Initiating a Strong Brotherhood

By Michael Covin, Alpha Theta ’09, Region Consultant

We were all in the shoes of prospective members and Initiates once. There are experiences and memories you can recall and the impact it has played on your time as Brother. The experience one has an Initiate is something they want to look back with a sense of accomplishment and there are many Chapters out there providing that type of experience.

One such Chapter who provides a complete and comprehensive Initiation program is the Beta Nu Chapter at Cornell University. All Chapters strive to bring in quality new members who will assimilate into the Chapter. The Brothers of Beta Nu work to retain a high number of their pinned Initiates and have been successful at retaining at least 90% of those pinned. Bringing in a large class is another likely goal of many Chapters and Beta Nu has pinned and initiated class sizes in the 20s.

An important part of any solid Initiation process and program is having a standard and a slate of expectations for those new members. There are multiple elements of any standard Initiation program and Beta Nu Brothers clearly outline the ideal and requirements in a fair manner for their Initiates. With any good program comes some flexibility as well and the Brothers look to spread requirements and due dates out in order to ensure the program is not overly challenging and allows for necessary adjustments.

So, what does the Beta Nu Chapter do that you can incorporate at your Chapter?

  • Invite Initiates to Chapter meetings. This teaches important elements like parliamentary procedure and risk management.
  • Host “Study Hours”. This time together focuses on the scholarship leg of the tripod and leads to more fellowship.
  • Incorporate strong Big-Little relations in the Initiation process. These close bonds allow for a seamless transition into the Chapter and Brotherhood. The Beta Nu Chapter takes a strong initiative in pairing Initiates with a Brother that will be a friend and teacher for them.
  • Encourage philanthropy. The Beta Nu Chapter encourages philanthropy from the beginning of the Initiation process through their service events and what the Initiates plan; they give back to their local community.

As important as the whole process for Initiates is, it largely starts during recruitment and that can start right now. By working on a strong recruitment early the previous term, you then start off the initiation process and your program on that much higher of a note. From there, you can implement and utilize those elements listed above and continue to initiate a strong Brotherhood.

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