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✎ sorority Q&A: new member academic motivation… ✎

Q: I am on the New Member Committee in my chapter. We are having a really hard time getting New Members grades up and it’s my job to find a way to get those grades up for the fall 2014 pc. Can you tell me some ideas that could help push them in the right direction? I’m open to ANY kind of advice. I am just really stuck on this. 

A: A mix of mandatory requirements and a generous reward and acknowledgment system usually works best. To encourage achievement there has to be some basic requirements, tempered with some sweet sugar and public praise. These are some ideas for your to consider:

✎ Required new member academic programs:

  • Establish once a week, 2 hour mandatory ‘study tables’ which new members must attend if their GPA is in a certain range. The higher achieving students don’t need to participate in the required sessions, but everyone’s grades should be monitored. 
  • Start a peer tutoring program within your chapter, where older sisters who are proficient in difficult subjects advise the new members. This mentoring could be offered when needed, or via an ongoing tutoring program. 
  • Hold a seminar on good study habits with required attendance by your new members. Hire a professional to lead the session, or organize it as a chapter if someone in your group is knowledgeable enough to lead the class. 
  • Career center workshops are also a great idea. Coordinate with your campus career office for additional ways to improve achievement in your sisterhood. Require new members to attend several workshops during the year. 
  • Have one-on-one meetings with sisters who are struggling. The personal approach is much more effective than reprimanding a new member at a chapter meeting. Counseling sisters who are not reaching the academic requirements can be very helpful in membership retention. 
  • More good ideas: Establish and enforce ‘quiet hours’ for studying. • Set aside a new member study room. • Schedule socials around important academic events. • Dedicate one new member meeting to scholarship. • Assign a pledge ‘study buddy’ to each new member. • Enlist big sisters to encourage their littles to study. • Offer class and professor evaluations, along with test files. • Start a new member academic announcements & info bulletin board. • Limit social activites for low GPAs. • Send letters to parents if there is an ongoing academic problem. • Ask an alum to be an academic advisor. • Use resources from your national HQ. • Set individual and pledge class goals. 

✎ Rewards for new member academic achievement: 

  • Participate in the Greek community academic awards system. Winning awards each year is a motivation for the entire sisterhood. 
  • Appoint a special new member academic chair to serve as motivator and role model for the pledge class. She can be the liaison between the new members and the e-board. This position should be a honor given to an new member with a high GPA. 
  • Give rewards and preferences to high achievers. Gift certificates, event tickets, special privileges, preferred parking, greek goodies ~ whatever your new members will respond too. Lots of treats for those who do their work! 
  • Host several class competitions during the semester. A grand prize for whoever gets the highest test score, or whoever raises their grades the most. 
  • VIP club for the top academics. Host a special breakfast, lunch or dinner club especially for the new members with the best GPAs. Pamper them with all of their favorite foods and drink. 
  • Challenge another sorority pledge class to an academic challenge for the semester. The best grades wins an amazing prize party that everyone loves, or mani-pedis for the class. 
  • Award your scholars. Honor a new member scholar of the week, scholar of the month, scholar of the semester and host an awards banquet at the end of each semester. Give lots of trophies or gifts. 
  • Decorations for achievement. When new members do a great job, decorate their dorm doors, hang door knob signs, leave balloons and candy in their rooms and leave pat on the back notes. 
  • Post study tips, vocab word of the week and inspirational/motivational quotes where new members will see them. Use the sorority social media to motivate your sisters. 
  • Hold once a month ‘library nights’ which end in favorite yummy desserts for everyone. 
  • Sponsor a new member Quiz Bowl or Trivia Game night. Make it fun and exciting, with a grand prize such as a special serenade, a favorite fraternity or sports team member dinner. Anything exclusive or very desirable will work. 
  • Book an inspirational speaker. Maybe you have an alumnae with a rags to riches story, or someone on campus who overcame great difficulties to achieve. Motivate your pledges with a speech from someone who will inspire and elevate them. 
  • Make a splash! Whenever you recognize sisters for doing well academically, make it public to the chapter, supersize it when making certificates, publish photos on your bulletin board, submit winners to your chapter publications, etc. Make a fuss and it will motivate others to seek the spotlight too. Positive reinforcement is catching!

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Hey! I remember one girl who was asking about being in high school but taking college credits wishing to go through recruitment. Can't find the post itself anymore, but I guess for future reference, you cannot join an NPC organization if you are still enrolled in high school. It's forbidden by NPC.

Asked by
nelthilta

Yes I remember that Q&A and thank you for clarifying the facts. I’m glad that is the rule, since I recommended waiting a year to have more maturity and more experience in college, etc. Good to know! xoxo ;) 

Hello! I love your blog; as an aspirant to Greek life (I plan to rush as a Sophmore next fall) your blog has been so lovely and helpful! My university has Partially Structured Recruitment, could you tell me what that means exactly and how I could prepare for it? Thank you! <3

Asked by
thatcurioustruth

That sounds like a form of “informal” recruitment, which will be semi-organized by the participating chapters, but not as fully structured as a panhellenic formal recruitment. The PNMs may attend events on their own and not tour around in groups for example. I can’t speak for the exact plan at your university, but it will most likely be less systemized and have less ‘razzle dazzle.’

Also, as a PNM you may need to take more initiative and be responsible for attending events on your own. So make sure you pay attention to all the rush announcements and schedules. The first few parties will be open to everyone. leading up to one or two invitation only rounds. Just be on your toes and follow instructions. 

