Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Enlisting College Fraternities - Doing Well. Doing Good.

Acacia on Ning - click here

I attended Homecoming at Illinois Wesleyan University on October 5, 2019 and spent the day with Acacia Fraternity brothers ranging from Pin Number 3, one of the founders of the IWU chapter in 1957, to new pledges who have just joined in 2019.

During the alumni/active chapter meeting held at 10:am rush (recruiting new members) was discussed, as well as the negative image of fraternities in public media.

I took the opportunity to call the group's attention to a discussion started on the Tutor/Mentor Connection forum in 2009, and my efforts since the early 2000s to motivate the IWU chapter and the national fraternities, to adopt the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy, for the following reasons.

1 - student learning - between 2006 and 2015 interns from various colleges, including many from South Korea, spent time looking at ideas on my web sites, then creating their own interpretations. View these here. In many cases interns used this opportunity to teach themselves new communications tools. If you visit this section of the T/MC Ning forum you can see who they were and see their reflections.

If Acacia undergrads started doing this work as freshmen and continued through graduation they would learn a wide range of tools to share their understanding of complex ideas with many other people. They would learn leadership roles and the cyclical process of action research.

2) Public visibility and public image - if service-learning teams grew within each chapter, and if chapters were connected and learning from each other,  duplicating the Tutor/Mentor Connection 4-part strategy, to build greater understanding of issues, and greater involvement in solving that problem, focusing on the local community where that chapter is located, or where undergrads and alumni live, tremendous positive visibility can be generated. 

Build collection of media stories
Visit this link and view the list of media stories that I've been able to generate over many years. Then imagine a place on each chapter's web site where a similar list grows as a result of their consistent work in this focus area.  View this list of awards, with the same goal in mind.

3) Connections between alumni and undergrads, and between chapters across the country. Imagine being able to go to the web site of any chapter and finding a page with the graphic at the top of this article. In each node would be links to a sub-page, showing a group of people studying a particular issue.

Then imagine finding network analysis maps using tools like NodeXL, showing Twitter, Facebook and/or Linked in discussions of this strategy, or of any of the sub-issues on the concept map above. The nodes on the NodeXL should show numerous undergrads and alumni from different chapters talking about that issue during a specific time frame.

Over time participation in these discussions would grow as the social media strategies described at this link are learned and applied.

Many can fill leadership role.
4- Impact on Rush and Fund Raising - This graphic shows that an on-going campaign can raise visibility and draw volunteers and dollars to all youth serving organizations in the city where a fraternity is located.  This also draws attention to the Fraternity.

A strategy that focuses on issues important to a community, and that focuses on helping kids from high poverty areas come through school and into college, which generates growing public and social media awareness, has to build awareness among incoming students (and parents) and potential donors, as well as university administrators. That awareness leads to new pledges and new dollars to fund scholarships, operations at the local and national fraternity level.

It also influences what other fraternities do.

5 - Impact on careers. A network analysis map shows connections between people. In each map the growing number of undergrad and alumni nodes represents constantly expanding social capital, that can open doors to jobs and business opportunities and strengthen the ties of brotherhood, within each chapter and across the national fraternity.

6 - One Acacia in a divided America - If there are groups of undergrads and alumni in each node focusing on important issues, the on-going work builds stronger ties and reduces the social and political divides that are tearing America apart.

All of these are leadership roles that are available to Acacia. Just by sharing your interpretation of this article from the National Chapter, at Conclave, and from local chapters, you are inviting members to take time to understand it, and to take the lead in launching it.

I've created two Slideshare presentations to help communicate these ideas.

Creating a Tutor/Mentor Connection on a university campus:

If this strategy were in place, there might be a dozen versions of these presentations, embedded in blogs on each chapter's web site, and even on the company web site of alumni participants!

That's the goal. The Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC pages are intended to simulate and influence thinking and actions of others.   Feel free to create your own versions. Use as thought starters. Share them with me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Linkedin.

If this article has value, please consider a contribution to help fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC. Click here to learn more.

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