chapter as a finished product and celebrated by the membership (e.g. revealed at a chapter meeting).
|Recruitment 2.0||Teach new members how to grow chapter with quality new members.|
New members are taught the unique selection criteria of the chapter, process for 365 relationship building, and given access to relationship tracking software (e.g. ChapterBuilder). The new members are mentored by the recruitment team to do a second recruitment push as part of their new member education experience. The class should successfully pre-close a number of new members exceeding 50% of the class size. Those newest prospects may be added to the existing new member class in the same semester or held over (e.g. red shirted, marked as "E") to begin building the new member class for the upcoming semester.
|Alumni calls||Connection with alumni and fundraising|
Each year/semester the chapter should be making personal outreach to all alumni from the chapter. Often this outreach is a newsletter and/or fund raising solicitation. To help alumni and new members feel more connected, some chapters ask their newest members to help them may friend-raising phone calls to alumni. "____, this is Tim. I'm a new member of _____. I was told you were initiated in _____. I'm calling to let you know the chapter is doing great and I'm thrilled to become a member this year. Do you have a 2 minutes that I can share a few things we're doing and get your input? .... Thanks for chatting with me. Keep an eye open for the next newsletter. Will I see you at Homecoming this fall?" The list of alumni and their basic info is available through the national fraternity office and/or school alumni/development office.
|Oldest alumnus||Deepen understanding of longevity/traditions associated with fraternity.|
Every national fraternity office can provide a list of fraternity alumni within a certain distance of your campus. This may include alumni from your chapter as well as other chapters. If your chapter is less than 30 years old, you may find this helpful.
Contact the 10 oldest alumni near you. Ask if you can buy them a meal. Ask if they'd be open to sharing their fraternity story with your newest members. Even if you end up with 20 new members hovered around a cranky 80 year old man at McDonalds for coffee ... the experience will be priceless (for him and your new members). Make sure you process the experience afterward. Times have changed. Don't be afraid to talk about how fraternities change and how they stay the same over time.
|Pledge Education Jeopardy||Understanding history in a fun, engaging way|
Pledges are split into two teams, the team with the highest number of points of 25 questions wins. Usually an extra credit point is granted on next weeks quiz. The activity is competitive and challenges the pledges to really study the material and grasp a better understanding of their fraternities history. To be successful, typically one representative from each team is called up, making sure everybody is challenged to answer a question. The Pledge Educator leading the activity must be energized and supportive for the pledges to really in-tuned.
|Pledge Retreat Weekend (Camping)||Bonding/sharing stories about hardships|
Tell them the week of that it is their weekend and they will be camping as a group with no interruption from brothers. We ask them to find time to be alone and reflect on pledge season the chapter and things they'd like to change. We ask them as a group to share these with one another then submit a final document to EC. Every class that has done it has said it was the best weekend of their pledge season.
|Hiking Trip||Get out of the college town and to explore state/national parks.|
Provide water, granola bars, a flag, and a solid camera.
|Undergrad/Graduate Home Improvement Work Day|
Feel, Felt, Found opportunities to show the potential impacts Greek organizations can provide to its new members.
Proper planning, local graduate brothers, food and beverages
|Apple Picking/Pumpkin Patching||Sober Socials can be creative and get people outdoors.|
You can get group discounts if you call in advance. Plenty of fire instagram potential.
|Friendsgiving Potluck||Childhood memories/storytelling|
Encourage men to cook or provide signature meals from their childhood. Set a price per person, send out fair notice, let them know they have help available.
|Canoeing/Rafting||Team Building/Working together|
Safety equipment and knowledge of boating/recreational use on bodies of water.
|Trivia Night||Collaboration and team building.|
|Tournaments (Sports/Video Games)||Team-Building, event planning|
Encourage new members to plan tournaments for them and brothers to participate in; as well as fun, creative prizes.
|Escape Room||Team-building, leadership development|
Bring the new members to a local escape room.
|Pledge Class Philanthropy Project||Show commitment to values from the beginning.|
Utilize service and philanthropy chairmen.
|"Under the radar" campus sporting events|
Wildly support teams that don't always get the attention. Build your organization's presence on campus.
Bring your members out to a sporting event on campus that typically draws a small crowd. Make sure they're respectful, but encourage them to go crazy and be creative. Chants, signs, etc. The more the merrier. Brothers wearing letters will show support and build brand awareness.
|New Member Speed Dating||Introduce new members to existing members|
It's just like speed dating, but with your brothers/sisters. Have a group of new members and a group of active members rotate around the room to meet each other. Each round, allow X amount of minutes and provide a meaningful open ended question to have them chat about.
|The Story of Our Values||To educate new members on how to live our values.|
Bring in the new members and line them up facing a crackling fire in the fireplace. A large group of active members should be standing silently in a large crowd behind them. All lights should be kept dim to set a somber and meaningful environment, and it should be quiet. Four actives (or however many values your organization has) should be seated in chairs near the fire, facing the new members in a V-shape.
The first active rises and tells a short, memorized story about the value that shows how you live that value in your life. It could be a personal story (e.g. helping a brother out in a time of serious need, tragedy in the family), a story from someone else (e.g. the struggles of a poor father, war story), or a story about a historical event (e.g. the 300 Spartans' last stand, the American Revolution). Repeat this process for each value you have, picking a different new member to pose the initial question to each time.
The most important thing is that the story is spoken with emotion and is well-written. This experience will allow the new members to internalize all of the values and give them a memorable experience hearing how important staying true to your values is.
Make the room as dark as possible with a fire burning. Have brothers all come together and invite whoever is willing to participate stand in front of the chapter and state their biggest fear or problem they are facing. Each brother is given a piece of paper to write the fear on so that if he chooses to speak, he throws his piece into the fire after. This symbolizes building a brotherhood of trust that can help you get past your fears.