No matter what the style of recruitment, a PNM should always be in top form. Much of the preparation has already taken place with your activities in high school and your first year of college. Since you’ve been on campus already, take advantage of the sorority connections you already have. When you see girls you know at the different chapters, make sure you are warm and friendly. Networking is vital for older PNMs. Be enthusiastic, inquisitive, charming, friendly and outgoing. By letting the brightest side of your personality shine, you should have no trouble making a fabulous sorority match. Smile and enjoy the process! xoxo ;)

I'm in charge of buying gifts for every senior in my chapter, but I'm under a really strict budget. I can only spend about $15 per girl, and they're all having difficulty agreeing on something. Could you maybe help me with some awesome suggestions?

Asked by
ciaomella

For that amount per girl you may be able to find a jewelry “charm”, key fob, friendship bracelet, mug, tumbler, or other giftie that will be a keepsake for seniors. The good news is if you are buying for ALL the seniors, you can take advantage of a group order discount. The more you order, the lower the price per unit.

For a wide selection of small greek gifts, check out these FAVE shops: {all of these examples are in the $15 range!}

• GREEK U:

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• GreekCreations.com:

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• Photo gifts from Tiny Prints:

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A LIST GREEK charms & charm necklaces: 

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• Shop BaubleBar.com for the most in-style fashion jewelry: {bangles on sale}

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 super sweet spotlight ♡ 

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☆ BID DAY preparation checklist… ☆

Q: So myself & 2 other sisters are in charge of bid day. I was wondering if you have a plan/document/template to follow of all the things that need to be done, or that are needed? Any advice on how to make a list would be amazing! Thank you!

A: I am very happy to make a TO DO list for bid day planning! If I missed something, followers are welcome to add to this list via the “notes.” 

☆ preparing for bid day checklist: ☆

  • Pick a fabulous theme! 
  • Order bid cards & envelopes for each new member. These are filled out when your final new member list is confirmed.
  • Order bid day tee shirts/tank tops for actives and pledges. 
  • Make notifiers/name signs for each new member. 
  • Make name tags for all the active sisters and the new pledges.
  • Craft flower headbands, or other “accessory” that brings your theme to life.
  • Make several hand-held ‘photo frames’ for pictures. 
  • Create ‘door decor’ for each new member’s dorm doors if needed. 
  • Paint posters to welcome your Rho Gammas back. 
  • Order fanny packs if your chapter uses them on bid day. 
  • Spruce up your lawn letters for display. 
  • Craft hand-held sized greek letters for photos. 
  • Order helium balloons, streamers and other decorations. 
  • Coordinate how everyone is going to get from the bid announcement site back to your sorority house. Book transportation if needed. 
  • Plan a big social for after the bid announcement!
  • Plan a buffet of food & drinks for the party. Order catering or determine who will cook the food. Have plenty of water and soft drinks on hand. 
  • Consider offering a candy bar for dessert. Cupcakes or a themed cake are also wonderful. 
  • Order tables and folding chair rentals if needed. This includes basic linens as well (paper or cloth tablecloths). Decorating folding chairs with fabric bows looks cute too. 
  • Order all of your paper & plastic goods such as plates, cups, utensils and napkins. 
  • Plan props for your party area, such potted palm trees, or large Tiffany boxes that match your theme.
  • Determine the trash capacity for your party. Make several XL ‘lined’ trash cans available though out the event space.  
  • Order new member tote bags and small bid day gifties to place inside. Typical gifts include: decals, cap, key fob, stickers, magnet, tumbler, koozie, etc. 
  • If your sorority has a tradition of a cap, lei, feather boa, single sorority flower, or other special item to present on bid day ~ order those.
  • Order flowers and decor for your celebration room, a centerpiece for the buffet table and plan centerpieces for additional tables. 
  • Paint signs & posters for the bid announcement and your party room.
  • Paint a backdrop banner for your photo booth. 
  • Set up a photo booth with fun props.
  • Purchase props for your party such as inflatable animals or sorority symbols. 
  • Order a balloon arch for the front of your sorority house.
  • Paint a large bid day banner to hang on the front of your house. 
  • Arrange for a photographer for group photos and photo booth shots.
  • Plan any interior table displays for your sorority house on bid day.
  • Invite alumnae and other special guests if it’s your chapter tradition. 
  • Arrange for music, a serenade, or entertainment for your party.
  • If your chapter does an activity like bid night roller skating, book the venue. 
  • If your mascot makes an appearance on bid day, confirm who is going to wear the costume. Make sure that the costume is in good shape, or make repairs. 
  • If the chapter President, Rush Chair and New Member Chair give speeches, plan and time their presentations.
  • Coordinate the ‘look’ for all the actives. Everyone wears matching shorts or white pants for example.
  • Plan lighting if your party is held at night outside. Candles, portable lights, twinkle lights and walkway lights might all be necessary. Keep safety in mind. 
  • Rent several portable heaters if it’s going to be cold outside. 
  • Determine if you need a sound system and microphone for speeches and announcements. 
  • Schedule a deep cleaning of the sorority house right before bid day. Stock up on lots of extra toilet paper, kleenex and feminine supplies. Place some fresh flowers and air freshener in all of the rest room facilities. Make sure plenty of paper towels are available for hand washing. 
  • Make a TIMELINE in 30 minute increments to keep yourself on schedule and keep the pace of the event on track. 
  • Double check that there is a stocked first aid kit handy for emergencies. 
  • Assign duties for everything that needs to be done, from carrying your lawn letters to the sports field ~ to who sets up the food on the buffet table. 
  • Instruct the chapter to welcome all of the new members on facebook immediately following bid day. Encourage the members to promote bid day on their social media and share photos. Time to brag. 
  • Communicate with your chapter about what to wear, when to arrive, who should help set up & clean up and all the details of pulling off a spectacular bid day. Schedule everything in your timeline. Have sisters assist in every area of your bid day extravaganza. Delegate! 

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