Want to win awards? Expect more of your members.
IHQ Staffer Jon Cockerham had a chance to recently spent time with undergraduate Michael Haber (pictured below) from the Ohio State University to discuss their chapter recently being awarded the IFC Outstanding University Engagement Award earlier this month. As it turned out, expecting a bit more from your members is part of the formula not only for OSU, but for a few other Pilam Chapters that win a lot!
JC: Can you tell me a little bit about the Ohio State University’s IFC Outstanding University Engagement Award?
MH: This is an award that highlights our chapter’s involvement with other student organizations on campus, outside of Greek Life. Not only are our brothers involved in these organizations, but many have also taken up leadership roles on their respective executive boards. We have brothers involved in Buck-I-SERV, tOSU athletics, Buckeye Space Launch, and a bunch of others!
JC: How were you able to get your brothers into student organizations and get them engaged with other student organizations?
MH: While our chapter does not make it a pre-requisite to joining the fraternity; we do enforce it as a membership standard for all Brothers. So if you do not have one coming into the organization, we will help you find one that will best suit your interests.
JC: What benefits do you see within your chapter by enforcing involvement in other organizations as a membership standard?
MH: It ensures we always have ambassadors in various student groups. We aren’t limited to only partnerships within the Greek Life system, but rather the entire university. This lets us collaborate more effectively; in addition to allowing us to better determine the best practices of student organizations at tOSU. It definitely helped us out with recruitment this past semester; about a third of the recent new member class is majoring in STEM and already knew a Pilam brother because they were involved in a student organization within that field, so our brothers already had prior relationships with the new members. This made approaching them during recruitment time a lot easier and more intentional.
JC: Wow, that’s brilliant! How were you able to track your brothers being involved within other organizations?
MH: We have a form we send to every brother at the end of the semester. They have to get the form signed by the president of their student group in order to confirm they are an active member.
JC: That seems to be an efficient tactic! Do you have any advice you would give to other chapters struggling with holding brothers accountable to being involved?
MH: Yes, do not punish brothers for not being involved, but rather stress to your members the importance of being involved with outside student organizations. Not only does it help with recruitment, but also with your resume and overall long-term professional development. If you empower your brothers by helping them realize the positive effects, rather than punish them, then they should feel motivated to be an active part of the campus environment.
I also recommend seeing what other chapters have done and try to imitate anything positive into your chapter. We [the OSU chapter] have a brother who transferred from the Baldwin Wallace chapter and he has helped us by giving us tips and recommendations on how we can operate more efficiently.
JC: The Baldwin Wallace Chapter also has the extracurricular organization involvement standard and I know that’s helped them be successful over the years with both recruiting and winning a lot of awards. The Adelphi Chapter also implements that same standard and has had similar success. Thanks for sharing all of this information and congratulations again on the award!