Over the years, we’ve heard the stories about fraternities – how many of them have been positive? So few, that possibly others may wonder why they continue. Yet, multiple fraternity (and sorority) houses are found on U.S. and other campuses.
According to Greek History, “The first fraternity was founded at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, VA on December 5, 1776, when a group of students formed a secret society, which they called Phi Beta Kappa. The name of their organization came from the first initials of the Greek motto: Love of wisdom, guide of life.”
Our world is very different from what it was even 10 years ago. The rise of social media and how we obtain, read, and share information has changed radically – and with it the need for deeper awareness of what we do and how our actions make us look to others. Fraternities are now embracing the job of getting good PR out about their organization, members, efforts, and what they stand for. And hopefully, it’s not just about fixing things after a bad situation hits.
In a recent post by thefraternityadvisor, a young man wrote in saying, “I am the newly appointed chairman of Public Relations of our fraternity. What are some new innovative ideas I should begin doing?” We commend fraternities for having the forethought to start putting members into such callings.
As an organization of young men seeking a brighter future through education and socialization, how much good can be accomplished using those choices to get the good word out about their chapter is PR at its best? For those working with similar organizations, we offer a few tips.
Know your group, know their strengths, weaknesses, and what they already can offer the community and others. If a fraternity has several accomplished athletes, maybe setting up a mentoring program to work with local youth through a sports program. Other possibilities might include helping young families when they have to move, a day at the local children’s hospital every month playing with the kids, or working with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. Use the strengths within your group, and then take pictures, let the local press or school paper know in advance and volunteer to do a write up they can use or edit for their paper.
Be aware of what is happening around you and what is said about your group. Be ready to respond and act as needed to clear up any misinformation or offer advice about the good work being done by members. Don’t let the positive go unnoticed or unreported. You don’t need to make a big deal about everything, but keep something good in the news, at least, every month or so. That way, if someone makes a mistake along the way, it’s easily balanced by all the good people know you’ve done recently. Happy Greeking.