At the foundation of any high-performing chapter is solid recruitment. Quality men define the success of a chapter, so effective strategies and a strong emphasis on recruitment are sure-fire ways to elevate chapter performance.
Mark Reiter, Drake ’15, led an educational session on recruitment at the 2017 Conclave in Orlando that focused on the importance of values-based recruitment — recruiting young men who exemplify SigEp’s values rather than merely popular guys. One of the most effective tools to find these high-quality men, Reiter said, is the Balanced Man Scholarship (BMS).
Most of the 2017 Buchanan Cup-winning chapters operate the BMS. One of them, Georgia Alpha at Georgia Tech, had a very successful BMS recruitment, recruiting over 90 percent of its new members from the BMS — and retaining 100 percent of the 20-30 men recruited with the scholarship each year.
“We think of the scholarship as an extension of our brotherhood,” said Conclave attendee Jose Araque Rojas, Georgia Tech ’17. The chapter views applicants as potential brothers, not just scholarship recipients. They view the BMS as not just one part of their recruitment, but the critical element to its success. “We take it very seriously,” said Rojas.
Contrary to the perceptions of some, 89 percent of college freshmen are not interested in joining a fraternity, turned off by their poor reputation in society. Of the 11 percent who do want to join a fraternity and enter the rush process, many have had their ideals shaped by stereotypical portrayals of fraternity in media. During his presentation, Reiter challenged the room with this question, “How can we get outside of this pool that just comes through rush?”
In order to do so, chapters must take active measures to bring in the very best talent, Reiter said. In 1990, SigEp’s chapter at Cincinnati created a comprehensive solution: the Balanced Man Scholarship. Rather than passively waiting and hoping for the best to come around during rush week, chapters using the BMS can directly identify the best men.
Reiter broke down the BMS into five stages that move scholarship applicants to potential new members: Prepare, Market, Interview, Recognize and Recruit. Brothers at the session asked about how to conduct interviews and evaluate candidates’ interview performance — crucial aspects of the process.
SigEp’s director of growth, Zac Gillman, Austin Peay State ’15, spoke of the Headquarters’ staff efforts to support better interviewing and recruitment. New resources, including the interview guide and evaluation workbook, are now available for chapters to take advantage of.